2023 Summer Legislative Update


2023 Summer Legislative Update

HFIA Summer 2023 Legislative Update

Proactive Positive Industry Advocacy

This legislative session HFIA enacted a positive proactive approach to advocacy at the capitol. We testified in support of select positive bills only.

This allowed us to focus our message and communicate to legislators the top priorities for the industry.

We continued to track a wide range of legislation that had the potential to impact individual members. This allowed our members to stay up to date and testify on issues that could be important to their specific business.

We also participated in several business groups and coalitions that worked to share expertise and industry perspectives on measures that could impact Hawaii companies.

For 2023 our legislative  priorities were in three key areas:

•Improving food affordability and accessibility;
•Food industry sustainability and resilience;
•Workforce development and job creation.

This was an unprecedented year for food related bill introduction overall and HFIA was successful in getting several bills with language we drafted introduced.

Within our core areas of support we drafted and/or proactively supported bills on:

•removing and lowering the GET on groceries,
•tax credits for local food producers and value-added ag product manufacturers, and those that move these products around the state,
•funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and
•specific funding for the Double Up Food Bux program (DA BUX),
•funding for local food banks,
•GroupGAP certification,
•self certification for businesses that want to install solar and energy storage systems,
•job creation tax credits, and
•employee sponsored childcare tax credits.

Positive Results

Of the bills that we proactively supported we saw the most success in the area of improving food accessibility and affordability.

GroupGAP Certification

SB1588 Appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture to establish and implement a GroupGAP food safety training and certification program. This program enables small local farmers to sell to more retailers. HFIA has supported versions of this measure for several years and we’re excited that it has passed.


HFIA also worked hard this year to secure funding for the Double Up Food Bux program, or DA BUX, which doubles the purchasing power for SNAP users buying local produce. DA BUX was not funded this year in the budget, but we requested that it be included in the Governor’s discretionary funds. The Governor has responded positively to this request and we are currently waiting on confirmation. 

Next year we are hopeful the bill will pass. We are proud this worthwhile bill made it all the way to conference and was supported by many stakeholders.


Several bills to support HFIA Member the Hawaii Technology Development Corporation (HTDC) were introduced and supported by HFIA. The measure that finally passed HB999 had several different versions and in its final form contained some important components that HFIA supports.

Building On Our Progress for Next Year

The 2023 Legislative Session was HFIA's first year using a positive proactive legislative strategy.

We made progress with our bills and with new connections we were able to form as a positive voice for the food industry at the legislature.

While we did not see bills pass in all the areas we hoped, we’ve laid a strong foundation for positive advocacy in the future. Many of the bills introduced this year had not been heard before but still made it far through the legislative process.

We will continue to work with our board and members to understand what the legislative priorities for our industry should be, and fine tune our strategy to successfully advocate in those areas.

One key component of our success at the legislature is member participation in testifying on priority measures.

We also believe it's vital for members to be able to testify easily on measures that we are tracking that may impact their individual business.

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