Getting Back into the Groove of Session

First Week of Committee Hearings

January 30th was our first hearing for the House Committee on Water & Land, and we've been rolling ever since! Last Thursday was especially busy with hundreds of testimonies and standing-room-only crowds. This session, and as vice-chair of the committee, I am responsible for opening our hearings and running testimony. You can find a full listing of upcoming hearings at this link and can view our live or archived meetings on our youtube page.

As elected officials, our job is not only to introduce legislation benefiting our constituents and state but also to monitor and vote against measures that do not align with the goals of our Districts. Because the legislative process moves so quickly, it is important for us to hear from our constituents with their support or opposition through public testimony. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for individuals to make their voices heard by testifying when bills are heard. If you have questions or need assistance navigating the process, please don't hesitate to call our office.

Visiting District Schools

On January 26th, I visited district schools on Maui, including Pāʻia Elementary, Ha'iku Elementary, and Roots School in Ha'iku. Mahalo to the students, faculty, and staff for the tours and talking story about how to improve our local schools. I have included specific requests to help improve our school campuses in this year's District 13 CIP (Capital Improvement Projects) bill (HB2727).

In this newsletter, we included a list of those bills Iʻve personally introduced. Your thoughts and comments on these measures are very much appreciated.

Caucus Packages

In addition to the Women's Legislative Caucus highlighted below, I also participate as a member of several other caucuses, including the Majority Caucus, Working Family Caucus, Kupuna Caucus, Keiki Caucus, and Hawaiian Caucus.

Me ke aloha,


Mahalo e Pāʻia Elementary School for the tour and "talk story".

Rep. Poepoe's 2024 Legislative Package

We are excited to share with you our bill package for this session. Below are the bills that we've introduced and short descriptions, along with links for you to read through each one.

  • HB1528 - PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE I OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF HAWAII TO GUARANTEE ALL INDIVIDUALS THE RIGHT TO A CLEAN AND HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT: Proposes a constitutional amendment that guarantees individuals the right to a clean and healthy environment; the control of pollution; and the conservation, protection, and enhancement of the natural, native, cultural, scenic, and healthful qualities of the environment.
  • HB1529 - RELATING TO BURIAL COUNCILS: Allows any burial council member whose term has expired to continue in office as a holdover member until the member's reappointment to a second term is confirmed or a successor is nominated and appointed.
  • HB1530 - RELATING TO FIRE PROTECTION: Requires that an employer of firefighters maintain its fire staffing service at a level of no less than four on-duty firefighters in each company.
  • HB1540 - RELATING TO SCHOOL MEALS: Requires eligible schools to participate in the federal Community Eligibility Provision, which provides federal funds to help schools offer free meals to all students. Appropriates moneys for any difference between federal funds amounts and costs of providing free meals.
  • HB1541 - RELATING TO SUICIDE PREVENTION AND AWARENESS MONTH: Amends Act 36, SLH 2019, to change the effective date from 7/1/2050 to 7/1/2024.
  • HB1591 - RELATING TO MICROENTERPRISE KITCHENS: Authorizes the Department of Health to adopt rules regarding microenterprise home kitchens, grant and revoke permits, charge fees, and conduct inspections. 
  • HB1592 - RELATING TO THE LAND CONSERVATION FUND: Increases the maximum amount of conveyance tax revenues allocated to the land conservation fund.
  • HB2514 - RELATING TO TEACHER HOUSING: Provides housing vouchers to certain teachers who are employed by the Department of Education and committed to teaching at hard-to-fill schools and charter schools for no less than five years. 
  • HB2515 - RELATING TO EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Clarifies the types of events that constitute disasters and emergencies for the purposes of emergency management.
  • HB2516 - RELATING TO FIRE EMERGENCIES.: Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to purchase a Striker fire truck to be housed in a Department of Defense facility on Maui.
  • HB2544 - RELATING TO MEDICAL TRANSPORTATION: Establishes a 2-year pilot project to charter flights from rural islands to an urban island to provide rural island residents with reliable transportation to medical care on urban islands and to transport medical service providers from an urban island to a rural island. 
  • HB2626 - RELATING TO FISHPONDS.: Streamlines the process of leasing government-owned Hawaiian fishponds, prioritizing community co-managed organizations and projects.

We've Expanded our Email List!

Though we are very excited to reach so many of you by email, we understand that some may not wish to receive these updates.

To unsubscribe, you may reply to this email with the message "unsubscribe" and we will remove your email address from the list.

Women's Legislative Caucus

I am proud to be a part of the Womens Legislative Caucus. On January 24, members of this bipartisan group led a panel discussion in collaboration with the YWCA of Oʻahu to present our 2024 legislative package as part of our continuous work to improve the lives of Hawaiʻi's women, children, and families.

The package includes the following five bills and two resolutions:

  • SB2603/HB1964: Relating to Early Child Care - Requires the Department of Human Services to establish and implement a child care provider subsidy and bonus program to provide subsidies to retain the existing child care workforce in licensed infant and toddler child care centers and group child care centers and bonuses to registered family care homes.
  • SB2604/HB1965: Relating to Abusive Litigation - Establishes a court's authority to issue an order restricting abusive litigation. Perpetrators sometimes abuse the court system to further harass and control their victim. This bill would allow the court to limit abusive litigation.
  • SB2605/HB1966: Relating to Health Care - Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide health insurance coverage for various sexual and reproductive health care services.
  • SB2602/HB1967: Relating to the Human Trafficking Victim Services Fund - Changes the administration of the human trafficking victim services fund from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to the Department of the Attorney General.
  • SB2601/HB1968: Relating to Sexual Abuse of Minors - Expands the time period by which a civil action for childhood sexual abuse may be initiated. Authorizes a court to require personnel of legal entities to undergo training on trauma-informed response.
  • HCR5/HR1: Urging retail stores and pharmacies doing business in the state to adopt a policy on a national and local level guaranteeing an individual's unhindered access to all United States Food and Drug Administration-Approved contraceptives.
  • HCR6: Urging the members of Hawaiʻi's congressional delegation to monitor the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration and take action to limit the case from further restricting access to safe abortion options.

This year, WLC dedicates its legislative package to Nanci Kreidman, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Domestic Violence Action Center. Kreidman, who co-founded the organization 33 years ago, retired in 2023.

See the entire 2024 Women's Legislative Caucus Package here.

On January 26, Speaker Scott K. Saiki announced the House has introduced bills and resolutions aligning with recommendations outlined in the Final Report of the House of Representatives Lahaina Wildfire Interim Working Groups, which was published on December 15, 2023.

I served as a member of the Wildfire Prevention and Environmental Remediation working groups.

The following bipartisan measures have been introduced on behalf of the House:


  • HB1835 – Relating to Distribution Management. Establishes the distribution management advisory board to develop and advise on the statewide distribution management plan.
  • HB1836 – Relating to Health. Allows pharmacists, during declared states of emergency, to refill prescriptions of up to thirty-day supplies of dangerous drugs and dangerous devices if the prescriber is unavailable or cannot be contacted to authorize the refill and if, in the pharmacist's professional judgment, failure to refill the prescription might interrupt the patient's ongoing care and have a significant adverse effect on the patient's well-being.
  • HB1837 – Relating to School Safety. Requires the Department of Education to grant public access to emergency action plans that do not pose a security risk to students, staff, or guests of school campuses. Requires each Department school to have a comprehensive school evacuation communication plan for use during emergencies. Requires the Department of Education to collaborate with the Department of Transportation to assess all Department school campuses to determine if there are sufficient emergency evacuation routes for each campus and report to the Legislature.
  • HB1838 – Relating to Zoning. Allows counties to enact a zoning ordinance to amortize or phase out nonconforming single-family transient vacation rental units over a reasonable period of time.  
  • HB1839 – Relating to the Environment. Appropriates funds for long-term monitoring of air and water quality for communities impacted by the Maui wildfires, as well as support for research efforts to better understand the environmental concerns linked to urban fires. 
  • HB1840 – Relating to the Environment. Appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to support long-term water quality monitoring and pollution source detection. 
  • HB1841 – Relating to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Appropriates funds to DLNR for operating expenses, equipment, the establishment of positions, and capital improvement projects to support wildfire emergency response.
  • HB1842 – Relating to Fire Prevention. Increases the maximum fine for violations of the fire protection laws. Specifies that each day a violation exists or continues to exist shall constitute a distinct and separate offense. Raises the criminal penalty for the offense of arson in the fourth degree to a class C felony if the offense was committed during the time period and within the geographic area in which a red flag warning was in effect. Provides that the state of mind requirement is not applicable to the fact that the red flag warning was in effect and that the actor is strictly liable with respect to the attendant circumstance that the red flag warning was in effect.
  • HB1843 – Relating to Fire Protection. Establishes the office of the state fire marshal to direct fire protection efforts statewide. Appropriates funds.
  • HB1844 – Relating to the University of Hawaiʻi. Appropriates funds for temporary full-time equivalent adjunct faculty positions at the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.
  • HCR3Urging each county to establish an emergency zoning code for post-disaster use.
  • HCR4Requesting Hawaiʻi's congressional delegation to amend the wildfire fire protection agreement to allow Hawaiʻi to join as a member. 

Members of the public are encouraged to track the legislation on the Capitol website, where they can also review the final report for the six working groups.

Come Visit the Capitol!

The Capitol is completely reopened to the public. However, it will continue to offer hybrid options for hearings and testimony. Following is specific information that may be helpful:

Capitol Hours: Building hours for the State Capitol are 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Photo identification is required for entry into the building. All guests will receive an entry wristband upon completing the security checkpoint.

Paid Public Parking: The Capitol parking lot has reopened for paid public parking.

Rep. Mahina Poepoe

District 13 House of Representatives

415 S. Beretania Street Room 331

Honolulu, HI 96813

(808) 586-6790


Facebook  Instagram