Governor Ige Releases Intent to Veto List

Gov. David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers that nine bills are on the Intent to Veto list. The Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the governor to give notice to the Legislature by today’s deadline.

Governor Ige Profile

On July 12, any measure that has not been signed or vetoed by Gov. Ige will become law with or without his signature.

Intent to Veto List:

HB1370 HD1 SD2 CD1          RELATING TO DIVORCE

This measure authorizes the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to make direct payments to a divorced spouse of an ERS member or retired ERS member upon order of the court.

Rationale: The ERS must modify its information technology systems before direct payments can be made. It will need state resources to do so. The ERS trustfund cannot be used to pay for ITS work.

HB1739 HD2 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT

This measure prohibits employers from accessing and/or obtaining employees’ social media accounts and passwords via coercion or other means.

Rationale: In reviewing testimony on this measure, it remains unclear if this practice is occuring in workplaces at a level that requires state intervention at this time.

Also, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) was not provided with any additional financial resources to undertake enforcement. DLIR will need both time and resources to establish an enforcement mechanism.

HB1747 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES

This measure authorizes police officers to request towing of motor vehicles if a driver is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI).

Rationale: Current enforcement does not allow drivers to operate their vehicles anyway, once they’ve been arrested or cited for DUI.

Also, there are other motor vehicle violations where police should be authorized to request towing. We suggest that this bill be expanded to include the other violations for consistency across the state.

HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1          RELATING TO TAXATION

The intent of this measure is to allow transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents with the state. This would allow companies such as Airbnb to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of the hosts and visitors who use their services.

Rationale: We believe there could be unintended consequences of this proposed measure. Vacation rentals fall under the city’s jurisdiction. In order for this bill to work as intended, counties must more actively enforce their own laws on vacation rentals before they claim additional tax revenues.

HB2016 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

This measure requires the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) to transfer contributions by retirees and beneficiaries to the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Benefits Trust Fund (EUTF) for health insurance payments.

Rationale: While we understand the practical reasons for this bill, the ERS would be required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects health insurance information.  Additionally, the ERS would need sufficient time and resources to make modifications to information technology sytems to process such payments.

HB2277 HD1 SD1 CD1          RELATING TO THE KING KAMEHAMEHA CELEBRATION COMMISSION

The intent of this measure is to clarify the membership and mission of the King  Kamehameha Celebration Commission (KKCC).

Rationale: Unfortunately, the amendments proposed in this measure create an ambiguity in the law on how the commission will make decisions.

The specific number of commission members was deleted from the bill.  Consequently, the commission will not be able to determine a quorum for the purpose of conducting business.

SB2077 SD1 HD2 CD2           RELATING TO SEPARATION BENEFITS (Maui Region hospitals transition)

This measure offers benefits to Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation employees facing position abolishment, reduction-in-force or workforce restructuring.

Rationale: This measure is still undergoing fiscal, legal, and policy review at this time.

SB2542 SD2 HD1 CD1       RELATING TO REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE

This measure establishes a full funding policy and budgetary procedures for routine repair and maintenance of state-owned buildings, including judiciary-owned facilities.

Rationale: This measure is still undergoing fiscal, legal, and policy review at this time.

SB3102 SD1 HD1 CD1           RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

This measure mandates that the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourist (DBEDT) develop —  and state agencies enter into – inter-agency agreements with the department rather than memoranda of agreements (MOAs) or memoranda of understanding (MOUs).  This measure also establishes a state grant program to fund business development  for qualified businesses.

Rationale: It is not clear from the testimony why state agency inter-departmental agreements are more efficient or effective in directing resource allocation.

Big Island Police Conducting “Active Shooter” Presentation in Na’alehu

The Hawaiʻi Police Department will make an “active shooter” presentation in Nāʻālehu on Wednesday, July 6.

Active Shooter

The presentation will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Nāʻālehu Community Center.

It is designed to help individuals increase their survivability should they encounter an active shooter or other type of active violent incident.

Police will provide information on previous incidents of mass violence, recent events, best practices for those caught in such situations, law enforcement’s response, and how to work together as a community toward prevention. They will also provide additional resources for participants so they can continue their education on this topic, followed by a question-and answer segment.

DBEDT Releases Data on Big Island and Kauai Consumer Spending

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) released two reports today that provides data and analysis on spending patterns of Big Island and Kauai households in 2014.

Click to view report

Click to view report

The reports summarizes data obtained through household surveys conducted by DBEDT in 2015 and covers spending in 2014. DBEDT’s Research and Economic Analysis Division created the report.

Historically, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) published the consumer expenditure data for Honolulu County, which was compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey.  The BLS survey only included Oahu residents and excluded neighbor island residents.  Data on consumer spending patterns for neighbor islands did not exist before DBEDT compiled the data through household surveys.

Some of the findings in the Hawaii County report include the following:

  • An average household in Hawaii County spent an average of $51,700 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, 71.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.H
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 40.5 percent of total expenditures or $20,921 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.3 percent or $8,405), food (14.4 percent or $7,420), and personal insurance & retirement savings (7.8 percent or $4,046).
  • In 2014, a typical Hawaii County household spent about $10,000 less than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Hawaii County consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather similar, both between 71 percent and 72 percent of total expenditures.
  • Hawaii County household’s annual expenditures were slightly lower than the U.S. average in 2014, with Hawaii County at $51,700 and the U.S. at $53,495.  Housing comprised a larger portion in Hawaii County consumers’ spending (40.5 percent for Hawaii County and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Hawaii County consumers spent relatively more on food (14.4 percent for Hawaii County and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and less on transportation (16.3 percent for Hawaii County and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 78.3 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 65.5 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on entertainment and insurance and retirement savings.
  • Homeowners with mortgages spent $65,911 in 2014, which was more than $20,000 higher than the annual expenditures of home renters and home owners without mortgages. Both homeowners with mortgages and renters spent a large share on housing, 42.2 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively, resulting in comparably smaller shares on most other spending categories, relative to home owners without mortgages.

Some of the findings in the Kauai County report include the following:

  • A typical household in Kauai County spent an average of $64,651 in 2014. Of the 14 major spending categories, nearly 73.2 percent of the expenditures went towards the three basic needs categories of housing, transportation, and food.
  • Housing was the largest expenditure category, comprising an average of 41.5 percent of total expenditures or $26,819 in 2014. Housing was followed by transportation (16.8 percent or $10,836), food (14.9 percent or $9,638), and personal insurance & retirement savings (6.8 percent or $4,398).
  • In 2014, a typical Kauai household spent more than $2,000 more than its Honolulu counterpart, who spent $62,280 on average. Compared with Honolulu County, Kauai consumers spent slightly less on housing and more on transportation and food, though the total shares allocated to these three basic needs categories are rather close, both at around 73 percent of total expenditures.  Kauai household’s annual expenditures were 21 percent higher than the U.S. average in 2014, with Kauai at $64,651 and the U.S. at $53,495.   Housing comprised a larger portion in Kauai consumers’ spending (41.5 percent for Kauai and 33.3 percent for U.S.). Kauai consumers spent relatively more on food (14.9 percent for Kauai and 12.6 percent for U.S.) and slightly less on transportation (16.8 percent for Kauai and 17 percent for U.S.).
  • Lower income households spent relatively larger shares on the three basic needs categories, 80 percent for the lowest-income households compared with 69.8 percent for the highest-income households. Furthermore, higher income households spent both a greater amount and share of their expenditures on transportation, insurance and retirement savings, and entertainment.
  • Homeowners with mortgages and renters had comparable shares for housing related expenses (44.5 percent versus 44 percent). However, homeowners’ annual expenditure amount was much higher than renters, with $87,460 for home owners with mortgages versus $54,139 for home renters.

The Hawaii County results are based on 554 completed surveys from the Big Island, and the Kauai County results are based on 337 completed surveys from the islands of Kauai and Lanai.

The full reports are available at:

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Big_Island_Survey_Final.pdf

files.hawaii.gov/dbedt/economic/reports/CE_Kauai_Survey_Final.pdf

Siren Testing on Hawaii Island Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday June 30

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), together with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, will conduct siren testing on Hawaii Island on Wednesday, June 29 and Thursday June 30, 2016.

SirenTesting will be between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Kapaa Beach Park, North Kohala
  • Mahukona Beach Park, North Kohala
  • Waiaka, Waimea
  • Puako Beach Road, Waikoloa
  • Historic Park, Waikoloa
  • Holoholokai Public Beach Park, Waikoloa
  • Kealakehe Elementary School, Kailua Kona

These new sirens are part of the Statewide Siren Modernization Project. Residents nearby may hear the siren sound six to eight times for 30-second to one-minute intervals during the identified timeframe. Testing will include short blasts known as “burps.” During the tests, emergency management officials and technicians will check that installation work on the sirens has been completed properly.

Residents can direct questions about this siren testing to the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency at (808) 935-0031.

Hawaii EMA encourages the public to make use of other supplemental methods of warning including, but not limited to, Hawaii County’s mass text notification system, Blackboard Connect, and NOAA Weather Radio.

Big Island Police Searching for 17-Year-Old Girl Missing Since May

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 17-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Cedricah Pila-Hoopai

Cedricah Pila-Hoopai

Cedricah Pila-Hoopai was last seen in Hilo on May 10. She may now be on Oahu.

She is described as part Hawaiian, 5-foot-6, 200 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential

USS Chung-Hoon to Return From Deployment

The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) is scheduled to return from a five-month deployment to the Western Pacific (WESTPAC) June 28.

Chun hoon Bridge

While on deployment, the ship and crew of more than 300 Sailors conducted various theater security operations and goodwill activities with partner nations.

“The Sailors and officers of Chung-Hoon performed exceptionally while deployed to the Western Pacific,” said Cmdr. Tom Ogden, commanding officer. “During exercises and operations with our allies and partners in the Asia Pacific, we flew helicopters and sailed the ship in accordance with international laws and were able to show strong, persistent presence in the region.”

Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 37 Detachment 7, homeported at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, embarked aboard Chung-Hoon during the deployment. They flew 245 sorties, totaling more than 680 hours with two MH-60R aircraft in support of multi-national exercises and presence operations in the Indo-Asia Pacific.
chun hoon front
“The relationship with Chung-Hoon was outstanding from day one,” said Lt. Cmdr. Justin Eckhoff, HSM-37, Detachment 7 air boss. “The crew was professional and very welcoming, allowing us to form a great team.”

According to Eckhoff, the camaraderie he experienced during the evolution was not only remarkable, but valuable and directly impacted mission success.

“As a detachment, we adopted the nickname ‘Paniolo,’ a word for the cowboys of the Hawaiian Islands. The original Paniolo were hard working, resourceful, and shared a strong tie of brotherhood. Those same traits were evident every day from the maintainers, aircrew, and pilots of HSM 37, Detachment 7. Thanks to their efforts, we operated the world’s most advanced helicopters night after night, safely, and effectively.”

During the deployment, Chung-Hoon made port visits to Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines, and participated in numerous community service projects including volunteering at local elementary schools, orphanages, and soup kitchens.

In February, Chung-Hoon participated in Foal Eagle, an annual bilateral training exercise designed to enhance the readiness of United States and Republic of Korea forces and their ability to work together during a crisis.
Me at helm of chung hoon
In June, Chung-Hoon participated in Malabar, a trilateral naval exercise with Japan and India to increase bilateral nation inoperability. During Malabar, Chung-Hoon received fuel from the Indian oiler INS Shakti further showcasing the  ability of the nations to operate together.

Chung-Hoon also participated in a group sail across the Pacific Ocean with Indian, Singaporean, Indonesian, and Japanese navies in preparation for the 2016 Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

Twenty-six nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the RIMPAC exercise scheduled June 30 through August 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

Chung-Hoon is assigned to Carrier Strike Group 3 and Destroyer Squadron 21 and is homeported in Hawaii as part of U.S. 3rd Fleet. It is also part of the Great Green Fleet, an initiative that highlights the Navy’s efforts to transform its energy use to increase operational capability.

Chung-Hoon was commissioned Sep. 18, 2004 and was named after Rear Admiral Gordon Pai’ea Chung-Hoon, who served during World War II and was the first Asian-American flag officer. He is a recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as Commanding Officer of USS Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945.

U.S. 3rd Fleet leads naval forces in the Pacific and provides the realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.

For more information please visit the ship’s website:
http://www.public.navy.mil/surfor/ddg93/Pages/default.aspx

Editors note: To see my trip out to sea with the USS Chung Hoon click here:  Out to Sea on the Destroyer USS CHUNG HOON