Lingle’s innovation bills advance

Gov. Linda Lingle this week said she is encouraged by the broad support the public and the Legislature have given to her Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative as the four major bills that encompass the initiative met a key legislative deadline.

All bills introduced this legislative session had until Friday to meet the first internal deadline in the legislative process called the First Lateral, when they must move to their final referral committee.

The four components of the Innovation Initiative — Innovation in the Economy, Innovation in Education, Innovation in Workforce Development and Linking Hawai‘i to the Global Economy — passed out of key committees with amendments. In some cases, language from the administration’s bills were taken directly and inserted into other related bills, which have also advanced, Lingle’s office said in a release.

The four bills now sit before the appropriate money committees — the Senate Committee on Ways and Means or the House Committee on Finance.

Designed to help raise the standard of living for everyone in Hawai‘i while decreasing over-reliance on land development as the foundation of the state’s economy, the bills received overwhelming support from the community and favorable response from lawmakers during committee hearings. Lingle personally testified on each of the measures before multiple committees to outline how each ties together and will help shift Hawai‘i’s economic future to one based on developing the state’s human resources and innovation capacity.

“I appreciate the various Senate and House committees holding hearings on the four Hawai‘i Innovation Initiative bills and providing the public an opportunity to participate in the dialogue on how we as a community can work together to increase the innovation capacity of our residents, invigorate our economy and raise the standard of living for all of our people,” Lingle said in the release.

“I am encouraged by the public’s strong response, as evidenced by the positive support in the written testimony and the number and diversity of people who are taking the time to testify in favor of these important measures.”

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