Hawaii lawmakers to debate innovation, school land

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Associated Press

Posted on March 24, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 24 at 1:04 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee plans to hear a slew of proposals this week, including a much-debated one to raise state revenue by developing school lands.

Advocates say the state needs money to fund decaying public school infrastructure. But opponents worry about how the proposed development might affect local communities.

The committee also plans to discuss increasing film industry tax credits and Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposed innovation initiative.

Sen. David Ige, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, has previously said that tax incentives could help Hawaii's filmmaking industry grow into a billion dollar industry.

Several committees this week will be occupied with dozens of resolutions on issues ranging from land to education to health care.

The Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor is hearing a resolution that suggests creating a task force to study the potential economic and social effects of legalizing same-sex marriage in Hawaii.

Hawaii allows civil unions but attempts to legalize same-sex marriage failed in the state Legislature earlier this session.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Clayton Hee sponsored the resolution, which says "there is substantial evidence that enacting marriage equality would have a significant economic impact on Hawaii."

Hee's committee will also hear a proposal asking the governor to strive to maintain gender equity when nominating people to state boards and commissions.

Another resolution requests a task force to investigate the feral cat infestation at the University of Hawaii.

The House Committee on Health plans to hear the proposal on Wednesday.

On Tuesday and Friday, lawmakers have the day off because of state holidays.

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