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Japan Tsunami Gift Fund Supported Removal and Detection – How Was Hawaii’s $250,000 Spent?

After the devastating tsunami generated by the 9.0 earthquake that struck the coastal areas of Japan’s Tōhoku Region on March 11, 2011, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment estimated that 1.5 million tons of floating debris had been swept into the ocean. This unprecedented single pulse of marine debris drifted offshore and was eventually swept out to sea by oceanic currents to enter circulation in the North Pacific Ocean. This debris impacted western shores of the continental U.S., Canada, as well as Hawaii.

In 2013, the State of Hawaii received a portion of a $5 million diplomatic monetary gift offered to the United States by the Government of Japan. The gift was intended to help the affected U.S. states address Japan tsunami marine debris or “JTMD”. An initial distribution of $250,000 was made to each of the affected states: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. In Hawaii, the Department of Health (DOH) represented the State in a Memorandum of Agreement with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which had been designated as administrator of the JTMD Gift Fund. The Department of Land and Natural Resources was designated as the expending agency, so in November 2013 the funds were transferred from DOH to DLNR and subsequently used to support projects in three general areas:  removal, aquatic invasive species monitoring, and detection.


DLNR staff routinely removes and disposes of marine debris.  When an item exceeds in-house capabilities, contracted services by qualified commercial entities are procured.

  • Contract for services: Removal & disposal of the side of a shipping container on Kauai  $3,875.51
  • Landfill fee for disposal of damaged JTMD vessel on Oahu $219.90
  • Contract for services: Removal of damaged JTMD vessel on Kauai $8,000.00
  • Contract for services: Removal & disposal of 20-ft diameter mooring buoy on Hawaii Island  $28,500.00
  • Purchase of a utility task vehicle for transporting heavy items out of areas inaccessible to larger vehicles and that would otherwise require access on foot    $12,321.79
  • Small equipment for removal of a JTMD boat by sea from a Maui beach site inaccessible to truck and trailer required for street transport  $1,438.22
  • Marine Debris Cleanup Project for a beach at Kanapou, Kahoolawe that included transporting staff and volunteers by boat, camping for four days, transporting the collected marine debris by helicopter to Maui for final disposal at the landfill, and bringing communications staff to Maui to document the activity  $24,716.12
  • Reimbursement for staff time for various JTMD removal activities during 2013-2015   $12,641.12


Marine debris can carry alien species hitchhikers attached to the debris and travel great distances via oceanic currents and wind. If successful at colonizing in new locations, some species have the potential to become invasive and disrupt local marine ecosystems. Researchers have identified over 70 non-native species associated with JTMD landing on Hawai‘i shorelines.  In response to the concern of establishment of non-native species via JTMD, monitoring was conducted to investigate JTMD biofouling species in 2015.  The first deployed a small team of biologists to do visual in-water surveys of nine landing sites on Kauai that were previously known to have been exposed to JTMD-transported alien species. The second project utilized advanced techniques in collaboration with other scientists monitoring JTMD landing sites in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

  • AIS Monitoring Project on Kauai        $3,345.87
  • AIS Monitoring Project on Oahu         $41,556.18


DLNR conducted the first state-wide shoreline marine debris survey to census the number and type of marine debris and identify debris accumulation sites.  Aerial survey techniques and analysis were used to estimate the number and type of marine debris distributed throughout the main Hawaiian Islands In early 2015 DLNR biologists applied for a grant to conduct aerial surveys, and received partial funding ($65,000) from a collaborative international group of researchers, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (“PICES”).  The JTMD Gift Fund was used to supplement the PICES grant, enabling complete coverage of all shorelines of the main Hawaiian Islands. In the fall of 2015, the high resolution aerial images were successfully collected, the first such effort in the State of Hawai‘i. Analysis of the images followed through a contract with the University of Hawai‘i.

  • Contract for Aerial Survey of Main Hawaiian Islands $37,994.76
  • Aerial Survey Post-Image Processing Contract         $31,170.70


Since marine debris response activities are conducted by various DLNR staff with many other duties, a dedicated marine debris coordinator position was created through a seven month contract with the University of Hawaii.  This position contributed support for all of the project areas as well as database management and outreach activities related to JTMD.

After the initial distribution of $250K to each of the five Pacific states, the remainder of the $5 million gift fund was held in reserve for specific subsequent requests. This diplomatic monetary gift was unprecedented in U.S. history. Managing it at national and state levels required adapting existing protocols for accounting and expenditures, and sometimes processing could be a bit challenging. In the end, however, the diplomatic gift helped fill a gap for the previously unfunded liability of marine debris and through the projects it supported, bring more public awareness to this international problem.

Hawaii State Capital Improvement Project Highlights – CIP Part of Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 Budget

As part of the state budget bill passed in conference committee yesterday, lawmakers included funding for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) statewide.

Representative Sylvia Luke and Senator Jill Tokuda co-chaired the conference committee and Rep. Kyle Yamashita and Senator Donovan Dela Cruz managed the CIP funding.

Capital Improvement Projects are renovations, repairs, and major maintenance to existing facilities, landscape improvements, new construction, land acquisition, and utility modifications.

Capital Improvement Projects Biennium Budget Totals (not including CIP grants-in-aid):

  • FY2018: $1,007.9 billion General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2019: $49.4 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2018: $2,269.7 billion All Means of Financing Funds
  • FY2019: $695.1 million All Means of Financing Funds

CIP highlights


  • $608 thousand for invasive species treatment units.
  • $1.2 million for improvements to the Waimanalo irrigation system.
  • $4 million for improvements to the Waiahole water system.

Accounting and General Services

  • $10 million for master plans and an environmental impact study for Aloha Stadium.
  • $15 million for improvements and maintenance of existing public facilities and sites, statewide.

Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3 million for an underground utility distribution system in Kalaeloa.
  • $25 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and $25 million for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to finance additional affordable rental housing.
  • $1 million for transit-oriented development master plan of state-owned parcels near proposed rail stations.


  • $6 million to retrofit buildings with hurricane protective measures to increase the number of emergency shelters, statewide.
  • $5 million for incremental addition, replacement, and upgrade of the state Civil Defense warning and communications equipment, statewide.


  • $90 million to address condition for school facilities statewide.
  • $32.9 million to address equity for school facilities statewide.
  • $32.9 million to address program support for school facilities statewide.
  • $27 million for a new classroom building at Campbell High School.
  • $77 million for the construction of the new East Kapolei Middle School.
  • $63 million for the construction of Kihei High School
  • $11.5 million for the construction of a fifteen classroom building at Mililani Middle School
  • $12.3 million for the construction of a new administration building at Waihee Elementary School.
  • $15 million for the construction of a performing arts center at Moanalua High School
  • $15 million for Phase I of a new classroom building at Waipahu High School.
  • $10 million for the new Pohukaina Elementary School.
  • $6.5 million for health, safety, accessibility, and other code requirements for public libraries, statewide.

Hawaiian Home Lands

  • $19.4 million for the development of Hawaiian Home Lands’ lots.
  • $7.6 million for repair and maintenance projects on Hawaiian Home Lands.

Human Services

  • $20.1 million for site, dwelling, and security improvements at Hawaii Public Housing Authority facilities.


  • $1.6 million for improvements and renovations to the Kahuku Medical Center.
  • $19.9 million for improvements and renovations to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, statewide.
  • $2.1 million to modernize elevators at Diamond Head, Lanakila, and Leeward Health Centers.
  • $4.5 million for re-roofing, interior and exterior improvements to the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center.

Land and Natural Resources

  • $2.2 million for assessments, maintenance, and remediation of dams under the jurisdiction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
  • $5 million for dredging and related improvements to the Ala Wai Canal.
  • $3 million for rockfall and flood mitigation at various locations, statewide.
  • $9.3 million for Kaanapali beach restoration and berm enhancement.
  • $100,000 for hazardous tree mitigation in forest reserves, game management areas, natural area reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • $400,000 to provide statewide support for fire and natural disaster response.
  • $2.5 million for improvements at various boating facilities, statewide.
  • $3 million for flood damage reconstruction at the Iao Valley State Monument, Maui.
  • $20.3 million for construction and improvements at small boat harbors, statewide.

Public Safety

  • $34.4 million for new additions, renovations, alterations, electrical and mechanical infrastructure improvements and rehabilitation of buildings, at Public Safety facilities, statewide.
  • $8 million for a new consolidated women’s housing associated support office, and other improvements at the Women’s Community Correctional Center, Oahu.


  • $31.6 million for renovations and new restroom facilities at various airports statewide.
  • $170 million for improvements to the overseas terminal ticket lobby at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu.
  • $30 million for improvements at gates 29 and 34 to accommodate A380 Aircraft at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu.
  • $8.7 million for a new United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Inspection Station at Kona International Airport, Hawaii.
  • $39.2 million for holdroom and gate improvements at Kahului Airport, Maui.
  • $10.5 million for inbound baggage handling system improvements, Kahului Airport, Maui.
  • $7.2 million for terminal improvements at Molokai Airport, Molokai.
  • $4.5 million for a new aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) garage, renovation of the terminal, and replacement of airfield lighting at Kalaupapa Airport, Maui
  • $17.8 million for ticket lobby and holdroom improvements at Lihue Airport, Kauai.
  • $7.5 million to address storm water run-off, erosion, passenger safety issues, ineffective drainage, and/or subsurface irregularities at Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai.
  • $190.6 million for the repair, rehabilitation, improvements, and/or replacement of bridges, statewide.
  • $56.8 million for improvements, installation, or upgrading of guardrails and shoulders on state highways, statewide.
  • $89 million for a new roadway and/or realignment, and extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo Terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Hawaii.
  • $50 million for shoreline protection, highway realignment, and beach fill/nourishment for state highways, statewide.

University of Hawaii

  • $30 million for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Phase II at Kapiolani Community College, Oahu.
  • $5 million for renovations at Snyder Hall, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu.
  • $83.2 million for the renewal, improvements, and modernization of facilities at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  • $10 million for capital renewal and deferred maintenance at University of Hawaii Community Colleges, Statewide.
  • $10 million for minor capital improvement projects at University of Hawaii Community Colleges, Statewide.

Island Air and JIN Air Enter Interline Agreement to Connect Customers Between South Korea and Hawaiian Islands

Island Air and Jin Air have entered into an interline partnership which allows travelers to conveniently book connections between Jin Air’s network throughout Korea and South East Asia and Island Air’s destinations in the Hawaiian Islands.

Jin Air B777-200ER

The interline agreement, which goes into effect on April 26, 2017, means customers traveling on Jin Air between Honolulu and Seoul can connect seamlessly to a neighbor island on Island Air, booking the reservation on a single ticket and checking luggage through to their final destination. The two airlines will have three interline routes, including Incheon-Honolulu-Kahului, Incheon-Honolulu-Kona, and Incheon-Honolulu-Līhu‘e.

Starting May 29, Jin Air, which first launched service to Hawai‘i in December 2015, will offer Honolulu service five times each week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) between Honolulu and Seoul. Jin Air will start interline sales on April 26.

“Island Air’s interline partnership with Jin Air provides another convenient option for visitors from Korea and other Asian markets to explore the Hawaiian Islands, while also expanding connections to Asia for our local residents,” said David Uchiyama, Island Air president and CEO. “This latest ticketing and baggage agreement with Jin Air is part of Island Air’s continuing commitment to enhance the overall travel experience for customers and to provide more opportunities for travelers to ‘Fly the Island Way’.”

Jin Air said, “With the operation of Jin Air’s only long-distance route (Incheon-Honolulu), we will build a network to the Islands of Hawai‘i through interline sales with Island Air. We will continue to strengthen our differentiation strategy with other airlines to improve customer convenience.”

In addition to Jin Air, Island Air maintains interline agreements with nine other domestic and international airlines, including American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, China Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, ANA, Philippine Airlines and Qantas. Island Air also has been a codeshare partner with United Airlines since 2005, which includes joint frequent flyer benefits.

Island Air offers 280 flights each week between O‘ahu, Maui, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island and plans to increase the number of interisland flights per week to more than 400 by May 1. Island Air’s flight schedule can be viewed at https://www.islandair.com/flight-schedules. Reservations can be made online at www.islandair.com or by calling (800) 652-6541.

Hawaii Lawmakers Approve State Budget

House and Senate conferees met today to approve a final version of HB100 HD1 SD1, the state budget bill covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The committee agreed on funding for pesticide regulation and studies and three Department of Agriculture positions for pesticides compliance; special funds for an enhanced 911 dispatch software upgrade; general funds for the Hawaii Promise Program to provide college tuition support; and general funds to support housing, outreach and legal services for homeless people.

The committee also decided to add $1 million to the budget for the Department of Health to fight Rat Lungworm Disease citing the need to act quickly in preventing the spread of the disease.

The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means conference committee met several times to iron out the differences between the two budget versions which must be completed by April 28, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.

The final conference draft will be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, sent to the governor for his signature.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (Dist. 25 – Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), said the conference committee was able to come up with a successful budget because of the hard choices made initially by both the Senate and the House.

“When we first received the budget from Governor David Ige, we were looking at a very different financial picture,” said Luke, the House Finance Committee Chair. “As it became clear that the state would have less revenue, we needed cut millions of dollars from the governor’s request. We were able to do that because of the hard work of the committee members.”

“Our ability to reach agreement on the budget reflects a shared belief that as resources are constrained, we must focus on priority needs that can be sustained. Even as fixed costs and unfunded liabilities rise, our communities look to us to provide support for the most basic and essential programs and services from homeless and health care to protecting the environment and resources for our keiki and kupuna,” said Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kaneohe, Kaneohe MCAB, Kailua, Heeia, Ahuimanu), chair of the Senate committee on Ways and Means.

At today’s meeting, the committee highlighted many budget items upon which the House and Senate reached agreement.


  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for Agricultural Loan Revolving Fund (AGR101/GA).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $226,134 in FY18 and (3) positions and $200,000 in FY19 in general funds for the Agricultural Food Safety Certification Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (1) position and $115,772 in general funds in each FY for the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $79,236 in FY18 and $158,472 in FY19 in general funds for pesticides compliance (AGR846/EE).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for pesticide regulation expenses and studies (AGR846/EE).


  • Add (1) permanent position and $39,000 in FY18 and $77,000 in FY19 in general funds for contract audits (AGS104/BA).
  • Change means of financing for (5) permanent positions and $505,585 from trust funds to general funds in each FY for Campaign Spending Commission (AGS871/NA).
  • Add $7,800,000 in special funds in FY18 for Enhanced 911 Board Computer Aided Dispatch Software Upgrade (AGS891/PA).


  • Add $5,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Litigation Fund (ATG100/AA).
  • Add $70,000 in special funds in each FY for maintenance of internet based registration systems and charity registration databases (ATG100/AA).


  • Add (1) permanent position and $25,386 in FY18 and $50,772 in FY19 in general funds for compliance with decisions and orders of Land Use Commission (BED103/DA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for feasibility and benefits study for establishing a small satellite launch and processing facility in the State (BED128).
  • Add $200,000 in general funds in FY18 for a market assessment and feasibility study for the development of a basalt fiber manufacturing plant in Hawaii (BED128).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,584 in FY18 and $57,168 in FY19 in general funds for economic research (BED130/FA).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Excelerator Program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for manufacturing grant program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for small business innovation research program (BED143).
  • Add (1) temporary position and $27,618 in FY18 and $55,236 in FY19 in general funds for Special Action Team on Affordable Rental Housing (BED144/PL).


  • Add $34,625,428 in FY18 and $70,673,178 in FY19 in general funds for additional retirement benefit payments funding for the State to reflect phase-in of employer contribution rate increases.
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,116 in FY18 and $51,432 in FY19 in general funds for the Administrative and Research Office’s Information and Technology staff (BUF101/BA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $55,671 in FY18 and $107,552 in FY19 in funds for Hawaii Domestic Relations Orders implementation (BUF141/FA).
  • Add $9,700,000 in each FY for statewide centralized vacation payout (BUF103/VP).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $148,930 in trust funds in FY19 for investment analysis (BUF143/EU).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $445,768 in general funds in each FY for Community Court Outreach Program (BUF151).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).


  • Add (1) permanent position and $51,000 in FY18 and $84,000 in FY19 in trust funds for condominium education (CCA105/GA).
  • Add $200,000 in special funds in FY18 for consultant services and training (CCA901/MA).


  • Add $325,000 in general funds in FY18 for Diamond Head Sewer Lift Station Emergency Generator (DEF110/AA).
  • Add $768,000 in general funds in FY18 for tree trimming and removal at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery (DEF112/VA).
  • Add (1) permanent positon and $27,556 in FY18 and $54,112 in FY19 in general funds for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning maintenance (DEF110/AA).


  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Early College High School Initiative (EDN100/BX).
  • Add $2,027,645 in general funds in FY18 for Office of Hawaiian Education (EDN100/CJ).
  • Add $2,800,000 in general funds and $2,800,000 in federal funds in FY18 for Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn program (EDN100/BX).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $183,818 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (EDN200).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $703,980 in general funds in each FY for Homeless Concerns Liaisons (EDN200/GQ).
  • Add $1,100,000 in general funds in FY18 for Student Information System Enhancement and Expansion (EDN300/UA).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $135,216 in FY18 and $270,432 in FY19 in general funds for Workers’ Compensation Program (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $670,000 in general funds in FY18 for Alternative Teacher Route Programs (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $293,557 in general funds in FY18 for Community Engagement Office (EDN300/KD).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $779,310 in FY18 and $1,434,885 in FY19 in general funds for Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance Capacity (EDN300/KH).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $1,755,525 in FY18 and $3,711,835 in FY19 in general funds for student transportation services statewide (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $100,000 in general funds in FY18 for athletic travel to and from Molokai and Hana (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in each FY for environmental health services (EDN400/OC).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for utilities (EDN400/OE).
  • Add $283,403 in FY18 and $207,445 in FY19 in general funds for personal services and food provisions for School Food Service programs (EDN400/MD).


  • Add (3) permanent positions and $50,592 in FY18 and $101,184 in FY19 in general funds for Nanakuli Public Library (EDN407/QD).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in FY18 for repair and maintenance backlog (EDN407/QB).


  • Add $9,797,069 in FY18 and $10,668,406 in FY19 in general funds for Per Pupil Adjustment (EDN600/JA).


  • Add $136,688 in FY18 and (10) permanent positions and $556,842 in FY19 in general funds for Pre-Kindergarten and Induction Program (EDN700/PK).


  • Add $117,167 in general funds in each FY for membership fees for national and regional chief executive organizations (GOV100/AA).


  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Housing First Program (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for homeless outreach services (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for legal services for homeless persons (HMS224/HS).
  • Add (29) permanent positions and $1,828,585 in FY18 and $2,510,996 in FY19 in general funds for multi-skilled worker pilot program (HMS229/HA).
  • Add $1,553,559 in general funds and $2,309,090 in federal funds in each FY for nursing facility inflation factor (HMS401/PE).
  • Add $240,000 in general funds in FY18 for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention (JJDP) (HMS501/YA).


  • Add $3,274,000 in FY18 and $3,524,000 in FY19 in general funds for worker’s compensation claims (HRD102/SA).


  • Add $36,486,000 in FY18 and $34,686,000 in FY19 in general funds for operations subsidy for the regions (HTH212/LS).
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for working capital or region operating subsidy (HTH212).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).
  • Add $30,637,298 in general funds in FY18 for employee separation benefits related to the transfer of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Maui Region.


  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges (HTH420/HO).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in FY18 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individuals and families with severe substance abuse disorders (HTH440/HO).
  • Add $1,340,000 in FY18 and $1,613,000 in FY19 in general funds for purchase of service contracts for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (HTH460/HO).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $422,540 in general funds in each FY for vector control (HTH610/FN).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for Rat Lung-worm Disease (HTH610).
  • Add $799,833 in general funds in FY18 for statewide emergency ambulance services (HTH730/MQ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $46,638 in FY18 and $93,276 in FY19 in general funds for investigation of suspected health clusters from environmental sources (HTH849/FD).
  • Add $4,145,695 in general funds in FY18 for Kupuna Care (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add $1,700,000 in general funds in FY18 for Aging and Disability Resource Center (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $157,168 in general funds in each FY for long term care ombudsman program (HTH904/AJ).


  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for enrichment programs of the advisory boards for health care, agriculture, and STEM (LBR111).
  • Add $450,000 in general funds in each FY for transition to the federal workforce innovation and opportunity act (LBR135).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $24,966 in FY18 and $48,280 in FY19 in general funds for labor law enforcement (LBR152/CA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $19,746 in FY18 and $39,492 in FY19 in general funds for legal support (LBR153/RA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $60,530 in each FY for grants management (LBR903/NA).


  • Add (3) temporary positions and $152,520 in general funds in each FY for ocean resources management plan support (LNR401/CA).
  • Add $4,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Invasive Species Council (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for Rapid Ohia Death response (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $400,000 in general funds in each FY for fire protection program (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $350,000 in general funds in FY18 for second phase of new integrated information management system and digitization of reports, records, and files (LNR802/HP).
  • Add (15) temporary positions and $1,065,147 in FY18 and $1,097,047 in FY19 in general funds for personnel and operating funds for management and restoration of Kahoolawe Island Reserve (LNR906/AA).


  • Add $165,000 in general funds in each FY for malpractice insurance (PSD421/HC).
  • Add $92,500 in general funds in FY18 for psychological testing for deputy sheriffs (PSD900/EA).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for lease rent for Department of Public Safety Administration building and moving costs (PSD900/EA).


  • Add $93,860 in general funds in each FY for security for medical marijuana tax collections (TAX107/AA).


  • Add (7) permanent positions and $157,939 in FY18 and $303,878 in FY19 for Airside Operations Section Security Unit Pass and Identification Office (TRN102/BC).
  • Add $300,000 in each FY for custodial and janitorial supplies for Custodial Services Unit (TRN102/BC).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $162,752 in FY18 and $293,004 in FY19 for Federal Inspection Station (TRN114/BE).
  • Add $400,000 in each FY for Automated Passport Control Kiosk Maintenance Statewide (TRN195/BB).
  • Add $200,000 in each FY for underwater and superstructure pier inspections (TRN395/CB).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $101,809 in FY18 and $203,618 in FY19 for H-3 Tunnel Management Center (TRN501/DC).
  • Add (10) permanent positions and $679,152 in special funds in FY18 and $1,243,998 in special funds and $216,000 in federal funds in FY19 for Intelligent Technology Systems Branch (TRN595/DB).
  • Add $800,000 in FY19 for trash reduction plan implementation (TRN501/DC).
  • Add $3,514,950 in FY18 and $1,242,000 in FY19 for information technology projects (TRN995).


  • Add $350,000 in general funds in each FY for concussion awareness (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2.64) permanent positions and $240,800 in general funds in each FY for Heeia Reserve (UOH100/AA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Investigator for UH Manoa (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2) permanent position and $150,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Educator/Advocate for UH Hilo (UOH210).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $70,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX for UH West Oahu (UOH700).
  • Add $1,829,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Promise Program (UOH800).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $820,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Coordinators, Confidential Advocates, and Legal Support (UOH800).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $375,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX System-wide Legal Support (UOH900).

Budget worksheets detailing the appropriations in the overall Executive, Judiciary and Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2017budget.aspx.

On Earth Day, Hawaiian Electric Companies Note Progress in Reducing Emissions, Use of Fossil Fuel

To mark Earth Day 2017, the Hawaiian Electric Companies today noted their progress in replacing fossil fuels with renewable resources for power generation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading efforts to switch to zero-emission electric vehicles.

Many of the companies’ ambitious clean energy goals are described in the Power Supply Improvement Plan submitted to the Public Utilities Commission in December 2016. The plan calls for reducing operations that use fossil fuels, doubling private rooftop solar systems and aggressively seeking grid-scale renewable resources, among other goals.

Here are some highlights of the companies’ progress toward a clean energy future:

Renewable energy

The Hawaiian Electric Companies reached a milestone in 2016, with 26 percent of the electricity used by customers coming from renewable resources – up from 23 percent the year before.

Hawaii Island customers’ use of renewable electricity passed the halfway mark for the first time, with 54 percent of electricity coming from renewables, up from 49 percent in 2015. Maui County also reached a new high of 37 percent, up from 35 percent. On Oahu, 19 percent of electricity used by customers was from renewable resources, up from 17 percent the year before. The Power Supply Improvement Plan forecasts exceeding the state’s renewable energy milestones of 30 percent in 2020, 40 percent in 2030, 70 percent in 2040 and 100 percent by 2045.

The companies’ forecasts for future milestones include:

  • 48 percent by the end of 2020;
  • 72 percent by the end of 2030;
  • 100 percent by the end of 2040, five years ahead of the 2045 deadline

Oil consumption down 21%

Renewable goals exist to increase self-sufficiency by relying on local resources like sun, wind, geothermal, local crops and waste. The companies’ ultimate goals are to reduce dependence on imported oil and climate-altering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, especially carbon dioxide.

  • From 2008 to 2016, Hawaiian Electric’s use of oil in generators on Oahu fell to 6 million barrels from 7.8 million barrels. For all three Hawaiian Electric Companies, oil use fell to 8.5 million barrels from 10.7 million barrels, a 21 percent decrease.
  • The Hawaiian Electric Companies’ goal is to reduce GHG emissions to the 2010 level by 2020.  In fact, it’s anticipated the companies will do better, reducing the 2020 level to 16 percent below the 2010 level. That would cut emissions by 865,000 tons per year. That is equivalent to any one of the following:
    • 1.8 million barrels of fuel per year
    • Emissions from 166,000 passenger car in a year
    • 1.9 million miles driven by passenger cars
    • Energy consumed per year by 116,000 homes

Electric vehicle use accelerates

The number of registered plug-in electric vehicles (EV) has broken the 5,000 mark, a promising milestone that makes Hawaii second in the nation after California in EVs per capita. Hawaiian Electric has helped form Drive Electric Hawaii to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles through coordinated efforts and make it easier to expand vehicle-charging infrastructure in a way that brings more renewable energy onto the electric grid.

Drive Electric Hawaii partners include the Blue Planet Foundation; Hawaii State Department of Transportation (HDOT); Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; Hawaii State Division of Consumer Advocacy; the Hawaiian Electric Companies (including Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light); Kauai Island Utility Cooperative; Ulupono Initiative; and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Hawaiian Electric Companies’ specific role is installing fast chargers to reduce drivers’ “range anxiety.”

A dozen fast chargers are available at shopping centers, visitor attractions and on utility property across the five islands the companies serve. More are coming. Transactions at our companies’ fast chargers shot up in March as EVs on the road increased and drivers became more aware of the growing number of fast chargers.

For more about environmental progress, visit: http://www.hawaiianelectric.com/about-us/our-commitment.

Tourism to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Creates $199,923,400 in Economic Benefits to Local Economy

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 1,887,580 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2016 spent $159,195,500 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,917 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $199,923,400.

Visitors observe Kīlauea summit lava lake last month from the Jaggar Museum observation deck, open 24 hours a day in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. NPS Photo by Janice Wei

“It’s exciting to see the steady increase in both visitation to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, and the consistent economic benefit park visitors provide to our Hawai‘i Island community in the way of jobs, and their spending,” said Park Superintendent Cindy Orlando. “We noticed the increase in visitation from the start of 2016, which marked the 100th anniversary of both the National Park Service and Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. When lava from Kīlauea reached the ocean last summer, coupled with the ease of steady viewing of the summit lava lake, visitation continued to climb. We’ve seen consecutive increases in both spending and visitation at Hawai‘i Volcanoes since from 2009,” Orlando said.

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas of the U.S. Geological Survey and Lynne Koontz of the NPS. The report shows $18.4 billion of direct spending by 331 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 318,000 jobs nationally; 271,544 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $ 34.9 billion.

According to the 2016 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (31.2 percent) followed by food and beverages (27.2 percent), gas and oil (11.7 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (9.7 percent), local transportation (7.4 percent), and camping fees (2.5%).

Report authors this year produced an interactive tool. Users can explore current year visitor spending, jobs, labor income, value added, and output effects by sector for national, state, and local economies. Users can also view year-by-year trend data. The interactive tool and report are available at the NPS Social Science Program webpage: go.nps.gov/vse.

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state. To learn more about national parks in Hawai‘i and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/Hawaii.

Walgreens Helps UH Hilo College of Pharmacy with Diversity Initiative Funding

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy received a $7,000 check from retail pharmacy Walgreens to fund a diversity initiative. An additional $5,000 will go toward scholarships to students in the PharmD professional program.

From left, Quinn Taira, Eleanor Wong, Carolyn Ma, Amy Song and Heidi Ho-Muniz

This is the ninth year the college has received funding from Walgreens for diversity. The funds have sponsored educational programs such as a tour of healthcare facilities at Kalaupapa on Molokaʻi.

Walgreens began the diversity program in 2009 to donate $1 million annually toward diversity initiatives at all of the accredited pharmacy schools nationwide.

Eleanor Wong, Walgreens area healthcare supervisor for the San Francisco Peninsula/Hawaiʻi region, presented the check to Dean Carolyn Ma at Walgreens specialty store on Oʻahu. Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy alums Quinn Taira and Amy Song, who both work at the retail store, were in attendance along with Heidi Ho-Muniz, district manager for Walgreens Pharmacy and Retail Operations.

“We are grateful for this initiative that has helped our student pharmacists through the years and strengthened our own commitment to promoting and embracing diversity,” Ma said.

The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations www.uhfoundation.org.

Democratic Party of Hawaii Hosts 4/20 Forum to Discuss the Future of Cannabis in Hawaii – Forum Will Be Live-Streamed on Facebook

On Thursday (April 20th), the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i (DPH) will host a forum to discuss the future of cannabis in the state. The informational forum will serve to educate party members and the public at large on the debate surrounding cannabis and efforts currently underway at both the state and federal levels.

The conversation will be wide-ranging and touch upon decriminalization and descheduling efforts in Congress, decriminalization bills at the Hawai‘i State Legislature, the national trend toward legalization in other states and municipalities, the current status of measures relating to medical dispensaries across the state, and the health benefits of cannabis for Hawai‘i patients.

Panelists include U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (with a brief presentation via videoconference), Sen. Will Espero, Me Fuimaono-Poe (Medical Director and founder of the Maile Cannabis Clinic), and Pamela Lichty, MPH – (President of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai‘i). A member is the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives has also been invited to join and will be confirmed tomorrow.

The forum will be moderated by Christopher Garth, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Dispensary Alliance (HDA). The event will begin at 5:30pm with a legislation summary by Rep. Gabbard and continue with presentations from other panelists and a Q & A until 7:30pm. Tickets to the event are sold-out, so the DPH will be live-streaming the event via Facebook through the DPH page: https://www.facebook.com/HawaiiDems/

For more information contact: tim@hawaiidemocrats.org

Westin Nanea Ocean Villas – Maui’s New Oceanfront Resort Opens

Vistana Signature Experiences, developer of Sheraton Vacation Club and Westin Vacation Club resorts, announced today that The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Maui’s new oceanfront resort, is open. Situated on 16 acres of North Kā’anapali Beach, The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas celebrated this milestone with a traditional Hawaiian blessing. Kahu Kapono’ai Molitau led the blessing ceremony, which included a maile lei untying, symbolic in Hawaiian culture for opening a space. The resort’s first guests arrived April 15.

“Maui is one of the world’s most desirable destinations, and we are excited to open our doors to this extraordinary resort,” said Steve Williams, chief operating officer, Vistana Signature Experiences. “The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is a truly unique resort that combines Hawai’i’s rich heritage with the aloha spirit for which the islands are known.”

Comprised of one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas is designed to be a relaxing haven replete with culturally inspired programs and distinctive Hawaiian experiences. Under the careful guidance of the resort’s cultural director, Makalapua Kanuha, the essence of Hawai’i has been carefully woven into design elements throughout the property. Additionally, the Pu’uhonua o Nanea Cultural Center will be at the resort’s heart. Its innovative and educational cultural offerings will honor local history, language, art, crafts, music and dance.

Artists Rendition

“In the Hawaiian language, nanea means to be in a state of relaxation,” said Chris Rabang, general manager. “We are thrilled to begin welcoming guests and are looking forward to helping them embrace our resort’s namesake through meaningful experiences and signature Westin features.”

The world-class amenities at The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas include an expansive lagoon-style swimming pool, children’s beach pool and play area, oceanfront cabanas and a WestinWORKOUT Fitness Studio. Mauka Makai (mauka: toward the mountains; makai: toward the ocean), the resort’s full-service restaurant, pays tribute to the farming and fishing cultures of ancient Hawai’i. With an emphasis on farm-to-table, Mauka Makai utilizes indigenous plants and vegetables grown on-site and from local farms to complement popular local dishes. It also features the Westin brand’s signature SuperFoodsRxTM menu with nutrient-rich and delicious options to tempt every palate. The Inu (meaning drink) Pool Bar provides a relaxing setting to enjoy oceanfront views, cocktails and lighter fare. Guests also enjoy access to resort amenities at The Westin Kā’anapali Ocean Resort Villas located next door, including Spa Helani, a Heavenly Spa by Westin.

Each of the villas at The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas offers many of the key amenities of home, combined with signature Westin touches. The master bedrooms include king-size signature Westin Heavenly® Beds and Westin Heavenly Baths with showers, bathtubs and vanities. The living areas offer armoires, queen-size sofa sleepers and private furnished lanais. Villas also come with fully equipped kitchens and washers and dryers.

Industry-Led Coalition Launched to Prepare Next Generation of Hawaii Workforce

The Hawaii State Department of Education announced its Connect to Careers (C2C) coalition today alongside business and education partners. The initiative is designed to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand career pathways.

Legislators and business and education leaders came together to launch the C2C coalition. Photo Credit: Department of Education

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced its Connect to Careers (C2C) coalition today alongside business and education partners including the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) and the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund. The initiative is designed to collaboratively prepare students for success in high-skill, in-demand career pathways.

“Preparing students to be ready for life after high school is an evolving target, and it is important that professionals from various industries and trades are involved to ensure we are providing the right skill sets and aptitudes in our schools,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We are thrilled to launch C2C and grow Hawaii’s future workforce and economy, and thank our partners for supporting and investing in our students.”

The effort has three pillars:

  1. Business-led: Industry identifies needed entry-level skill sets and employability qualities, and collaborates on degrees and certifications that prepare students for these opportunities.
  2. Aligned curriculum and opportunities: The K-12 and post-secondary educational systems coordinate relevant and rigorous learning pathways that answer these needs.
  3. Tracking effectiveness: Industry identifies needed entry-level skill sets and employability qualities, and collaborates on degrees and certifications that prepare students for these opportunities.

“When we have a strong workforce, it creates a healthy economy,” stated Linda Chu Takayama, DLIR director.  “By educating our middle and high school students about the practical application of their skills after they graduate, our kids not only have a shot at employment but also we put them on a path for their future careers.”

The announcement took place in Kapolei at the Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund site.

“For our local construction industry, this is a valuable partnership,” said Edmund Aczon, executive director, Hawaii Carpenters Apprenticeship and Training Fund. “Currently we have programs underway at Kahuku, Waianae and McKinley high schools. In addition to aligned curriculum, we have teacher support and coursework at community colleges.”

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii and the University of Hawaii are leading industry partners.

“During our sessions we are able to determine what career pathways are needed most and discuss the changes that are taking place in our industry sectors,” stated Sherry Menor-McNamara, president and chief executive officer, Chamber Commerce of Hawaii. “C2C is transformative work that we believe will put students on a path towards success and result in an innovative workforce.”

For more information about C2C, visit http://bit.ly/Connect2Careers.

Ongoing Partner Investment

The C2C coalition building and planning was first facilitated through the New Skills for Youth grant that was competitively awarded to HIDOE in 2016 from JPMorgan Chase in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers and Advance CTE. Hawaii was among 24 states and the District of Columbia to receive the New Skills for Youth grant.

C2C industry partner Harold K. Castle Foundation recently approved up to $200,000 to be spent towards Career and Technical Education within C2C to improve, enhance and expand career academies. The following six schools were awarded funds for the following initiatives:

  • Waipahu High School: $30,000 to expand quality and rigor to three more high school academies so that all five meet National Standards of Practice and achieve National Certification as model academies.
  • Farrington High School: $29,600 for the Health Academy to meet National Standards of Practice and achieve National Certification as a model academy.
  • Kapaa High School: $29,100 to create the Natural Resource Academy.
  • Kapolei High School: $20,550 to improve overall governance, student voice and staff capacity as a wall-to-wall academy school that offers eight career academies.
  • Waimea High School: $28,513 to expand the Engineering Academy and create the Natural Resource academy.
  • Pearl City High School: $30,000 to help the school transition to wall-to-wall academies in school year 2018-19 as well as to improve the rigor of the existing SALT Academy.

In total, $167,763 was awarded directly to selected high schools. The Castle Foundation  also budgeted $12,500 for a mid-point gathering in October 2018 and $19,500 for the National Career Academy Coalition to conduct a Baseline Analysis in each participating high school at the end of the grant period as way to gauge progress and impact.

“We understand the benefit of investing in areas that connect our students to career opportunities and these schools are committed to developing educational pathways for students,” shared Alex Harris, senior program officer for education, Harold K. Castle Foundation. “We congratulate all of the schools and look forward to seeing the progress of the career academies.”

Hawaiian Electric Companies Open Up Capacity for Grid-Supply Solar Program

The Hawaiian Electric Companies are adding capacity to the Customer Grid-Supply (CGS) program that credits solar customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid. A recent decision by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) created space in the CGS program by transferring it from private rooftop solar systems that were approved in the past several years but never completed.

The CGS program at all three utilities last year reached the capacity caps set by the PUC. To enable more customers to enroll, the companies proposed that space be transferred from approved but long-inactive rooftop projects. Estimates show at least 20 megawatts of CGS capacity is available for customers of the three companies, representing about 2,800 private rooftop solar systems. More than half of that capacity is on Oahu.

Hundreds of CGS applications are already in line for processing. Those applications will be processed in the order received and only as capacity becomes available through Oct. 21, 2017. Customers interested in submitting an application should first review our Going Solar webpage and check the online Locational Value Maps to determine if the circuit serving their neighborhood has room for more solar. If the circuit is saturated, equipment upgrades might be required, potentially adding to the cost and time needed for approval.

To allow for more integration of private solar, the Hawaiian Electric Companies are testing the latest technologies, including advanced inverters that may be used to improve circuit conditions.

Hawaiian Electric advises grid-supply applicants to install a “right-sized” system calculated for their household’s actual energy use rather than an oversized system designed mainly to sell electricity to the grid. Oversized systems cost more and can potentially export more electricity than the homeowner will receive credit for on their electric bill. By using Solar WattPlan, the companies’ online calculator, customers can determine what size system is right for them.

Installing a “right-sized” system helps leave room for future interconnections on the circuit, making space for others.

The Hawaiian Electric Companies lead the nation in the adoption of solar power. Nearly 78,500 customers have had their systems approved or installed on Oahu, Maui County, and Hawaii Island. To date, 16 percent of all customers have PV systems – nearly 20 times the national average.

Hawaii House Approves $1.2 Billion Package to Fund City Rail Project

The House of Representatives today agreed to provide an additional $1.2 billion funding package for the City’s financially troubled rail project estimated to cost a total of about $8.1 billion.

In passing SB1183 SD2 HD2, the House extended Oahu’s 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge for the City’s rail project for an additional two years through 2029 which will generate an estimated $792 million.

The House also agreed to reduce the funds it collects as a GET administrative fee by 90 percent which will generate an estimated $397 million for the City project.

When adding this new funding of $1.2 billion to the $6.8 billion already committed to the project, the State is providing $8 billion for the City rail project.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), Chair of the Finance Committee, said the additional rail funding provided in the bill brings the City very close to its total estimated cost for the entire project.

“This bill is an honest attempt to once again provide sufficient funds for the city’s over-priced, over-budget rail project,” Luke said. “There are many more questions about the rising cost estimates that remain unanswered.”

(For the full text of Rep. Luke’s speech today, click here.)

“This was a reasoned approach and I would hope that reason would prevail at the city. It is incumbent upon the Mayor, the city, and HART to use this opportunity to take control of the cost and its budgets, and look at all viable options. Threatening the public with a property tax increase is doing a disservice to our citizens. The city must first do whatever they can to instill confidence and trust in this project. I am certain given the opportunity they will do that.”

As part of the bill, the Honolulu City Council must vote to allow city funds to be used for rail and approve the GET extension by Dec. 31, 2017 or void the additional State support.

In an impassioned speech, Speaker Joseph Souki (D, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu), said building rail is the largest public works project in Hawaii’s history and will provide jobs and a new mode of transportation for commuters.

“This is for the future. The burden now goes to the City. They need to have ‘skin in the game.’ Hopefully, the (City) Council will get the courage to pass it.  I’m asking all of you to support this bill,” Souki said.

Luke said the State must be very mindful of how it spends taxpayer money, and that  lawmakers and the public have lost faith in the credibility of cost estimates by the City and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation administrators.

After providing almost all the funds needed for the project, the State cannot write a “blank check” for more taxes going into the future just in case rail goes over budget again, she said.

Luke said the City should look at cost savings either through r public private partnerships, finding creative ways of securing bond financing, or aggressively looking at their contracts and making cuts to cover the final $100 million of the total cost.

Luke said this $1.2 billion package provides the City with funds to complete the rail project through Ala Moana and will not jeopardize the $1.55 billion in Federal Transit Administration funding.

SB1183 SD2 HD2’s provisions include:

  • Extending the general excise tax surcharge for two additional years, from December 31, 2027 through December 31, 2029, which will generate an estimated $792 million;
  • Redistributing 90 percent of the State Department of Taxation administrative fee to the City, which will generate an estimated $397 million;
  • Requiring the City to approve the extension on or before December 31, 2017;
  • Mandating that the City not prohibit the use of city funds for rail expenses;
  • Prohibiting the use of the GET surcharge revenue to fund HART administrative, operating and personnel expenses;
  • Stating that GET funds can only be used for construction;
  • Giving all counties the option to extend the surcharge.

In addition, the House also moved the following bills on Second Crossover:


SB 602 HD1 repeals the requirement that a disabled veteran be in receipt of disability retirement pay from the armed forces to be exempt from the payment of annual vehicle registration fees.

Climate Change

SB 559 SD1 HD2 requires the State to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement.

Affordable Housing

SB 1244 SD2 HD2 authorizes qualified nonprofit housing trusts to repurchase affordable units developed with government assistance when a government entity waives its first right of refusal to repurchase the unit.

Internet Privacy

SB 429 SD2 HD2 adopts uniform laws on protecting the online accounts of employees, unpaid interns, applicants, students, and prospective students from employers and educational institutions, respectively.

Condominium Law

SB 369 SD1 HD1 prohibits apartment and condominium associations, boards of directors, managing agents, resident managers, and apartment and condominium owners from retaliating or discriminating against an owner, board member, or association employee who takes lawful action to address, prevent, or stop a violation of Hawaii’s condominium laws or a condominium’s governing documents, or exercises any rights as an owner.


SB 603 SD1 HD2 requires report to Legislature on solitary confinement in Hawaii and Arizona correctional facilities that house Hawaii inmates. It also requires the Department of Public Safety to expand the environmental impact statement process for potential sites for the Oahu Community Correctional Center relocation and submit a report to Legislature.


SB 620 SD2 HD2 requires retailers or vendors that are not located in the State and not required to pay or collect general excise or use tax for sales to send certain information to purchasers in the State.

SB 686 SD2 HD1 establishes education surcharges on residential investment properties and visitor accommodations for funding public education.

SB 704 SD2 HD2 allows transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of operators and plan managers using their services for vacation rentals.


SB 717 SD2 HD2 makes appropriations and establishes a temporary program to clean up state real property after the departure of persons who have illegally camped or lodged on state real property.

SB 1290 SD2 HD2 allocates funds from transient accommodations tax revenues to the Hawaii Tourism Authority in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association for the implementation of initiatives to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

Pregnancy Centers

SB 501 SD1 HD2 requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services and establishes privacy and disclosure requirements for individual records and information.

In Vitro Fertilization

SB 502 SD1 HD1 removes discriminatory requirements for mandatory insurance coverage of in vitro fertilization procedures to create parity of coverage for same-sex couples, unmarried women, and male-female couples for whom male infertility is the relevant factor.


SB 249 SD2 HD1 reduces the percentage of average final compensation used to calculate the retirement allowance for a member who first earned credited service as a judge after June 30, 2050, to 2 per cent.

Maui Hospitals

SB 207 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Budget and Finance for collective bargaining cost items related to the transition of affected Maui region hospital employees to employment with Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC.

Lifeguard Protection

SB 562 SD1 HD1 requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action against the county based on negligence, wrongful act, or omission of a county lifeguard for services at a designated state beach park under an agreement between the State and a county.

A complete list of Senate bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&rpt_type=secondCross_ammend&measuretype=SB&title=Second Crossover.

Hawaii Senate Passes 208 Bills on Third Reading

The Senate today passed 134 House bills on third reading that seek to address many issues including affordable housing, economic development, and protection from invasive species.  An additional 74 House bills previously passed third reading in the Senate, for a total of 208 bills, ahead of the Second Crossover deadline of April 13.

The bills passed on third reading will be transmitted to the House and many will be referred to a committee on conference where House and Senate members will meet jointly to remedy differences in House and Senate positions.  To follow the actions of conference, visit the “Reports and Lists” page of the legislature’s website capitol.hawaii.gov.

“These bills reflect the Senate’s focus on the priorities set forth in the Legislative Program which aim to support our communities, our environment, good governance and sustainability,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The challenge will be to provide funding for all these measures and the proposed GIA in light of diminishing revenues and requirements to pay for increasing fixed costs such as pension payments.”

“The passage of these measures illustrate the continued effort of the Senate to improve the lives of the people of Hawai‘i,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 – Kaua’i, Ni’ihau). “However, as we head into conference, the onus continues to be on the legislature to find funding sources for measures,  ensure that we meet our current financial obligations while exercising fiscal responsibility.”

A few of the key measures passed today by the Senate which reflect the Senate Legislative Program:

Ola Lehulehu – People and Communities


HB957 HD1 SD2 Authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawai‘i green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools. Requires the Department of Education to make payments on the loan from revenues saved by energy efficiency measures.

HB480 HD1 SD1 Makes an appropriation to the Hawai‘i community college for the Hawai‘i community college and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and the Agribusiness Development Corporation, to study agriculture and agricultural learning opportunities on the island of Hawai‘i. Requires the Hawai‘i community college to submit a report to the legislature.


HB527 HD1 SD2 appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB1195 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Department of Human Services, including the Office of Youth Services, to provide homeless outreach services and rental subsidies to reduce and prevent homelessness.

HB530 HD2 SD2 updates the Downpayment Loan Program under the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Social Services

HB615 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s kupuna.

HB607 HD1 SD2 requires the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Clarifies the kupuna service and support options provided by area agencies on aging within the program. Makes establishment of the kupuna care program mandatory rather than discretionary.

HB674 HD2 SD2 requires all child care providers subject to regulation by the Department of Human Services to obtain and maintain liability insurance as a condition of licensure, temporary permission, or registration and disclose insurance-related information to certain parents or guardians. Requires the Department of Human Services to submit a report to the legislature prior to the 2018 regular session.

HB4 HD1 SD1 requires certain 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.

Health Care

HB672 HD2 SD2 formally establishes the Hawai‘i Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program within the Department of Education. Establishes a dedicated special fund and positions within the Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services to support the program.

HB552 HD1 SD2 ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress. Preserves the individual mandate, minimum essential benefit requirements, extended dependent coverage, and prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions and gender discrimination in premiums and costs. Establishes a trust fund and procedures to reimburse insurers for unrecouped costs of providing minimum essential insurance benefits.

HB1272 HD1 SD1 specifies that coverage for telehealth under the State’s medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs includes psychiatric services delivered via telehealth through a behavioral health care manager who is present in a primary health care provider’s office.

Food Security

HB1475 HD2 SD2 Permits farmers’ markets and food hubs on lands in an agricultural district. Requires that value-added products displayed and sold by agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts contain an unspecified per cent of Hawai‘i-grown content.

Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu – Preparedness

Government Services

HB1401 HD1 SD1 enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020, and allows any election to be conducted by mail prior to the 2020 primary election, in whole or in part, as determined by the chief election officer or county clerk, as appropriate.

HB206 HD2 SD2 establishes a prepaid wireless E911 surcharge of 1.5 per cent of prepaid wireless service purchased at the point of sale. Allows sellers to deduct and retain 3 per cent of the surcharges collected to offset administrative expenses, but requires sellers to remit the balance of surcharges collected to the Enhanced 911 fund on a specified periodic basis.

Community Development

HB1327 HD1 SD1 Appropriates funds for the Manufacturing Development Program.

Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy


HB1339 HD1 SD2 restructures the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council as the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 SD1 establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

Pono Kaulike – Transforming Justice

HB930 SD2 creates and appropriates funds for Erin’s Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention, and report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate public school children on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curricula.

Hawaii Department of Education Rolls Out SchoolCafé – Pay for School Meals Online Now

Hawaii Department of Education is rolling out a new program called SchoolCafé that will make it easier for parents to monitor and pay for their child’s school meals online and through a mobile application. The new system provides a number of features including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances and setting up low balance alerts.

The new system provides a number of features for parents including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances, setting up low balance alerts and is accessible online or through a mobile application. Photo Credit: Cybersoft PrimeroEdge

The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) is rolling out a new program called SchoolCafé that will make it easier for parents to monitor and pay for their child’s school meals online and through a mobile application. The program, which is run using PrimeroEdge school nutrition food service software, will also help cafeterias track their inventory, make purchases and reduce costs.

“The Department has spent the last two years working on bringing our food service management system into the 21st century,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “This new software will allow us to streamline the experience and process for parents as well as our cafeteria staff who will be able to anticipate their inventory needs with more precision, which will help reduce costs in the long run.”

A pilot program for SchoolCafé started on Jan. 9, 2017 with schools in the Castle, Kahuku, Kailua, Kalaheo, Kaiser and Kalani complexes. The rest of the schools started transitioning in February, and all 256 campuses will be online and using the software by April 3.

The new system provides a number of features for parents including online payments, creating auto-payments, checking account balances, setting up low balance alerts and is accessible online or through a mobile application for iPhones, Android and Windows phones. A 5 percent convenience fee will be charged for payments made online and through the mobile application. Parents still have the option of paying with cash or check at their child’s school at no charge and can use SchoolCafé to check their balance.

Schools will be able to keep track of production records and can make purchases through a centralized ordering portal. Inventory will be tracked electronically, from previous purchases to pending orders. This is a change from the previous manual 5×7 index card system that schools were using for their food service programs.

“The cost savings from implementing the new program based on annual software expenses alone will be around $100,000,” shared Assistant Superintendent Dann Carlson. “This is one less expense that schools will have to worry about since the Department will cover the cost of the software annually for all 256 public schools.”

The PrimeroEdge software cost HIDOE $870,000 and includes 18-months of service, installation and staff training. The annual cost after the 18-months will be $350,000, which will be paid for by the Department.

Photo Credit: Department of Education

A letter from HIDOE’s School Food Services Branch will be distributed next week notifying parents about this new system and where they can get more information.

Joint Statement on Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Audit

After reviewing testimony submitted on SR 27 and SCR 72, it is clear to both Senator Glenn Wakai (S Dist. 15 – Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, Pearl Harbor), Chair of the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology and Representative Richard Onishi (H Dist 3 – Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), Chair of the House Committee on Tourism, that there is overwhelming support for an audit of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), with the duplicative nature of the proposed audit and the additional cost to perform the audit being the only points of contention.By law, the Office of the Auditor is required to audit HTA “at least every five years.”  The Office of the Auditor last audited HTA in 2013.

“It was never my intention nor that of Chair Onishi to subject HTA to unnecessary scrutiny or to incur unreasonable costs.  The resolutions were introduced to maintain public trust in HTA management and fiscal responsibility of our largest economic driver,” said Sen. Wakai.

“We have asked State Auditor Les Kondo to consider reporting his audit findings and recommendations to HTA and the legislature in early 2018.  The Auditor will provide an independent, objective, and nonpartisan review of HTA’s performance, including its management and expenditures of state funds.  Given the importance of tourism to our state, the audit will provide accountability to the legislature and the public that HTA is using its resources, including state funds, effectively, efficiently, and ethically to achieve its mission.  We are confident that the Auditor’s review will address the objectives set out in SR 27 and SCR 72, making it unnecessary to pass these resolutions,” said Rep. Onishi.

Representative Clift Tsuji’s Impact On Hawai‘i Island Agriculture Lives On

Building on Representative Clifton Tsuji’s legacy of giving back to the Hawaiʻi Island community, 159 friends, supporters and family members raised more than $81,000 to fund two endowed scholarships for Hawai’i Community College and University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students pursuing degrees in agriculture.

Clift Tsuji

“My dad loved his job and viewed it as an honor to service the people of the Big Island as a state representative. There were many things he was passionate about but there is no doubt that agriculture in Hawai’i and supporting this industry was something that really resonated with him,” said Clifton Tsuji’s son Ryan Kalei Tsuji. “We are so thankful to the many donors and supporters who contributed to this endowment scholarship. Our hope is that through this scholarship we can continue his passion and commitment to making a difference in the community even after his passing.”

Endowed scholarships

The Representative Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Hawai’i Community College Agricultural Program will support full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

The Representative Clift Tsuji Memorial Endowed Scholarship for University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management will support full-time undergraduate students pursuing a degree in agriculture.

“Hawaiʻi Community College is honored to be a recipient of generous contributions from the supporters of the late Rep. Clift Tsuji,” said Hawaiʻi Community College Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas. “This scholarship fund is a testament to his legacy of service and commitment to the community. For a community to give back to the next generation of learners is an amazing statement on why this island is so special.”

UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney added, “I learned so much from Clift Tsuji about Hilo, Hawaiʻi Island and agriculture. This scholarship will ensure that, for years to come, many students will continue to learn from his legacy.”

More about Clift Tsuji

Clift Tsuji was a Hawaiʻi Island state representative and an alumnus of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Born and raised in Pāpaʻikou, Tsuji was a graduate of Hilo High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from UH Mānoa’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He also attended the University of Washington, Pacific Coast Banking School.

Tsuji served in the U.S. Army Reserve, 442nd Infantry, Company B, Hilo, from 1959 to 1965.

Representing House District 2 including Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaʻewa and Waiākea, Tsuji was chairman of the House agriculture committee and was named the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau&38217;s Legislator of the Year in 2015. He was a passionate proponent of agriculture and biotechnology.

He was also active with the Hilo Medical Center Foundation, Hawaiʻi Island Japanese Community Association, Pacific Tsunami Museum, Hiroshima Kenjin Kai, Hawaiʻi Island Chamber of Commerce, and the Kumamoto Kenjin Kai.

Get involved

To make a gift to the scholarships, go to the Clift Tsuji Memorial Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC websites.


Hawaii House Finance Committee Approves $1.2 Billion Package to Fund Rail Project

The House Finance Committee today agreed to provide an additional $1.2 billion funding package for the City’s financially troubled rail project estimated to cost a total of about $8.1 billion.

In passing SB1183 SD2 HD2, the committee amended the bill to:

  • Extend the general excise tax surcharge for two additional years, from December 31, 2027 through December 31, 2029, which will generate an estimated $792 million;
  • Redistribute 90 percent of the State Department of Taxation administrative fee to the City, which will generate an estimated $397 million;
  • Require the City to approve the extension on or before December 31, 2017;
  • Mandate that the City not prohibit the use of city funds for rail expenses;
  • Prohibit the use of the GET surcharge revenue to fund HART administrative, operating and personnel expenses;
  • State that GET funds can only be used for construction;
  • Give all counties the option to extend the surcharge.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (D, Pauoa-­Punchbowl-Nuuanu), Chair of the Finance Committee, said the $1.2 billion package will fund the rail project through Ala Moana and will not jeopardize the $1.55 billion in federal funding.

“This is the second time the State has bailed out the City and County of Honolulu and HART for the rail project. The public and the Legislature has lost faith and confidence in their ability to provide an accurate budget estimate and control costs,” Luke said.

“We are concerned with the City and HART being in breach of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This is why we are providing the City and HART with an additional $1.2 billion funding package. The State is even willing to substantially reduce its administrative fee to ensure that this project is completed.

“However, we continue to be disappointed that the City and HART have not considered significant cost cutting measures and alternatives to funding. We believe the funding we are providing today will be sufficient as long as the City and HART do their part to responsibly finance and manage their rail project.”

The bill will now be voted on by the entire House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 11, 2017.

A Message From Senator Kahele – Student Loan Debt

Senator Kahele and some kid!

Aloha, I hope this week’s update finds you well. As Chair of the Senate Committee on Higher Education, I have made it my mission to address the ever increasing costs associated with getting a University of Hawai’i System (UH System) degree.

To address this issue, my team and I crafted a Hawai’i Promise Program bill to create a “last-dollar” scholarship program for all UH System students who fell just short of the funds they would need to get a degree. We also introduced a Tuition Moratorium bill to preclude the UH System from increasing student tuition for an unspecified period, during which a detailed review of the UH System’s expenditures and revenue could take place.

In July 2015, President Barack Obama recognized the burden of the cost of higher education and issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 15-14 to forbid loan guaranty agencies from charging fees for up to sixteen percent of the principal and accrued interest owed on Federal Family Education Program Loans (FFEPL), if the borrower entered the government’s loan rehabilitation program within sixty days of default. However, on March 16, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Dear Colleague Letter GEN 17-02 meant to revoke the federal guidance issued by President Obama.

By this action, President Trump is forcibly removing a safety net for FFEPL borrowers at the worst possible time. The total national student loan debt has grown to $1.3 trillion with a corresponding increase in the national average of debt per borrower at $37,172. Of the 44.2 million borrowers across the nation, 11.2% or just under 5 million borrowers are in default.

In response to President Trump’s action, my team and I put together SCR139 SD1, which urges the reinstatement of GEN 15-14 and requests legislative support or administrative action to allow borrowers in default a chance to rehabilitate their loans and successfully repay student debt without being charged steep collection fees by guaranty agencies. I hope you will join me in supporting this resolution. 

As the session continues, we will remain vigilant and committed to make higher education more affordable. We know education is the key to better paying jobs, job security, and economic stability for our families. That’s why it is critical that we make higher education 100% accessible to people of all socio-economic backgrounds.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii Governor Approves Energy Code That Will Significantly Reduce Energy Use

Gov. David Ige has approved a Hawai‘i Administrative Rule that requires the use of the updated 2015 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) for the construction of state buildings. The updated code will reduce energy use by almost two-thirds and make a significant contribution toward achieving Hawai‘i’s clean-energy goals.

“It’s important that the state lead by example as we move toward a 100 percent clean energy future for Hawai‘i,” Ige said. “Improving the energy efficiency of our buildings will allow us to reduce Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported oil, while protecting our environment and strengthening our economy.”

The new energy code is the result of work done by the Hawai‘i Building Code Council to adopt the 2015 IECC with Hawai‘i-specific amendments. Buildings that were constructed to the 2015 code use about 30 percent less energy than those built under the 2006 code. Hawai‘i’s amendments reduce energy use by another three percent.

Gov. Ige’s signing of the new IECC will pave the way for the eventual adoption of the code by Hawai‘i’s counties, requiring that all new commercial and residential construction meet the code. The greatest energy savings in the residential sector will come from decreasing cooling loads, increasing comfort with natural ventilation, and eliminating electric water heating.

The payback period for homes built in Hawai‘i to the new code is estimated at 4.3 years, according to a study by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The first-year energy cost savings for homes built to the new code is $1,097 when compared to the 2006 IECC. Over 25 years, the savings would be $27,425.

Hawaiian Island Creations Launches HIC Wahine at The Shops at Mauna Lani

The Shops at Mauna Lani is pleased to announce their newest store, HIC Wahine, the latest brand by Hawaiian Island Creations (HIC). This new, 1,500 square foot boutique is HIC’s fifth Hawai‘i Island location, and their only store focused entirely on clothing, swimwear, and accessories for women and girls.

“We’ve listened to requests from the Mauna Lani shoppers for more women’s products, and that’s what led to the expansion,” said Leigh Tonai, CEO of HIC. “We have assigned an all-female crew to head buying and management of the store to make sure we are carrying the best items for our wahine customers.”

HIC Wahine features women’s fashion, apparel and accessories from Amuse Society, Roxy, Volcom, Billabong, Oakley, Nixon, Reefs, Love Stitch, Havaianas and Dakine.

Hawaiian Island Creations was started in 1971 by brothers Stephen and Jimmy Tsukayama, who opened their first store in Kailua, on Oahu’s windward side. For over 45 years HIC has offered Hawai‘i the best selection of surfboards, skateboards, clothing and accessories. Through a commitment to quality, service and aloha spirit, the brand has built a reputation as an icon of Hawaiian surfing recognized worldwide.

HIC made its first move to Hawai‘i Island and The Shops at Mauna Lani in 2011, and quickly realized it had tapped a market thirsty for top quality surf brands. HIC Wahine is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. For more information, visit www.hicsurf.com, or call 808-238-0251.