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Saturday, January 27, 2001

Hawaii State Seal

State Legislature
crosses over to
the light side

One bill would designate a
Hawaii state tartan; another
would allow official signatures
in any color ink

Also: Cybersquatting, automobile
headlight measures proposed

The legislative week in review.

By Pat Omandam

Last year, it was naps and snacks.

This year, it's sight and light, glad and plaid, and ink and pink.

The state Legislature has returned with fresh new ideas on some not-so-pressing issues for the 2001 session.

A measure authored by state Rep. K. Mark Takai (D, Waimalu-Newtown) requires motor vehicles to use headlights when operating windshield wipers, no matter what time of day.

Freshman Sen. Donna Mercado Kim (D, Aiea) wants to adopt an official state tartan that reflects the colors of Hawaii. It follows in the footsteps of other states that have donned the clan wardrobe, such as Washington, Texas, Maine and Idaho.

Legislature And four other state senators want to be able to sign legal documents with any color of ink. Black has been the preferred choice, but there was never any requirement.

Yesterday was the deadline for lawmakers to submit bills for the 2001 session. A little more than 3,100 bills were introduced between the House and Senate.

Many bills may never get a public hearing, but in this early stage of the session, they all have the potential to become law.

Takai's proposal, House Bill 359, requires all cars and trucks on public roads to use their two lighted headlamps whenever conditions prompt continuous use of windshield wipers.

Takai said he introduced the bill as a result of an idea from a constituent.

There are mainland jurisdictions with similar laws that require headlights be turned on with windshield wipers, Takai said.

"It's a safety issue," Takai said.

Many new cars will not be affected by the law because those vehicles have lights that automatically come on when the car is running.

"It's more for cars like mine," said Takai, the owner of a 10-year-old car without automatic lights.

Meanwhile, Kim said her tartan proposal stems from Hawaii's strong and flourishing Scottish and Irish heritage, which has been present since the days of the Hawaiian monarchy.

"One of the most important symbols of Scottish and Irish culture is the tartan, which signifies a common bond between people," Kim said in Senate Bill 603.

In 1997, the Hawaii Handweavers Hui and the Caledonian Society selected a tartan for Hawaii designed by Douglas Herring.

The tartan -- defined as a woolen cloth with a woven pattern of straight lines of different colors and widths -- was traditionally worn in the Scottish Highlands, where each clan had its own pattern.

Kim recommends Herring's design of blue, green, brown, red and yellow be adopted as the official state tartan and that it be registered by the Scottish Tartans Society in Perthshire, Scotland.

As far as documentation, state Sen. Norman Sakamoto (D, Salt Lake) wants to ensure legal documents signed in fuchsia, green, candy apple red or any other color are not refused solely because the color of the signature was not in black.

Sakamoto, in Senate Bill 541, said new technology in printing and reproducing documents make it difficult to distinguish the original signature from a copy. Moreover, such equipment can effectively copy writings in colors other than black.

The proposed law would "require recipients of any legal documents to accept those documents containing signatures written in any color ink, provided that the ink is permanent and indelible."

Other notable bills introduced this session include:

Bullet Dogs on beaches: Leashed dogs would be allowed in all public parks and on public beaches under this bill (SB516). The law would not apply to stray dogs.

Bullet Heirloom marriage certificates: A Senate bill (SB644) would allow the state to issue fancy heirloom marriage certificates for people married in Hawaii. The official document would contain the same information as the regular marriage certificate. Proceeds from the $50 fee would be used for domestic violence prevention.

Bullet Cybersquatting: A proposed law (SB1276) would ban anyone who, in bad faith, registers or uses an Internet domain name identical or confusingly similar to any mark that is famous, distinctive or a trademark.

Meanwhile, both the state House and Senate have introduced bills that require employers to provide meal breaks after five consecutive hours of work.

Lawmakers believe those who work a full day's work should not be denied a reasonable period of time to rest and eat.

Legislature Directory
Hawaii Revised Statutes
Legislature Bills

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