HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Governor David Ige signed into law on Wednesday bills that broadened the first-degree murder offense and gave the state greater authority over certain parental rights.
HB 1726 established that first-degree murder includes situations in which the defendant intentionally or knowingly causes the death of a person who the defendant restrained for use as a shield or held as a hostage, ransom or reward.
Prior to this bill, first-degree murder was defined and limited to rare cases in which there were multiple victims, the victim was killed by a hired killer or the victim was under specific protection of the courts or the law enforcement system.
Gov. Ige also signed SB 2811 Act 213, a bill relating to parental rights.
The bill allows parental rights to be terminated if the court determines, "by clear and convincing evidence" that the child was conceived via rape or sexual assault.
SB 2811 takes influence from a May 2015 act that President Obama signed, the Rape Survivor Child Custody Act.
The boosted funding for states that allowed women to petition for the termination of parental rights based on clear and convincing evidence that a child was conceived through rape.
The Hawaii Senate said in its original draft of SB 2811 that rape is one of the most under-prosecuted serious crimes and that rapists may use the treat of pursuing custody or parental rights to coerce victims into not prosecuting them.
Gov. Ige also signed HB 2169 Act 212 that clarifies the supervision requirements for the licensure of clinical social workers.