THG-Supported Bills that Passed

Now that Legislative Session is over, the governor has until July 11th to pass, veto, or let bills become law without his signature. To request Governor Ige enact these bills below, please click here.

HB425 HD1 SD3 CD1, Relating to Technology Transfer at the University of Hawaii

One critical phase of innovation in our state is the ability to commercialize research ideas generated at the University of Hawaii. This phase, often known as “technology transfer,” is designed to strengthen our local economy by getting the new ideas, inventions and processes developed in universities to the private sector as quickly as possible. Technology transfer plays a vital role in UH’s ability to support its faculty and student researchers in these activities.

Currently, certain requirements of the State Ethics Code, if too stringently applied, inhibit the efficient and effective commercialization of research generated at UH. Accordingly, the bill makes specific sections of the Code of Ethics inapplicable to technology transfer activities sponsored by the University of Hawaii, if the activities comply with the regulatory framework and research compliance program approved by the Board of Regents.

HB607 HD1 SD2 CD1, Relating to Kupuna Care

Family caregivers are central players in Hawaii’s long-term care and health systems. Caregivers play an invaluable role by providing vital services and care for a rapidly growing elderly population. Because of the significant roles and responsibilities of caregivers in helping others, as well as the demands placed on them, this measure was passed to provide caregivers respite from the demands of caregiving and give them the necessary supports and services to sustain their own health.

The bill achieves these objectives by establishing the Kupuna Caregivers Program through the Executive Office on Aging and appropriates funds for the establishment and implementation of the Kupuna Caregivers Program.

HB627 HD2 SD2 CD1, Relating to Public-Private Partnerships

By leveraging synergies between the public and private sectors, public-private partnerships can improve the quality of life for Hawaii residents by defraying costs and expanding and improving government services beyond those currently available. Public-private partnerships have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of state operations. This legislation authorizes DBEDT to establish a permanent private-public partnership coordinator position to develop and analyze plans for future public-private partnership projects, including the redevelopment of Aloha Stadium.

SB850 HD2 CD1, Relating to Information Technology

Because technology projects often involve substantial risk and expense, requiring independent verification and validation for certain projects contributes to the success of state modernization initiatives. The Chief Information Officer is expected to take a proactive approach in ensuring the successful development and implementation of technology projects and is, therefore, responsible for identifying the technology projects that should be subject to independent verification and validation.

SB722 SD1 HD1 CD1, Relating to Efficiency Measures

Because current projections of state general fund revenues show an increasingly weak economy, more scrutiny will be required to better control appropriations. More robust efficiency measures, such as leveraging of data resources, can enhance the level of scrutiny and help the legislature make difficult budget decisions to improve and continue important programs on a sustainable basis.

At present, state budget documents do not include efficiency measures tied to appropriation requests. The legislature is therefore restarting the efficiency measures pilot project, with clearer expectations and objectives to produce better data and a clearer determination of the benefits, appropriateness, and value of efficiency measures in budgetary planning. 

THG-Supported Bills that Remain Alive for the 2018 Legislative Session

While the 2017 Legislative session is over, we look forward to your support for the following measures next session to continue laying the foundation for more transparent, efficient and accessible state government.

HB1329 HD1, Relating to Technology Development

Teams participating in the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) have produced applications with significant potential for government operations and also have the potential to be commercialized. The HACC provides a unique opportunity for the tech and startup community to collaborate with state government to develop innovative solutions to some of the pressing operational and social challenges facing Hawaii. This legislation passed the House and Senate subject matter committees but did not pass out of conference committee.

HB1481 HD1, Relating to Economic Development

This measure would have created a working group to gather input from departments and agencies to examine how blockchain technology could improve their business processes. Blockchain uses include cybersecurity, disaster recovery, clearance and settlement, supply chain transparency, title registries, communications, and document verification.

This technology holds significant potential to drastically change and improve public sector operations and private industry capabilities. This bill passed the House and the Economic Development, Tourism and Technology [ETT] Committee in the Senate but was not heard by the Ways and Means [WAM] Committee.

SB312 SD1, Relating to Open Government

This legislation requires that the public have electronic access to the materials members of state boards and commissions receive that provide board members with background on the items appearing on their meeting agendas. After passing out of the Senate and passing First Reading in the House, it was referred to the Judiciary (JUD) Committee, where it did not receive a hearing.

HB918 HD1 SD 1, Relating to Intervention

This measure proposes the development of an electronic system to track and monitor the progress of early intervention services for infants and toddlers who have a developmental delay or are at biological risk for developmental delays. It passed all subject matter committees in the House and Senate and was discussed in conference committee but was not passed out for a floor vote.


Aerial footage used to locate homeless encampments, map historical sites, and monitor flood impacts

In moving towards a more effective, efficient, and open government, Hawaii took another step on the path to modernization with the use of an unmanned aerial system (UAS), better known as drones, by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

“Numerous DLNR divisions have been discussing the use of drones for mapping and resource protection purposes for a number of years,” said Dan Dennison, senior communications manager of DLNR. 

Most recently, DLNR used drone photography in a joint effort with the Governor’s Office on Homelessness to address illegal encampments on the steep slopes of Diamond Head. Read the article from Civil Beat on this effort here.

Mapping homeless encampments along Diamond Head:

Why drones? According to Curt Cottrell, administrator of the DLNR Division of State Parks, “The initial reason was the terrain on the flank of Diamond Head has extremely rough topography and is complicated by a labyrinth of trails through grass and kiawe.

For the encampments there, we were doing ground surveillance and documentation. It was getting very hard to keep track of these camps, so we determined aerial mapping of them would save a lot of time and energy.”

To determine the flight path for its drone, DLNR uses GPS coordinates of trails and flat spots created by several years of foot traffic. A broad sweep in March removed 90 cubic yards of discarded possessions and resulted in several citations to illegal campers. To keep this closed-area free of illegal sites, they fly the drone on once-a-week flights to monitor the area for illegal campers. Formerly, the search process required several hours by a DLNR employee hiking through these areas.

Precise mapping helps enforcement officers, as well as homeless outreach workers, to locate and provide resources to people, without requiring the assistance of a DLNR guide. Contractors bidding on jobs to remove debris also benefit from the information collected by the drone to determine the scope of work, which enables them to make more accurate bids.

Future application of drones

(DLNR’s drone takes flight for its weekly flyover of Diamond Head State Park. Photo courtesy of Department of Land and Natural Resources.)

Drone usage for mapping illegal encampments is currently limited to Diamond Head because the aerial technology is ideal for the rough topography. Many other camps elsewhere around the state are located in flat areas reachable by motor vehicles.

State Homeless Coordinator Scott Morishige said, “Drones were not and will not be used to surveil people experiencing homelessness. Trust is a key factor in establishing relationships with these folks, and we build trust through experienced outreach workers who connect with individuals.”

“In the end, it’s the ability of outreach workers to build trust with people in order to connect them to the right services,” Morishige noted.

According to Parks Administrator Cottrell, plans for drone usage are evolving. Other potential uses include flyovers to conduct archaeological mapping of historic sites, surveys of trail conditions, as well as monitoring stream heights in flash flood prone areas.

In instances of weather-induced damage, footage from a drone’s vantage point will provide better analytical perspective on the scope of impact on the landscape at large.

While drones have been popular in the recreational market for years, this initiative by DLNR opens the door to more efficient and safer ways to deploy state personnel and other resources, along with more effective ways to solve issues facing state agencies.

**Please note that a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified state employee operates the DLNR State Park’s drone. For public safety reasons, other drones or flying objects are not allowed to operate in Hawaii State Parks without a permit.**

As you know, the state Legislature has a critical role to play in transforming our state government into one that is more accessible, transparent, and user friendly. With the 2017 legislative session getting under way, the Transform Hawaii Government (THG) coalition is hoping to seize this opportunity to affect positive transformation in state government.

Transformation can take many forms, from improvements to the state’s IT infrastructure, to more robust cybersecurity, as well as improving access to services, speeding up transactions when residents do business with the state, and making state government more transparent by providing easy access to departmental data.

Three Ways to Show Your Support
As a member of the coalition, you will be receiving alerts on bills the coalition supports. And when you’re notified, here are three impactful ways you can lend your support to these bills and the mission of transforming Hawaii’s government:

1. Let your representative and senator know you want change

When there’s a bill being heard in a committee that would help transform our government, you can urge your legislator to support it with a phone call, traditional mail, or email. Find out how to contact your legislator here.

2. Submit testimony supporting Transformation legislation

Providing testimony in person or electronically is highly effective. The state Capitol website contains all the information needed to make your voice heard. In addition to providing directions on testifying, the legislative site,, is an excellent tool, with access to bill tracking, webcasts of hearings, hearing notices and the legislative calendar. To submit testimony online and receive automatic updates on legislation, register here.

Not familiar with the organization of the Legislature and how the legislative process works? Check out this informative article from Honolulu Civil Beat.

3. Share your ideas and suggestions

When you notice ways state government could work more effectively with you, your organization, or those you have a connection with, let us know. THG wants to promote good ideas and get them before our legislators, the departments and agencies, and community. Share your ideas here.

Follow us on Facebook to keep up with the most recent news, transformation progress, and learn how other states are successfully transforming their governments. We look forward to your participation in the upcoming session, any way you can.