Lawmakers Reach Agreement on Key Budget Items
By Wendy Osher
House and Senate lawmakers reached agreements on several budget related items during their first conference committee meeting of the 2013 session on Thursday, officials said.
Highlights reportedly include the appropriation of about $1.2 million in each year of the biennium to the Charter School Commission. Authorities say the funding will result in the addition of 15 positions.
New positions are also being funded for specialists and engineers focused on environmental health. Conferees issued information saying they agreed on a budget draft that would appropriate $1.2 million in special funds over the next biennium for seven new positions to monitor: watershed quality, green house gas emissions, air pollution, and clean water enforcement programs.
According to legislative officials, the two sides also resolved differences by providing $750,000 in each of the next two years for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council, a move they say “will support a wide variety of invasive species prevention, control, and outreach projects across the state.”
In a press release issued upon conclusion of the initial conferee meeting, Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige and House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke commended fellow lawmakers for their speedy work in beginning the conferee committee meetings about a week ahead of schedule.
Maui’s Kaniela Ing, Justin Woodson and Kyle Yamashita are among the list of conferees for the House; while J. Kalani English and Gil Keith Agaran of Maui are among the conferees from the Senate.
The next conference committee meeting is scheduled to take place this afternoon.
***Supporting information courtesy: Hawaii House of Representatives.