24 HOUR HOTLINE (808) 524-7273

Public Policy

The 2013 Hawai'i State Legislative Session

The Hawai'i State Legislature has adjourned for 2013. During this legislative session, the Sex Abuse Treatment Center (SATC) tracked over one hundred bills and resolutions relating directly or indirectly to sexual violence in a number of areas of the law, including Hawai'i's penal code, public safety, family courts and victims' rights.

Two bills that passed this session are particularly significant for survivors of sexual violence.

Act 27 (HB 411)

requires all Hawai'i hospitals to provide medically and factually accurate and unbiased information about emergency contraception to female sexual assault survivors who present for emergency services and to dispense the medication to survivors who request it. For nearly twenty years, the SATC and others provided education and support for the bill, and this year it passed by an overwhelming majority of the Legislature before heading to the Governor's desk. HB 411 was signed into law as Act 27 by Governor Neil Abercrombie on April 22, 2013.

Act 253 (SB 529)

was introduced for the first time this session and passed without any opposition. It requires the family courts to deny custody and visitation to a person who is convicted of a sexual assault with respect to the child conceived through that assault, and it authorizes the family courts to terminate the perpetrator's parental rights. SB 529 was signed into law as Act 253 by the Governor on July 1, 2013.

Additionally, a number of bills related to human trafficking also passed the Legislature this session: SB 192, making solicitation of a minor a crime; HB 1187, designating January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and including sex and labor trafficking within the scope of the Child Protective Act, if a parent or legal caregiver is directly involved in the allegations or fails to protect the child from the harm; SB 194, adding solicitation of prostitution to the list of offenses that are ineligible for a deferred acceptance of guilty plea; and HB 1068, requiring certain employers to post signage to inform employees about human trafficking and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline.

These measures contribute substantively to improve our state's response to sexual violence, by allowing the development and implementation of additional resources to better help survivors, their families, and their communities throughout the islands. These updated state laws better reflect a current understanding of sexual violence and how it should be addressed.

If you would like additional information regarding this legislative session or the SATC's public policy advocacy, please contact us at 808-535-7600 or via our website contact form.