Comments on Liquor Commission Rule Changes

April 16, 2013 in 2013, Issue

Comments on the Proposed Rule Amendments

Bill Comerford

Spokesman for the Hawaii Bar Owners Association

10 Marin Lane, Honolulu, HI 96817

808-521-4712, 808-223-3997 1/7/13

Thank you for the opportunity to provide commentary upon these rule amendments.

I fully understand that the efforts here are genuine with the intent to comply with existing or new law. As a representative of the Bar Industry I feel it is important to view the practicality and simplicity in new rules so their implementation becomes easier and compliance is understood. In that effort I ask what the purpose and intent of a rule so it achieves that goal and does not lead to future confusion in interpretation by licensees, investigators and the commission. Often times we see rules written for an intended purpose in the past evolving into enforcement for a different issue currently. This is often ill-fitting and thus leads to confusion and questions on both sides of enforcement and compliance.

Another big issue that arises is that often many rules and regulations are generated to control the fringes of the industry often the Hostess and Strip Club industry yet upon creation rules are then enforced upon the general industry often creating adverse circumstances for general operators within the industry. Essentially more regulation or rules impeding business that is of little issue to those businesses. I would seek that when creating these rules this is kept in mind.

Lastly I would ask that the commission recognize that Hawaii is a destination point for people from around the world and we often have a huge mixture of people in a room often not English speaking so it becomes important that the rules are simple enough to make the customers understand because they are the ultimate consumer within the industry and often those upon who the rules will be ultimately fall.

Thus we should seek rules that are clear, with defined purpose that can be understood and implemented within the industry and enforced with direction for the industry, community and government’s benefit. Given that I look at these rules from the licensee’s viewpoint to provide you that perspective.

I have listed the items of consideration in the rules in bold print and then my comments and questions in italics.

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Bills HB1469, SB324 – Smoking ban exemptions for bars

February 28, 2013 in 2012, Important, Issue, Smoking

 Senate Bill SB 324 and House Bill 1469 are currently being held up in committee – these are bills which would allow exemptions to the current smoking ban for bars only.

We’re asking you  to help submit testimony and get these bills brought forward.

This is a concern because of the results of the past year – of 15 carbaret licenses in Waikiki in 2011, five closed, and two are expected to close within a year.  In the space of a year, 4am operations are down 33%, and inside of two years it is expected to be down almost 50%.  This is a direct result of the smoking ban forcing customers outside, into a public space which we as owners and operators cannot police.

Please call or email one or both of the following people asking to get this bill heard, as currently they are not holding any hearings on it:

Della Au Belatti
House District 24
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 331
phone: 808-586-9425

Josh Green
Senate District 3
Hawaii State Capitol, Room 215
phone: 808-586-9385
fax: 808-586-9391

A form letter can be copied from here, make any edits you need to, sign your name to the bottom, and fire off that email!

Senator Green/Representative Belatti,

I write to you concerned that SB324/HB1469, the smoking exemption bill for bars and nightclubs is not getting the attention it deserves.  As of 2012 a full third of all 4am bars in Waikiki have shut their doors for good.  This stems from numerous problems cause by forcing intoxicated patrons outside the premises to smoke, where management and owners have no right or ability to control their noise or behavior.  When inside the bar, patrons do not want to risk being ejected and moderate their behavior.  The bars also contain the patrons’ noise and litter.  Please let this bill be heard so that patrons can be kept in the bars, and we can all breathe easier.


<Your Name>


Message from HIBOA on smoking ban exemptions

February 28, 2013 in 2012, Important, Issue, Smoking

I support the passage of HB1469.



Dear Representatives,


I speak to you today as a representative of the Hawaii Bar Owners Association. Many of those bar owners involved 7 years ago are no longer in our industry many directly as a result of the smoking ban but also as result of the reactionary legislation that has followed that ban.


7 years ago after the passing of the ban I asked these questions; to the legislature, neighborhood boards and the press.


Do you want litter on your streets and sidewalks?


Do you want noise on the streets and sidewalks until 4am every night?


Do you want fights and violence on the streets and sidewalks nightly?


Every one said no.


Well that is the effect of every smoking ban ever created. Our patrons have been inside the bars for many long years without these problems blooming. I forewarned these things and warned that the reactionary measures to come would threaten our industry.

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HB1175 – Tax increase on Tobacco!

April 2, 2009 in 2009, Issue, Uncategorized


Aloha Everyone,

If you have never taken the time to participate in the past, this is the one time
that you absolutely must.

I would even suggest forwarding this email to any like-minded individuals you know.

HB1175 Tax increase on Tobacco will increase the tax on each pack to $40.
That’s right! … A state tax of $40 per carton.

The hearing is set for Thursday April 2, 2009 at 9:30 AM in conference room 211.

Get this … They will not be allowing any (and I mean ANY) verbal testimony.
This means you must email your testimony by Wednesday April 1 at 5:00 PM
or you can kiss any reasonable taxation goodbye!

I need you to blind copy to me at for our records.
We might need them in the future to prove that there was indeed public opposition
to this insane legislation.

Please submit written testimony in opposition to:

The Subject Line of your email should read:
Opposition to HB1175 Tobacco Tax increase

Your testimony does not have to be anything fancy
It just needs to have your name and email address and your opposition to this bill.

I will include a sample that you can cut and paste in your email if you wish
to make it easier. Just add your name and email address at the bottom and send to:

Honorable Senate Ways and Means Committee Members:

I am in strong opposition of HB1175 the unreasonable
proposed tax increase on Tobacco. In these times
of financial hardship, any State Tax Hike on Tobacco
is out of the question. The initial proposal of this bill
was to raise the tax from 10 cents a cigarette to 11 cents
a cigarette, then it morphed into a 14 cent per cigarette
increase. Now that number has swollen to the outrageous
20 cent per cigarette level and 100% increase in taxation.

We have just had to bear the brunt of a 156% Federal Tax
increase to pay for the SCHIP program equaling only 5 cents
per cigarette. You are already collecting double that amount.
And now you want 4 times that amount?

Smokers across the country were already outraged
by SCHIP but that seems like a “bargain basement deal”
compared to this proposal.

I sincerely urge you to reconsider this action and put a stop
to the fleecing of your citizens immediately. Remove
all proposed amendments from HB1175 and leave section
245-3 in it’s original state until the year 2011 as originally
agreed and voted upon.

Do not abuse your powers and continue to stuff your coffers
by inflicting any additional unjustifiable taxation on your

Passage of this legislation will amount to the tyranny
of the majority and the over-burdening of fiscal
responsibility onto the shoulders of the minority
of your citizens.

This, my friends, does not constitute a democracy.




Feel free to add subtract or make any changes … It’s your turn to voice your opinion…
You can also call these people individually as well to reinforce your opposition.
Link to the committee members:

Chair Donna Mercado Kim’s phone number: (808) 587-7200.
Vice Chair Shan Tsutsui’s phone number: (808) 586-7344.

Thank you for your assistance …


Jolyn Tenn
Hawaii Smokers Alliance

SB455 – No Smoking in Public Housing

February 23, 2009 in 2009, Issue, Uncategorized

Aloha Everyone,

This is one of the worst assaults on smokers to date!

SB 455 will make smoking illegal inside one’s own dwelling (Public Housing).

To add insult to injury, if a tenant receives 3 violations of someone even being within 20 feet of any unit or common area, they will be evicted. This is only the beginning. If they are successful, they will also move to privately-owned spaces.

I believe that everyone (smoker and non-smoker) should be outraged with Senator Gary Hooser of Kauai and should be on the phone telling him so. His phone number is (808) 586-6030.
His email is:

Please email a short and effective testimony to :

You can copy and paste this part below and send it off ASAP:

Senator Norman Sakamoto, Chair
Senator Michelle Kidani, Vice Chair

DATE: Monday, February 23, 2009
TIME: 1:35 PM
PLACE: Conference Room 225
State Capitol
415 South Beretania Street

Strongly Oppose SB 455 (SUBJECT LINE OF EMAIL)
Don’t forget to add your name and contact information to your testimony.
Thank you for your time and your help.

Jolyn Tenn
Hawaii Smokers Alliance

HB952 – Card Ceck Bill

February 2, 2009 in 2009, Issue, Uncategorized

Dear HIBOA Member or Associate,

Please offer testimony to your legislator in opposition to the CARD CHECK BILL – HB 952 relating to Labor.

This bill (also referred to as “card check”) has serious implications for Hawaii’s workers, businesses, and economy.

As you may know, the Governor vetoed a similar bill last year. The House will be voting on this bill on Tuesday, March 10. Please call, fax, email, or write your Legislator and ask them to vote no.

If you need assistance locating the contact information for your legislator, please visit the website:

Attached is a copy of the current version of the bill:

Thank you,

Bill Comerford,
Hawaii Bar Owners Association
10 Marin Lane Honolulu, HI 96813


Below is a Sample Testimony:

Opposition to HB952 Union Card Check Legislation

Dear Legislator,

Regarding: House Bill 952 Union Card Check Legislation
Position: Strongly opposed

2/2/09 I am writing to you in opposition to HB 952 on behalf of the Hawaii Bar Owners Association (HiBOA), a group representing 105 Bars in Hawaii. We, as a group, would oppose this bill.

Regrettably, we understand what it is like to be unrepresented and know that a vote is an important part of our democratic system. The nature of this bill denies the employee the right to a secret ballot and the loss of individual rights. We are sympathetic to this problem.

Likewise, we feel that the union rights should not overstep individual rights. Majority rule can be good or bad but it is the way of democracy. Please support Democratic principle over union pressure.

Lastly, as employers we do our best for our staffs. We usually find ourselves in an anti-union position given that amiable relationships help our industry and oppositional positions do not foster the hospitality vital in our industry. We prefer to remain in an amicable position with our employees and want to do the best for them. It is difficult enough to operate a small business here. We should not be making it more difficult.

We strongly urge you to vote in opposition to HB952.

Thank you for your consideration.