State lawmakers reach deals on homelessness, agricultural issues

(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: Apr. 28, 2018 at 4:21 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From homelessness to agricultural issues, conference committees on Friday worked to reach final deals on bills before they advance in the legislature.

Lawmakers agreed to the first new agricultural pesticide regulations bill, SB3095 and its corresponding drafts. The bill requires a 100-foot no spray zone near schools, reporting of pesticide use and the nation's first ban on chlopyrifos.

They also advanced a measure banning sunscreens with oxybenzone, a component which may be toxic to coral reefs.

But the biggest deal Friday was a $30 million commitment to build six more homeless villages which would be called Ohana Zones.

Lawmakers emphasized the zone will not be tent cities, but rather a place for the homeless to securely live.

"You're gonna see that these ohana zones are going to be on public lands. They can have certain secure dwelling places, they will have places like hygiene centers and possible communal kitchens, but again we want to emphasize that it is going to be different for every island and there is going to be flexibility," House Majority Leader Rep. Della Belatti (D) said.

Lawmakers also added more money to control medical costs of homelessness without cutting existing prevention programs.

Other important agreements include offering another four year window for lawsuits by sexual abuse allegations, and a vote by mail pilot program for Kauai in 2020.

The measures that moved out of conference committees will go to a full floor vote next week.

Despite the deals made, there was however deals that fell through. Lawmakers couldn't agree on a deal that would regulate vacation rentals or audit the troubled prison system.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.