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Hawaii finance committees approve dozens of bills

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013

HONOLULU (AP) — The state Senate Ways and Means Committee is advancing a proposal that would make it easier for people to rock-climb in Hawaii, one of some 150 bills the committee considered in a two-day sprint ending Friday.

Many of the proposals sailed through, with the body's only Republican acting as a lone voice of dissent.

Sen. Slam Slom challenged a bill to increase the fee for solid waste left in landfills or shipped out of state.

"All we can think of is taxing and penalizing people more, so I'll be voting no," Slom said.

He also opposed the governor's proposal to make dietary supplements subject to the same recycling fee as other drinks. He said he couldn't see how the bill jibes with the governor's other proposal to tax sugary drinks to decrease obesity.

"Now which is it? Fat or thin?" he said.

The committee approved both bills.

The senators also advanced a proposal to make it easier for people to do extreme sports in Hawaii by limiting the state's liability for people involved in rock climbing, mountain climbing and rappelling on government land.

Advocates say their ability to exercise and enjoy Hawaii's beauty through climbing is being hindered by the state's fear of lawsuits.

The committee pushed forward a bill Thursday allowing the state to partner with private companies to develop public school land. The proposal has been criticized as an offshoot of the state's land agency that has the power to develop public land without regard to county rules, much to the anger of county leaders.

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