LIHU‘E — A proposed bill that would ban Kaua‘i drivers’ use of handheld electronics was deferred Thursday for two weeks while council members weigh its potential impact on county employees.
Public Safety/Energy/Intergovernmental Relations Committee Chair Derek Kawakami, who introduced the legislation at the behest of the Kaua‘i Police Department, said Thursday that he wants to explore a potential amendment to create an exemption for county workers who use two-way radios in the performance of their duties.
Asked if the deferral came at the request of the Carvalho administration, county spokeswoman Mary Daubert said, “It’s our understanding that the handheld electronics bill was deferred in part due to questions raised on how the bill may impact county operations outside of emergency responders.”
In asking for the deferral, Kawakami specifically identified the Kaua‘i Bus and the Department of Public Works as potential targets for the exemption.
While the bill as currently written already exempts drivers who use two-way radios in the performance of their duties, an attempt while the bill was in committee to add language that would further exempt drivers with Commercial Drivers Licenses was shot down after KPD expressed concerns about safety.
A request for the county to disclose which positions are required to hold CDLs and which of those positions routinely use two-way radios or other handheld electronics in their work was pending and could be met next week.
The bill was deferred by a 7-0 vote and will likely return to the council agenda for second reading after two weeks.
For meeting agendas and more information, visit www.kauai.gov.
• Michael Levine, assistant news editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or via e-mail at email@example.com.