The 2012 legislative session adjourned on the afternoon of May 3. Let’s see how this year’s legislation fared.
In order to “stimulate economic activity,” several bills hoped to skip the environmental assessment process altogether. SB2927 would fast-track development in the vicinity of transit stations to hurry the building of transit-oriented developments. SB755 would exempt projects of the governor’s choosing from aspects of the environmental review process. And SB682 would allow the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to develop residences in Kakaako makai (which OHA acquired this year via SB2783). None passed.
The Public Utilities Commission, though, may be given the authority to regulate a possible interisland cable project (SB2785), set reliability standards on the state’s grid system instead of it being the job of the Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) (SB2787) and allow–or not allow–HECO to recoup (via a surcharge) any costs associated with future power purchase agreements (SB2752).
On the bright side, the Department of Agriculture will soon be re-staffing some layoffs from 2009 thanks to appropriations in the new state budget. Also coming back are invasive species-sniffing detector dogs, thanks to the passing of HB1943.
The Hawaii State Legislature will resume in January 2013.