ImageWith the alarming rise in property crime, and the recent violent stabbing of a Kailua man, crime control is a primary concern this Legislative Session.  Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) recently drafted and co-introduced HB1520, HB1521 and HB1542 which will change the way our judicial system punishes repeat offenders.

HB1520 creates harsher penalties for repeat criminal offenders. Specifically, HB1520 purposes that repeat offenders, when the conviction is for a class A, B, or C felony, murder in the second degree, or attempted murder in the second degree, be sentenced to a mandatory minimum sentence without the possibility of parole.

Additionally, HB1521 creates a mandatory minimum sentencing period of imprisonment for any person who is convicted for and has a prior conviction or prior convictions for unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle in the first degree.

House Bill1542 has also been introduced to deal specifically with repeat offenders of property crime. HB1542 amends the sentencing options for habitual property crime by requiring that the offender serve the entire one-year term of imprisonment imposed as a condition of probation.

“Property crime in Hawaii constitutes ninety-two percent of all reported crime in Hawaii,” Representative Thielen said, adding that, “the law enforcement property crime conviction rate in 2012 was a mere 14 percent.”

Representative Thielen said, “House Bill 1542 aims to reduce recidivism among habitual property crime offenders by requiring that they serve prison time as a condition of probation. Given the overwhelming amount of crime committed by habitual offenders, these three major crime bills are of the upmost importance this Legislative Session.”

HB1520, HB1521, and HB1542 have passed the first House reading and been referred to the House Committee of Public Health and the House Judicial Committee for review.


ImageHawai‘i State Representative Cynthia Thielen (R, 50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay), cosponsored House Bill 1537 which would require the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to administer a permit program for grading and grubbing within shoreline areas of the state with established penalties for offenders. The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Ocean Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs (OMH) and Water and Land (WLO) committees on Wednesday, January 22nd at 8:30 a.m. in Conference Room 325.

House Bill 1537 directly addresses the fact that Hawaii’s current regulations for coastal construction projects do not take sea level rise into account, a growing problem for shoreline communities which rely on natural barriers such as sand dunes for environmental protection and stability. By implementing a permit program and best practices outlined in HB 1537, project managers can anticipate the long-term environmental hazard of sea level rise and its relationship with sand dunes, thereby providing better protection for properties and occupants.

Thielen notes, “Coastal dunes act as flexible barriers to ocean storm surges and waves, protect low-lying backshore areas, and serve as sand reservoirs for beach nourishment. However, coastal dunes are highly sensitive to human activities and require limited interaction with humans to ensure their preservation.”

“As sand accumulates, plants adapted to the beach environment emerge, stabilizing the surface and promoting further dune formation.” Thielen also added. “However, as the sea level continues to rise, dunes will be more heavily relied upon. If construction codes are not updated to respond to this threat, the sand dunes affected by the current rates and methods of construction will not be able to keep pace with increasing surges and coastal erosion, resulting in catastrophic events like those on the North Shore in December 2013.”

“Beach erosion is a dangerous and immediate issue facing several coastal communities including Kailua,” says Thielen. “By working with my fellow legislators this session on HB 1537, I hope we will be able to address this problem proactively rather than waiting until our feet get wet.”

Hawaii currently faces sea level increases of 1.46 millimeters per year, but some areas of the western Pacific are seeing as much as a 10 millimeters per year. As these rates continue to grow over time, HB 1537 will help to protect Hawaii’s shoreline, one of our state’s most valuable assets, by anticipating this environmental threat.