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Chairwoman to deliver bill package to legislators

Legislature opens today in Honolulu

The Maui News

Maui County Council Chairwoman Alice Lee announced Tuesday that she will travel to the state Capitol on opening day today to ask lawmakers to consider a package of bills covering Maui County issues.

Lee said the package includes 15 bills covering a wide range of issues, including taxation authority and revenue, roadway safety, the regulation of hosting platforms for unpermitted vacation rentals and environmental issues like invasive species and sea-level rise. It also includes a resolution urging the U.S. Congress to allow Hawaiian homesteads to be direct recipients of federal housing block grants.

The state Legislature begins its session today in Honolulu with the floor session starting at 10 a.m. In keeping with past practice, the floor session in the House Chambers will be kept to a minimum. No musical entertainment is planned, and no family, friends or guests will be seated on the chamber floor.

“The 2020 Maui County Legislative Package represents the result of a great deal of collaboration across the Maui County Council, as well as the feedback we have received from our communities on what matters most to them,” Lee said. “Whether it’s ensuring the road to Hana is made safer or empowering the county to combat online marketing of illegal transient accommodations, these bills, if passed by the state Legislature, would go a long way toward improving the lives of Maui County residents.”

Lee said other bills in the package would increase funding to support agriculture statewide, extend the $5 million-per-year tax credit for the upgrading of cesspools through 2025, authorize remote schools like Hana High and Elementary School to receive supplemental funding and lower the threshold of blood alcohol concentration from 0.08 to 0.05 for the offense of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.

The package also includes bills that would amend the allocation of transient accommodations tax revenue to more fairly recognize the counties’ support of public services for the visitor industry and extend Maui County’s authority to establish a general excise tax surcharge through June 30, 2021, she said.

Lee encouraged Maui County residents to track state legislation and to submit testimony to state legislative committees. She said updated information, including bill numbers and copies of her testimony, will be posted to mauicounty.us/ throughout the legislative session, which runs until May 7.

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