Legislation

Major legislation Karl introduced and passed during his ten years in the State House of Representatives:

  • Unemployment taxes. Reduced unemployment insurance taxes over three years, helping businesses contain costs while recovering from the recession. The original legislation in 2010 passed the Legislature without a single “no” vote. In the years these measures were passed they were the highest priority for the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce.  HB (House Bill) 2169 and 2096 (2010 and 2012)
  • Keeping Kukui Gardens affordable. Provided $151 million in funding to allow the State to purchase the Kukui Gardens affordable housing complex and maintain affordable housing for years to come. The loss of 389 affordable housing units at Kukui Gardens would have been a major blow to working families in the 28th District and on the whole island. HB 667 (2007)

Other significant legislation Karl introduced and passed

  • Sharing ballots on social media.  Allows a voter to distribute or share an electronic or digital image of the voter’s own marked ballot via social media or other means. This does not affect the law against campaigning in a polling place or improperly influencing a person’s vote. HB (House Bill) 27 (2016)
  • Sexual contact with a minor–Makes it a crime for a person in a position of authority to have sexual contact with a 16 or 17 year old. HB 1044 (2016)
  • Compensation for the wrongfully convicted. Provides compensation of conviction to persons who demonstrate that they were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned when actually innocent. HB 1046 (2016)
  • Assaults committed in the presence of a minor.  Provides that the sentence of a person convicted of certain assaults may be made more severe if the offense was committed in the presence of a minor.  HB 1517 (2016)
  • Supreme Court review of certain proceedings. Expedites judicial review of proceedings involving water resources, land use, public utilities, community development, and conservation districts, by taking them directly to the Supreme Court.  This law may speed a decision about the Thirty Meter Telescope but should not affect the substance of the decision. HB 1581 (2016)
  • Medications for the severely mentally ill. Intended to make it easier to keep mentally ill people on their medications, if they are a danger to themselves or others. HB 2559 (2016)
  • Penal Code revision. A major revision of the Penal Code, introduced by request of the Penal Code Review Committee.  This is a complex measure which, among other things, strengthens the habitual criminal statute regarding theft, decreasing the number of prior convictions needed for charging a person with being a habitual offender.  Karl served on the Penal Code Review Committee which was created by a resolution he introduced in 2015 (see HCR 155 below). HB 2561 (2016)  Click here to see the committee report.
  • Crime reporting. Requires police agencies to report crime incidents to the Attorney General; no such reporting has previously been required. HB 2671 (2016)
  • Disclosure of SuperPAC sources. In the Citizens United decision, the US Supreme Court allowed so-called “SuperPAC’s” to spend unlimited amounts on campaigns. HB 1491 requires SuperPAC’s operating in Hawaii to fully disclose their sources of funding. HB 1491 (2015)
  • Trustee compensation. Updates how trustees for private trusts are to be compensated. HB 26 (2015)
  • Cost estimate for joining parks. Requested a cost estimate for covering over H-1 between Nuuanu Stream and Queen Emma Street, thus re-joining park areas on both sides of the freeway that were separated at the time of construction of H-1. HCR (House Concurrent Resolution) 29 (2015)  Click here to see the report.
  • Penal Code Review Committee. Established a committee to recommend revisions to the Hawaii Penal Code. (Karl was appointed to this committee.)  HCR 155 (2015)  Click here to see the committee report.
  • Hawaiian language translation. Hawaii has two official languages, English and Hawaiian; this resolution requested the Judiciary to convene a taskforce to examine ways to provide proper Hawaiian language translation within the Judiciary. HCR 217 (2015)  Click here to see the taskforce report.
  • Legal services for low and moderate income people. Requested a working group to determine administration of civil legal services to people with low or moderate income. HR (House Resolution) 12 (2015)  Click here to see the report of the working group; this report resulted in the passage of HB 2121 in 2016, which added an additional $150,000 for legal services.
  • Discarded tires. Made a $50,000 appropriation to assist communities with removal of illegally discarded tires. HB 2509 (2014)
  • Pay cards. Requires that employers paying employees by pay card may do so only with the employee’s voluntary consent, and under conditions limiting fees and requiring that the card may be used at a variety of banks, ATM locations, and retailers. HB 1814 (2014)
  • Sidewalk obstruction. Requires that there must be at least a 36 inch corridor so that pedestrians and wheelchairs can use the walk. HB 1660 (2014)
  • Attorney’s fees for frivolous claims. Protects both employers and employees against frivolous or groundless workers’ compensation claims by explicitly allowing attorney’s fees to be included in costs assessed against a party bringing such a claim. HB 2099 (2012)
  • Utility metering for condominiums. Authorizes condominium associations to require metering of utilities for each unit separately. HB 1746 (2012)
  • Meaningless reports. Removed a requirement that a certain department of the state government report on a program that it had nothing to do with, and consequently nothing to report. HB 1698 (2012)
  • Prevailing wage violations. Provides that if a contractor violates the prevailing wage requirement on several projects, the violation at each project constitutes a separate offense. HB 1434 (2011)
  • Solicitation of prostitutes. Creates an offense for soliciting a prostitute within 750 feet of a school or park; such offense is a misdemeanor punishable with up to a year in jail, instead of a petty misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail. HB 44 (2011)
  • Investments in SLARS. Closed the loophole that allowed the State to invest in so-called student loan-backed auction rate securities (SLARS) as short-term investments. The State purchased over $1 billion in SLARS from a major bank as cash equivalents only to have the market for them freeze up. While these securities were repurchased by the bank ahead of schedule in 2013, the returns on them were below what other long-term investments might have yielded. The Senate version of this bill, SB 2825 (introduced by Senate President Hanabusa at Karl’s request), passed the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. HB 1870 (2010)
  • Wage errors. Equalized the time the State and public employees have to seek redress for overpaid or underpaid wages. Before HB 111 became law, employees had to make a claim within two years if their wages had been underpaid. The State had an unlimited period of time to bring claims against employees who had been overpaid. HB 111 (2009)
  • Habitual solicitation. Created the offense of habitual solicitation of prostitution. This bill increased the penalty for customers of prostitutes who repeatedly patronize them. It did not alter the penalty for prostitutes themselves. HB 3002 (2008)
  • Alcohol consumption in public housing. Prohibits consumption of alcohol in common areas of public housing complexes. The Senate companion, SB 2141 (introduced by Senator Chun Oakland), was enacted. This bill was designed to cut down on fights in public housing complexes such as Mayor Wright homes. HB 1984 (2008)
  • Public urination and defecation.  Prohibits public urination or defecation in Chinatown and Downtown. HB 1978 (2008)