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Senate passes bills on minimum wage and income tax credit

Measures headed for conference committees as session nears end

The Maui News

The Hawaii State Senate passed more than 120 bills on third reading on Tuesday, including measures aimed at raising the minimum wage, extending the earned income tax credit and establishing an oversight body for Mauna Kea.

“As we begin to prepare for conference committees, the Senate looks forward to working with our House colleagues to find common ground and produce legislation that will benefit the people of Hawaii,” Senate President Ronald Kouchi of Kauai said in a news release Tuesday.

Bills passed include:

• House Bill 510, which makes the state earned income tax credit refundable and extends the availability of the tax credit for an additional six years.

• House Bill 2024, which establishes the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority as a joint authority with the University of Hawaii. It defines astronomy research lands under UH’s jurisdiction and conservation lands under the authority’s jurisdiction and requires both organizations to manage land uses, human activities, access, stewardship, education, research, disposition and overall operations on their respective lands.

• House Bill 2510, which increases the state’s minimum wage incrementally to $12.00 per hour beginning Oct. 1; $15.00 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2024; and $18.00 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2026. It also reduces the tip credit to 35 cents per hour beginning Oct. 1 and zero cents per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2026.

• House Bill 1570, which bans the sale of flavored tobacco products and mislabeled e-liquid products. It also establishes fines of up to $500 for violating the law and up to $2,000 for subsequent violations.

• House Bill 2233, which authorizes the Department of Human Services to provide additional housing assistance subsidies of up to $500 per month to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Temporary Assistance for Other Needy Families program participants who are participating in the First-To-Work program.

The Senate also voted on House Bill 1600, which appropriates funds for the operating costs of the executive branch for the supplemental budget period beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2023. Senate Draft 2 of the measure would allocate nearly $8.8 billion for fiscal year 2022 and close to $9.3 billion in fiscal year 2023.

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