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Paltin to back county-focused proposals in next year’s legislative session

By Staff | Oct 8, 2021

“It’s important for county officials and county residents to speak up and let state senators and representatives know what legislative action is important to us,” said West Maui County Councilwoman Tamara Paltin.

LAHAINA — Maui County Councilmember Tamara Paltin announced that during the 2022 state legislative session, she will continue advocating for legislation allowing counties to regulate rental cars and other proposals endorsed by four county councils in the 2021 legislative package of the Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC).

Paltin, who is in her second term holding the council seat for the West Maui residency area, is Maui County’s alternate representative to the HSAC Executive Committee, which is discussing strategy and procedures for lobbying the legislature on the counties’ behalf in the next legislative session that starts Jan. 19.

The 2021 HSAC legislative package has eight state bills, including legislation proposed by Paltin to empower the county councils to regulate the number of rental cars in each county, provide increased funding for addiction-treatment programs from liquor fines and establish a single-payer healthcare system.

Paltin said, “I’m grateful for my colleagues on the Maui County Council and councilmembers in the other counties for working together as we get ready to have a unified voice at the State Capitol starting in January.”

The HSAC Executive Committee includes Kauai County Councilmember Mason Chock, who serves as chair; Maui County Councilmember Kelly Takaya King, who serves as vice-chair; Hawaii County Councilmember Heather Kimball; and Honolulu City Councilmember Tommy Waters.

The Paltin-proposed HSAC legislative package bills, introduced this year and carrying over to 2022, are:

House Bill 163 and Senate Bill 436, which would authorize each county liquor commission to use 15 percent of fines assessed against liquor licenses to fund treatment programs for alcohol addiction.

House Bill 164 and Senate Bill 437, which would create a single-payer healthcare system to ensure accessible and affordable medical treatment for all Hawaii residents.

House Bill 165 and Senate Bill 438, which would authorize each council to regulate the number of rental cars.

Paltin said the proposals were endorsed by the four county councils for presentation to the state legislature based on research and constituent requests.

According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration report, the rate of alcohol abuse in Hawaii has been higher than the national average every year since 2010.

Paltin said her proposal for a single-payer healthcare system would help to lower costs for medical services and ease overhead expenses for small businesses.

Paltin also noted that news reports indicated there were 20,000 rental cars on Maui prior to the pandemic last year. That’s more than all other islands combined.

“Allowing counties to establish rental car caps based on current infrastructure capacity is just one method to address Hawaii’s overtourism issues and allow local government and residents the ability to participate in decisions impacting their everyday commutes, safety and wellness,” Paltin said.

Paltin also plans to introduce two new proposals for inclusion in the 2022 HSAC legislative package.

One proposed new state bill would establish criminal offenses of unlawful “chop shop” activity, she said.

Paltin said her other new proposal would amend state law to require Special Management Area permits for homes near the coastline of at least 5,000 square feet. The current threshold is 7,500 square feet.

For more information, visit MauiCounty.us.