The Hawai‘i State Senate is scheduled to resume its 2020 session today and end on July 10.
Committees will be considering a limited number of critical bills that were put on hold when the Senate was forced to recess in mid-March due to COVID-19. The Senate will also be allocating additional federal funding from the CARES Act. However, Senate President Ron Kouchi said lawmakers will not be taking action on the HEROES bill.
The HEROES Act, passed by the US House of Representatives on May 15, would provide $1 trillion to state and local governments facing revenue shortfalls such as Hawai‘i and its four counties. Unfortunately, the US Senate has still not acted on the bill.
“Instead, our primary budgetary focus will be on deploying the existing federal CARES Act money,” Kouchi said. “Mahalo to the Ways and Means and Finance Committee chairs and their staff who worked diligently on this proposal.”
The Senate floor session reconvened this morning. The session is scheduled to adjourn on July 10. The new legislative timetable is available here: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/docs/2020calendar.pdf
Due to the pandemic, the State Capitol building remains closed to the public at this time.
To allow access to the proceedings, the Senate will be providing live streams of all Senate hearings and floor sessions in real-time, on YouTube and/or ‘Ōlelo and neighbor island cable networks, with live closed captioning. A list of upcoming and archived Senate hearings is available here: http://olelo.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=13
The public is encouraged to participate by submitting written testimony. No in-person testimony will be allowed at this time due to COVID-19. To submit testimony, visit: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/submittestimony.aspx
The Hawai‘i State Senate’s 2020 session was originally scheduled to take place from January 15 to May 7, but the Senate was forced to recess in mid-March due to the COVID-19 emergency. The Senate held a two week reconvene on May 11 to pass time-sensitive budget bills and nominations from the governor.