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Abortion rights, recreational pot bills pass Hawai‘i Senate

LIHU‘E — From enshrining the right to abortion to legalizing recreational cannabis to providing full public funding of electoral campaigns, the state Senate passed a litany of bills on Tuesday with potentially immense impacts for the state.

While the bills successfully passed the Senate, they now must additionally pass the House and be signed by Gov. Josh Green before becoming state law.

Following are some of the measures:

• Senate Bill 1

Allows licensed physician assistants to perform certain abortions;

Clarifies that the state shall not deny or interfere with a pregnant person’s right to obtain an abortion, or terminate the pregnancy if necessary to protect the life or health of the patient;

Prohibits agencies from providing information in the furtherance of out-of-state/interstate investigations relating to reproductive health care services;

Requires the governor to deny any demand for surrender of a person charged with a crime involving reproductive health care services, unless the conduct constitutes a crime in Hawai‘i or is made under Article IV, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution;

Allows a minor to consent to receive abortion care without any other person’s consent.

• Senate Bill 1167

Proposes a constitutional amendment to protect an individual’s reproductive freedoms, including the right to abortion and contraceptives.

• Senate Bill 669

Legalizes and regulates the cultivation, manufacture and sale of recreational cannabis for adults;

Legalizes possession and personal use of up to one ounce of recreational cannabis for adults;

Allows adults to possess up to six cannabis plants.

• Senate Bill 151

Requires any department or agency employing a law enforcement officer to maintain a publicly available policy providing a minimum standard on the use of force;

Allows use of force policies and training to be considered in legal proceedings involving a law enforcement officer’s use of force;

Requires a law enforcement officer who observes the use of excessive force by another officer to report the use of excessive force;

Requires that law enforcement officers receive training designed to minimize the use of force.

• Senate Bill 372

Affirms the duty of law enforcement officers to intervene if they reasonably believe another officer is using unnecessary or excessive force on an arrestee;

Requires that the incident be reported to the supervisor of the officer accused of using unnecessary or excessive force.

• Senate Bill 1543

Establishes an opt-in program that would fully fund county and state electoral campaigns beginning with the 2026 general election year.

• Senate Bill 1230

Prohibits individuals from carrying a firearm on another person’s private property without authorization, as well as in places deemed “sensitive locations;”

Prohibits the issuance of firearm permits to individuals deemed potentially dangerous to society, such as suicidal ideations, homicidal ideations, and harboring “violent animus” toward another demographic;

Requires firearms be kept in a locked container and out of plain view when in an unattended vehicle.

• Senate Bill 504

Prohibits the manufacture, sale, offer for sale, distribution for sale, and distribution for use of any food packaging, food service ware, cosmetic or personal care product containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) — also known as “forever chemicals” — beginning Dec. 31, 2026.

• Senate Bill 1057

Requires job listings to include an hourly rate or salary range;

Prohibits discrimination between employees because of any protected category, by paying lower wages to employees conducting similar work under similar conditions.

• Senate Bill 738

Authorizes the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to administer a lease award program for beneficiaries on the homestead lease waiting list who are 60 years old or older or terminally ill, under certain conditions;

Authorizes qualified successors of beneficiaries on the waiting list, who died before receiving a lease, to file a claim for a lease award within four years of the effective date.


Jackson Healy, reporter, can be reached at 808-647-4966 or
Source: The Garden Island

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