The Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus held their annual Legislative Breakfast and Panel Discussion at the YWCA Laniakea on Wednesday, January 24 where the caucus announced their 2018 Legislative Package. Included are bills that address access to quality healthcare, reducing gender violence, protecting children, increasing economic opportunities, and ensuring equal opportunity for women.

The health and protection of women from domestic abuse and violence is an ongoing priority expressed by the Women’s Caucus. Protection from violence against women is introduced in SB2342 which mandates health insurance policies and includes coverage for clinical victim support services for victims of sexual violence and abuse. SB2343 expands the jurisdiction of the family court against offenses committed against family and household members, and SB2346 establishes a confidentiality program to help survivors of domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking.

In regards to economic opportunities and equality for women, SB509 relates to pay equity and prohibits retaliation or discrimination against employees. SB2351 also prohibits enforced wage secrecy and retaliation or discrimination against employees, while SB2353 prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. There are also a number of bills that specifically addresses child care as in SB521, which establishes a six week paid maternity and paternity leave policy for government employees and SB2352 enforces protection of children from sex trafficking and prostitution.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is a bi-partisan organization comprised of women legislators in the House and Senate, as well as the County level, who support an agenda designed to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Hawai‘i.

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