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2023 Legislative Update

Posted on March 14, 2023 by Jodi Robinson.

Last week was the “crossover” deadline at the state legislature, which marks the halfway point of the 2023 session. Thanks to your continued engagement and support, many key climate bills are making progress.

While there have been over a hundred bills introduced relating to clean energy and climate change, Blue Planet has prioritized a handful of bills that represent our greatest opportunity to make an impact. The bills in Blue Planet’s 2023 Policy Agenda focus on increasing affordability through energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions from transportation, and centering equity in our work to address climate change. Below is an update on key bills that are still alive.

  • Appliance efficiency standards: Blue Planet continues to support SB691 to expand the list of household products in Hawai‘i that meet minimum energy and water efficiency standards. At a time when Hawai‘i’s residents are facing multiple crises––including high electricity bills, a rising cost of living, and climate change––setting appliance efficiency standards are a win-win policy solution for our working families and businesses.
  • Clean lighting standards: We continue to support HB192 and SB690, bills that phase out the sale of new fluorescent bulbs in the state to transition to more-efficient LED bulbs. By phasing out fluorescents in favor of efficient LED bulbs, states can avert a needless health risk, save families and businesses money on energy bills, and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Extending the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) beyond 2030: We continue to support HB193 to update and extend the energy efficiency portfolio standards to 2045. As Hawai‘i progresses toward achieving its clean energy and decarbonization goals, energy efficiency remains the quickest, cheapest, and cleanest way to reduce emissions from the electricity sector, while providing financial benefits to Hawai‘i residents and businesses during the transition.
  • EV charger-ready buildings: Although bills to provide electric vehicle charger ready incentives for new affordable housing have died, we continue to support HB346 for an EV-ready requirement for new state facilities. In buildings without the proper wiring and conduit, tenants may pay up to 91% more for expensive retrofits to upgrade power capacity to install an EV charger. It’s important that we “future-proof” new construction and require EV-charger ready buildings.
  • Electrify tourism transportation of rental cars and tour buses: The rental car industry operates the state’s largest ground vehicle fleets. Blue Planet would like to require that an increasing percentage of Hawai‘i rental cars and tour buses be zero-emission vehicles, with a goal of 100% zero-emission tourism vehicles by 2035. We continue to support the intent of SB973, which has been amended to a working group, and are asking the bill be amended to it’s original language to require the transition of rental fleets to 100% zero-emission by 2035.
  • Expansion of Hawai‘i’s Equity and Social Vulnerability Framework: The impacts of climate change are intensifying, and will have a disproportionate impact on communities that lack social and economic safety nets to quickly respond and adapt to climate-related risks. We continue to support HB441 to fund and develop a Hawai‘i-specific social vulnerability index to assist our collective planning efforts, so that together, we can create a healthier, more climate-resilient future for Hawai‘i.

Addressing climate change through policy is one of Blue Planet’s main focus areas, and so far, we have testified on twenty-six bills this legislative session. We are grateful and honored to be doing this work in collaboration with advocates, legislators, and other stakeholders, because we know that climate change is here, and how we deal with it moving forward will impact the people of Hawai‘i for generations to come. Mahalo for your continued support.