New laws to promote social justice and protect othersPosted on Jun 25, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
Sometimes what matters most in a society is how we treat each other. Values supporting social justice and protecting the most vulnerable were the foundation for a series of bills signed into law last month by Governor Ige. He praised the efforts of legislators and advocates for recognizing “members in our community who have endured struggles, both past and present” and for providing inspiration to move forward. The list of bills included:
- SB939 – Recognizes June 19 as “Juneteenth,” a special day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States and recognize African Americans for their contributions. President Biden also signed a bill to make June 19 a federal holiday.
• SB697 – Designates January as “Kalaupapa Month” to recognize the sacrifices and contributions the residents of Kalaupapa have made to Hawai‘i’s history.
• HB940 – Protects the elderly from financial exploitation– To better protect Hawai‘i’s seniors and vulnerable adults from being victimized in situations involving securities.
• SB793 – Ensures that people with disabilities are guaranteed the minimum wage – Repeals the state law allowing people with disabilities to be paid less.
• HB1192 – Replaces payday lending laws with installment loans – To help those living paycheck to paycheck so they aren’t caught in a cycle of debt.
Miss Hawai‘i USA 2020 Samantha Neyland, who launched the Hawai‘i for Juneteenth coalition, said she always believed the campaign would be successful. “Hawai‘i is a melting pot of diversity,” she said. “We have always stood at the forefront of speaking out against racial and social injustice.”
Sen. Roz Baker spoke of Kalaupapa as “such a beautiful placewith such a tragic history” for the 8,000 Hansen’s disease patients who were sent there. “Every January this will give us an opportunity to think about how we treat others and how others should not be diminished because of disease, disability or circumstance.” Sen. Lynn DeCoite added, “We’ve come a long way and have medicine and education on our side now.”