Office of the Governor – News Release – Gov. Green Enacts Laws Supporting the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, and Expanding Language Access

Posted on Jul 7, 2023 in Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases

HONOLULU, HI  ̶  Governor Josh Green, M.D., has enacted laws that will strengthen protections for kūpuna and those living with disabilities; to support caregivers and provide funding for state departments and agencies that offer services and educational programs for elderly and disabled residents.

“In Hawaiʻi, about 29,000 residents who are 65 and older, are living with Alzheimer’s and I know from family experience that it can be extremely challenging,” said Governor Green. “Act 257 will fund a public health campaign by the Executive Office on Aging to increase awareness of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, and I want to thank legislators for acknowledging how important this information is going to be for our community.”

Governor Green also noted that just yesterday, (July 6), the FDA announced that it granted full approval to an Alzheimer’s drug for the first time in more than 20 years, “so we are making progress and we are grateful for everyone who is helping to fight the fight,” he said.

A range of bills was signed into law, noted Senator Henry Aquino, vice chair, Committee on Health and Human Services. “These measures covering important issues such as disability access to programs and services, language access for those involved in the court system and shoring up resources for our seniors are key to assuring a healthy and strong community,” said Senator Aquino (District 19 Pearl City, Waipahu, West Loch Estates, Hono‘uli‘uli, Ho‘opili). “I’m grateful and appreciative for the support of Governor Green and his administration, key legislative colleagues and community stakeholders who worked hard to make this a reality. We’re moving towards a much better place because of their efforts.” 

“Four words define today’s bill signing: vision, being bold, having compassion, and loving our ʻohana,” said Representative John Mizuno, chair of the House Committee on Human Services. “Our efforts also show that we’re not going to be Oʻahu-centric when it comes to improving services for disabilities, we are taking care of all islands,” said Representative Mizuno, (District 29 Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, portion of Kalihi).

Background on bills being signed at ceremony: 

HB870 HD2 SD1 CD2, (Act 253) Relating to Neighbor Islands Blind and Visually Impaired Service Pilot Program

Requires the department of human services to establish a neighbor islands blind and visually impaired service pilot program that supplements existing statewide services by providing training and other services to neighbor island residents who are blind or visually impaired. Requires the department of human services to establish a working group to develop a pilot program implementation plan and submit the plan to the legislature before the regular session of 2024. Requires a report to the legislature on the pilot program before the regular session of 2029. Appropriates funds. Sunsets 6/30/2029. (CD2) 

HB388 HD1 SD2 CD1, (Act 254) Relating to Education 

Braille school instruction materials

Adopts the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard. Requires the Department of Education to obtain instructional materials in accessible formats for eligible students. (CD1) 

SB1378 SD1 HD1 CD1, (Act 255) Relating to Unlicensed Care Homes 

Prohibits referral or transfer to unlicensed care home 

Clarifies that any person, corporation, or entity is prohibited from knowingly referring or transferring patients to an uncertified or unlicensed care facility. Repeals the landlord exclusion. (CD1) 


HB218 HD2 SD2 CD1, (Act 256) Relating to Prescription Drugs 

Rx labels for visually impaired

Requires certain pharmacies to provide accessible prescription drug label information to individuals who have difficulty seeing or reading standard printed labels on prescription drug containers and inform the public that prescription drug label information is available in alternate accessible formats for individuals who have difficulty seeing or reading prescription drug container labels. Requires the Board of Pharmacy to adopt certain rules by 12/31/2024. (CD1) 


HB278 HD1 SD2 CD1, (Act 257) Relating to Health 

Alzheimer’s disease education campaign

Appropriates funds for the executive office on aging to create and implement an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias public health campaign. (CD1) 


Background on all bills being signed: 

Disability Access 


HB794 HD1 SD1, (Act 245) Relating to Disability Awareness 

Disability Awareness Month employment, enrichment, inclusion 

Designates the month of October as “Disability Awareness Month: Employment, Enrichment, and Inclusion” in recognition of the employment challenges and successes of persons with disabilities in the State. (SD1) 

HB834 HD1 SD1, (Act 246) Relating to American Sign Language 

American Sign Language official recognition  

Recognizes American Sign Language as a fully developed, autonomous, natural language with its own grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and cultural heritage. (SD1) 

HB933 HD2 SD1 CD2, (Act 247) Relating to Telecommunications Access for Individuals With Print Disabilities 

Appropriates funds to the Public Utilities Commission to provide free telecommunications access to certain information for individuals with a print disability. (CD2)  

Language Access 


SB813 SD1 HD2 CD1, (Act 248) Relating to Court Interpreters 

Court interpreter fee increases 

Beginning in 2026 and every three years thereafter, requires the Judiciary to conduct a study on interpreter fees. Appropriates funds. (CD1) 



SB900 SD2 HD2 CD1, (Act 252) Relating to the Hawaiʻi State Health Insurance Assistance Program 

Requires the Executive Office on Aging to submit to the Legislature annual progress reports on the Hawaiʻi State Health Insurance Assistance Program. Appropriates funds. (CD1) 

SB1373 SD1 HD1 CD1, (Act 249) Relating to the Executive Office on Aging Administrative Claiming Special Fund 

Clarifies the allowable revenues to be deposited into the Executive Office on Aging Administrative Claiming Special Fund and the purposes for which the fund may be used. (CD1) 

SB1592 SD2 HD1 CD1, (Act 250) Relating to the Senior Medicare Patrol Program 

Office on Aging staff 

Appropriates funds for the establishment of three additional Program Specialist positions within the Executive Office on Aging for the State’s Senior Medicare Patrol Program. (CD1) 

HB1081 HD1 SD1, (Act 251) Relating to Penalties for Unlicensed Care Homes 

Clarifies administrative penalties for unlicensed care homes 

Clarifies the penalty to be assessed on any person who intentionally operates a care facility without a certificate or license. (SD1) 


Video and photos from today’s bill signing should be credited to Office of the Governor.


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Media Contacts:  

Erika Engle

Press Secretary

Office of the Governor, State of Hawai‘i

Phone: (808) 586-0120

Email: [email protected]


Makana McClellan  

Director of Communications  

Office of the Governor, State of Hawaiʻi 

Cell: (808) 265-0083  

Email: [email protected]