By Nathan Eagle
Looking to try alternative cuisine in Hawaii? Kittens and canine companions are still on the menu.
State lawmakers failed to pass legislation this session that would have outlawed the slaughtering or trafficking of dogs or cats for human consumption.
Senate Bill 2026 was one of many measures lawmakers scrapped in the final days leading up to sine die Thursday. Some suffered from the two chambers' inability to reach an agreement on the final language while others fell victim to lack of funding or simply politics.
Pets aren't the only animals that won't be better protected next year. Hawaii will still allow the sale of ivory from elephants, hippos, walruses, whales and any other critter with a tusk.
House Bill 493 would have essentially banished the ivory trade from the islands — the third-largest market for "white gold" in America — but the House and Senate were unable to come to terms so it died last week in conference committee.
In other inaction, House Bill 2012 would have created a law to crack down on ticket scalping. Its death means mainlanders will still be able to buy up Bruno Mars tickets and resell them to locals at a marked-up rate.
The Legislature is also letting electronic-cigarette smokers puff in public places for at least a little while longer.
Lawmakers decided they didn't want to try to resolve their differences over Senate Bill 2495, which would have restricted where people can smoke e-cigs. The bill never received a hearing in conference committee.
The Legislature left a lot undone on the education front too.
Remember all the stories in recent years of students sweating it out — literally — in their steamy classrooms? Well, little relief is coming anytime soon since the bills that targeted funding to air-condition select schools died.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie had requested $25 million to cool certain schools and Rep. Takashi Ohno was pushing for the same in a separate bill but lawmakers decided the state couldn't afford it.
Education officials have estimated it would cost $1.5 billion to air-condition all 229 or so public schools.
Sen. Jill Tokuda introduced a bill to at least develop a cooling master strategy and comprehensive study for the public schools but that legislation died in conference Friday.
Early childhood education also lost out.
If Senate Bill 2975 and House Bill 2276 didn't die last week, the state could be preparing to set up new programs to help prepare 3- and 4-year-old kids for kindergarten.
Lawmakers were only able to fund $3 million of the $5.2 million requested to develop pre-kindergarten classrooms at some of the public schools.
With the state Council on Revenues now projecting hundreds of millions of dollars less revenue than expected over the next few years, lawmakers struggled to balance the 2014-2015 budget.
Here are some of the other bills that didn't clear conference committee:
- Geothermal permitting process: Senate Bill 2663
- Hotel tax credits: Senate Bill 2968, House Bill 2169, House Bill 2170
- Public-private partnerships: Senate Bill 3066
- Definition of historic property: House 1678, Senate Bill 2633
- Baby heart test: Senate Bill 2194
- Renewable fuels tax credit: House Bill 2060
- Tax credits for the poor: House Bill 2371
- Kakaako Makai development: Senate Bill 3122
- Breastfeeding jury duty exemption: Senate Bill 2452
The House and Senate will give final readings to a slate of other bills Thursday — including a manufacturing tax credit, outdoor land liability and Turtle Bay Resort funding for a conservation easement — before adjourning the 2014 session.