The GSO advocates on behalf of a unique and diverse community at the local, state, and national level. We’re committed to providing graduate students at UH Mānoa the support they need to conduct research, participate in academic development, and enhance the overall graduate experience in Hawaii. As such, we maintain a presence at the capitol and advocate for legislation that, as voted on by our executive council and general assembly, help improve the standing of graduate students in the state of Hawaii.

We believe it crucial to our constituents’ well-being that we work to highlight the very particular circumstances of UH Manoa graduate students not just within the University system itself, but within local and state government apparatuses.

Interested in contacting your Hawaii State Senator or Representative? The Capitol provides a searchable database of elected officials available here

Search for specific committees, and see which representatives and senators are on said committees, at the Capitol website here.

Submit testimony in support of, or in opposition of, any Senate or House of Representatives bill electronically via the Hawaii State Legislature website. An account is required for testimonial submission.

2017 Legislative Session

SB406 / HB1277

Establishes a collective bargaining unit for graduate student assistants employed for a minimum of 20 hours a week by the University of Hawaii.

SB1164 / HB967

Appropriates moneys for the University of Hawaii to hire three psychologists and one case manager to provide student mental health services.


Increases the minimum wage to $10.50 per hour in 2018 and $12 per hour in 2019, $13.50 per hour in 2020, and $15 per hour in 2021. Increases the tip credit to an unspecified amount of cents in 2018. Requires the department of labor and industrial relations to annually calculate the adjusted minimum wage rate to the nearest 5 cents using the Honolulu region CPI-W. Takes effect 1/7/2059.

SB1162 / HB1594

Establishes the University of Hawaii Promise Program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at any campus of the University of Hawaii system or any community college campus. Appropriates funds to establish and implement the program.

SB429 / HB814

Adopts uniform laws on protecting the online accounts of employees and students from employers and educational institutions, respectively.

SB 1161

Requires that two members of the University of Hawaii board of regents be faculty members. Prohibits the University of Hawaii board of regents from increasing tuition fees until an unspecified date. Establishes a cap on the University of Hawaii’s general fund appropriation for operating expenses for the next five fiscal years. Requires the university to report to the legislature regarding tuition increases and the university’s repair and maintenance costs.

SB1081 / HB1276

Provides an additional state income tax deduction for student loan interest paid on qualified education loans.

SB648 / HB209 

Expands the low income-household renters’ income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status. Establishes a state earned income tax credit. Restores the income tax rates for high income brackets that were repealed on 12/31/15. Removes the sunset for the refundable food/excise tax credit.

 SB1112 / HB28

Requires the University of Hawaii at Manoa to provide its nonsupervisory blue collar employees in collective bargaining unit (1) and supervisory blue collar employees in collective bargaining unit (2), or their family members, with tuition waivers comparable to the tuition waivers provided to university faculty and their family members.


Proposes a constitutional amendment to ensure access to clean drinking water, meaningful health care, and a quality education are among the inherent and inalienable rights of individuals.

 HB848 / SB143 

Exempt microgrids that promote and serve public higher education institutions from regulation as a public utility by the Public Utilities Commission. Adds a definition for “microgrid”.

HB4 / SB425

Requires employers to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to employees to be used to care for themselves or a family member who is ill or needs medical care.


Prohibits persons licensed to provide professional counseling from engaging in, attempting to engage in, or advertising sexual orientation change efforts on persons under 18 years of age.

SB683 / HB182

Proposes amendments to the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to advance the State’s goal of providing a quality education for the children of Hawaii by authorizing the legislature to establish, as provided by law, a surcharge on residential investment property and visitor accommodations.

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