Chair Tokuda, Vice-Chair Kouchi, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii opposes HB145, HD 1, SD1, Proposed SD 2 because the subject of the Proposed SD 2 has no rational connection to the subject of HB 145, HD 1 referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Affairs on March 12. HB 145, HD1 proposes to encourage local cigar production by establishing a new refundable income tax credit for such producers. HB 145, HD 1, Proposed SD 2 expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include any product containing nicotine, and proposes to discourage local consumption of nicotine and tobacco (excluding large cigars) by raising the excise tax and using it to fund Hawaii cancer research by increasing the excise tax on products containing nicotine or tobacco.
The League believes that Article III, Sections 14 and 15 of the Hawaii Constitution require that before a bill is passed by the Legislature, the subject of that bill (not just the bill title and bill number) must have three readings in the State House and three readings in the State Senate. According to the Hawaii Supreme Court the three-reading requirement ensures that each house of the legislature gives sufficient consideration to the effect of the bill. However, when the subject of a bill is gutted and replaced with a totally unrelated subject after crossover, as with HB 415 Proposed SD 1, the bill’s new subject may pass the Legislature with only one reading and inadequate consideration by the originating house.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit testimony.