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Hawaii Democrats announce priorities for 2019 Legislative Session

By Staff | Jan 3, 2019

“Our party looks forward to working with our members in the legislature to ensure these issues are addressed now and in the future,” said Kealii Lopez.

HONOLULU – The Democratic Party of Hawaii recently released its legislative priorities to Democratic legislators in advance of the 2019 legislative session that begins Jan. 16.

The priorities, as developed by the party’s Legislation Committee, designated three tiers of priorities to signal the Democratic Party of Hawaii’s level of focus this session.

A living minimum wage for all workers is the party’s top priority. The others are:

Tier One (top priorities): raising the minimum wage and establishing a living wage, increasing funding for public education, and legalizing recreational cannabis.

Tier Two (important policies that need action): establishing collective bargaining for graduate students, investing in Veterans Treatment Court, developing Neighbor Island video conferencing for public hearings, and establishing single-payer healthcare (Medicare for all) in Hawaii.

Tier Three (issues to begin working towards): improving access to behavioral health services, reforming the criminal justice and bail system, and establishing publicly funded elections.

“These priorities were set by the Legislation Committee, which is made up of active party members from around the state. They represent resolutions or platform planks approved at our State Convention earlier this year,” said Kealii Lopez, the party’s chair.

“We believe each of these issues are high priorities, but we also recognize that legislators have many priorities of their own.”

Josh Frost, one of the Legislation Committee’s co-chairs, said, “The Legislation Committee members put in a lot of time on these priorities. In the end, while not perfect, this list reflects what the committee believes is both of great necessity for Hawaii, but also what is possible.”