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Policy Update: Conference Committee Starts Today!

Posted on April 15, 2024 .

Can you believe we have less than one month left in the 2024 legislative session?! Today we enter “conference committee,” a two week period where key legislators from the House and Senate meet to determine the final language and details of bills that are still alive. If bills pass conference committee negotiations, they will be voted on by all legislators one last time before being sent to the Governor to become new state laws.

It’s important to note that public testimony is not accepted during conference committee hearings, but legislators will be reviewing testimony submitted previously. We want to express our appreciation to Blue Planet’s Climate Advocates for responding to our Action Alerts throughout this session. Your dedication and advocacy have been instrumental in pushing forward important climate priorities to this final hurdle!

Conference committee requires careful collaboration and compromise in the House and Senate to ensure the best outcomes for Hawai‘i. As we begin this phase of legislative session, we wanted to share an update to celebrate the climate bills that continue to move forward.

Bills Still Alive and Advancing
  • Energy Efficiency: Our top policy priority focuses on energy efficiency, which helps boost energy affordability and is the most cost-effective way to reduce statewide electricity emissions. Both HB 1828 and SB 2122 relating to energy efficiency portfolio standards have successfully moved to conference committee. These bills would increase our statewide energy efficiency goals through 2045 and are critical to meet our carbon-negative and clean energy targets.
  • Clean Transportation: Efforts to advance clean transportation, including a priority measure to expand access to electric bikes, mopeds, and other electric mobility options (SB 3021), has advanced to conference committee. Another bill that would improve transportation equity for the elderly and those with disabilities (SB 3002) has also gained traction. These initiatives align with Hawaii’s commitment to reduce reliance on fossil fuels from ground transportation.
  • Renewable Energy Expansion: Legislation aimed at expanding access to renewable energy sources, including solar and geothermal power, continues to progress. Bills to promote equitable access to rooftop solar, such as measures to expedite the permitting process (HB 2614) and increase affordability of solar for families who live in condominiums (HB 2685) are still alive, as well as a measure to fund geothermal energy exploration and research (SB 2518).

Bad Bills Successfully Defeated

Since crossover, a few policies that could have adverse impacts on our clean energy future have also been killed. SB 2677, a bill that would have created loopholes for the installation of gas water heaters in new home construction, and HB 2089, which would have added significant delays in the adoption of building and energy conservation codes, have not met their hearing deadlines and are now dead for this session.

Stay Hopeful, Stay Engaged

As we approach the final weeks of the 2024 legislative session, we encourage advocates to remain hopeful and engaged. Blue Planet’s team will be at the Capitol to support key climate bills and your continued involvement is crucial as we work towards a more sustainable future for Hawai‘i. Together, we can make a difference in shaping effective climate policies that benefit our communities and protect our planet. Let’s stay united in our commitment to climate action. Mahalo!

Become a Climate Advocate
Want to make an impact during the 2024 legislative session? Sign up for our Climate Advocates email list to receive updates on key legislation, digestible explanations of the impacts and implications of the proposed bills, and draft testimony to make it easy to make your voice heard.