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2018 Legislative Recap

Our state legislature has adjourned.  We are safe for another year (mostly).  This was a particularly heavy year for ocean related proposals but we did the best we could.  Below are just some of the reasons your membership is so important:

OCEAN ISSUES PASSED

  • A sunscreen ban (oxybenzone).  The 2017 bill (which we helped kill) would have made you the “sunscreen police” placing enforcement of the ban on your customers right on your shoulders.  This year’s bill took that out resulting in only a retail sales ban effective 1/1/21.
  • A resolution (legislative request) for agencies to ID Best Practices to address biofouling in harbors for next year.

OCEAN ISSUES NOT PASSED

  • A propeller ban for all motorized boats in near shore waters.
  • Expanding the definition of “commercial activity” used by DLNR to assess the 3% boating fee.
  • Establishing penalties and fines for all anti-(sting) ray actions.
  • Establishing limited liability for lifeguards (could be a forerunner for liability exemptions for ocean tourism).
  • Appropriate $$$$ for a day use mooring buoy program and after spending the appropriation, then establish user fees to sustain the cost.
  • Make use permits for Ala Wai subject to renewal by auction (a very bad precedent for commercial users).
  • Require rules to regulate noise in harbors.
  • Transfer the small boat harbor program from DLNR back to Dept. of Transportation.
  • Transfer Kihei Small Boar Harbor to the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission for them to run.
  • Set up a special Enforcement Division in the Attorneys General office for DLNR violations.
  • Adopt rules to regulate watersport excursion companies.
  • Authorize a Lipoa Point user access fee program charging $___ per passenger on the boat.
  • Appropriate money for a training academy for DOCARE officers.
  • Ban alcohol and drinking while in state waters and less than 1000 feet from the shore or beach.

GENERAL ISSUES PASSED

  • Provides for wage secrecy for current and prospective employees (can not disclose, discuss or inquire about current or past wages).
  • Establishes a paid family leave program.  Both employee and employer pay into a fund.  For now the law only authorizes a study group to come up with how long, how much, etc.
  • Further clarifies employee marijuana use with a medical certificate.  We got the language prohibiting an employer from discharging, disciplining or discriminating removed but the subject will come back next year.

GENERAL ISSUES NOT PASSED

  • Raise the minimum wage to  $15.00 in 2020.
  • For a company with 50 employees or more require paid meal breaks and rest periods.
  • Provide all employees with advance notice of work schedule changes in advance and if not pay OT.
  • Require all employers to provide paid sick leave.

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Accomplishments

OTC fought for and got the first day use mooring permits despite environmental opposition saying we would damage the environment. We want to be known as the people who leave only bubbles.

OTC was a prime mover of legislation to create the Small Business Regulatory Review Board allowing for a Small Business Bill of Rights to be enacted and an appeals mechanism to protest burdensome and nonsensical regulations.

OTC modified proposals that would have eliminated the penalty waiver provision of the Small Business Regulatory Review Board for environmental violations.

OTC has been a prime proponent of the concept that berthing rights are essential to the continuation of the business and unless a permittee is in violation of laws, the renewal of the slip should be protected.

OTC fought for an increase in slip fees to head off efforts by some who think we should pay even more, like 10 – 15% of our gross revenue. This helped to lock in fees and generated income to DOBOR which in turn allowed them to receive $10 – $15 million a year of “free” federal money for harbors.

OTC got the first piece of legislation passed in 2008 that allows for interharbor use without the payment of additional fees.

OTC sponsored the resolution to encourage a haul-out facility for Maui and the Big Island.

OTC rewrote proposed salvage laws so the owner has first crack at getting his vessel off the reef his way instead of letting DLNR do it any old way.

OTC intervened in legislation to set fines of up to $10,000 per square meter of damaged stony coral in 2008. More to come in 2009.

OTC killed proposals to ban any commercial activity in Marine Life Conservation Districts on Maui, Kauai, Hawaii and Oahu.

Because OTC exists we often get a seat at the table and sometimes can request a veto of bad rules or laws before they get too far down the road.