New caucus focuses on issues facing working families

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Fourteen lawmakers have formed a group to focus on legislation to help working families in Hawaii.

During the next legislative session, the Working Families Caucus will sponsor five bills.

They focus on increasing the minimum wage, paid sick and family leave, the labor income tax credit, the rent credit and the exemption of unemployment benefits from personal income tax. physical.

A bill to increase the minimum wage to $ 18 an hour is expected to be tabled. It is currently $ 10.10 an hour.

Representative Jeanné Kapela chairs the caucus. While previous proposals on these topics have stalled, Kapela believes the ground has changed in the Legislature.

“COVID has really changed the landscape. We have seen so many people suffer, and it is inconceivable that even now, in three years of the pandemic, there are workers who do not have access to paid sick leave, ”Kapela told HPR. “So we saw this division. and that gap is widening through COVID. And I think the legislator recognizes it.

“And I think we can’t wait any longer because if we do that the gap is just going to widen and more people are going to continue to suffer. And more of those people are going to choose to leave because they can’t get along. allow them to stay in our state. They cannot afford to stay in their homeland. And we cannot allow that to happen, “Kapela said.

Caucus members include: Representative Jeanné Kapela (Chair), Representative Sonny Ganaden, Representative Cedric Gates, Representative Matthew LoPresti, Representative Nicole Lowen, Representative John Mizuno, Representative Amy Perruso, Representative Adrian Tam, Representative Chris Todd, Representative Tina Wildberger. The following Senators have applied for membership: Senator Laura Acasio, Senator Stanley Chang, Senator Kurt Fevella and Senator Karl Rhoads.

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