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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:

Veterans

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.

Prison

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.

Taxation

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.

Homelessness

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.

Retirement

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

Education

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.

Homelessness

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

Environment

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.

Costco Coming to East Hawaii

Costco has announced plans to open on the East side of the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018.  Their current plans are to renovate and expand at the former Safeway located at Prince Kuhio Plaza.Representative Ian Kirkland stated, East Hawaii residents have been longing for a Costco and are “tired of making the drive over from the Hilo side of the island for a simple hot dog or pizza combo special.”

Costco plans to open 32 warehouses in fiscal 2018 — a record expansion pace for the retailer. By comparison, it added 23 locations last year and its highest new warehouse count over the last decade was the 31 stores it opened in 2007.

Safeway had no comment on this story and has rebuilt another store within a mile of this location.

New warehouse launches provide a quick boost to membership levels and revenue growth. But the real impact isn’t felt until the stores mature into their tenth year and beyond. Costco’s newest locations that were opened in the last three years, for example, have averaged $104 million of sales during their freshman years. But that number steadily climbs toward $178 million per year for the Costco warehouses that have been around for over a decade.

Plans for a Maui and Kauai Costco are being discussed but nothing has been confirmed as of this post.  The grand opening date is scheduled for April 1st, 2018 according to developer Lirpa Sloof.

Gabbard, Hanabusa, Young Introduce Bill to Exempt Hawaii, Alaska from Travel Fee Increases

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01), and Don Young (AK-AL) introduced bipartisan legislation today to exempt Hawaiʻi, Alaska, and communities that rely on essential air service as subsidized by the U.S. Department of Transportation, from increases in TSA air travel fees. The Passenger Fee Restructuring Exemptions Act (H.R.1782) recognizes the unique reliance on air travel that residents of Hawaiʻi and Alaska face by lowering the states’ TSA fee to $2.50 for interstate direct flights. Congress raised the national TSA fee to $5.60 in late 2013, and could increase the fee to $6.60 in FY2018.

  “The doubling of the TSA fee since 2013 has had a disproportionate, negative impact on Hawaiʻi residents and businesses who rely on air travel as the only available mode of transportation for everyday necessities like commerce, healthcare, education, and more. As Congress considers raising the TSA fee again, our bipartisan legislation will help relieve this cost burden by exempting Hawaiʻi and Alaska, and other communities who rely solely on essential air service, from this tax,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“Hawaiʻi and Alaska share unique geographic challenges that make our dependence on air travel a necessity.  As such, any increase in TSA fees disproportionately hurts our residents, tourists and businesses alike. This bill redresses that wrong by exempting Hawaiʻi and Alaska from the disparate impact of these fee increases,” said Rep. Colleen Hanabusa.

“Simply put, current aviation security fees disproportionately affect the residents of my state due to our unique reliance on air travel. I have opposed fee hikes in the past and have consistently worked with my Hawaiian colleagues to alleviate the hardships placed on those without transportation alternatives. This bipartisan legislation will address this inequity and allow our residents, who depend on air travel, to access and grow their economies without being overburdened by the growth of government fees,” said Rep. Don Young.

Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee Approves State Budget Amendment

The Senate committee on Ways and Means today approved an amended state budget which proposes a financially prudent six-year plan to provide funding for core services and priority issues of the community while taking into account declining state revenues, rising fixed costs, and the uncertainty of the federal funding climate.

HB100 HD1 SD1 proposes reducing the Governor’s budget request by $114 million in general funds over the biennium, which includes fiscal years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.  However, the WAM committee was able to provide funding for recurring program needs and essential social services along with appropriating funding for addressing infrastructure and facilities needs in critical areas.  WAM members were able to do this by reviewing the details of every budget request as well as each departments’ existing base budget to consider all possible ways to reduce costs without jeopardizing services or core functions of the State.

“With the downgraded report from the Council of Revenues in March, it is daunting to be looking at a deficit of some $31 million for this fiscal year and some $220 million over the next three fiscal years,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 – Kaua’i, Ni’ihau). “While there are programs and areas that we would like to have funded but are unable to because of fiscal constraints, the Senate budget is at least able to address the basic needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”

“What we’re presenting is a balanced approach to ensure funding for priority community needs while appropriating funds for increasing costs in retirement benefits and other fixed costs. This is the result of digging deep into the base budgets of each state department and thoroughly examining how to make cuts without impacting the basic, essential needs of our community: keeping the lights on in our schools, provide housing, protecting our natural resources, and ensuring health care services are available to keiki and kupuna,” said Senate WAM Chair, Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘‘Āhuimanu).

Many of the significant appropriations in education, environment, homelessness, and health care reflect the Senate’s commitment to the Legislative Program set forth at the start of the 2017 session.  The Legislative Program are the priority issues which embrace Hawaiian values and aim to improve the quality of life for the residents of Hawai‘i.

In the area of education, the Senate draft of the executive budget adjusts the Department of Education’s appropriation by adding $52.1 million in general funds in FY2017-18 and $57.2 million in general funds in FY 2018-19.  Although $12 million less than the Administration’s request, $2.8 million in general funds and $2.8 million in federal funds for each fiscal year will continue and expand school-based health services in Hawai‘i’s public schools. $1 million in general funds was approved for each fiscal year for the Early College High School program to support the success of the initiative and encourage more opportunities for Hawai‘i’s public high school students to earn college credits before graduating high school.

At the University of Hawai‘i, $3 million in general funds was appropriated for the Cancer Center clinical trials and operational support.  $1.8 million in general funds was allocated for the Hawai‘i Promise Program that allows more students to afford community college.

In terms of the homeless effort, $3 million in general funds was appropriated for each fiscal year for the Housing First Program, $2.1 million in general funds in each fiscal year for operation of State Family and Elderly Housing Facility. The committee also provided $500,000 for each fiscal year in general funds that will allow for the continuation of outreach and interim case management for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges.

In the area of environment, $750,000 in general funds for each fiscal year was allocated for Rapid ‘Ō‘hia Death Response, $400,000 in general funds for each fiscal year for Fire Protection Programs, and $250,000 in general funds for each fiscal year for protection of watershed forests.

To ensure Hawai‘i’s seniors are able to continue leading healthy, independent, meaningful and dignified lives, $3.9 million in general funds for each fiscal year was allocated for Kupuna Care.  $600,000 for fiscal year 2017-18 in general funds was provided to support family caregivers and $1.7 million in general funds for each fiscal year is appropriated for the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

HB100 HD1 SD1 also includes funding for capital improvement projects (CIP) which reflects the Senate Legislative priorities and supports many of the initiatives the Administration has been pledging such as doubling food production, addressing jail overcrowding, attending to capacity issues and new schools for growing communities, and addressing affordable housing, particularly for seniors. $35 million was allocated to address the backlog of repairs and new units for senior housing. Currently, there are over 4,100 seniors on the waitlist for senior housing.

OPERATING FUNDING HIGHLIGHTS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • Add (2) positions and $226,134 in FY18 and (3) positions and $200,000 in FY19 in general funds for the Agricultural Food Safety Certification Program
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for pesticide regulation expenses and studies
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $79,236 in FY18 and $158,472 in FY19 in general funds for pesticides compliance

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • Add $2,185,567 in FY18 and $2,210,913 in FY19 in general funds for New Payroll System and Time and Attendance System
  • Add $937,024 in FY18 and $922,326 in FY19 in general funds for integration of Human Resources System with Payroll and Time and Attendance System
  • Add $3,175,000 in general funds in each FY for Carrier Circuit and Collocation Costs for the Office of Enterprise Technology Services
  • Change means of financing for (5) permanent positions and $505,585 from trust funds to general funds in each FY for Campaign Spending Commission

DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

  • Add $38,000 in general funds in each FY for Criminal Justice Division Rent, Family Law Division Rent, Tax and Charities Division Rent
  • Add $110,000 in general funds in each FY for Criminal Justice Information Systems Hawai‘i software licenses/renewals for the State Criminal Justice Information and ID Program
  • Add (1) position and $50,000 in general funds in each FY for Police Review Board

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

  • 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
  • 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
  • Add (1) permanent positon and $29,868 in FY18 and $59,736 in FY19 in general funds for Transit-Oriented Development Projects and Interagency Transit-Oriented Development Council/Support
  • Add (0.5) temporary position and $23,750 in FY18 and $47,500 in FY19 in special funds for Chief Operating Officer/Industry Specialist for Hi Technology Development Corporation
  • Add (0.5) temporary position and $16,250 in FY18 and $32,500 in FY19 in special funds for Special Projects Coordinator for Hi Technology Development Corporation

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND FINANCE

  • Add $30,637,298 in general funds in FY18 for severance pay and social security and Medicare payments for employees to be separated from state employment due to the upcoming transfer of the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation’s (HHSC) Maui Region to Kaiser Permanente management
  • Add $4,493,450 in general funds in each FY for Centralized Vacation Payout for various departments
  • 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 $2,018,171 in FY18 and $107,552 in FY19 in other funds for Hawai‘i Domestic Relations Orders Implementation for the Employee Retirement System

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

  • Add (1) staff attorney and $68,145 in FY18 and $130,180 in FY19 in special funds for unfair and deceptive trade practices enforcement for Office of Consumer Protection
  • Add $200,000 in special funds in FY18 for consultant services and training
  • Add $303,949 in special funds in FY18 for other current expenditures for Public Utilities Commission equipment, renovation, and moving costs

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • Add $90,000 in general funds in each FY for State Active Duty continuing operations
  • Add $768,000 in FY18 and $464,000 in FY19 in general funds for tree trimming and removal at Hawai‘i State Veterans Cemetery
  • Add (1) permanent position and $50,772 in each FY for Veteran Services Counselor

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Early College High School Initiative
  • Add $2,800,000 in general funds and $2,800,000 in federal funds in each FY for Hawai‘i Keiki Program
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $91,909 in FY18 and $183,818 in FY19 in general funds for School Based Behavioral Health Services for Maui and Hawai‘i Island
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $183,818 in general funds in each FY for Hawai‘i Teachers Standards Board
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $779,310 in FY18 and $1,434,885 in FY19 in general funds for Civil Rights Compliance Capacity
  • Add $1,100,000 in general funds in each FY for Student Information System Enhancement and Expansion
  • Add $670,000 in general funds in each FY for Alternative Teacher Route Programs
  • Add $2,500,000 in FY18 and $4,000,000 in FY19 in general funds for School Service and Maintenance
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for Utilities
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $1,755,525 in FY18 and $3,711,835 in FY19 in general funds for Student Transportation Services Statewide

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

  • Add (6.5) permanent positions and $50,799 in FY18 and $203,196 in FY19 in general funds for Nanakuli Public Library
  • Add (1) permanent position and $23,466 in FY18 and $46,932 in FY19 in general funds for Office of the State Librarian
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for Repair and Maintenance Backlog

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • Add $9,651,776 in FY18 and $9,944,866 in FY19 in general funds for Per Pupil Adjustment

EARLY LEARNING

  • Add (10) permanent positions and $136,688 in FY18 and $556,842 in FY19 in general funds for Pre-Kindergarten and Induction Program
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $53,733 in FY18 and $82,317 in FY19 in general funds for Executive Office on Early Learning

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

  • Add $117,167 in general funds in each FY for membership fees for national and regional chief executive organizations

DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS

  • Add $6,865,887 in general funds in each FY for fringe benefits for general funded positions

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • Add $2,100,000 in general funds in each FY for operation of State Family and Elderly Housing Facility
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Housing First Program
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for homeless outreach services
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Rapid Re-Housing Program
  • Add $300,000 in general funds and $100,000 in federal funds in each FY for services for child victims of sex trafficking
  • Add $4,558,858 in general funds and $2,454,770 in federal funds in FY18 and $4,634,292 in general funds and $2,495,388 in federal funds in FY19 for settlement for foster care board rates
  • Add $2,500,000 in general funds and $7,056,720 in federal funds in FY18 and $5,000,000 in general funds and $14,113,440 in federal funds in FY19 for adult dental benefits
  • Add $1,886,205 in general funds and $2,309,090 in federal funds in FY18 and $4,052,472 in general funds and $4,961,033 in federal funds in FY19 for nursing facility inflation factor
  • Add $2,947,556 in general funds and $2,691,040 in federal funds in each FY for Medicare Part B Premiums
  • Transfer $500,000 in general funds in each FY from Office of Youth Services to School Community Services for Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health (REACH) Program.

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

  • Add $2,396,000 in general funds in FY18 for worker’s compensation claims

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • Add (2) temporary positions and $144,054 in FY18 and $208,143 in FY19 in special funds for Medical Marijuana Registry Program
  • Add (5) temporary positions and $890,000 in non-recurring special funds in each FY for medical marijuana dispensary licensing program
  • Add $6,507,305 in general funds in each FY for base budget funding of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Administration, Primary Prevention, and Chronic Disease Management per funding in Act 118, SLH 2015.
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in each FY for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individuals and families with severe substance abuse disorders
  • Add $300,000 in general funds in each FY for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals with severe substance use disorders
  • 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
  • Add $2,754,980 in FY18 and $7,118,914 in FY19 in general funds for rebased provider payment rates for Development Disabilities
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in each FY for maintenance of effort for Healthy Start
  • Add $799,833 in FY18 and $742,034 in FY19 in general funds for statewide emergency ambulance services
  • Add (1) permanent position and $60,629 in FY18 and $121,259 in FY19 in general funds for investigation of suspected health clusters from environmental sources
  • Add $3,976,435 in general funds in each FY for Kupuna Care
  • Add $1,700,000 in general funds in each FY for Aging and DisabilityResourceCenter
  • Add $600,000 in general funds in FY18 for Kupuna Caregiver Program
  • Add $150,000 in general funds in each FY for purchase of services contract for statewide telehealth pilot project
  • Transfer $942,000 in general funds in each FY as subsidy to Wahiawa General Hospital to Subsidies

HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION

  • Add $300,000 in general funds in each FY for operations subsidy for KahukuHospital
  • Add $36,486,000 in FY18 and $34,686,000 in FY19 in general funds for operations subsidy for the regions
  • Add $5,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation – Regions or Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospital LLC.
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in each FY for operations subsidy for Maui Health System

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

  • Add (1) permanent position and $19,746 in FY18 and $39,492 in FY19 in general funds for Legal Support
  • Add (1) permanent position and $515,386 in FY18 and $2,810,772 in FY19 in general funds for Disability Compensation Division Modernization

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Add $14,047,588 in general funds in each FY for various programs’ base budgets per funding in Act 84, SLH 2015.
  • Add $2,228,250 in special funds in FY18 for re-appropriation of lapsed Land Conservation funds
  • Add $1,700,000 in special funds in each FY for increased Conveyance Tax revenues for Land Conservation Fund
  • Add $4,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for Rapid ‘Ō‘hia Death Response
  • Add $400,000 in general funds in each FY for Fire Protection Program
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for protection of watershed forests
  • Add (15) permanent 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 Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Add $165,000 in general funds in each FY for Malpractice Insurance. Add $3,334,801 in general funds in FY18 for Housing Inmates in Non-State Facility during Renovation of Halawa Correctional Facility
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for Lease Rent for Department of Public Safety Administration Building and Moving Costs

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • Add $59,000 in general funds in each FY for Medical Marijuana Tax Collections

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • Add (7) permanent positions and $157,939 in FY18 and $303,878 in FY19 for Airside Operations Section Security Unit Pass and Identification Office
  • Reduce $123,787 in FY19 for contracted employees in the Pass and Identification Office.  Similar adjustments were made for other airports’ Pass and ID Offices.
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $162,752 in FY18 and $293,004 in FY19 for Federal Inspection Station
  • 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
  • Reduce (32) positions and $1,461,444 in special funds in both FY for long-standing and lower priority vacancies on O‘ahu in various Highways programs.
  • Add $3,514,950 in FY18 and $1,242,000 in FY19 in special funds for information technology projects.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I

  • Add (4) permanent positions and $3,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Cancer Center clinical trials and operational support
  • Add $350,000 in general funds in each FY for Concussion Awareness
  • Add $1,829,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawai‘i Promise Program
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $820,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX program for the Community Colleges

Add (3) permanent positions and $470,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX program for UH System-wide Support

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECT (CIP) HIGHLIGHTS

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • $20,000,000 to purchase over 500 acres of agricultural land to lease to local farmers, decreasing dependence on imported agriculture products
  • $25,000,000 in upgrades and improvements to critical water infrastructure systems and agricultural facilities, statewide

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • $20,000,000 for the maintenance of existing statewide facilities for the Public Works Division

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM

  • $25,000,000 for an infusion to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund, and $25,000,000 for an infusion to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to address infrastructure, construction and development needs of affordable housing across the State

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • $16,000,00 for upgrades and improvements to National Guard readiness centers and facilities, statewide
  • $6,000,00 to retrofit public buildings with hurricane protective measures

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • $168,000,000 for growing student populations on both O‘ahu and Maui for new school and classroom projects
  • $437,965,000 in total to the Department of Education; 44% of the entire general obligation bond amount awarded statewide

DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOMELANDS

  • $15,000,000 for various improvements to existing infrastructure on Hawaiian home lands, statewide
  • $30,000,000 for NAHASDA development projects statewide

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • $51,500,000 to Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority for the renovations of their public housing facilities, statewide
  • $35,000,000 for a senior housing project on O‘ahu that will provide an additional 200 to 250 units for senior living public housing facilities to accommodate an underserved elderly population

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • $20,000,000 for improvements and renovations to existing facilities within the Hawai‘i Health Systems Corporation
  • $10,000,000 for an infusion to the Safe Drinking Water Revolving Fund.
  • $15,000,000 for an infusion to the Wastewater Treatment Revolving Fund

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • $9,000,000 for Kaanapali Beach restoration and berm enhancement
  • $15,000,000 for watershed protection, management and administration
  • $10,000,000 for State parks infrastructure and facility improvements, statewide

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • $60,000,000 to end the search and debate of a prospective jail site by solidifying a Halawa location and allowing the Department of Public Safety to begin the process to design a new jail.
  • $6,000,000 to begin the process of adding beds to the current Halawa prison site to bring home prisoners from the mainland

SUBSIDIES

  • $13,000,000 for the design and construction of pedestrian walkways for the City and County of Honolulu
  • $2,500,000 for site improvements to the Bryan J. Baptiste Sports Complex on Kauai County.

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • $500,000 for infrastructure and equipment for the safety and security of Department of Taxation facilities, statewide

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • $150,000,000 for ticket lobby improvements to the Honolulu International Airport, O‘ahu.
  • $50,000,000 for the construction of a new federal inspection station at the Kona International Airport at Keahole, Hawai‘i
  • $75,000,000 for an extension of the Lahaina Bypass Road on Maui
  • $22,000,000 for various programs and projects to facilitate highway planning, statewide
  • $47,000,000 for shoreline protection improvements of existing state highway facilities

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAI‘I

  • $6,000,000 for site improvements and repairs to Hawai‘i Hall on the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus
  • $6,000,000 for site and infrastructure improvements to research stations, statewide

Hemp Day at the Capitol

State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 – Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, will lead a day focused on the production and uses of industrial hemp at the State Capitol on Wednesday, March 29th.

Waimanalo, Oahu Hemp field blessing on April 15, 2015

“Hemp is an incredible crop that has big potential in our islands”, said Senator Gabbard. “This is an opportunity to bring some attention to what kind of exciting opportunities are just around the corner as our state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is rolled out. I’m confident hemp will be a niche crop for our farmers that will make good use of the Hawai‘i brand.”

The day begins with a floor presentation in the State Senate Chambers at 11:30 a.m. as Senator Gabbard honors Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of the Industrial Hemp Research Project, and his team for their efforts in proving industrial hemp can grow well in Hawai‘i. In December 2015, the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources released a report on a successful, two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research project that was conducted in Waimanalo in compliance with Act 56 (2014): https://www.hawaii.edu/offices/eaur/govrel/reports/2016/act56-slh2014_2016_industrial-hemp_report.pdf

The Senate floor presentation will be followed by a joint Informational Briefing at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 224 to provide an update about industrial hemp research, the current status of the state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, and the future of hemp development in Hawai‘i.

The informational briefing will include presentations by the following:

The hearing notice can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_AEN-AGR_03-29-17_INFO_.HTM

For questions about the informational briefing, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.

Construction Begins on Terminal Modernization Project at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Airports Division marked the start of construction on the Terminal Modernization Project Phase 1 at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. The groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of an improved facility that will enhance the customer experience for those traveling to and from Kona.

From left to right: Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division; Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Governor David Ige; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc.

The $75 million investment will focus on reorganizing the existing layout of the airport in an effort to streamline operations. Improvements will be made to the security screening area, holding rooms, concession area, and restrooms.

More than three million passengers use KOA annually. Currently, the North and South Terminals are operating as two independent terminals, requiring passengers to go through security again when exiting one terminal and entering the other. The renovation will allow passengers to freely move between terminals to promote shopping and dining in the additional retail space that will be created.

Governor David Ige speaks about the upgrades that will be made at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

Instead of two separate security screening stations, there will be one centralized security area. The new 6-lane passenger screening checkpoint building will expedite the processing of outbound passengers and reduce the time spent in line. Baggage screening will also undergo improvements as the new inline baggage handling system will employ an Explosive Detection System for baggage screening which will improve work efficiency for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport operations.

Additional features include new restrooms in both the public area before screening and in the terminal areas. The project also includes two covered bag drop areas for added convenience.

“The upgrades to the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport are a key component in the statewide Modernization Program,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “Joining the two terminals will boost the airport’s operational efficiency and will offer permanent solutions that will have lasting benefits for the State of Hawaii for years to come.”

“In December 2016 we were thrilled to welcome international flights from Tokyo back to Kona and we expect passenger volumes to continue to soar,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “Our goal is to provide each and every passenger with an enjoyable experience which will leave a positive impression with our visitors and residents.”

From left to right: Kahu Brian Boshard, Frank Okimoto, Nan Inc., Chauncey Wong Yuen, Manager Kona Airport; Senator Lorraine Inouye; Governor David Ige; Representative Nicole Lowen; Representative Cindy Evans; Ross Higashi, HDOT Deputy Director Airports Division.

The project is scheduled to be completed within two years. The lead contractor is Nan, Inc. and the design team is led by KYA.

The Terminal Modernization Project at Kona International Airport at Keahole is part of the $2.7 billion statewide Modernization Program that is improving facilities at airports statewide.

Hawaii House Budget Includes $360.8 Million for Big Island Capital Improvement Projects

Big Island legislators secured more than $360.8 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the recently passed House proposed budget.

The two largest single amounts were in transportation: $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension and $64.8 million for projects at the Kona International Airport.

The budget includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects throughout the state.

The budget bill now moves to the Senate for its consideration.

These numbers do not reflect numerous statewide projects, which includes work in all counties.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

GENERAL

  • $4.3 million for a new maintenance shop for the Hawaii Army National Guard at Keaukaha Mililtary Reservation
  • $5.5 million for Hawaiian Home Lands to build a Kau water system
  • $4.5 million to renovate the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $2 million to create a telehealth unit at Hilo Medical Center
  • $850,000 to build a West Hawaii Vet’s Center
  • $500,000 for Hawaiian Home Land for development of Kaumana subdivision
  • $300,000 for repairs to state-owned roads to benefit agricultural producers
  • $300,000 to build a throw away ditch and drainage area at Puupulehu Reservoir
  • $250,000 to build a swimming are at Pohoiki

SCHOOLS

  • $7.2 million for Hilo High School to upgrade the track and field and renovate building B
  • $6 million for Waikeawaena Elementary School to renovate and expand the cafeteria
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School to build a synthetic track and plan a performing arts center
  • $3.4 million for Kohala Middle School to build a play court/assembly area
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School for covered walkways $950,000 for Hilo Intermediate School to renovate the locker rooms
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College, Palamanui campus for improvements for the trade and apprenticeship program and to convert a classroom to a physics lab
  • $500,000 for Pahoa Elementary School to plan a new cafeteria and administration building
  • $450,000 for Hawaii Community College, Hilo campus to reroof the automotive building
  • $400,000 for Paauilo Elementary School to renovate a the home economics classroom to meet state health standards for a certified kitchen
  • $186,000 for Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino for campus-wide repair work

TRANSPORTATION

  • $89 million for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $64.8 million for the Kona International Airport for a new agriculture inspection station, an aircraft rescue and fire fighting center, install an emergency generator, build a federal inspection station, replace the perimeter fence, renovate the restrooms
  • $55.3 million for the Hawaii Belt Road for improvements to drainage, rockfall protection, repairs to the Umauma Stream Bridge, replace an arch-deck bridge near Papaikou, and replace Wailuku Bridge
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements and widening
  • $16.6 million for Hilo International Airport to reconstruct the aircraft aprons, improve the Arcade building, build noise attenuation dwelling at the Keaukaha subdivision, improve the ticket lobby, holdrooms, and restrooms
  • $14.3 million for Mamalahoa Highway drainage improvements, replacing Hilea Stream Bridge, replacing Ninole Bridge and guardrail and shoulder work
  • $13 million to replace the one-lane 4 mile Creek Bridge for commuters between Hilo and Puna
  • $8 million for Kawaihae Road to replace Waiaka Stream Bridge and realign the approaches
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway for widening and guardrails on the Pololu Valley side of Aamakao Gulch
  • $2 million to build acceleration lanes on Highway 11
  • $2 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways
  • $1.1 million for Kawaihae North and South Small Boat Harbor for paving and drainage improvements
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport to install a security system and replace a storage shed
  • $600,000 for traffic operational improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities

Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona) (808) 586-9605 repcreagan@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) (808) 586-8510 repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) (808) 586-6530 repsanbuenaventura@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) (808) 586-8400 replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) (808) 586-6680 repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano) (808) 586-6120 reponishi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Chris Todd (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea) (808) 586-8480 reptodd@capitol.hawaii.gov