Fall 2018

HFIA Continues to Address New Legislative Challenges Impacting Our Members

Penalties for Misrepresenting Service Animals

Starting Jan. 1, 2019, violators will be fined $100 to $500 for pretending to have a service animal thanks to a new state law establishing a penalty for knowingly misrepresenting a pet as a service animal. We want to extend a huge MAHALO to Sen. Ruderman for introducing this wonderful legislation. We agree with the legislature that there is a growing problem with people fraudulently representing untrained animals as service dogs. This has resulted in legitimate service dogs being needlessly distracted or even attacked by untrained dogs or other animals, as well as violations of the food and sanitation code. Before this law, there was no legal consequence for misrepresenting a pet dog or other animal as a service animal. This measure was one of HFIA’s top priorities this legislative session. We genuinely hope that this new penalty will discourage people from fraudulently representing their pets as service animals in order to bring them into restaurants, supermarkets, and other inappropriate locations.

Affordable Hawaii Coalition

HFIA’s government relations committee moved to join the Affordable Hawaii Coalition, which is working to educate individuals about a Constitutional Amendment placed on the November 6th ballot. The Amendment asks voters, “Shall the legislature be authorized to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on investment real property to be used to support education?” We agree with the coalition that this bill doesn’t do anything to ensure that more money will actually be used to improve public education, as it is possible that general fund contributions to education may be reduced. We support laws that have already been passed to help teachers with housing and increase funding for public schools. Unfortunately, these have not been implemented. The new tax will raise Hawaii’s cost of living by increasing the cost of home and apartment rentals and increasing the tax burden for businesses leasing office space. In order to reach the goal set forward by proponents of the measure, to raise $500 million, legislators will need to raise taxes by 50 percent on all investment properties. If this passes, rent for businesses and homes will increase and all goods and services will cost more.

GET Increase on Hawaii Island

For months, HFIA has been opposing a Hawaii County Council bill to increase the GET by .5 percent. As a result of opposition from businesses and local community members, the bill was amended to a .25 percent GET increase. The .25 percent increase passed with an expiration date of 2020. HFIA will continue to work towards preventing any new taxes that will increase the cost of food for Hawaii residents.

Honolulu Bill Proposed to Revoke Bag Reduction Fee

At the Honolulu City Council, Council Member Trevor Ozawa introduced Bill 59, to exempt paper bags from the mandatory 15-cent bag fee currently in place in Honolulu. The current bag bill and 15 cent fee was the result of years of hard work by HFIA and a diverse group of partners. In the short time it has been in effect, the mandatory bag fee has dramatically reduced the use of unnecessary and costly single-use bags. Environmental groups agreed with HFIA’s position that paper bags are not environmentally friendly and that we should not send customers the message that they don’t need to bring their own bag. HFIA continues to advocate for the food industry in many ways. We are grateful to you for helping us provide a voice to our community. We look forward to continuing the important work of ensuring there will always be safe and affordable food for all!

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