A New Year at the Legislature
The 2022 Legislative Session has opened, but the State Capitol is still closed. With virtually every other place of public accommodation open and working within the current protocols, it is my great hope that we will open the people's house soon. In the meantime, remote public testimony has never been easier. You can find every bill and piece of public testimony, links to live hearings and videos of previous hearings, and submit testimony at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.
In my legislative package, I submitted bills to help the county departments of planning and permitting reduce illegal construction on agricultural lands, support better management of our marine resources, develop a plan for stream management, improve professional standards for conservation officers, prohibit real estate agents from participating in illegal vacation rentals, and create a business education program for inmates with the goal of reducing recidivism.
Addressing the law governing agricultural building permit exemptions, SB 2521 defines "agricultural buildings" as structures used exclusively for agricultural or aquacultural purposes, and specifically excludes human habitation, employment, entertainment and mixed uses from this definition. SB 3240 clarifies what is not exempt from agricultural building permits.
I have fielded calls from constituents who see these bills as unfairly making illegal certain structures on agricultural lands. To the contrary, these bills do not prohibit building anything; rather, they clarify the intent of the statute that was created to allow certain agricultural buildings like greenhouses and storage sheds without building permits. The law was never intended to allow people to build houses, or "barns" that look like houses, without permits.
SB 3019 requires the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement to develop and implement policies in accordance with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA). SB 3330 would establish and fund a carrying capacity study for the Pupukea Marine Life Conservation District at Shark's Cove. Both of these measures passed out of the Water and Land Committee and are now with the Ways and Means Committee.
To address unpermitted expansion of commercial activity on Kaneohe Bay, I introduced SB 3328, which specifies additional activity that requires permits to operate on Kaneohe Bay.
A model for stream management in flood prone watersheds is the goal of SB 3021, which funds a study of the flood hazards, vegetative overgrowth, land ownership, and jurisdictional obstacles to effectively manage Waiahole Stream.
SB 3023 prohibits real estate brokers and agents licensed in the state from being involved with illegal short-term vacation units and whole-home short-term rentals.
Providing a quality business curriculum for prison inmates nearing the end of their sentences has helped reduce recidivism. SB 2532 passed out of Public Safety Committee and is now with the Ways and Means Committee.
See the full list of bills I introduced at https://www.senatorriviere.com/bills.