Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – On January 24, members of the bipartisan Hawaiʻi Women's Legislative Caucus (WLC) led a panel discussion in collaboration with the YWCA of Oʻahu to present their 2024 legislative package as part of their continuous work to improve the lives of Hawaiʻi's women, children, and families.
"The Women's Legislative Caucus' efforts continue to be centered on supporting women and girls in our State," said Representative Linda Ichiyama. "This includes growing our childcare workforce, ensuring the protection of women in the legal system, and safeguarding access to reproductive health care. I am grateful to our partners in the community who have helped pave the way and shine a light on the issues our caucus will focus on in this session."
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.
"As a co-convener for the Women’s Legislative Caucus, I truly appreciate the bipartisan approach of our members to many crucial issues facing our state," said Representative Lauren Matsumoto. "Our 2024 bill package addresses a wide range of issues from combating human trafficking to improvements in child care, which are critical for the future wellbeing of our state."
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.
“The Women’s Legislative Caucus exists to give a voice specifically to women and children,” said Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani. “Issues like childcare, abuse, human trafficking, and healthcare access remain ever relevant and at the forefront of our work in the Legislature. I’d like to express my gratitude to community leaders like Nanci who have made incredible strides in advocating for others.”
“Nanci has been an extraordinary example for all of us and personifies what is means to be a woman helping and supporting women. She is passionate, thoughtful, and always engages with the highest intentions towards peace,” said Senator Lynn DeCoite. “We have all benefited from her work developing and growing Domestic Violence Action Center over the past 34 years and are truly thankful for all of the work she has done for women, children, and families across our state.
The Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus co-conveners for 2024 are Senators Michelle Kidani (D-18, Mililani Town, portion of Waipi‘o Gentry, Crestview, Waikele, portion of Waipahu, Village Park, Royal Kunia) and Lynn DeCoite (D-7, Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Kaho‘olawe and Molokini), and Representatives Linda Ichiyama (D-31, Salt Lake, Āliamanu, Makalapa, Pearl Harbor) and Lauren Matsumoto (D-38, Portions of Mililani and Waipio Acres, Mililani Mauka).
In the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, there are 21 women Representatives among the 51 members, and 8 women Senators among the 25 members.
See the entire 2024 Women's Legislative Caucus Package here.