CONTACT: Brian Birch, 775-848-4660 (c) or 808-591-6508, ext. 4


HONOLULU, JUNE 7 — This evening, dozens of public health leaders and advocates gathered at the Pacific Club in Honolulu to celebrate the more than three dozen public health bills that prevailed in the 2018 legislative session.

Sponsored by Hawai‘i Public Health Institute and Kaiser Permanente Hawai‘i, the event provided an opportunity for partners, funders, advocates, and policymakers to discuss and reflect on the 2018 session and to begin looking ahead to 2019. Joining more than a dozen public health organizations in attendance were Senator Rosalyn Baker and Youth Council member Sara Kay who received the national Youth Champion Award at last month’s Youth Advocate of the Year Awards.

“With more than 3,000 bills introduced each legislative session, staying on top of the issues can be an overwhelming task,” said Jessica Yamauchi, executive director of Hawai‘i Public Health Institute. “We created the Public Health Agenda and the Legislative Recap as part of our commitment to keep the public informed and to help advocates understand that although dozens of bills make it to the Governor’s desk, much still needs to be done to advance community health.”

Hawai‘i Public Health Institute releases an annual Public Health Legislative Agenda on Opening Day of the legislative session and a recap of how all health bills fared in the annual Legislative Recap once the session ends. Attendees received the first hard copies of the 2018 Recap at tonight’s event.

A few of the highlights from the 2018 session:

  • a prohibition of smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes, on all University of Hawai‘i campuses;
  • support for farm to school programs via funding for new positions in the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture;
  • $15 million to establish Ohana Zones and provide services for homeless persons;
  • the nation’s first ban on sunscreens containing oxybenzone or octinoxate; and
  • a ban on bump stocks and a requirement that disqualified gun owners turn in their weapons within seven days.

“Good health doesn’t just happen, you need to pursue healthy lifestyle habits and practices. It is also helpful to have policies and structure in place to make it easy for people to make good choices,” said Frank Richardson, vice president of legal, government and community relations at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii. “By working with the Hawai‘i Public Health Institute and other community leaders we are able to promote change that protects and improves the total health of our community.”

See the full 2018 Legislative Recap online.

Hawai‘i Public Health Institute (HIPHI) is a hub for building healthy communities. HIPHI helps others build capacity by providing issue-based advocacy, education, and technical assistance through partnerships with government, academia, foundations, business, and community-based organizations.