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Paltin to advocate rental car caps in legislative session

The Maui News

Maui County Council Member Tamara Paltin plans to advocate for counties to regulate rental cars as a method to address overtourism on the island.

Paltin, who is in her second term holding the residency seat for West Maui, announced Friday that she would push for the idea during the 2022 state legislative session. She cited news reports indicating that there were 20,000 rental cars on Maui prior to the pandemic last year, more than all other islands combined.

“Allowing counties to establish rental car caps based on current infrastructure capacity is just one method to address Hawaii’s overtourism issues and allow local government and residents the ability to participate in decisions impacting their everyday commutes, safety and wellness,” she said.

Paltin is Maui County’s alternate representative to the Hawaii State Association of Counties Executive Committee, which will meet at noon on Wednesday to discuss strategy and procedures for lobbying the Legislature on the counties’ behalf in the next legislative session, which starts Jan. 19.

The HSAC Executive Committee also includes Kauai County Council Member Mason Chock, who serves as chair; Maui County Council Member Kelly Takaya King, who serves as vice-chair; Hawaii County Council Member Heather Kimball and Honolulu City Council Member Tommy Waters.

The 2021 HSAC legislative package has eight state bills, including legislation proposed by Paltin, to “empower the county councils to regulate the number of rental cars in each county, provide increased funding for addiction-treatment programs from liquor fines and establish a single-payer health care system,” according to a news release.

Paltin said she plans to introduce two new proposals for inclusion in the 2022 HSAC legislative package. One proposed new state bill would establish criminal offenses of unlawful “chop shop” activity.

Paltin said her other new proposal would amend state law to require special management area permits for homes near the coastline of at least 5,000 square feet; the current threshold is 7,500 square feet.

The new proposals for the 2022 HSAC Legislative Package will be discussed by the Maui County Council’s Government Relations, Ethics and Transparency Committee at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

For more information, visit MauiCounty.us/agendas.

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