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Rod S. Tanonaka Named House Sergeant-At-Arms

Rod. S. Tanonaka has been named the State House of Representatives Sergeant-at-Arms effective January 3, 2017.

capitalTanonaka replaces Kevin R. Kuroda who held the position since 2003. Kuroda announced his retirement last month to address personal and family concerns.

“Kevin has done an outstanding job and we will miss his steady presence at the Capitol,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “We also believe Rod has the experience and skills needed to capably fulfill the requirements of the position.”

Tanonaka previously served as Chief of Staff for the late U.S. Rep. K. Mark Takai and prior to that held the same post for U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa during her first term in office.

The Sergeant-at-Arms Office’s duties include providing security for the offices and chambers of the state House. The staff attends and maintains order during all House sessions and is responsible for executing the commands of the House leadership.

Hawaii Department of Health Clears Marine Agrifuture to Resume Sales of Ogo and Sea Asparagus

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has lifted its Cease and Desist Order against Marine Agrifuture LLC (Olakai Farm). This morning, the company was notified it may resume the sale and distribution of Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo and Sea Asparagus food products harvested at the Kahuku farm.

marine-agrifutureLaboratory test results from samples taken on Nov. 29 indicated that Marine Agrifuture’s processing areas and products were negative for Salmonella. The wells, all inlets to production ponds, and the growing and rinse tanks were also free from Salmonella and levels of indicator organisms (Enterococci and Clostridium perfringens) that would signal possible environmental contamination.

“Based on lab test results and visual confirmation by health inspectors of the thorough cleaning and improvements made to several critical components of the farm’s physical infrastructure, the department is satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the safety of Marine Agrifuture’a food products,” said Peter Oshiro, Food Safety Program manager. “The department will continue to work with the farm on measures to prevent any future contamination of products.”

The department has recommended the farm continue to sample and test their wells, inlets to the production areas and growing ponds, and rinse/grow tanks to insure corrective measures remain effective and sufficient. The farm is urged to share test results with DOH for compliance assistance and consultation. All components of Marine Agrifuture’s farm, piping, wells, source/rinse water, production areas, equipment and food products are subject to further periodic and unannounced testing by health inspectors. In addition, the farm is not allowed to grow or harvest any products from streams, or other areas not approved by DOH.

The Department of Health’s Sanitation Branch is a statewide program responsible for the inspection of food establishments, issuance of permits and enforcement of food safety regulations. The Branch does not conduct routine inspections or issue permits for Raw Agricultural Commodities such as fresh fruit, vegetables, and other food crops grown on farms. Educational classes on food protection and safety are provided to the public, food industry and other agencies through the branch’s Food Handlers Education Program.

Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System in Hawaii

Following six meetings earlier this year, the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) has received a report from a group of experts and organizations with interest in establishing non-commercial fishing licenses in Hawaii’i.

Click to read the study

Click to read the study

The independent group studied the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system.  Participants in the meetings, held between May and November, included the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, Conservation International, fisheries resources managers, experts, and representatives from different fishing organizations and interest groups.

The study group interviewed fisheries managers from other coastal states, conducted a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consulted with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

According to DAR Administrator Dr. Bruce Anderson, “This group specifically focused on the ability of a potential system to meet three primary fishery objectives.”  This includes providing additional and more robust data to support fisheries management; to foster more dialogue between fishers and managers; and to create a continuous source of independent funding to support effective fisheries management.  In expressing the DLNR’s appreciation to the members of the study group, Anderson wrote, “It is indeed a thorough and well-researched document.  We are impressed with the way all the members worked together throughout the project.

While Study Group members did not hesitate to express divergent views, their comments were always intended to be constructive. I believe the final report reflects this spirit of cooperation and collaboration as well as the dedication and hard work of all members.  Every member certainly has a great passion and appreciation of the value of our marine resources.”

Anderson concluded, “We look forward to getting comments from a broad range of stakeholders before making such a decision on what option is preferred. Undoubtedly, this report will generate considerable discussion and serve as a valuable reference for all those interested in this issue.”


The Division of Aquatic Resources has received the Final Report from the Study Group for the Feasibility of a Non-Commercial Marine Fishing Registry, Permit, or License System for Hawai‘i.  The Study Group was jointly convened by Conservation International Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and consisted of fisheries resource managers, experts, and representatives from various fishing organizations and interest groups.  The Study Group examined the potential benefits and impacts of different forms of a non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license system and specifically focused on the ability of such as system to meet three primary fishery management objectives: (1) provide additional and more robust data to support fisheries management, (2) foster more two-way dialogue between fishers and managers, and (3) create sources of independent, continuous funding to support effective fisheries management and enforcement.  The process included interviews with fisheries managers from other coastal states, a detailed economic feasibility analysis, and consultation with legal experts, including an expert in native Hawaiian law.

The final report and supporting appendices can be downloaded below. All are pdf files under 1 MB except where noted.

Final Report (6.2 MB)
Executive Summary (3.6 MB)
Appendix A – Charter of Commitments (1.4 MB)
Appendix B – Coastal States & Territories Comparison Matrix
Appendix C – List of Listening Sessions Between Study Group Meetings
Appendix D – Comparison of Non-commercial Marine Fishing Regulation Systems in States Similar to Hawaii
Appendix E – Overview of Hawaii Legal Considerations for Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix F – Table of Provisions on the Right to Fish from Other States
Appendix G – Hawaii’s Traditional and Customary Rights Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing (19.9 MB)
Appendix H – Financial Impact Analysis of Potential Systems to Regulate Non-commercial Marine Fishing
Appendix I – Personal Statements from Study Group Members

State of Hawaii Annual Uniform Crime Report – Crime in Hawaii 2015

Attorney General Doug Chin announced the release of the State of Hawaii’s annual Uniform Crime Report, Crime in Hawaii, 2015.

crime-in-hawaii-2015The report shows that in calendar year 2015, a total of 48,919 Index Crimes* were reported in the State of Hawaii, yielding a rate of 3,417 offenses per 100,000 resident population. Hawaii’s total Index Crime rate in 2015 was 0.3% below the rate reported in 2014, and 24.7% below the rate reported a decade earlier (2006).

There were 3,530 violent Index Crimes reported statewide in 2015, yielding a rate of 246.6 offenses per 100,000 residents. Hawaii’s violent Index Crime rate in 2015 was 2.3% more than the rate reported in 2014, and 12.9% below the rate reported in 2006. There were 45,389 property Index Crimes reported statewide in 2015, yielding a rate of 3,171 offenses per 100,000 residents. Hawaii’s property Index Crime rate in 2015 was 0.5% below the rate reported in 2014, and 25.5% below the rate reported in 2006. Other highlights of Crime in Hawaii, 2015 include the following:

  • The rate of reported offenses for two violent Index Crimes decreased in the State of Hawaii in 2015: rape, by 1.9%; and aggravated assault, by 1.6%. The rate of reported offenses for the other two violent Index Crimes increased: murder, by 6.5%; and robbery, by 12.4%.
  • Rates of reported offenses increased by 1.3% each for two property Index Crime categories: larceny-theft and motor vehicle theft. The rate of reported offenses for burglary decreased by 9.5%.
  • The rate of reported offenses for arson increased by 66.1% statewide in 2015.
  • Based on the proportion of arrests (plus cases closed by “exceptional means”) to reported offenses, the statewide clearance rate for total Index Crimes decreased, from 16.2% in 2014 to 15.3% in 2015.
  • The number of Index Crime arrests fell by 5.0% statewide in 2015. Arrests for violent Index Crimes decreased 8.7%, and arrests for property Index Crimes decreased 3.9%.
  • Adult arrests comprised 83.0% of all Index Crime arrests in 2015; juvenile arrests accounted for 17.0%. Crime in Hawaii 2015 provides state and county data on the age, gender, and race/ethnicity of arrestees.
  • The City & County of Honolulu’s total Index Crime rate increased 1.2% in 2015. The violent and property crime rates increased by 6.6% and 0.8%, respectively. The City & County of Honolulu’s rates for murder, rape, and burglary were the lowest in the State of Hawaii, while its robbery rate was the highest.
  • Hawaii County’s total Index Crime rate decreased 2.8% in 2015; the property crime rate fell 2.1%, and the violent crime rate dropped 13.7%. Hawaii County’s crime rates rose for four of the ten Index Crime offenses, with notable increases of 162.3% for murder and 69.4% for arson. Hawaii County reported the lowest robbery and arson rates in the State of Hawaii, and the highest rates for murder, motor vehicle theft, and human trafficking–commercial sex acts.
  • The total Index Crime rate in Maui County increased 2.3% in 2015; the violent crime rate rose 7.6%, and the property crime rate edged up 1.8%. Maui County’s crime rates increased for six of the ten Index Crime offenses, with a notable increase of 86.4% for arson. Maui County reported the highest statewide rates for total, violent, and property Index Crimes, as well as rape, aggravated assault, and larceny-theft.
  • The total Index Crime rate in Kauai County decreased 22.7% in 2015. Kauai County’s violent crime rate decreased 26.3%, and the property crime rate dropped 22.4%. Kauai County’s arson rate increased by 828.9% in 2015. Kauai County’s rates for total Index Crime, total violentcrime, total property crime, aggravated assault, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft were the lowest in the State of Hawaii, while its rates for burglary and arson were the highest.
  • Twenty-nine murders were reported statewide in 2015. Males comprised 72.4% of the murder victims and 75.0% of the alleged offenders. One-third (33.3%) of known relationships between murder victims and offenders in 2015 were strangers, while about one-quarter (25.9%) were immediate family members.
  • Of the 2,992 murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults reported statewide in 2015, 47.1% were committed using strong-arm weapons (i.e., hands, fists, and feet); 25.0% with “other” or unknown weapons; 17.3% with knives or other edged weapons; and 10.5% with firearms.
  • Over $85 million in property value was reported stolen in the State of Hawaii in 2015, up 8.1% from the figure reported in 2014. Of the total value stolen in 2015, 29.5% was recovered, marking an increase from the 25.7% that was recovered in 2014.
  • No police officers were killed in the line of duty in the State of Hawaii during 2015, but 401 officers were assaulted, yielding a rate of 13.6 assaults per 100 officers. Crime in Hawaii 2015 also provides data on the time of day, type of assignment, and the weapons used in assaults against police officers (see Appendix D).
  • On October 31, 2015, a total of 2,939 police officers and 826 civilians were employed by the four county police departments, denoting a 0.3% decrease in workforce from the figures reported from October 31, 2014.

* Including the violent Index Crimes of murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, and tracked separately, human trafficking, commercial sex acts and human trafficking, involuntary servitude; the property Index Crimes of burglary, motor vehicle theft, and larceny-theft; and, tracked separately, arson.

Record Crime Rates* State of Hawaii and Counties, 2015:

State of HawaiiRecord low burglary rate

City & County of Honolulu – Record low burglary rate

Hawaii CountyRecord high motor vehicle theft rate

Maui County (None )

Kauai CountyRecord low total Index Crime rate, Record low property crime rate, Record low burglary rate, Record low larceny-theft rate, Record low motor vehicle theft rate, Record high arson rate

* Within jurisdiction, since the start of statewide data collection in 1975 (1980 for arson rates).

Copies of the complete Crime in Hawaii, 2015report can be downloaded from the Attorney General’s Crime Prevention and Justice Assistance Division web site at http://ag.hawaii.gov/cpja/crime-in-hawaii-2015.

Hu Honua Bioenergy Files Federal Complaint

Hu Honua Bioenergy, LLC, a baseload 24/7 biomass electric plant on the Hamakua Coast on Hawaii Island, filed a civil antitrust complaint in federal court against Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawaii Electric Light Co., NextEra Energy Resources, and Hamakua Energy Partners, Wednesday (Nov. 30, 2016).

hu-honua

Hu Honua had a Public Utilities Commission-approved power purchase agreement with Hawaii Electric Light, which was unlawfully terminated as a result of actions by the defendants.

“Hu Honua regrets that the matter has come to this,” said Harold Robinson IV, president of Island BioEnergy, a majority owner of Hu Honua, “we’d rather have a power plant than a lawsuit. For almost two years we have unsuccessfully attempted to obtain Hawaiian Electric Light’s agreement to our reasonable requests to extend two milestone dates. Hawaiian Electric Light’s refusal to provide these extensions has left us with no recourse but to file suit to recover our substantial damages of $120 million that was invested in our 50 percent complete biomass power plant and our lost profits of $435 million.”

The complaint was filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court, Hawaii District, by the legal teams of Bronster Fujichaku Robbins of Honolulu and Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP of San Francisco.

The detailed allegations and the project’s complex history are outlined in the complaint, which alleges violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act and Hawaii unfair competition laws, as well as breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and seeks to recover actual and treble damages. Hu Honua asks for a jury trial.

Robinson noted that “the concerted effort to monopolize electricity generated on the Big Island has not only blocked the state’s progress toward the achievement of its energy self-sufficiency mandates set by Hawaii Law, but also stunted the creation of almost 200 local jobs at the facility, in agriculture and ancillary services.”

Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura Chosen for 2016 Western Legislative Academy

The Council of State Governments West (CSG West), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization serving Western state legislators of both parties in 13 Western states, has selected Hawaii Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura as a participant in its prestigious training institute for lawmakers in their first four years of service.  The purpose of the Western Legislative Academy is to build excellence and effectiveness in state legislators in the Western region.

rep-joy-fb-pictureAdmission to the Western Legislative Academy is very competitive and is based on commitment to public service, desire to improve personal legislative effectiveness and interest in improving the legislative process.  Out of 88 applicants from throughout the Western United States, 44 state legislators were selected as members of the Western Legislative Academy Class of 2016.

The Western Legislative Academy convenes from November 30 – December 3, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colorado for three and a half days of intensive training in subjects such as legislative institutions, ethics, communications, negotiations, time management and leadership.  Faculty is drawn from academia, former military and the private sector.  A highlight of the training is an afternoon at the US Air Force Academy working on personal assessments and team building.

San Buenaventura is a 2nd term Hawaii State Representative for the District of Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii. She is vice-chair of the Judiciary Committee and is a member of Transportation and Housing committees.  She is one of only two state representatives in the medical marijuana working group.

Prior to being a legislator, she has been a country attorney for more than 30 years specializing in appeals, litigation and family law.  She has volunteered as a mediator with Kuikahi mediation, as an arbitrator with the Judiciary and as a lawyer with Volunteer Legal Services and with the Judiciary’s self-help clinic.  Joy has had several jury trials and multiple bench trials, and 25 years ago, she was the first attorney in the state to pursue breast implant litigation. She has won all of her appeals to the Hawaii Supreme Court; is a former per diem District Court Judge from 1991-1995, the youngest judge then; and a former University of Hawaii lecturer.

The Council of State Governments West is the Western region of the national Council of State Governments, which is based in Lexington, Kentucky.  Regional offices of CSG are located in Sacramento, Chicago, Atlanta and New York.

Funding for the Academy comes from the Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation, which is dedicated to excellence in nonprofit organizations, and from Western state legislatures and corporate sponsors. The El Pomar Foundation also donates the campus for the Western Legislative Academy.

Kona International Airport to Resume International Flights

Gov. David Y. Ige and the United States Customs and Border Protection announced the re-establishment of a Federal Inspection Service (FIS) facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA). The inaugural international flight from Kona to Tokyo, Japan is scheduled to depart on Dec. 20, 2016. The flight from Tokyo to Kona is scheduled to arrive at the Kona International Airport on Dec. 21, 2016.

ige-announcement“The resumption of international flights to Kona will have a wide-ranging positive impact on Hawai‘i Island and the state as a whole by boosting tourism spending, creating jobs and generating millions of dollars for our economy,” said Gov. David Y. Ige. “I especially thank our partners at U.S. Customs and Border Protection for working with us to achieve this goal. This was a top priority for my administration and I am pleased that we were able to make the Federal Inspection Service facility in Kona a reality.”

“In fulfilling our important role protecting the border and fostering lawful travel, CBP relies on strong partnerships with stakeholders. This is why we are especially grateful for the commitment of Governor Ige and the people of Hawai‘i to providing adequate airport inspection facilities,” said Brian Humphrey, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, director, field operations. “In equal good faith, CBP is committed to providing a welcoming experience to passengers in Kona while we simultaneously protect America.”

The new FIS will benefit Hawai‘i in several ways. The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation estimates new international flights to Kona will result in more than $7 million in annual projected tax benefits. International visitors will also spend tens of millions of dollars at local businesses and attractions, further boosting the economy and generating jobs. Hawai‘i has seen the numbers of international travelers increase by more than one million passengers, or nearly 60 percent, since the economic downturn in 2009. The trend in international passenger arrivals in Hawai‘i is expected to continue to grow, enhancing the need for a second airport to accept flights from international destinations.

The secondary international point of entry in Kona will ease congestion at the Honolulu International Airport, especially during daily peak hours and busy travel seasons. The FIS will improve health and safety by increasing resiliency in an emergency. Should an unforeseen incident occur in Honolulu, international flights would still be able to land safely in Kona. Currently, Honolulu is the only landing option in the state for international flights.

The United States Department of Transportation approved Hawaiian Airlines’ request to fly non-stop international flights between Kona and Haneda International Airport in Tokyo beginning in December.

“We look forward to welcoming our Tokyo guests with our authentic Hawaiian hospitality as they enjoy the convenience of our direct flights to the spectacular Kona coast,” said Peter Ingram, executive vice president and chief commercial officer for Hawaiian Airlines. “We are pleased to return international flights to the Big Island and thankful to all of our government, business and community partners for their support of our newest route.”

Several improvements are being made to the international arrivals section at KOA, including the installation of security cameras and motion sensors, an upgraded access control system, 10 Automated Passport Control kiosks to process incoming international passengers quickly and efficiently, and refurbished restrooms.

“After multiple meetings and on-site visits, we finally made it across the finish line,” said Sen. Brian Schatz. “I thank CBP and the Obama Administration for recognizing the potential of our visitor industry and for working with the State of Hawaii, the people of Kona, and many others in state government and the hospitality industry to finally get this done.”

“After six years of working closely with federal and state officials, and community partners to reestablish direct international flights to Kona International Airport, today’s announcement is good news for Hawai‘i’s tourism industry and the Hawai‘i Island economy. In particular, I want to acknowledge the efforts of Customs and Border Protection to work with the state on the Federal Inspection Service facility that made this a reality,” said Sen. Mazie K. Hirono.

“Today’s announcement not only positively impacts our tourism-based economy, it addresses a critical safety and security need for our state by providing a secondary international port in case of emergency,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02). “This project has been a priority of mine, and became a reality through many years of hard work by community leaders, local businesses, and county, state, and Federal government.  I especially want to thank HDOT and CBP for their leadership and upholding their commitment to reopening international travel to Kona.”

Regularly scheduled international flights to Kona began in 1996 and were discontinued in October 2010.

GOVERNOR’S OFFICE FLAG ORDER: Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of State Representative Clifton Tsuji

As a mark of respect for the late Hawai’i State Representative Clifton Tsuji, Gov. David Ige has ordered that the flags of the United States and State of Hawai‘i shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies, as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard, from sunrise to sunset on Friday, December 2, and from sunrise to sunset on Sunday, December 4. 

clift-tsuji“Representative Tsuji was a dedicated public servant who spent the last 12 years passionately and vigorously serving his beloved community of Hilo at the Hawai‘i State Legislature. He was a quiet man with a big heart who will be remembered fondly by his colleagues and Hawai‘i Island residents. I, personally, will miss him at the State Capitol. On behalf of the people of Hawai‘i, I extend our heartfelt condolences to the Tsuji ‘‘ohana,” said Gov. David Ige.

Tsuji has served in the State House of Representatives since 2004. He was chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development and Business from 2013-14 and the House Committee on Agriculture from 2007-2012 and from 2015-2016.

He was a vocal supporter of biotechnology and genetically modified crops and a proponent of geothermal energy as an alternative to imported oil.

Tsuji is survived by two sons – Ashley Allen and Ryan Kalei Tsuji.

*Flag orders are issued for the date(s) of the memorial service(s).

New Administrator for Plant Industry Division of Hawaii Department of Agriculture

Hawaii entomologist, John McHugh, Ph.D., has been appointed as the administrator of the Plant Industry Division of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture. His duties will include overseeing the Plant Quarantine, Plant Pest Control and Pesticides Branches. The appointment is effective December 1, 2016. He succeeds Dr. Neil Reimer, who retired in
April 2016.

John McHugh, Ph.D.

John McHugh, Ph.D.

“Dr. McHugh is known for his aptitude in solving a variety of agricultural problems that affect Hawaii farmers,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “The department is truly fortunate to have his experience, expertise and dedication in helping to move agriculture forward in our state.”

Dr. McHugh received his bachelor’s degree in General Tropical Agriculture and a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He also received a Doctor of Philosophy in Entomology which focused on integrated pest management of the diamondback moth from Purdue University in May 1994.

He has 42 years of wide-ranging experience in agriculture as an entomologist, educator, manager and consultant and has taught at Leeward Community College and the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.  He has also worked at DuPont Pioneer, Hana Hou Seed Harvest, LLC, Sumida Farm, Inc. and Crop Care Hawaii, LLC.

Dr. McHugh has been active in the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation since 1975 and served as the chair of the Environmental Stewardship Committee. He also served as a board member of the Oahu Resource Conservation and Development Council, as well as director and board member of the West Oahu Soil Conservation District. In addition, he served three terms as a member of the State’s Advisory Committee on Pesticides.

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit Brings Together Latest Science & Policy

Lead scientists in the fight against Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death on Hawaii’i Island joined Governor David Ige and other top policy makers for the first-ever Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit, today at the Hawaii’i State Capital Auditorium. Speakers provided situation reports on the disease and presented the recently completed, strategic response plan which will guide the statewide response to this dire threat to Hawaii’s most iconic tree species.

rapid-ohia-deathThe fungal disease has devastated more than 50,000 acres of native ʻōhiʻa, one of Hawaii’i’s most prized and culturally important forest trees. Understanding the disease and how to prevent or slow further spread is a top priority of the Executive Branch.  Gov. Ige, who provided the welcome and opening remarks said, “Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death” has prompted the mobilization of several state and federal agencies and is a top priority for leading researchers who are learning more about this disease as they work to stop it from spreading.”

The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit, was open to the public, and included a presentation on the biocultural importance of ʻōhiʻa by Dr. Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon III, of The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi. Dr. Gon explained that the primary cultural underpinnings of ʻōhiʻa support the notion that it is perhaps the most significantly cultural tree in Hawaii’i. He traced the cultural importance of the species as a physical manifestation of the Hawaiian deity Ku and as a tree used for weapons, tools, building, hula dancing sticks, lei, food for birds and medicines for people. It is considered the most important tree for the protection of Hawaii’i’s forest watersheds.

A panel of state and federal experts discussed and updated the latest research and management actions. Dr. Lisa Keith of the U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service explained, “The identification of the ceratocystis fungus used to take two-four weeks to confirm in the lab.  We can now test very small samples of a tree’s DNA and determine within 24 hours if this fungus is killing it.” “Unfortunately” she continued, “there is no silver bullet (for a treatment) and the science is important for informing management decisions.”

Dr. Flint Hughes with the U.S. Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry painted a grim picture for the future of native ʻōhiʻa forests if the disease continues unchecked.  He said, “We currently have 52, one-quarter acre monitoring plots on Hawaii’i island. These are in places where the fungus has killed trees and our data shows that 11% of the ʻōhiʻa, on average, in these plots, will die each year.  If there are 100 ʻōhiʻa in each plot, this means in about a decade all of the trees there will be dead.” In some areas the mortality has been 100%.

Dr. Gordon Bennett of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources is one of the researchers collaboratively investigating the linkage between non-native beetles and the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. He explained that these wood boring beetles are attracted to unhealthy trees and set up homes (galleries) in them.  Currently he and other researchers are looking at pest control and management strategies based on science.  Bennett said, “We’re just starting in this area.  It’s a new challenge.”

Dr. Greg Asner of Stanford University’s  Carnegie Airborne Observatory detailed the use of laser guided imaging spectroscopy to produce 3D imaging that shows the size and precise location of trees to within six inches. He explained, “We’re trying to use this technology to look ahead in time. This technology even allows us to measure 15 different chemicals in tree foliage, which is like going to a doctor for a blood test.” Data from the 3D aerial surveys conducted in January of this year is currently being analyzed and results are expected to be available around the first of the year.

Rob Hauff, a forester with the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, wrapped up the morning session by revealing the newly developed Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Strategic Response Plan, which is guided by the bicultural significance of ʻōhiʻa. Hauff explained, “The goal of this plan is to provide a roadmap that conveys what the situation is and where we need to go to manage this.”  To implement the plan, it calls for funding of a little more than $10 million over the next three years for research, response, recommendations, outreach, and management strategies.

Today’s presenters were a few of the front-line researchers, forest managers and policy makers, who’ve been working since late 2014 to try and identify the cause of the disease and how it spreads.  Their findings prompted a strict state Dept. of Agriculture quarantine which restricts movement of all ʻōhiʻa wood, soil, and Metrosideros species plants and plant parts from Hawaii island to the other islands. The state also has publicized and distributed protocols to inform the general public and forest users about steps they can take to further prevent the spread of this disease (see www.rapidohiadeath.org).

Hauff and Christy Martin of the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) organized the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Summit.  Martin said, “This is the first time we’ve had all the principal players in the fight against this disease in one place, to provide background to decision-makers and the public.  People are eager to understand what’s happening to ʻōhiʻa, and what more they can do.”

Annual Closure of ‘Ama‘ama (Striped Mullet)

Spawning season is here for ‘ama‘ama (striped mullet), which puts the popular nearshore fish off-limits from December through March.  “‘Ama‘ama are about to enter their peak spawning season, which increases their vulnerability to fishing pressure,” said Bruce Anderson, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources administrator.  “The annual winter closure is designed to help the fish reproduce successfully and protect the species from overfishing.”

amaama-striped-mullet‘Ama‘ama was one of the most important fish species in traditional Hawaiian culture.  Young fish were caught in nets along the shoreline, then raised in the many fishponds throughout the islands.  After being fattened in the fishponds, they were harvested and eaten raw with seaweed added, or wrapped in ti or ginger leaves and broiled or baked.

There are three species of mullet in Hawaiian waters, but the closed season applies only to the striped mullet ‘ama‘ama.  There are no regulations pertaining to the other two species: uouoa (sharp-nose mullet), which is native, and kanda (summer or Marquesan mullet), which is introduced.  Differences between the species can be seen at https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/files/2016/11/mullet_handout_estuaries.pdf.

During the open season, the minimum size for ‘ama‘ama is 11 inches (fork length), and a bag limit of ten per day applies in Hilo Bay only.  The season will re-open April 1, 2017.

“We ask the public’s compliance with the closed season,” Anderson said. “While it’s DLNR’s job to protect our marine resources, everyone shares in the responsibility to take care of important fish species like ‘ama‘ama to ensure healthy populations into the future.”

There are two kinds of penalties, criminal and civil for seasonal violations.  The criminal penalty is a petty misdemeanor punishable by fines of up to $500 per violation and/or 30 days in jail.  There is no per specimen fine.  First offense civil penalties are up to $1,000 per specimen and $1,000 per violation.

Copies of statewide fishing regulations for ‘ama‘ama and all other marine species are available in Honolulu at the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) office, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 330, and at all neighbor island DAR offices.  Fishing regulations can also be found on the DAR website at dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar.  To report violations of fish catch size or net use, call the DLNR enforcement hotline at (808) 643-DLNR (643-3567).

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Standing Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for 29th Legislature

The Hawai‘i State Senate today confirmed the Senate Standing Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for the 29th Legislature.

capital“These committee assignments reflect the best use of the broad experience and expertise our Senators bring to this legislative body,” said Senate President, Ronald D. Kouchi.  “We’re looking forward to a synergetic and productive session.”

Senate Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are as follows:

Senate Leadership

  • President: Sen. Ronald D. Kouchi
  • Vice President: Sen. Michelle N. Kidani
  • Majority Leader: Sen. J. Kalani English
  • Majority Caucus Leader: Sen. Brickwood Galuteria
  • Majority Floor Leader: Sen. Will Espero
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz
  • Assistant Majority Whip: Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi

Agriculture and Environment (AEN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Mike Gabbard
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Gil Riviere

Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health (CPH)

  • Chair:  Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara

Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology (ETT)

  • Chair:  Sen. Glenn Wakai
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi

Education (EDU)

  • Chair: Sen. Michelle N. Kidani
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele

Government Operations (GVO)

  • Chair: Sen. Donna Mercado Kim
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Russell E. Ruderman

Hawaiian Affairs (HWN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Maile S.L. Shimabukuro
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Brickwood Galuteria

Higher Education (HRE)

  • Chair:  Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Michelle N. Kidani

Housing (HOU)

  • Chair:  Sen. Will Espero
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Breene Harimoto

Human Services (HMS)

  • Chair:  Sen. Josh Green
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Stanley Chang

International Affairs and the Arts (IAA)

  • Chair:  Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. J. Kalani English

Judiciary and Labor (JDL)

  • Chair:  Sen. Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Karl Rhoads

Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs (PSM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Glenn Wakai

Transportation and Energy (TRE)

  • Chair:  Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz

Water and Land (WTL)

  • Chair:  Sen. Karl Rhoads
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Mike Gabbard

Ways and Means (WAM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Jill N. Tokuda
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz

CDC Recommends Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Should Not Be Used – Hawaii Stop Flu at School Program

The state’s annual school-located vaccination program, Stop Flu at School, will be offering free flu vaccine to elementary and middle school children at public, private, and charter schools statewide. Vaccination clinics will be held in January and February 2017.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used during the 2016–2017 flu season because of data suggesting lower effectiveness of this vaccine. Therefore, only the flu shot will be offered through the Stop Flu at School program.

flu-shotInformation packets and vaccination consent forms are currently being distributed to parents through participating schools and are also available online. A fillable, electronic version of the consent form can be found at https://vaxonlinereg.doh.hawaii.gov. To sign up for the free vaccinations available to their children, parents or guardians should complete and sign the consent forms, and return them to schools by the deadline, Friday, Dec. 16, 2016. Translated consent forms will be available online at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/sfas-parents/.

“Since Stop Flu at School clinics will not take place until January and February, we are encouraging parents of children, especially those with health conditions that place them at higher risk for serious complications from the flu (e.g., asthma or diabetes), to speak to their child’s physician about receiving the flu vaccine earlier,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “The school-located clinics are another option for children to be vaccinated.”

The Stop Flu at School program is a partnership between the Departments of Health and Education, and is made possible by the support of school administrators, health care providers, pediatric associations, health insurers, and federal partners. For more information about Stop Flu at School, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/flu-hawaii/stop-flu-at-school/ or call Aloha United Way’s information and referral service at 2-1-1.

American Indians and Native Hawaiians Mortgages Shot Down Half the Time

According to an article published today in Indian Country Today,
American Indians and Native Hawaiians when applying for home mortgages were shot down half the time:

Image via 808 Viral

Image via 808 Viral

Neither American Indians nor Native Hawaiians received half of the mortgages they applied for last year, though Hawaiians came to within a hair of it.

Native Americans (including Alaska Natives) received 46 percent of the loans they applied for, according to data lenders filed with the federal government. They applied for 70,000 mortgages in 2015 and received 32,500, the data show.

Native Hawaiians (including indigenous Pacific Islanders from Guam and American Samoa) applied for 49,000 and were successful in 24,600 cases, or a rate of 49.95 percent…

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/11/27/american-indians-and-native-hawaiians-mortgages-shot-down-half-time-166563

Two Geothermal Well Scientific Observation Holes to be Plugged and Abandoned in Puna

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) has contracted with Water Resources International, Inc. to plug and abandon two geothermal scientific wells, SOH-1 and SOH-2 located in Pahoa.

SOH - 2 (Scannned by Cheryl Ishii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii at Manoa

SOH – 2 (Scannned by Cheryl Ishii, Hawaii Institute of Geophysics University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Representatives from DLNR Engineering Division, their consultant Brown and Caldwell, and Water Resources International will attend the Puna Geothermal Ventures community meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 8, from, 6-8 p.m. at Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road, Pāhoa.  They will be available to answer any questions on the project.

Drilled in 1991 for research purposes to monitor temperature gradients down the shafts, the two wells are no longer being used by the University of Hawai‘i or DLNR for geothermal resource monitoring purposes.

Initial site clearing and preparations are now ongoing at the site of SOH-1 and by about December 12 work will begin on plugging the well and restoring the area with SOH-2 to follow in a similar manner. The project is expected to be completed in approximately 3 months. Work hours will be limited to between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The contract award amount for the plugging and abandonment of the two wells was $2,036,000.

Hawaii House Majority Announces Committee Assignments

The House of Representatives Majority today announced its Committee Members assignments for the 2017 legislative session.

capitalThe committee assignments for the House minority party members are pending.

House Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs and Members are:

Speaker: Joseph M. Souki
Speaker Emeritus: Calvin K.Y. Say
Vice Speaker: John M. Mizuno
Majority Leader: Scott K. Saiki
Majority Floor Leader: Cindy Evans
Majority Policy Leader: Marcus R. Oshiro
Majority Whip: Ken Ito
Assistant Majority Leaders:
Chris Lee
Dee Morikawa
Roy M. Takumi

Agriculture (AGR)
Chair: Richard P. Creagan
Vice Chair: Lynn DeCoite
Members:
Cedric Asuega Gates
Kaniela Ing
Matthew S. LoPresti
Gregg Takayama

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)
Chair: Angus L.K. McKelvey
Vice Chair: Linda E. Ichiyama
Members:
Henry J.C. Aquino
Ken Ito
Calvin K.Y. Say
Gregg Takayama
Ryan I. Yamane

Economic Development & Business (EDB)
Chair: Mark M. Nakashima
Vice Chair: Jarrett K. Keohokalole
Members:
Daniel K. Holt
Aaron Ling Johanson
Roy M. Takumi
Kyle T. Yamashita

Education (EDN)
Chair: Roy M. Takumi
Vice Chair: Sharon E. Har
Members:
Richard P. Creagan
Mark J. Hashem
Kaniela Ing
Takashi Ohno
Richard H.K. Onishi
Justin H. Woodson

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)
Chair: Chris Lee
Vice Chair: Nicole E. Lowen
Members:
Ty J.K. Cullen
Cindy Evans
Linda E. Ichiyama
Sam Satoru Kong
Calvin K.Y. Say
Ryan I. Yamane

Finance (FIN)
Chair: Sylvia J. Luke
Vice Chair: Ty J.K. Cullen
Members:
Romy M. Cachola (Unfunded Liability)
Nicole E. Lowen (Grants in Aid)
Kyle T. Yamashita (CIP)
Isaac W. Choy
Lynn DeCoite
Cedric Asuega Gates
Daniel K. Holt
Jarrett K. Keohokalole
Bertrand Kobayashi
Matthew S. LoPresti
Nadine K. Nakamura
Sean Quinlan
James Kunane Tokioka

Health (HLT)
Chair: Della Au Belatti
Vice Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
Members:
Sharon E. Har
Dee Morikawa
Marcus R. Oshiro

Higher Education (HED)
Chair: Justin H. Woodson
Vice Chair: Mark J. Hashem
Members:
Richard P. Creagan
Sharon E. Har
Kaniela Ing
Takashi Ohno
Richard H.K. Onishi
Roy M. Takumi

Housing (HSG)
Chair: Tom Brower
Vice Chair: Nadine K. Nakamura
Members:
Henry J.C. Aquino
Mark J. Hashem
Sean Quinlan
Joy A. San Buenaventura

Human Services (HUS)
Chair: Dee Morikawa
Vice Chair: To be announced
Members:
Della Au Belatti
Sharon E. Har
Bertrand Kobayashi
Marcus R. Oshiro

Intrastate Commerce (IAC)
Chair: Takashi Ohno
Vice Chair: Isaac W. Choy
Members:
Romy M. Cachola
Ken Ito
Richard H.K. Onishi
James Kunane Tokioka
Justin H. Woodson

Judiciary (JUD)
Chair: Scott Y. Nishimoto
Vice Chair: Joy A. San Buenaventura
Members:
Della Au Belatti
Tom Bower
Aaron Ling Johanson
Chris Lee
Dee Morikawa
Mark M. Nakashima
Marcus R. Oshiro

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)
Chair: Aaron Ling Johanson
Vice Chair: Daniel K. Holt
Members:
Jarrett K. Keohokalole
Mark M. Nakashima
Roy M. Takumi
Kyle T. Yamashita

Legislative Management (LMG)
Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
Vice Chair: John M. Mizuno
Members:
Cindy Evans
Scott K. Saiki

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)
Chair: Kaniela Ing
Vice Chair: Cedric Asuega Gates
Members:
Richard P. Creagan
Lynn DeCoite
Matthew S. LoPresti
Gregg Takayama

Public Safety (PBS)
Chair: Gregg Takayama
Vice Chair: Matthew S. LoPresti
Members:
Richard P. Creagan
Lynn DeCoite
Cedric Asuega Gates
Kaniela Ing

Tourism (TOU)
Chair: Richard H.K. Onishi
Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka
Members:
Romy M. Cachola
Isaac W. Choy
Ken Ito
Takashi Ohno
Justin H. Woodson

Transportation (TRN)
Chair: Henry J.C. Aquino
Vice Chair: Sean Quinlan
Members:
Tom Bower
Mark J. Hashem
Nadine K. Nakamura
Joy A. San Buenaventura

Veterans, Military & International Affairs & Culture and the Arts (VMI)
Chair: Ken Ito
Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka
Members:
Romy M. Cachola
Isaac W. Choy
Takashi Ohno
Richard H. K. Onishi
Justin H. Woodson

Water and Land (WAL)
Chair: Ryan I. Yamane
Vice Chair: Sam Satoru Kong
Members:
Ty J.K. Cullen
Cindy Evans
Linda E. Ichiyama
Chris Lee
Nicole E. Lowen
Calvin K. Y. Say

Call for Applications for the Water Security Advisory Group

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is accepting applications for membership on the Water Security Advisory Group established in Act 172, Session Laws of Hawaii 2016. The Chairperson of DLNR will review the applications and select individuals that are deemed qualified to serve on the Water Security Advisory Group per the requirements of Act 172.

hb2040Act 172 requires that members of the Water Security Advisory Group be comprised of the manager and chief engineer of the board of water supply of each county or their designee, the deputy director for water resource management of the DLNR, and the following individuals:

  1. A member with knowledge of agricultural water storage and delivery systems;
  2. A member of a private landowning entity that actively partners with a watershed partnership;
  3. A member with knowledge, experience, and expertise in the area of Hawaiian cultural practices; and
  4. A member representing a conservation organization.

The Water Security Advisory Group shall advise the DLNR on the priority of all proposals for projects or programs submitted by public or private agencies or organizations to increase water security in the State and recommend high-priority programs for the award of matching funds established through Act 172.

Water Security Advisory Group members shall serve without compensation until June 30, 2018.

Interested persons are encouraged to submit a resume, cover letter, and 3 letters of reference that outline the applicant’s qualifications to serve on the Water Security Advisory Group.

Applications and resumes should be postmarked no later than December 23, 2016 and may be sent to:

Water Security Advisory Group

Commission on Water Resource Management

1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 227

Honolulu, HI 96813

Act 172 may be viewed or downloaded at:  http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/bills/GM1274_.PDF

Hawaii Department of Health Holds Statewide Public Hearings for Changes to Food Safety Code

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) will hold public hearings on Hawaii Island, Maui, Oahu, and Kauai from Dec. 5-9, 2016 (see exact scheduling details below) to introduce amendments to the Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) Title 11, Chapter 50, Food Safety Code, which outlines standards for all food establishments statewide.

food-safety-cardsIn February 2014, the state passed new food safety rules that significantly changed the food service inspection process by introducing the highly visible “stop-light” placarding system that displays the results of each inspection. The new state rules also adopted the 2009 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Model Food Code as its basis, increased the frequency of permit requirements based on health risk, and increased permit fees to create an online database of inspection records for the public.

“The department is continuing to raise the state’s food safety standards by further updating regulations to increase the focus on prevention and reduce the risk of residents and visitors contracting foodborne illness,” said Peter Oshiro, head of the DOH Food Safety program. “Updating state requirements and fees and aligning our state with federal standards are essential for creating a world class food safety program in Hawaii.”

The proposed amendments include establishing a new food safety education requirement for persons-in-charge at all food establishments. The new rule will require at least one employee on every work shift be certified at the formal Food Handlers Training level. This will ensure a standard baseline of food safety knowledge for all establishment owners and managers. Studies have shown that food establishments with properly trained persons-in-charge have a lower occurrence of critical food safety violations that are directly linked to food illnesses.

The department is also proposing the adoption of the 2013 FDA Model Food Code. This will provide Hawaii with the most current nationally recognized food code based on the latest scientific knowledge on food safety. Updating the state’s food code will also align Hawaii with national standards and provide consistent requirements for food facilities that operate across multiple states.

Additional proposed changes to the state’s food safety rules include:

  • Removing the 20 days of sale limit for homemade foods (cottage foods) that are not considered a potential public health risk;
  • Removing the restriction on the number of days a Special Event Temporary Food Establishment permit may be valid;
  • Establishing a new fee structure for Temporary Food Establishment Permits ($100 for a 20-day permit plus $5 for each additional day over 20 to a maximum of one year);
  • Streamlining regulations for mobile food establishments (e.g. food trucks) by incorporating the requirements into existing rules for their base operations or “brick and mortar” establishments;
  • Revising the fee structure for mobile units with no increase to the total amount currently paid by a mobile operator;
  • Allowing placarding during all inspections;
  • Allowing the state to refuse permit renewal for non-payment of fines or stipulated agreements more than 30 days overdue; and
  • Requiring state approval for the sale of “Wild Harvested Mushrooms.”

The draft rules are available for review at http://health.hawaii.gov/opppd/proposed-changes-to-department-of-health-administrative-rules-title-11/. Written public comments are recommended and may be submitted at the public hearings or to the Sanitation Branch at 99-945 Halawa Valley St., Aiea, Hawaii 96701 prior to the close of business on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

Public hearings on the proposed rules will be held on the dates, at the times, and places noted below:

Island of Oahu

Monday, Dec. 5 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Environmental Health Services Division

Food Safety Education Room

99-945 Halawa Valley St., Aiea

Island of Maui

Tuesday, Dec. 6 (2 – 5 p.m.)

UH-Maui College Community Services Building

310 Kaahumanu Ave., Bldg. #205, Kahului

Island of Hawaii – Hilo

Wednesday, Dec. 7 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Environmental Health Building Conference Room

1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo

Island of Hawaii – Kona

Thursday, Dec. 8 (2 – 5 p.m.)

West Hawaii Civic Center, Bldg. G

74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Kailua-Kona

Island of Kauai

Friday, Dec. 9 (2 – 5 p.m.)

Lihue Health Center Conference Room

3040 Umi St., Lihue

Hawaii House of Representatives Names 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

The House of Representatives Majority named its 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs during a caucus meeting today.

capitalA new committee, Intrastate Commerce, will focus on regulations and licensing of Hawaii businesses such as banking, telecommunications and property insurance.

House Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are:

  • Speaker: Joseph M. Souki
  • Speaker Emeritus: Calvin K.Y. Say
  • Vice Speaker: John M. Mizuno
  • Majority Leader: Scott K. Saiki
  • Majority Floor Leader: Cindy Evans
  • Majority Policy Leader: Marcus R. Oshiro
  • Majority Whip: Ken Ito

Assistant Majority Leaders:

  • Chris Lee
  • Dee Morikawa
  • Roy M. Takumi

Agriculture (AGR)

  • Chair: Richard Creagan
  • Vice Chair: Lynn DeCoite

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)

  • Chair: Angus L.K. McKelvey
  • Vice Chair: Linda Ichiyama

Economic Development & Business (EDB)

  • Chair: Mark M. Nakashima
  • Vice Chair: Jarrett Keohokalole

Education (EDN)

  • Chair: Roy M. Takumi
  • Vice Chair: Sharon E. Har

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)

  • Chair: Chris Lee
  • Vice Chair: Nicole Lowen

Finance (FIN)

  • Chair: Sylvia Luke
  • Vice Chair: Ty J.K. Cullen

Health (HLT)

  • Chair: Della Au Belatti
  • Vice Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi

Higher Education (HED)

  • Chair: Justin H. Woodson
  • Vice Chair: Mark J. Hashem

Housing (HSG)

  • Chair: Tom Brower
  • Vice Chair: Nadine Nakamura

Human Services (HUS)

  • Chair: Dee Morikawa
  • Vice Chair: To be announced

Intrastate Commerce (IAC)

  • Chair: Takashi Ohno
  • Vice Chair: Isaac W. Choy

Judiciary (JUD)

  • Chair: Scott Y. Nishimoto
  • Vice Chair: Joy San Buenaventura

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)

  • Chair: Aaron Ling Johanson
  • Vice Chair: Daniel Holt

Legislative Management (LMG)

  • Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
  • Vice Chair: John M. Mizuno

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)

  • Chair: Kaniela Ing
  • Vice Chair: Cedric Gates

Public Safety (PBS)

  • Chair: Gregg Takayama
  • Vice Chair: Matthew S. LoPresti

Tourism (TOU)

  • Chair: Richard H.K. Onishi
  • Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Transportation (TRN)

  • Chair: Henry J.C. Aquino
  • Vice Chair: Sean Quinlan

Veterans, Military & International Affairs & Culture and the Arts (VMI)

  • Chair: Ken Ito
  • Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Water and Land (WAL)

  • Chair: Ryan I. Yamane
  • Vice Chair: Sam Satoru Kong

Web-Based System to Track Inventory and Sales at Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

The Hawaii State Department of Health has contracted with BioTech Medical Software Inc., dba BioTrackTHC for a web-based system that will provide the department 24/7 access to real-time data of medical marijuana inventory, sales, and other information required of dispensary licensees statewide. The negotiated cost of the contract is $239,000 for the first year and $160,000 for each successive year during the five-year agreement. BioTrackTHC was selected through the State of Hawaii Request for Proposals process.

biotrack-logo“This is another major step forward to implement the medical marijuana dispensary program to ensure access for registered patients and their caregivers,” said Keith Ridley, chief of the Office of Health Care Assurance. “After researching various options, we determined a web-based software system would be the most effective and user-friendly way for licensees and state employees to collect and report seed-to-sale tracking information.”

Ridley’s office, which performs all state licensing activities on healthcare facilities, agencies and organizations in Hawaii, is tasked with implementing Act 241, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige in July 2015.

Detailed Inventory and Sales Information

The seed-to-sale tracking system will be used to collect detailed inventory and sales information such as:

  • The total amount of marijuana at each dispensary production center, in the form of seeds or plants, including all plants that are derived from cuttings or cloning, until the marijuana products are sold or destroyed
  • The total amount of marijuana product inventory at a retail dispensing location
  • The total amount of marijuana products purchased by a qualifying patient and primary caregiver from all retail dispensing locations in any 15-day period
  • The amount of waste produced during the cultivation, harvest, and manufacturing processes.

“BioTrackTHC is an experienced company that has successfully developed and implemented a seed-to-sale tracking system in other states,” said Ridley. “We expect their experience and expertise will help to implement an effective system for Hawaii and we are glad to have them as partners in our effort to ensure patient safety, product safety, and public safety. However, we also realize it will take several weeks of training and then testing to get the system operating smoothly.”

Background

Eight medical marijuana dispensary licenses were issued earlier this year under Act 241 Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 329D. Three licenses were issued for the City and County of Honolulu, two dispensary licenses each for the County of Hawaii and the County of Maui, and one dispensary license for the County of Kauai. Each dispensary licensee will be allowed to operate up to two production centers and two retail sites for a total of 16 production centers and 16 retail dispensary locations statewide. Each production center can grow up to 3,000 marijuana plants.

For more information on the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program go to http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuanadispensary/