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Governor Green enacts 16 bills to improve fire safety and inclusivity in Hawai’i

July 8, 2024

Legislation focuses on fire safety, emergency management, and inclusivity

On July 5, 2024, Governor Josh Green, M.D., signed 16 bills into law, addressing areas such as fire safety, emergency management, disaster response, veteran support, language access for immigrants, and regulations for charitable giving.

Governor Green stated: “These legislative measures are crucial in enhancing our state’s resilience, safety, and inclusivity.”

Among the new laws, HB 2193 focuses on fireworks regulation and safety.

It establishes an Illegal Fireworks Task Force, expands inspection powers for police and fire officers, and introduces administrative inspections of controlled premises.

The law mandates comprehensive recordkeeping and reporting requirements for licensees.

It also empowers law enforcement and fire departments to dispose of confiscated fireworks safely, holding violators liable for storage and disposal costs.

These measures aim to enhance public safety regarding fireworks usage.

Creation of the state fire marshal office

SB 2085 creates the Office of the State Fire Marshal within the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

The appointed fire marshal, serving a five-year term, will coordinate statewide fire protection efforts, propose fire code amendments, and oversee fire safety training and certification.

The bill allocates $172,000 for the fiscal year 2024-2025 to fund the state fire marshal position, support staff, and operational costs.

Governor Green highlighted this initiative as part of the state’s effort to improve fire safety and prevention.

Another key bill, HB 2107, establishes a Limited English Proficiency (LEP) language access coordinator position within the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

Allocating $200,000 for the fiscal year 2024-2025, this Act aims to address the disaster-related risks faced by LEP individuals.

It ensures compliance with federal language access laws and seeks to improve emergency relief access for LEP populations, spotlighting the inadequacy of language services during the 2023 Maui wildfires.

Measures to prevent charitable fraud during emergencies

SB 2693 introduces a new section to Hawaii Revised Statutes, making charitable fraud during a state of emergency an offense.

Charitable fraud is defined as using deceptive practices, misrepresentation, or misuse of contributions solicited for disaster victims.

Offenses are classified based on the amount obtained, with severe penalties for larger amounts.

This Act aims to protect the public from fraudulent charitable solicitations during emergencies.

Governor Green expressed the importance of these laws in enhancing community protection and support, stating: “By improving fire safety, enhancing emergency management, supporting our veterans, and ensuring language access for all, we are building a safer, more inclusive Hawai’i.”

Additional enacted bills

The complete list of bills signed includes HB 1902 related to emergency management, SB 2787 concerning immigration, and SB 2284 for a wildfire forecast system for Hawaii, among others.

These legislative measures cover a wide range of areas aimed at improving safety, inclusivity, and support for various community segments.

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