Governor Issues Executive Order Turning Over State-Owned Portion of Chain of Craters Road to Hawaii County

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today issued an executive order that turns over 3.68 miles of the state-owned portion of Chain of Craters Road near Kalapana to Hawaii County.

Chain of Craters

The executive order states that the land is “hereby turned over to the County of Hawaii, in fee simple, for use as a county highway, and the County of Hawaii shall hereafter be responsible for its repair and maintenance as a county highway.”

On Sept. 15, Gov. Abercrombie signed a supplemental emergency proclamation to include the repair, restorations, rebuilding, or reestablishment of Chain of Craters Road, for use as an alternate emergency route should the June 27th lava flow cross Highway 130 near Pahoa and isolate communities in lower Puna from the rest of Hawaii County. That proclamation, a supplement to the original emergency proclamation signed on Sept. 5, also extended the disaster emergency relief period through Dec. 1, 2014.

The original proclamation suspended certain laws as needed for emergency purposes, including state restrictions on reestablishing abandoned roads that may be used should lava cross Highway 130. It also activated the Major Disaster Fund set aside by the state Legislature for disaster relief and facilitates access to emergency resources at the state and federal levels.

 

Governor Signs Supplemental Emergency Proclamation in Preparation of Lava Flow Crossing Highway 130

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a supplemental emergency proclamation to include the repair, restorations, rebuilding, or reestablishment of Chain of Craters Road, for use as an alternate emergency route should the June 27th lava flow cross Highway 130 near Pahoa and isolate communities in lower Puna from the rest of Hawaii County.

“Even though the lava flow appears to have slowed to a halt for the time being, the state and Hawaii County are prepared and moving forward together with contingency plans in the event the lava does progress farther,” Gov. Abercrombie said.

Today’s proclamation, supplemental to the emergency proclamation signed on Sept. 5, also extends the disaster emergency relief period through Dec. 1, 2014.

The original proclamation suspended certain laws as needed for emergency purposes, including state restrictions on reestablishing abandoned roads that may be used should lava cross Highway 130. It also activated the Major Disaster Fund set aside by the state Legislature for disaster relief and facilitates access to emergency resources at the state and federal levels.

Residents are also encouraged to enroll in local notification systems and monitor local radio and television broadcasts.

Governor Signs Emergency Proclamation in Anticipation of Lava Flow Crossing Highway 130

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed an emergency proclamation in preparation for the June 27 lava flow crossing Highway 130 near Pahoa, potentially isolating communities in lower Puna from the rest of Hawaii County.

abercrombieheaderThe proclamation suspends certain laws as needed for emergency purposes, including state restrictions on reestablishing abandoned roads that may be used should lava cross Highway 130. It also activates the Major Disaster Fund set aside by the state Legislature for disaster relief and facilitates access to emergency resources at the state and federal levels.

“State agencies are working with the County of Hawaii to provide alternative access to lower Puna if lava crosses the main highway,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “This proclamation will ensure that isolated communities receive a continuation of services.

“Health officials are also advising all residents living near the lava flow to plan ahead for potential smoke from burning vegetation and low levels of sulfur dioxide. Conditions for nearby communities may vary widely due to the unpredictability of wind and weather.”

The disaster emergency relief period specified in the proclamation begins today and continues through Oct. 15, 2014.

Residents are also encouraged to enroll in local notification systems and monitor local radio and television broadcasts.

Mayor Kenoi Declares Emergency Related To Lava Flow

Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi today signed an emergency proclamation for the advancing lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area after the flow extended to less than a mile from the edge of the Ka‘ohe Homesteads subdivision.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

“We are taking this step to ensure our residents have time to prepare their families, their pets, and their livestock for a safe and orderly evacuation from Ka‘ohe in the event the flow continues to advance,” Mayor Kenoi said.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said the proclamation allows county authorities to restrict access to Ka‘ohe Homestead roadways so that residents can move safely if an evacuation becomes necessary.

Oliveira stressed that no evacuation has been ordered at this time. He urged residents to finalize their evacuation plans and monitor county Civil Defense updates closely in the days ahead.

Civil Defense employees will continue today to conduct door-to-door visits to each home in Ka‘ohe to explain the situation to residents, and to help them to prepare.

“Only residents will be allowed on the subdivision roads starting today, and we ask that non-residents stay away from the area,” Oliveira said. “The lava cannot be seen from the subdivision, and there is no reason for non-residents to be in the Ka‘ohe subdivision at this time. This is a difficult and stressful time for Ka‘ohe residents, and we ask that everyone show respect and understanding for our Ka‘ohe neighbors.”

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory are holding a series of public meetings to update residents on the lava flow in the Wao Kele O Puna area, and the next update will be at 6:30 p.m. on today, Sept. 4 at the Pahoa High School Cafeteria.

Click to read Mayor Kenoi's Letter to the Governor

Click to read Mayor Kenoi’s Letter to the Governor

FEMA Aid Denied to Hawaii and Iselle Victims

The State of Hawaii’s request for a major disaster declaration due to Tropical Storm Iselle was denied today by Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator W. Craig Fugate. The request sought Individual Assistance for individuals and households affected by the tropical storm in early August and Hazard Mitigation funds for use in statewide projects.

Various types of trees, including the invasive Allbizia were knocked down by the winds of hurricane Iselle as it landed on the eastern coast of Hawaii island on August 8, 2014.    Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Various types of trees, including the invasive Allbizia were knocked down by the winds of hurricane Iselle as it landed on the eastern coast of Hawaii island on August 8, 2014. Photo by Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Administrator Fugate’s denial letter states: “it has been determined that the damage from this event was not of such severity and magnitude to be beyond the capabilities of the state, affected local governments, and voluntary agencies.”

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly known as State Civil Defense, continues to work with federal and county officials on an application for assistance to rebuild public infrastructure.

People still in need of assistance following Iselle should call Hawaii County at (808) 935-0031 or the volunteer request line at (808) 464-3175.

The American Red Cross and the Hawaii State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters continues to take donations to help those affected by Iselle. Donations can be made through the following channels:

American Red Cross (Hawaii Chapter), Phone: (808) 734-2101 http://www.redcross.org/hi/honolulu

Hawaii State Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters

Hurricane Iselle Long-Term Relief and Recovery Fund

Iselle donations may be dropped off at any American Savings Bank.

https://hivoad.communityos.org/cms/contact_hi

 

Governor Releases $39 Million for Facility Improvements at UH Campuses

As the fall semester kicks off, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of $39 million to the University of Hawaii (UH) System for capital improvement projects (CIP) at various campuses.

abercrombieheader“These projects, at campuses from Lihue to Hilo, are long-term investments in our state university system, an anchor of our island community,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “They address needed repairs, maintenance and upgrades to ensure functional academic environments and accessible, affordable higher education opportunities for the people of Hawaii.”

$29,000,000 – Systemwide Health, Safety and Code Requirements, statewide – Construction funds for health and safety projects at UH Manoa and UH Hilo. Projects at UH Manoa include accessibility improvements, sewer and storm drain upgrades, health and safety improvements at Lyon Arboretum, and walkway upgrades. Projects at UH Hilo include a lead roof replacement of Hale Kehau, a Kawili Street pedestrian overpass, an emergency shelter, traffic safety improvements at Panaewa Farms, sidewalk/crosswalk upgrades at Kapiolani and Lanikaula Streets, and emergency generators.

$10,000,000 – Minor CIP Projects for Campuses of the Community College System, statewide – Design and construction funds for capital renewal and deferred maintenance projects of UH Community College (CC) campuses, including the renovation of the cafeteria at Honolulu CC, refurbishment of Ohia Auditorium at Kapiolani CC, renovation of the Diamond Head portables at Leeward CC, renovation of storage space to science lab/classroom at Hawaii CC, renovation of the former Ceramics Building at Maui CC, and renovation of the Fine Arts I Building at Kauai CC.

Gov. Abercrombie Signs Formal Request for Presidential Disaster Declaration

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a request for a Presidential Disaster Declaration asking for federal assistance to help pay for damage caused by Tropical Storm Iselle, which impacted Hawaii from Aug. 7 to 9, 2014.

Shaka For HELCOThe request seeks Individual Assistance for Hawaii County. Individual Assistance would make additional funding, loans and services available to affected residents.

For updates on Iselle recovery efforts, visit the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency website at: scd.hawaii.gov

Governor Presents $1.6 Million to Innovative Zero-Waste Biofuel Program in Hilo

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today presented a $1.6 million check on behalf of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture’s (HDOA) Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) to the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center’s (DKI-PBARC) zero-waste biofuel and high-protein feed program on Hawaii Island.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Agribusiness Development Corporation check presentation to the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center.

Hawaii Department of Agriculture Agribusiness Development Corporation check presentation to the Daniel K. Inouye U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center.

DKI-PBARC, and Florida-based BioTork LLC, have invested more than $1 million to successfully develop an economically sustainable zero-waste conversion project producing biofuel and high-protein animal feed from unmarketable papaya and other low-value agriculture feedstock. The conversion process takes fewer than 14 days to cycle in a heterotrophic environment, meaning no sunlight is needed using organically optimized algae/fungi developed and patented by BioTork.

The state’s $1.6 million is in addition to its initial $200,000 investment that will assist DKI-PBARC in moving the Hilo-based project to demonstration scale as a prelude to commercial production. The ADC will become a venture partner to globally export the rapid conversion technology in association with PBARC and BioTork.

“Our investment promotes further use of agricultural crops to provide clean energy and leads us on a more definitive path towards food sustainability,” said Gov. Abercrombie. “We need to focus on projects like this as Hawaii emerges as a global leader for biofuel and feed research and development.”

“Another by-product of this process is the production of high-protein feed and fish feed,” explained Scott Enright, HDOA chair. “The feed can greatly benefit cattle, swine, poultry and support aquaculture operations.”

The state also hopes to develop a long-term revenue generator as a partner exporting this technology. At full scale, more than 1,000 jobs are projected.

While papaya was chosen as the initial feedstock, this technology can be applied to any plant material as a carbon source. In Hawaii, other identifiable feedstocks are unmarketable sweet potato, sugar cane, mango, molasses and glycerol. Invasive trees, like albizia, could also be used as feedstock in this zero-waste program.

It is imperative that we provide support to build the necessary infrastructure which opens up new markets for agriculture,” said Jimmy Nakatani, ADC executive director. “Progress at DKI-PBARC has been nothing less than stellar to accomplish this, through efforts led by Research Plant Pathologist and Program Manager Dr. Lisa Keith.”

Funds are also being used to research the conversion of locally produced molasses. Samples from Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company are being tested to determine which high-value and economically viable co-products can be developed using natural methods to create much more value to the local economy.

Statement from the Governor and Finance Director on Revised Council on Revenues Forecast

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Finance Director Kalbert Young today commented on the adjusted forecast from the state Council on Revenues.

abercrombieheaderGov. Abercrombie stated:

“The outcome of today’s meeting is another reason for us to remain optimistic about Hawaii’s strong and vibrant economy.

“Due to sound fiscal management, our financial house continues to be on a solid foundation, with the state concluding fiscal year 2014 with a $664.8 million ending balance, even after contributing $55.5 million to our state reserves via the Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund and setting aside $100 million for the state’s unfunded liability for retiree health care benefits.

“Hawaii’s economy is running at a sustainable level and regardless of short-term revenue cycles, we are focused on long-term fiscal stability.”

Finance Director Young added the perspective:

“As finance director, my approach is to manage the budget and financial condition across multiple fiscal years. As a result, near-term revenue forecasts are evaluated and incorporated into the state’s six-year plan.

“As in the past, the state’s financial management team is prepared to exert measured controls of the state’s budget to ensure that programs are sustainable through any economic cycle. You will continue to see that exhibited in fiscal year 2015.

“While the fiscal year 2014 revenue collection is down 1.8 percent compared to fiscal year 2013, revenue growth over a five-year period from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2014, has been substantial – about 21.7 percent. The Council’s forecast shows revenue and economic growth of at least five percent a year for the next five years.”

Governor Abercrombie Expedites 3 Appointments to Boards and Commissions with Several Vacancies

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the nominations of Jonathan Scheuer to the Land Use Commission (LUC), as well as Rona Fukumoto and Edwin Taira to the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation (HHFDC), effective immediately. All are interim appointments subject to state Senate approval.

Scheuer was appointed to an at-large seat and is the first LUC appointee to fill vacancies left by five recent resignations on the nine-member commission.

For HHFDC, Fukumoto was appointed to the “community advocate for low-income housing affiliated with a private nonprofit” seat, and Taira to the Hawaii County seat. Two vacancies remain on HHFDC, also a nine-member board, which likewise had multiple resignations recently.

“Filling vacancies on the Land Use Commission is a top priority for the administration right now so commissioners can resume decision-making,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The appointments to HHFDC were expedited to avoid interruption of its duties. I thank Jonathan, Rona and Ed for quickly stepping up to accept their nominations to ensure that the public continues to be served.”

Jonathan ScheuerJonathan Scheuer of Honolulu has 25 years of experience in policy and land management in the public, nonprofit and private sectors. Since 1990, he has run his own consulting practice helping clients manage conflicts over natural resources. Scheuer was also land management director for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) from 2006 to 2010 and a policy analyst for OHA from 2004 to 2006. He has been a lecturer at the University of Hawaii (UH) at Manoa, a fellow with the Land Assets Division of Kamehameha Schools, staff lead for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Natural Area Reserves System Commission, and a legislative aide to Rep. Jim Shon. Scheuer currently serves on the Board of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and with the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter. His previous public service includes serving as vice chair of the Oahu Island Burial Council and work with the Oahu Land Trust, Malama Manoa and Malama Hawaii. An Iolani School graduate, Scheuer holds bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees in environmental studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a master’s degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Rona Fukumoto

Rona Fukumoto of Honolulu is currently division administrator for Catholic Charities Hawaii’s Housing Assistance and Referral Programs, and is the nonprofit’s former director of intake, information and referral. Prior to that, she worked her way up from employment specialist to vice president and director of employment and community programs at Winners at Work from 1995 to 2004. Fukumoto also served as an educational specialist and office assistant at UH Manoa’s KOKUA Program. She currently volunteers as a member of the Catholic Charities Housing Development Corporation and Hawaii State Department of Human Services Financial Assistance Advisory Council, and is a former member of the Hawaii Parkinson Association. Fukumoto also volunteers for Project Dana, providing respite care through home visits to elderly individuals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in public administration from UH Manoa.

Edwin Taira, a resident of Hilo, has more than 30 years of housing experience that includes management, program and development background. He previously served as housing administrator, assistant housing administrator and development division head for Hawaii County’s Office of Housing and Community Development. While there, Taira gained experience with the U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Investment Act, along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 and Community Development Block Grant programs. His development experience includes numerous affordable for sale and rental projects. Taira has served on the Hawaii Community Reinvestment Corporation and the Rental Housing Trust Fund Commission, and has been a private consultant for HHFDC and private developers. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UH Manoa.

Land Use Commission

The State Land Use Law was adopted in 1961, establishing a framework of land use management and regulation in which all state lands are classified into urban, rural, agricultural or conservation districts. The Legislature established the Land Use Commission to administer this statewide zoning law. The commission is responsible for preserving and protecting Hawaii’s lands and encouraging those uses to which the lands are best suited.

Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation

The mission of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation is to increase and preserve the supply of workforce and affordable housing statewide by providing leadership, tools and resources to facilitate housing development.

The Office of the Governor oversees more than 180 boards and commissions established by the state constitution, statutes or executive orders.

Historical Kakaako Pumping Station to be Rehabilitated and Refurbished

Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the release of $1 million in capital improvement grant funds to the Pacific Gateway Center (PGC) to rehabilitate and refurbish the historical Kakaako Pumping Station into a community resource center.

The once historic Kakaako Pumping Station

The once historic Kakaako Pumping Station

Identified by the state Legislature, these funds will create a new facility that will focus on services for the elderly and specifically on inter-generational programs, in which Hawaii’s youth will be engaged to help older adults with workshops and services, such as teaching computer skills or assisting with lifelong learning opportunities.

“After 35 years of neglect, this administration is transforming Kakaako into a vibrant community with affordable housing options that Hawaii needs,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “The Kakaako Pumping Station is the latest example of a facility that had fallen into disuse but now will be preserved and given the opportunity for a second life, providing area residents with a gathering place for kupuna and keiki as the community grows.”

PGC was founded in 1973 and has since developed a 40-year track record of delivering critical need-based services and designing innovative social enterprises to support the community. It offers a wide range of direct and support services to approximately 5,000 clients per year.

Senator Ruderman Hosts Meeting With Governor Abercrombie in Pahoa

Senator Russell Ruderman hosted a meeting with Governor Neil Abercrombie including about twenty-five Puna community leaders. This was the first time in several years that the Governor has visited Puna to specifically listen and address concerns of the district. The meeting was held at Hawaii Academy of Arts and Sciences school in Kea’au on Saturday, July 12th.

Ruderman Abercrombie

It was a productive meeting, with both the Governor’s staff and Puna leaders expressing great appreciation for the opportunity to meet directly with one another to address community concerns.

Governor Abercrombie intently listened as the issues of the Puna District, such as substandard subdivisions and the problems they are facing including roads and other necessary infrastructure; emergency access; geothermal; need for social & medical services; unsafe highways; safe access to medical marijuana; charter schools; and a variety of other concerns were presented by those in attendance. The governor acknowledged their concerns, asked questions, and agreed that Puna is in need of long-denied attention and resources.

One theme emerged repeatedly, as Senator Ruderman explained, “Puna is the state’s fastest-growing district, and includes some of the state’s poorest population areas, yet it has received less funding than other districts for several decades.”

Ruderman at Haas

One example of the problems this has caused is that Lower Puna has only one road for access and emergencies (Highway 130) and this overburdened highway is the most dangerous road in the state. As Community leader Jon Olson said “We’re dying out here, literally, on the unsafe state highway.”

The Governor stated, “This is the 21st Century, and we need to look at things anew.” The old assumptions about our subdivisions, roads, and what Puna residents deserve must be re-evaluated. The Governor agreed to focus more attention on our needs and will follow up with more communication.

Senator Ruderman coordinated this meeting to create a productive avenue of communication between the administration and the Puna community, which has been lacking in recent years. Senator Ruderman said “For this meeting, we put aside the most contentious issues and focused instead on all the other basic issues so desperately in need of attention in Puna. I am thankful for this renewed dialog between my community and the administration.”

Governor Abercrombie Appoints Members to State Ethics Commission

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the reappointment of David O’Neal as well as the appointment of Melinda Wood to the State Ethics Commission (SEC), effective immediately.

“David O’Neal and Melinda Wood have proven themselves to be great leaders, equipped with knowledge, insights, and experience from which our state will directly benefit,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I am confident the Ethics Commission’s mission will be well served.”

David O'neal

David O’neal

David O’Neal, a resident of Waipahu, brings more than 20 years of experience as a general manager, president and entrepreneur for multiple local business and associations, including Shop and Ship Hawaii LLC, Healthcare Directive Partners LLC, Hawaii Dental Partners/Akamai Dentals, Hawaii Dental Group, Hawaii Family Dental Centers, and Hawaii Medical Service Association. Since 2011, he has served as general manager for the Mililani Town Association. O’Neal is also president of the Waipahu Community Foundation, serving since 2009. Previously, he volunteered as a Waipahu Neighborhood Board member, was a member of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Citizen Advisory Committee, and served as part of the Kaleiopuu Elementary School Community Council. O’Neal earned a bachelor’s degree in health administration and a minor in accounting from the University of Hawaii (UH) – West Oahu.

Melinda Wood

Melinda Wood

Melinda Wood of Honolulu is currently the grants development specialist at the East-West Center. She has worked in the field of higher education for nearly 40 years in Hawaii and abroad, specializing in international relations and academic affairs. Wood’s community service includes former president and board member for Planned Parenthood of Hawaii, current board member and former chair of Planned Parenthood of Hawaii Action Network, and as a volunteer at the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. Wood received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in applied communications from the University of Denver, and a Ph.D. in educational administration from UH Manoa. She is the recipient of the Margaret Y. Oda Scholarship for Doctoral Students in Educational Administration and was awarded the Fulbright Grant for Administrators in International Education Seminar in Germany.

State Ethics Commission

Since its establishment in 1960, the SEC has promoted and enforced high standards of ethical conduct in state government and has preserve public confidence in public servants. Responsibilities of the commission include administering and enforcing State of Hawaii governmental ethics and lobbying laws. The commission’s duties include issuing advisory opinions, investigating and considering charges of alleged violations of the ethics and lobbying laws, and educating state government officials and employees and the citizenry on matters relating to ethics in government.

The Office of the Governor oversees more than 180 boards and commissions established by the state constitution, statues or executive orders.

Hawaii’s State and County Leaders Formalize Joint Sustainability Commitment

“Aloha+ Challenge” Sets 6 Targets by 2030

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii’s four county mayors, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) leadership jointly launched the Aloha+ Challenge: A Culture of Sustainability – He Nohona ‘Ae‘oia at a declaration signing held today at the Hawaii State Capitol. The statewide joint leadership commitment sets clear targets for clean energy transformation, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart growth, climate resilience, green jobs and education by 2030.

Government leaders sign the Aloha+ Challenge.

Government leaders sign the Aloha+ Challenge.

“The Aloha+ Challenge brings us all together across jurisdictions, agencies, sectors and communities to build a sustainable Hawaii for current and future generations,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is in a strong position to provide recommendations on how the federal government can support local efforts outlined today. “The targets transcend political timelines with a longer-term vision that also calls upon us to take bold action now. As a microcosm of the world’s sustainability challenges, it is time for Hawaii to become a global model of how to develop innovative and collaborative solutions.”

The Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed the Aloha+ Challenge through resolution this year. Hawaii Green Growth, which brings together key leaders from federal, state, county, business and nonprofit organizations, hosted the declaration signing to show broad support.

Photo by Sen. J Kalani English

Photo by Sen. J Kalani English

Hawaii’s commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge is already creating international attention. With the U.S. Department of State, Hawaii has been invited to announce the Aloha+ Challenge on the world stage at a high-level Global Island Partnership event in Samoa this September, during the United Nations’ International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which focuses on sustainable development.

“Alternative energy sources like H-Power, solar and wind, combined with fewer car trips and reduced energy consumption, will help us sustain our island for future generations,” said City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “We have to invest in our future, and now is the time to do it.”

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Aloha+ Challenge Dedication Signing and Press Conference.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi at the Aloha+ Challenge Dedication Signing and Press Conference.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said: “The Aloha+ Challenge is about protecting our Hawaii and maximizing our resources to improve the quality of life for our communities. It reinforces that our decision-making as a state must focus on sustaining our resources for generations to come, and must be rooted in aloha.”

“The Aloha+ Challenge is about leading by example,” Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “Our goal is to provide a higher quality of life for our children, and to build a community for our grandchildren that they can be proud of.”

“We are a state separated by ocean, but we are connected in so many ways – by families, by businesses and by shared values and traditions,” said Mayor Bernard Carvahlo of Kauai County. “It is important for us to always remember that. When our leadership focuses on one vision, we are united.”

“We must honor our past while also preparing for our future,” said Kamana‘opono Crabbe, chief executive officer for OHA. “The active participation of the community partners in this effort will also play a major role in bringing about a better, brighter future for all people of Hawaii.”

Photo from Gov. Abercrombie's Twitter feed.

Photo from Gov. Abercrombie’s Twitter feed.

In addition to sharing tools and knowledge and expanding partnerships, Hawaii’s top elected officials have agreed to develop a joint system of tracking progress and to increase long-term financing mechanisms for conservation and sustainability programs geared towards reaching the 2030 targets.

The Aloha+ Challenge commits Hawaii to reaching six targets by 2030:

  1. Clean Energy: 70 percent clean energy – 40 percent from renewables and 30 percent from efficiency (reinforcing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative)
  2. Local Food: At least double local food production – 20 to 30 percent of food consumed is grown locally
  3. Natural Resource Management: Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai by increasing freshwater security, watershed protection, community-based marine management, invasive species control and native species restoration
  4. Waste Reduction: Reduce the solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70 percent through source reduction, recycling, bioconversion and landfill diversion methods
  5. Smart Sustainable Communities: Increase livability and resilience in the built environment through planning and implementation at state and county levels
  6. Green Workforce and Education: Increase local green jobs and education to implement these targets

In 2011, Gov. Abercrombie signed Act 181, which established sustainability as a priority in the Hawaii State Plan and incorporated the definition, goals and principles of sustainability from the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan into Chapter 226. More than 10,000 citizens participated in the Hawaii 2050 planning process.

Governor’s Chief Advisor for Technology and Cybersecurity Wins National ‘Government Innovator of the Year’ Award

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today commended Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia, his chief advisor for technology and cybersecurity, for earning the 2014 Government Technology Research Alliance (GTRA) “Government Innovator of the Year” award. Bhagowalia received the award for facilitating Hawaii’s business and technology transformation, launched in 2011 under the Abercrombie Administration.

Sonny

“This prestigious award recognizes the finest leaders and innovators in government,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Under Sonny’s innovative leadership, Hawaii has developed an ambitious business and technology plan, established a stable technology foundation, launched key programs to transform delivery of online services, and significantly improved transparency and accountability. Our state government is now being recognized as a leader in the nation for our steady and incremental transformation gains.”

Bhagowalia received the honor amid a field of nominees from federal, state, local and tribal governments. Hawaii was the sole state recipient in the “Government Innovator of the Year” category, beating out two federal finalists from the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The award was one of 24 handed out at this week’s GTRA GOVTek Executive Government Technology Awards Gala, which celebrates and recognizes government and industry information technology (IT) leaders whose vision, innovation and remarkable accomplishments have improved efficiency, the delivery of government services, citizen engagement, information sharing, and national security.

Bhagowalia was nominated for his accomplishments as the first leader of state Office of Information Management Technology (OIMT) and his achievements over the past year in transforming business and technology in the state through the innovative use of enterprise architectures, strategic planning, program management, transparency and personal transformation.

After being appointed by Gov. Abercrombie as the State of Hawaii’s first chief information officer (CIO) and serving in that capacity for three years, Bhagowalia was promoted to Governor’s chief advisor for technology and cybersecurity in February 2014. The new executive leadership position was created to establish Hawaii as a premier technology and cybersecurity hub in the Asia-Pacific region, and to strengthen ties between Hawaii and Washington, D.C. in support of the state’s business and technology transformation.

Bhagowalia is working with the new state CIO, Keone Kali, and other stakeholders to publish a cybersecurity report on Hawaii’s next steps to align with the National Cybersecurity Framework and establish itself as a world-class cybersecurity center of excellence for the emerging 21st Century Asia-Pacific region.

“Hawaii is on track and being recognized at the national level for making steady progress in modernizing and securing our technology infrastructure and reengineering the way government does business – online versus waiting in line,” Bhagowalia said. “A cybersecurity framework of cooperation and investment will be required by government, industry and academia with local, national and international representation to help Hawaii realize its promise as a crossroads of the Pacific in the Information Age.”

For more information on the GTRA Awards, visit: http://june2014.gtra.org/awards/

Governor Abercrombie Signs 10 Bills Relating to Criminal Justice

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed ten criminal justice-related measures (Acts 112 to 121) addressing sex abuse, prostitution, crimes against children, violation of privacy, domestic violence, property crime, human trafficking, parking violations and law enforcement misconduct.

capital

“As I said in my State of the State Address in January, ‘Crimes against our common humanity will not be tolerated in Hawaii,’” Gov. Abercrombie said. “I commend the Legislature for addressing many areas of criminal justice as we work together to protect our citizens, especially our keiki.”

  • Senate Bill 2687 (Relating to Limitation of Actions) extends the period by an additional two years that a victim of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against an abuser or entity with a duty or care, including the state and counties.
  • House Bill 2034 (Relating to Sexual Assault) removes the statute of limitations for criminal actions of sexual assault in the first and second degrees, as well as the continuous sexual assault of a minor under the age of 14.
  • House Bill 1926 (Relating to Crime) amends the offense of solicitation of a minor for prostitution and the offense of prostitution to include sadomasochistic abuse under the definition of sexual conduct, including clarification that a law enforcement officer shall not be exempt from the offense while acting in the course and scope of duties. This measure also amends the applicability of a deferred acceptance of a guilty or nolo contendere plea and clarifies sentencing of repeat offenders and enhanced sentences for repeat violent and sexual offenders.
  • Senate Bill 702 (Relating to Child Abuse), known as “Alicia’s Law,” establishes an internet crimes against children special fund and an internet crimes against children fee of up to $100 for each felony or misdemeanor conviction. Fees will be deposited into the special fund, which will be used by the Department of the Attorney General to combat internet crimes against children. This measure also appropriates $62,500 into the new special fund.
  • House Bill 1750 (Relating to Public Order) expands the offense of violation of privacy in the first degree to include the disclosure of an image or video of another identifiable person either in the nude or engaging in sexual conduct without the consent of the depicted person with intent to harm substantially the depicted person.
  • House Bill 1993 (Relating to Domestic Violence) requires a police officer to make a reasonable inquiry of witnesses or household members when physical abuse or harm is suspected and order a no-contact period of 48 hours. This measure also makes the commission of physical abuse in the presence of a family or household member under the age of 14 a class C felony.
  • House Bill 2205 (Relating to Crime) imposes a mandatory minimum term of one year imprisonment upon conviction of habitual property crime and authorizes probation only for a first conviction.
  • House Bill 2038 (Relating to Human Trafficking) establishes the human trafficking victims services fund to be administered by the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations to provide support and services to human trafficking victims. This measure also imposes human trafficking victim fees to be imposed upon persons convicted of labor trafficking and prostitution offenses.
  • House Bill 1706 (Relating to Illegal Parking Upon Bikeways) sets a fixed fine of $200 for parking a vehicle on a bicycle lane or pathway.
  • Senate Bill 2591 (Relating to Law Enforcement), requires additional information from county police departments in their annual report to the Legislature of misconduct incidents that resulted in the suspension or discharge of an officer. This measure also allows the disclosure of certain information regarding officer misconduct in cases that result in discharge, after 90 days have passed following the issuance of the decision.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bill Updating Hawaii’s Emergency Management Laws

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed House Bill 849 (Act 111), a measure that updates the state’s emergency management statues, including clarification of the relationship between state and county emergency management agencies and the emergency management functions and powers of the governor and mayors.

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The bill was introduced in the 2013 legislative session and updates laws more than 60 years old that were primarily focused on nuclear attack and civil unrest.

“This measure will ensure that the state is better prepared for all catastrophic events, both natural and manmade, in safeguarding the people of Hawaii,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “In addition, this act will better integrate state and county disaster response planning and reorganizes the authorities and responsibilities of government leaders, providing the public with increased clarity during difficult and uncertain circumstances.”

The signing of this bill also changes the name of State Civil Defense to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Hawaii was the last state to retain the use of civil defense in reference to its emergency management agency. This change brings Hawaii in line with modern best practices and updates the outdated language and references used in prior statutes.

Act 111 also establishes an Emergency Reserve Corps and authorizes the 24/7 State Warning Point, both critical increases in the state’s readiness to respond to hazards. It does not significantly change the governor’s emergency powers, but it does vest county mayors with emergency authorities independent of the state emergency management structure.

Governor Abercrombie Signs Bills in Support of Agriculture

Joined by Board of Agriculture Chair Scott Enright, legislators and Hawaii agriculture industry stakeholders, Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday signed six agriculture and land-related measures into law that address agricultural enterprises, invasive species, the makeup of the state Land Board, and clarifications to the agricultural cost tax credit. Ag Bill Signing

“Agriculture is a crucial component of our state’s sustainability, essential to keeping our dollars here in Hawaii and supporting thriving rural communities,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “These bills are important for the defense of our unique ecosystem, natural resources and economy. It is also our duty to care and protect the land beneath our feet, which gives us life and defines our culture.”

Click here for the list of bills

After signing what are now Acts 100 through 105, the Governor proclaimed June 16-22, 2014, “Pollinator Week in Hawaii,” coinciding with National Pollinator Week. The observance is held to promote awareness of valuable crop pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and flies, with benefits ranging from crop pollination to ensuring healthy watershed.

Since 2010, the Abercrombie Administration has built a substantial record of achievement in support of agriculture and the people of Hawaii. Learn more about these and other accomplishments here.

 

Governor’s Statement on U.S. Interior Department’s Proposal to Reestablish Government-to-Government Relationship with Native Hawaiian Community

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of the Interior’s procedures to reestablish a government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community:

“We look forward to welcoming representatives of the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Justice to discuss ideas for updating federal policy on Native Hawaiian self-determination.

“I commend the Obama Administration for recognizing and supporting Native Hawaiians as it works to reconcile its relationship with Native Hawaiians at the federal level.”

Governor Abercrombie on the Big Island Tomorrow

Governor Neil Abercrombie will be at the Laupahoehoe School Band Room TOMORROW TUESDAY June 17th from 4-6PM to talk story with the community.

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Please join the Governor for light refreshments with family, friends and neighbors to discuss issues that matter to you and other community members in the North Hilo District.
For more information please call 808-498-4272