Political News

Elder abuse, sunscreen, sick days on tap at Legislature

Posted March 19

— Hawaii lawmakers are planning to tackle proposals aimed at protecting coral reefs, boosting recycling and taking care of the state's growing elderly population.

Here's a sampling of the agenda in the coming week:

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ELDER ABUSE

Financial exploitation is a fast-growing form of elder abuse, and some lawmakers in the House and Senate want to make it a felony for a caregiver to an exploit an elderly patient. HB432 will be heard by two Senate committees Monday afternoon.

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SENIOR CARE

In the same hearing, senators will take up HB607, which would give vouchers of up to $70 a day to pay for caregivers who provide meals, rides, adult day care and help with chores to elderly people.

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SUNSCREEN STUDY

There are concerns about the effect of the chemicals found in sunscreens on delicate coral reefs. HB450 would require the University of Hawaii to study their effects on the ocean. It will be heard by three Senate committees simultaneously Tuesday afternoon.

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SICK DAYS

It's hard to work when you're sick, but some workers don't have a choice. A bill would require employers to provide paid sick leave to workers, which they could also use to care for ill family members. The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor will take up HB4 on Tuesday morning. Another bill scheduled for the same hearing — HB213 — would allow employees to take family leave to care for relatives or to handle the death of a loved one.

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RECYCLING PUSH

Recycling containers aren't always easy to find in Hawaii. HB523 would require state buildings to provide recycling bins near regular trash containers and will be heard by two Senate committees Wednesday afternoon.

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HAWAII GROWN

In an attempt to boost local farmers and food security, the Senate Committee on Agriculture will take up a resolution Friday afternoon urging the governor to develop a plan to double local food production by 2020.

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