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Legislature in final week of ’13 session

April 29, 2013
By OSKAR GARCIA , The Associated Press

HONOLULU - Hawaii's state Legislature has two working days left to pass every law it wants this year.

On Thursday, the 2013 session will end.

Lawmakers are in recess today and Wednesday but plan marathon sessions Tuesday and Thursday to vote on all bills left. Conference committees worked into Friday evening to finalize language to be presented to each chamber for floor votes, approving bills that created funding for a new school readiness program, an entrepreneurship initiative and emergency funds, among other things.

More than 100 bills will be voted on this week, House Clerk Brian Takeshita said. Takeshita said the majority of bills will likely get floor votes Tuesday, including the biennium budget - the top priority for the House and the Senate this year.

The $23.8 billion proposal agreed to in conference committee is about $262 million short of what Gov. Neil Abercrombie requested but dedicates millions to capital improvement projects and drawing down the state's unfunded liabilities.

Among other bills that lawmakers will also vote on:

* Whether to give more than $7 million over the next two years to a new school readiness program to replace a junior kindergarten program that expires in 2015.

* A pilot project to develop school lands to raise money for school infrastructure repairs.

* Whether to extend and change Hawaii's shield law, which expires at the end of June. The shield law outlines protections for journalists from being compelled by courts to reveal confidential sources except in certain cases.



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