2017 Victories From The 29th Hawaii Legislature

Date: June 15, 2017

Defeat of onerous paid leave and minimum wage proposals highlight accomplishments for small business

The 2017 regular session of the 29th Hawaii Legislature adjourned May 4 with a couple of big victories for small business.

Defeated Paid Leave Proposal
Intense lobbying from NFIB helped defeat House Bill 4, which would have required employer-paid sick leave for both full-time and part-time employees. It would have tied a mandate for employers to provide sick leave to their employees’ pay. The measure also would have required employers to pay for up to 40 hours of leave per year for employees who earn less than about $15 per hour.

NFIB pointed out HB 4’s flawed care out for highly paid employees, its potential conflict with other laws, and its numerous costs and logistical challenges. More information is available here. The measure was also opposed by the state Human Resources Department.

Stopped Three Minimum-Wage Proposals
Current law is already scheduled to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage to $10.10 per hour on January 1, 2018, but this did not stop lawmakers from proposing it be raised even higher. NFIB worked to defeat three bills that called for it to rise to $15 per hours, allowed counties to establish rates even higher than the state’s, and link future increases to the Honolulu region consumer price index.

Won Eminent Domain Case
Taking its message to the highest state court in Hawaii, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center recently helped advocate – and win — a decision by the Hawaii Supreme Court in the County of Kauai v. Hanalei River Holdings, Ltd. NFIB, speaking on behalf of Hawaii’s small-business community, sought just compensation for an eminent domain condemnation.

A key issue in the case was whether a landowner should be compensated for devaluation of a nearby property that suffers because of a government taking of another parcel. NFIB filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief on behalf of the defendant, a position supported by the Hawaii Supreme Court. Small-business owners often use separate properties as part of an integrated commercial operation. In a joint brief with Owners Counsel of America, NFIB argued that full and fair compensation for a taking of one parcel must cover resulting depreciation in the other parcel. Click here for related news release.

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