Hawaii News

Measures for fire safety improvements, emergency management, more enacted with governor’s signature

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Gov. Josh Green on Friday signed into law 16 bills addressing priorities such as fire safety, emergency management, disaster response, veteran support, language access for immigrants and regulations for charitable giving during times of emergencies.

Hawaiʻi Gov. Josh Green walks through destroyed Lahaina, Maui, with U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, a Hawaiʻi Democrat, last August following the deadly wildfire. (Photo from information presented by the governor’s office during the bill signing ceremony Friday)

“These legislative measures are crucial in enhancing our state’s resilience, safety and inclusivity,” said Green during a signing ceremony. “By addressing these important pillars of disaster prevention, mitigation and management, we are working to ensure that all residents of Hawai‘i are better protected and prepared, especially during times of crisis.”

One of the bills Green put his pen to was even appropriate for the Fourth of July week.

House Bill 2193 establishes an illegal fireworks task force and expands inspection powers for police and fire department officers.


Another creates a new Office of the State Fire Marshal and others also relate to fire prevention, emergency management and a wildfire forecast system for Hawai’i.

The new laws enacted with the governor’s signature are:

House Bill 2193: Enhancing fireworks regulation and safety

  • This measure establishes an illegal fireworks taskforce and expands inspection powers for police and fire department officers. It introduces administrative inspections of controlled premises and mandates comprehensive recordkeeping and reporting requirements for licensees. The law also empowers law enforcement and fire departments to safely dispose of confiscated fireworks, holding violators liable for storage and disposal costs. These measures aim to improve regulatory oversight and enhance public safety regarding fireworks usage.
From the governor’s office

Senate Bill 2085: Establishes the Office of the State Fire Marshal

  • This bill creates the office within the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to enhance fire safety and prevention throughout Hawaiʻi. The state fire marshal, appointed for a 5-year term, will coordinate statewide fire protection efforts, propose fire code amendments and oversee fire safety training and certification. The bill appropriates $172,000 for fiscal year 2024-25 to fund the position, support staff and related operational costs, effective July 1.

HB 2107: Language access for limited English proficiency

  • This House bill establishes a limited English proficiency language access coordinator position within the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency, allocating $200,000 for fiscal year 2024-25. The act addresses the disproportionate disaster-related risks faced by limited English proficiency speakers by ensuring compliance with federal language access laws, such as the Stafford Act. It highlights the inadequacy of language interpretation services during the immediate aftermath of the Aug. 8, 2023, Maui wildfires, and aims to improve access to emergency relief for populations with limited English proficiency.

SB 2693: Preventing charitable fraud during emergencies

  • This measure introduces a new section to state statutes making charitable fraud during a state of emergency an offense. It defines charitable fraud as using deceptive practices, misrepresentation or misuse of contributions solicited for disaster victims. The offense is classified based on the amount of contributions obtained or attempted, with severe penalties for larger amounts. This act ensures immediate enforcement upon approval, protecting the public from fraudulent charitable solicitations during emergencies.

“These new laws reflect our commitment to protecting and supporting all members of our community, especially in times of need,” said Green. “By improving fire safety, enhancing emergency management, supporting our veterans and ensuring language access for all, we are building a safer, more inclusive Hawaiʻi.”

Here are the other bills signed Friday. Click the links to see the full details.

Firefighters in a photo that was part of information from the governor’s office presented during the bill signing ceremony Friday.

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