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Two bills hit by ‘gut and replace’

These are not the bills you are looking for.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee gutted and replaced at least two bills on Friday, including one affecting disaster relief for Hawaii County and another relating to a helicopter tax credit.

The move involves deleting the contents of a bill and replacing it with often unrelated legislation, and has been criticized for reducing transparency at the state Capitol.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean the original bill is dead.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye, who sits on the committee, said the bills were selected for gut and replace because other versions of the legislation are moving forward.

The disaster aid legislation gutted Friday, Senate Bill 166, initially provided the original ask from Hawaii County of $155 million to help Puna recover from last year’s Kilauea eruption.

The new contents of SB 166 address the state’s recruitment modernization program, according to a committee report.

A separate bill sponsored by Rep. Joy San Buenaventura in the House would provide the county $60 million in grants and loans.

That legislation, House Bill 1180, has cleared the House and passed first reading in the Senate.

A House committee declined to hear the companion bill to SB166 for the full $155 million request, indicating leaders in that chamber already rejected that proposal.

Another bill subjected to gut and replace was Senate Bill 656.

Introduced by Inouye, the bill’s original contents would have provided a tax credit for helicopter maintenance facilities as long as at least 75 percent of the aircraft uses quiet technology.

The new contents of SB 656 address fees for rental cars.

Inouye said it’s intended to fix a bill passed last year that provided a lower surcharge for vehicles rented to Hawaii drivers. She said that was found to be unconstitutional and needed to be fixed.

Another bill, House Bill 421, addresses tax credits and noise requirements for helicopters. Introduced by Rep. Richard Onishi, that bill passed the House and first reading in the Senate.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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