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2024 Mid-Session Legislative Update

Mid-Session Overview

We have officially reached the midway point in the 2024 legislative session, which runs from mid-January until May 3. At this time, bills that are still alive have crossed over into the opposite chamber. There are a number of Surfrider Foundation priority state bills that are still alive and many more important opportunities to testify on these bills in the coming weeks.

We are excited that our priority water quality bill, SB2322 to improve the stateʻs coastal water quality monitoring program, is still alive and is scheduled for a hearing on Thursday, March 14. Since the Hawaiʻi legislative process moves so quickly, we suggest signing up for testimony alerts and weekly legislative updates. 

Bills that have Crossed Over

The following bills have crossed over to the opposite chamber (e.g. House bills cross to the Senate and Senate bills cross to the House). Note - this is not an exhaustive list. 

  • **SB2322 - Would require the stateʻs water quality monitoring program to sample beaches during clean and brown water conditions
  • HB1892 - Cesspool Conversions - accelerates cesspool upgrade mandates for Priority 1 & 2 cesspools prior to the 2050 deadline.  
  • HB1545 -  Coastal Adaptation Pathways - Expands authority of state and counties to develop "Adaptation Pathways Plans" to relocate infrastructure outside of sea level rise and coastal flooding areas.
  • HB2248 - Appropriates funds to the university of Hawaiʻi sea grant college program to develop a north shore beach management and climate adaptation plan for the north shore of Oʻahu
  • HB1546 - Coastal Protection - amends the definiton of "beach restoration" and includes activties to improve eroded beaches and degraded dune systems and remove abandoned materials that post risk to public
  • HB2406 - Would charge visitors a $25 fee on accommodation books, generating up tot $68 million annually for climate relief.
  • HB 2081 - Increase Transient Accommodation Tax - Minimum $50 tax increase on Transient Accommodations to support natural resources 
  • SB2575 - Deep Sea Mining - Prohibits the mining, extraction, and removal of minerals from the seabed in all state marine waters 
  • HB2743 - Cesspool Conversions - requires county wastewater plans and authorizes coutnies to charge cesspool fees to fund conversion grants and loans
  • HB1691- Cesspool Conversions - requires denitrifying capacity for individual wastewater systems that are near waters or likely to pollute.
  • HB1688 - Waste Reduction - Requires the Department of Health to conduct a statewide needs assessment and establish an advisory council to determine what would be needed to transition to a more circular system with less waste generation, more reuse, and an extended producer

Priority Surfrider bills that have died in the 2024 session

  • SB2933 - Green Amendment to the state constitution
  • SB2425 - Cesspool Conversion - funding for public outreach and education
  • HB1898 - Cesspool Conversion - funding for additional state staff for cesspool conversion implementation
  • HB2180 - Coastal Protection - Prohibits development in special management areas unless the development is first found to not be located in a sea level rise exposure area.
  • SB2166 - Visitor Green Fee - Creates visitor impact fee special fund and allocates funding to it
  • SB2357 - Visitor Green Fee - Creates green fee program for certain users to acquire environmental license
  • SB2368 - Plastic Pollution/Waste Reduction - EPR and Waste Reduction needs assessment

What Happens Next?

Over the next few weeks, bills that are still alive will make their way through the non-originating chamber (e.g. Senate bills that have crossed over to the House will make their way through their assigned House committees and visa versa). 

When a bill crosses over to the opposite chamber, it is reassigned to a new set of committees. In the below example, you can see that SB2322 has been triple referred and must pass through three different hearings: EEP/WAL, HTL, and FIN. 

The acronyms each stand for a different committee (e.g. EEP = Energy and Environmental Protection). You can find a list of each committee by visiting and clicking on Legislature > Committees. 

Note that the EEP/WAL is considered a "joint" referral but counts only as a single committee referral. This is because, when there is a "joint" referral (denoted by the ʻ/ʻ symbol between EEP and WAL), those two committees must hold a joint hearing at the same time. 

When committees are separated by a comma (as in HTL, FIN), this denotes a separate committee hearing and thus a different referral. 

sb2322 referrals


Important Dates

One of the most important tools during the legislative session is the annual Session Calendar. This calendar provides a list and description of all the important dates and deadlines by which bills must move through the different committees and chambers. Some upcoming important dates include: 

  • Thursday, March 14 - bills that are triple referred (e.g. referred to 3 different committees - like SB2322) must pass their first committee referral and be in their second-to-last committee by Friday, March 15
  • Friday, March 22 - all bills must move to their final referral committee in the non-originating chamber
  • Friday, April 5 - bills must emerge from all of their committees in the non-originating chamber
  • April 11 - Deadline for bills to pass third reading in their non-originating chamber in order to "cross back" to the originating chamber. Also the deadline for originating chamber to disagree with changes made to its bills by the other chamber. When the Senate and House disagree on a bill, members from each chamber can meet in a "conference" committee to reconcile their differences. 

How to Testify

All testimony must be submitted through the Hawaii State Legislature’s online system. Committees will not be able to accept written testimony via email. You must create an account by registering with the online system. 

Complete the online registration form with the Hawaii State Legislature. To learn how to register, view a YouTube video or download the registration instructions.

Login to your Hawaii State Legislature Account. Make sure to submit your testimony 24 hours before the hearing. The Hawaii State Legislature has put together a short video on how to testify and written  testimony Instructions.