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Monday, February 21, 2000



Hawaii State Seal

Senate rejects bill forcing
half-hour worker breaks

By Rosemarie Bernardo


A Senate committee has put to rest a bill that would have required employers to give most workers half-hour breaks.

Legislature 2000 Members of the Labor and Environment Committee said the bill is impractical because it would be too rigid for employers to apply.

The bill would require employers to give workers a 30-minute meal or rest break after five hours of continuous work.

"It impacts small businesses the hardest," said Sen. Sam Slom.

Sen. Bob Nakata introduced the bill. Nakata had concerns with employees who do not get a break after a full day's work.

"I was surprised to see workers can work eight hours without a break," said Nakata (D, Kaneohe-Kahuku). Concerns over flexibility issues couldn't be resolved, he said.

"Small businesses go by satisfying your customers, not by the clock," Slom (R, Kalama Valley-Aina Haina) said.

Local union members of the Hawaii State AFL-CIO were in favor of the bill.

"It would have taken away the employers' ability to schedule the working hours of employees to meet the needs of the operations," said Sen. Avery Chumbley (D, East Maui, North Kauai).

"The bill is unnecessary," said Chumbley. "If there are individual employees who agree they are not getting a lunch break after working five hours, they can go to the Department of Labor right now," said Chumbley. The department has remedies to solve employee concerns, he said.

"Meal breaks have to be done at the convenience of the job at hand," said Slom. "You got to arrange your schedule for the customer."



Bullet "Baywatch Hawaii" fans: A House committee gave its approval for more funds for television productions in Hawaii.

Bullet New moms: Will get the right to breast-feed in restaurants and other public places under a bill passed by a House committee.

Bullet New City Council candidates: May receive public financing in 2002 races as the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to allow campaigners to take public funds.


Bullet Andy Mirikitani: The city councilman acknowledged that the FBI is investigating him.

Bullet Bruce Anderson: The state health director saw the Senate drill holes in his mandatory fluoridation bill.

Bullet Norman Mizuguchi: The Senate president and captain of proposals for shipboard gambling watched while the bill was scuttled in the House.

This feature by Richard Borreca runs Mondays throughout the legislative session.

Get involved

You can track bills, hearings and other Legislature action via:

Bullet The Legislative Reference Bureau's public access room, state Capitol, room 401. Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Phone: 587-0478; fax, 587-0793; TTY, 538-9670.

Neighbor islanders, call toll-free and enter ext. 70478 after the number:

Big Island, 974-4000; Maui,

984-2400; Kauai, 274-3141;

Molokai and Lanai, 468-4644.

Bullet The state's daily Internet listing of hearings:

Bullet The Legislature's automated bill report service: 586-7000.

Bullet The state's general Web page:

Bullet Our Web site:

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