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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Democratic agenda leans right into new century

 •  Hawai'i's Democrats, Republicans looking more alike

Advertiser Staff

How much has the agenda of Hawai'i's ruling Democrats shifted in the past decade?

For perspective, recall the 1991 Legislature, when lawmakers approved measures that might be flirting with political disaster today.

A list of some major legislation passed in 1991 and 2001 follows:


• Lawmakers increased the state gas tax from 11 cents to 16 cents a gallon, and also boosted vehicle registration fees and weight taxes.

• They imposed a new $2-per-day surcharge on all car rentals as well as surcharges for tour buses and vans.

• Lawmakers prohibited workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation, making Hawai'i the third state in the nation to do so.

• The Legislature voted to require companies with more than 100 employees to provide up to four weeks a year in unpaid "family leave" to workers to care for seriously ill family members.

• They voted to create a new cabinet-level agency called the state Office of the Environment, and banned development on about 1,200 to 1,300 acres surrounding Mount Olomana in Windward O'ahu.

• Lawmakers passed a two-year moratorium to prohibit Pacific Resources Inc. and Chevron from opening new gas stations in Hawai'i while the state studied the market to determine if those companies had an unfair competitive advantage.


• The Legislature rejected all proposals for a tax increase, instead granting tax breaks to airlines and high-tech companies.

• Lawmakers passed a bill to raise the legal age of consent for sex from 14 to 16.

• Lawmakers approved a bill to enhance criminal penalties for "hate crimes" when victims are selected because of factors such as race or sexual orientation.

• Lawmakers approved a bill to allow the state and counties to privatize public services.

• Another measure would cut the cost of public worker health benefits, saving a projected $65 million a year.

• Approved a bill to require child car seats and booster seats for children until they are 80 pounds or 8 years old.