Honolulu Civil Beat

Legislature 2020 opening day Senate press conference with Senate President Kouchi and Majority Leader J Kalani English.

On the morning of January 19th, the elected state senators and representatives for Hawaii convened in the lower chambers of the towering State Capitol. Led off by speeches from the Speaker of the House and Senate President, the 2022 Legislative Session commenced.

The legislative session is a period of time in which a state’s elected officials meet for several months to draft and vote on legislation that will set the state’s policies on a variety of issues.

For senior Kaila Labra, co-president of the Advocacy Club, the legislative session is important for youth. “The bills circulating through the legislature will define the future of our generation,” she says. “As youth, it’s important that we engage with the process.”

Among the bills proposed during the session include HB1503, which will incrementally raise the minimum wage to $18 an hour by 2026, SB2712, which will prohibit underground fuel tanks, and SB2821, which will provide free menstrual products in all public schools. “These policies are important for us to pass through the legislature, for the health of our economy, the ‘āina, and women,” Labra continues. “The Advocacy Club will be tackling these issues, among a range of others.”

The session will end on May 5th, 2022, giving state lawmakers a four-month time period to pass legislation before bills are ultimately killed, deferred, or carried over to the next session.

“I strongly encourage youth to turn out and testify for bills that they believe in,” Labra says. “These decisions will steer the course of our future.”