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Lawmakers to mull budget, preschool

House, Senate look at bills passed by opposite chamber

March 11, 2013
By ANITA HOFSCHNEIDER , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - The state House and Senate will hold several hearings this week to vet each other's proposals. Last week, both chambers passed hundreds of bills and sent them over to the other chamber, marking a new phase in the legislative session.

The week also marks an important deadline for the budget. By Wednesday, the House needs to vote on a budget to send to the Senate. The House Committee on Finance has already approved its version of the budget, which falls about $600 million short of the governor's request.

And lawmakers aren't just considering bills. The Senate Committee on Health scheduled an informational briefing today about the impact of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. And three Senate committees will hold a briefing Wednesday about using a trans-Pacific fiber-optic submarine cable throughout Hawaii.

Here are some of the hearings for bills that are planned:

* The House Committee on Education will consider Wednesday the governor's preschool proposals, which passed the Senate last week. Advocates of the initiative are planning a 1,000-strong rally at the Capitol on Thursday.

* The House committees on higher education and economic development plan to deliberate University of Hawaii reforms on Tuesday.

* The House committees on the environment and health will hear bills about recycling, renewable energy tax credits and loans for green infrastructure equipment Tuesday.

* The House judiciary committee Tuesday will debate bills aimed at reforming campaign spending, limiting child prostitution and including members of the military in reapportionment. The state is embroiled in a lawsuit about its policy of excluding the military when calculating district representation.

* The Senate committee on consumer protection will hear Thursday a bill that would prohibit landlords from evicting people because they are victims of domestic abuse.

* The Senate health committee will consider a bill today that would require hospital emergency rooms to offer emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault. Both the House and the Senate passed versions of this proposal last week.



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