State legislative session to resume for first time since March

State legislative session to resume for first time since March
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Legislature will reconvene its session Monday to focus on measures aimed at stabilizing the state budget and getting help to Hawaii families and businesses.

Lawmakers are facing a $1 billion shortfall in state revenues amid the shutdown.

The session is expected to last at least six legislative days.

“We are reconvening the session because the immediate priority is to stabilize the state budget so that we can avoid drastic cuts and furloughs,” House Speaker Scott Saiki said, in a news release.

Lawmakers are also working on a bill that would transfer some of the state’s $862 million dollars from the existing federal CARES Act to neighbor islands and emergency services.

The current proposal sends most of the money — about $550 million — to the rainy day fund.

Saki said the funds will be used for unemployment benefits, which are expected to run out in about a month.

The state Legislature said because of the ongoing shutdown, the state Capitol building will continue to be closed to the general public.

The public will be able to submit written testimony and watch proceedings via livestream.

Lawmakers and staff will be allowed into the state Capitol building through a single entrance and everyone will have to undergo a temperature check. Masks will be worn and public workspaces cleaned.

The state Legislature has been in recess since March 17 when one lawmaker tested positive for coronavirus.

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