First elected in 2006

Chair, Judiciary

2009-2013 Chair, Labor & Public Employment


Major legislation Karl passed:

  • HB 2169 (2010)
    Reduces unemployment insurance taxes by $241 million over two years. Reducing the scheduled jump in unemployment insurance rates was the Chamber of Commerce’s highest priority during the 2010 legislative session. The bill passed the Legislature without a single no vote and the Governor signed it into law on March 12 in time to incorporate the changes into the first quarter unemployment insurance statements sent to Hawaii businesses. Because of the high priority placed on this legislation, it was the second bill passed during the 2010 session.
  • HB 667 (2007)
    Provided $151 million in funding to allow the State to purchase half of the Kukui Gardens affordable housing complex and maintain affordable housing for years to come. The loss of the 857 affordable housing units at Kukui Garden would have been a major blow to working families in the 28th District and on the whole island.

Other significant legislation Karl passed:

  • HB 2651 (2012)
    In 2009 I introduced HB 61 to improve community noise control; this bill would have required the use of the dBC weighting scale instead of the presently used dBA scale. The dBC scale is more sensitive to deep bass, the main cause for complaints in downtown Honolulu and Chinatown. The Senate version of HB 61 passed, but was not implemented. To facilitate implementation, I introduced HB 2651 this last legislative session and its Senate version, SB 2630, passed.
  • HB 2099 (2012)
    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 2096 (2012)
    Freezes the unemployment insurance rate where it is for one more year. This will help businesses contain costs while we pull out of recession.
  • HB 1870 (2010)
    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 invested over $1 billion in SLARS as cash equivalents only to have the market for them freeze up. So far the State has been forced to take $250 million in losses and is stuck with SLARS with maturity dates of 2040 and later. The returns on these now long-term investments are far below what other long-term investments would yield. 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 111 (2009)
    Equalizes 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 3002 (2008)
    Created the offense of habitual solicitation of prostitution. This bill increases the penalty for customers of prostitutes who repeatedly patronize them. It does not alter the penalty for prostitutes themselves.
  • HB 1984 (2008)
    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 1978 (2008)
    Prohibits public urination and defecation in Chinatown and Downtown.


  • 2012 recipient of the Chinatown Heroes Award.
  • Named Freshman Legislator of the Year for 2007 by the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly.


  • Hawaii Building & Construction Trades Council
  • Hawaii Carpenters Union
  • Hawaii Fire Fighters Association
  • Hawaii Government Employees Association
  • Hawaii State AFL-CIO
  • Hawaii State Teachers Association
  • Hawaii Teamsters Local 996
  • Honolulu Star-Advertiser
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1186
  • International Longshore & Warehouse Union Local 142
  • Iron Workers Stabilization Fund
  • Laborers’ International Union Local 368
  • Local 5
  • National Association of Social Workers – Hawaii Chapter
  • Operating Engineers Local 3
  • Sheet Metal Workers
  • Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter
  • State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers
  • United Public Workers
  • University of Hawaii Professional Association


  • Downtown Neighborhood Board, 10 years
  • Chinatown Citizens Patrol, 14 years
  • Pacific Gateway Center Board of Directors, 7 years
  • Honolulu Tower Board of Directors, 6 years


  • Legislative Aide, Rep. Marilyn B. Lee, 6 years
  • Small business owner (solo law practice), 4 years
  • Law practice, Perkin & Hosoda, 2 years
  • Legislative Assistant, U.S. Rep. Eliot L. Engel, 3 years
  • Legislative Aide, U.S. Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, 2 years
  • Intern, U.S. Senator John F. Kerry


  • J.D., George Washington University (with Honors), 1996
  • Summer clerk, Judge Corinne K.A. Watanabe (Intermediate Court of Appeals), 1995
  • M.A., University of London, Soviet & Eastern European Area Studies, 1987
  • B.A. Andrews University (History major, Chemistry minor), 1986


  • Happily married to Cindy McMillan for 19 years
  • Basketball team, University of London, 1986-87
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