- Associated Press - Sunday, March 9, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - With first crossover now past, the two chambers of the Hawaii Legislature heaped one another with bills last week - moving about 500 combined on Tuesday alone. The remainder of the session, which hits its midway point Wednesday, will begin with those bills grinding through another round of committee hearings on their way to becoming laws or castaways.

Here are five things to watch for this week as the session heads into its second half:

COOLER SCHOOLS - Lawmakers will hear from the Department of Education on Monday afternoon about its five-year sustainable energy program and are likely to discuss a bill that’s exploring a “master cooling strategy” for the schools. The authors of the bill (SB 2424) envision air conditioners in every school.

BUDGET BILLS - With budget deadlines looming, the Legislature is bound to make some financial decisions this week. Wednesday is the last day for the House and Senate to approve budget bills and send them across the way to the other chamber.

URBAN ART __ Graffiti has been a topic of running concern during this session, as legislators have sought to regulate spray paint sales and have proposed a statewide anti-graffiti coordinator position. But that expressive impulse has to go somewhere. A hearing Tuesday will consider a bill (HB 2593) to launch a pilot project dedicated to urban art, under the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

HOMELESS BILLS __ Two of the more ambitious measures to address homelessness in Hawaii are getting Senate committee hearings Tuesday. HB 1889 would establish a Homeless Bill of Rights. HB 1841 would establish a program to incentivize the renting of homeshare rooms to working homeless people.

ROUNDUP ROUNDUP __ Sen. Josh Green is convening an informational hearing Friday to discuss policy and practice around governments’ use of glyphosate (brand name Roundup). He has summoned experts on herbicides and representatives from the counties to foster transparency around the herbicide’s application.


Associated Press writer Cathy Bussewitz contributed to this report.

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