Bill 80 (2020)
Today, the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs heard Bill 80 (2020). Hundreds of pieces of written testimony were submitted and many oral testimonies were heard during today's hearing with numerous issues and points of contention being raised by both stakeholders and the Councilmembers themselves. The bill, unfortunately, was passed out of committee. But, the positive takeaway was that we know that out of nine councilmembers, three have now voted no- Fukunaga, Elefante, and Tsuneyoshi (during the first reading of the measure), while two went on record voting with reservations in Kobayashi and Texeira, which means they have concerns that need to be addressed. Menor, Waters, and Manahan were a solid yes.
Today's votes were as follows:
- Committee Chair Ron Menor - Yes
- Committee Vice Chair Carol Fukunaga - No
- Councilmember Brandon Elefante - No
- Council Chair Ann Kobayashi - Yes, with reservations
- Councilmember Alan Kekoa Texeira - Yes, with reservations
- Councilmember Tommy Waters - Yes
During my testimony, I noted that California Governor Newsom recently vetoed a similar measure that was passed by the California State Assembly. Gov. Newsom pointed to the hospitality's industry struggles caused by COVID-19 and said that the bill would have placed, "too onerous a burden on employers navigating these tough challenges." His sentiments expressed in California definitely apply in Honolulu.
BIll 80 will likely be heard at the next Full Council meeting on Thursday, November 5, and we will continue to work with our industry partners to make our opposition to this measure known. For those of you who submitted testimony or testified in person, we say mahalo and ask you to stay the course. We request for those of you who have not weighed in yet that you do so to show that we are firmly in opposition to a measure that will have a serious negative impact on our ability to operate and bring employees back to work safely. In particular, if you live in Councilmember Waters, Menor, or Manahan's Council district, please inform them of your opposition to this egregious bill. If you live in Councilmember Elefante, Fukunaga, or Tsuneyoshi’s district, please convey a distinct mahalo to them for their strong support. And, if you reside in Chair Kobayashi or Councilmember Texeira’s district, please encourage them to support our position.
"Honolulu City Council bill mandates hotel employee callback rules," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, October 20, 2020
Since the restoration of trans-Pacific travel on October 15, there have been scattered reports regarding the number of citations that have been given out by local law enforcement to individuals who are not abiding by State and county mandates. Some of the public sentiment, and many of the questions that I have been receiving have focused on education. What is our industry doing to educate travelers and encourage them to follow the rules regarding masks and social distancing?
In addition to the ongoing communication that I have had with our membership, and the great lengths to which our local lodging professionals are going to educate their guests, the Hawai'i Tourism Authority today announced the continuation of its Kuleana Campaign. Originally launched through a partnership between HTA and the Hawai'i Visitors & Convention Bureau, the campaign's newest video encourages travelers to Hawai'i to abide with the public health guidelines that have been enacted to keep us all safe. The video, which has been shared above, has been sent to airline, lodging, & activity partners to share with customers upon booking. Moreover, this video will show up on travelers' social media accounts through targeted advertising technology.
To read HTA's press release, please click here.
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