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DBEDT Recruiting Hawaii Companies for 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show

For the sixth consecutive year, the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) is promoting Hawaii-made products through a special Hawaii Pavilion at the autumn 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show (TIGS).

During Sept. 6-8, 2017, at the Tokyo Big Sight venue, the Hawaii Pavilion will be home base for up to 70 Hawaii companies seeking to export locally made gift products.  TIGS is the largest international trade show in Japan with more than 4,100 exhibitors showcasing personal gifts, consumer goods and decorative accessories.  Show organizers anticipate more than 200,000 buyers, wholesalers and distributers to attend the three-day trade show.

“The Tokyo International Gift Show provides the opportunity to showcase Hawaii’s unique products to an international audience,” said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria. “This helps us grow our trade sector and add value to the Hawaii brand, which is recognized around the world, especially in Japan.”

At last year’s Tokyo International Gift Show, 62 Hawaii companies reported projected sales of more than $15 million.

A sampling of Hawaii-made products showcased at last year’s gift show included:

  • Fashion: casual and resort wear and accessories
  • Specialty food and gift products: many of which are only found in Hawaii
  • Cosmetics and nutraceuticals: derived from our natural ocean and botanical resources
  • Agricultural products: such as candies and fruit jams, jellies and preserves; fresh Maui-grown pineapple and onion; Big Island macadamia nuts, papaya and coffee.
  • Locally designed jewelry
  • Wood products: utilizing koa and specialty woods.

Funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant, the Hawaii Pavilion at TIGS is part of a series of initiatives DBEDT has undertaken to increase the export of Hawaii’s products.

Export-ready Hawaii companies interested in participating in the 2017 Tokyo International Gift Show should email dbedt.tigs@hawaii.gov to receive an exhibitor’s packet or apply online at invest.hawaii.gov.

Deadline to submit application forms is Friday, April 7, 2017.

Federal and State Agencies Investigate Death of Hawaiian Monk Seal on Hawaii Island

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources are working together to try and understand what led to the death of an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, tagged as RB18.

R4DP was found dead in February.

The 10-year-old male seal was found dead in a submerged fish pen maintained by Blue Ocean Mariculture in nearshore waters near Keahole Point on Hawai‘i Island on March 5, 2017.  Blue Ocean Mariculture reported to NMFS that the pen was emptied of most of the fish, and they’d removed a large side panel to allow a shark to escape.  The monk seal was reported to NMFS the next day as deceased in the pen.

A necropsy (animal autopsy) was performed on O‘ahu by NMFS veterinarians and biologists. They concluded the seal drowned, as it had no signs of serious injury or disease.

RB18 was often seen in the area feeding on fish outside the net pen.  Its stomach was full of large fish, suggesting that it had foraged very recently prior to its death. Ann Garrett, Assistant Regional Administrator in the NMFS Protected Resources Division said, “It is often difficult to determine a precise cause of death for marine mammals because of their complex diving ability, but necropsy observations led to the conclusion that RB18 drowned in the net. We’ve confirmed that this net is now out of service and Blue Ocean Mariculture has removed the top of the pen to further reduce the risk of further entrapments, while the company is in the process of removing the entire pen from the ocean. This is a rare situation and NMFS is investigating the death of the seal.”

In addition to federal permits, Blue Ocean Mariculture has a permit from the State of Hawai‘i.  DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We are greatly saddened by the death of RB18 but are working together to learn from this tragedy and to minimize any additional impacts to monk seals and other protected marine species that may be associated with offshore aquaculture and the Blue Ocean Mariculture operation.” The DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands is also conducting an investigation and review and will prepare a report with recommendations to avoid this from happening in the future.

Coffee Berry Borer Quarantine Expanded to Maui

The Hawaii Board of Agriculture yesterday expanded the coffee berry borer (CBB) quarantine to the island of Maui, effective May 1, 2017. The quarantine, which has been in effect on Hawaii Island and Oahu, restricts the interisland movement of coffee and other CBB hosts and requires treatment and other quarantine protocols. Although recent detections of CBB were located in Hana and Kipahulu, the board decided that an island-wide quarantine was necessary to prevent the further spread of CBB in the state.

Coffee Berry Borer (CBB)

One of the most devastating coffee pests, CBB was first detected in the state in September 2010 in Kona and discovered in Ka`u in May 2011. In December 2014, it was discovered on Oahu and in December 2016 was found on Maui. So far, CBB has not been detected on Kauai, Molokai and Lanai.

This small beetle bores into the coffee “cherry” to lay its eggs. The larvae feed on the coffee bean, reducing the yield and quality of the bean. Since its detection in Kona, Big Island coffee growers have developed methods to manage the pest, which include using an organic pesticide and field sanitation. Some farms with good management practices have been able to keep infestations down to about 20 percent of the coffee crop.

CBB is native to Central Africa and is also found in many coffee-growing regions of the world, including Central and South America.  It is still unknown how CBB made its way to Hawaii Island and how it arrived on Oahu and Maui. Hawaii has strict importation rules that require fumigation of all imported green coffee beans to rid the beans of pathogens and insect pests. Coffee plants and plant parts are also restricted from being imported to Hawaii under Plant Quarantine rules.

In addition, HDOA issued a quarantine order that requires a permit from HDOA to transport unroasted coffee beans, coffee plants and plant parts, used coffee bags and coffee harvesting equipment from Hawaii Island to other islands that are not infested with the coffee berry borer.  The rules also require certain treatments and inspection by HDOA Plant Quarantine inspectors prior to shipping. Inspectors will either attach a tag, label or stamp to indicate the shipment passed inspection requirements. For unroasted coffee beans, acceptable treatment protocols include fumigation, freezing and heat treatment.

To view the Notice of Designation of Island of Maui as Expanded Coffee Berry Borer Infested Area Subject to Quarantine, go to: https://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/files/2013/01/CBB-Quarantine-Maui.pdf

For more information on CBB in Hawaii go to the HDOA CBB webpage at: http://hdoa.hawaii.gov/pi/ppc/cbbinfo/ and the UH-CTAHR webpage at: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/site/CBB.aspx

Hawaii House of Representatives Sends Proposed Budget to Senate

The full House today approved the state budget with the passage of HB100 HD1, which appropriates funds for both operating and capital improvements costs of the Executive Branch for the current biennium fiscal years FY2017-2018 and FY2018-2019.  For FY2017-2018, the bill provides $7.08 billion in general funds and $13.9 billion in all means of financing.  For FY2018-2019, it appropriates $7.3 billion in general funds and $14.1 billion in all financing means.

The budget also includes a total of nearly $1.9 billion for FY2018 and $926 million for FY2019 for capital improvement projects (CIP) throughout the state.  Of the total CIP funds, $1.1 billion go to CIP projects on Oahu, $376 million to Maui County (including Molokai and Lanai), $361 million for Hawaii Island, and $ 167 million for Kauai.

“This year we have proposed a very practical budget because income estimates for the state are declining,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Kahului). “The priority is to meet the budgetary needs of our core programs including education, kupuna care, homelessness, health programs, environmental protection and transportation. This budget accomplishes that goal.”

The state budget consists of two major funding allocations: Capital Improvement Projects funding (CIP) is money earmarked to build and maintain the state’s physical infrastructure; operating funds are monies used to actually run or operate state programs and services.

“General excise tax collections for several months now have been showing zero growth as compared to last year,” said House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa). “On Monday, the Council on Revenues readjusted downwards the fiscal outlook for the next two years. This budget is the recognition by the committee that this is not the time to create new programs if they are at the expense of preserving our core services.”

Operating Biennium Budget Totals:

  • FY2018: $7.08 billion General Funds
  • FY2019: $7.3 billion General Funds
  • FY2018: $13.9 billion All Means of Financing
  • FY2019: $14.1 billion All Means of Financing

Operating funding highlights

Department of the Attorney General

  • $110,000 to maintain the Criminal Justice Information System
  • $101,000 to Maintain the Upgraded Automated Fingerprint Identification System
  • $95,000 for the Hawaii Integrated Justice Information Sharing Program

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3,000,000 for an Excelerator program in the High Tech Development Corporation
  • $80,000 to promote Hawaii as a destination for films

Department of Budget and Finance

  • $15,001,114 to centralize vacation payout for general funded employees statewide
  • $3,695,200 for upgrades for the Employees’ Retirement System

Department of Defense

  • $360,000 for 10-year motor vehicle replacement plan
  • $80,000 for a Hawaii State Fusion Center director

Department of Education

  • $5,600,000 to expand the Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn Program
  • $2,027,645 to support the Office of Hawaiian Education
  • $1,040,593 and 20 positions to expand pre-K programs in DOE preschools
  • $844,776 and 18 positions to support children struggling with homelessness in the DOE
  • $500,000 to address R&M backlogs in state libraries
  • 40 preschool teachers and 20 educational assistants to support special education students in DOE preschools

Department of Human Services

  • $3,000,000 for Rapid Re-Housing program to keep people out of homelessness
  • $3,000,000 for Housing First Program to keep chronically homeless individuals in housing
  • $1,500,000 for homeless outreach
  • $300,000 for homeless shelter maintenance and repair
  • $2,100,000 for low income family and elderly housing facilities
  • $400,000 for services for child victims of sex trafficking

Department of Human Resources Development

  • $3,274,000 for workers’ compensation claims
  • $350,000 for pilot program to improve effectiveness of employees
  • $101,080 for professional development courses for state employees

Department of Health

  • $40,710,951 for various federal grants to support the Disease Outbreak Control Program
  • $24,000,000 for support to local hospitals responding to emergency outbreaks
  • $13,200,000 for immunizations and vaccines for children
  • $3,510,951 for other grants
  • $4,314,600 for a voluntary family planning program grant
  • $4,145,695 for Kupuna Care
  • $3,000,000 as a match for the maternal, infant, and early childhood home visiting grant
  • $1,700,000 for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC)
  • $1,912,836 to rebase home and community care service subsidies
  • $422,540 for vector control
  • $300,000 to increase the inventory of clean and sober housing
  • $157,168 and 1 program specialist position for the Long Term Care Ombudsman
  • $150,000 for a Statewide Telehealth Pilot project
  • $102,000 for 2 epidemiological specialists to help with surveillance of disease outbreak

Department of Labor

  • $515,386 and 1 position for Disability Compensation Division modernization
  • $205,00 for Community Services Block Grant
  • $41,197 for Commodity Supplemental Food Program Federal Grant

Department of Land and Natural Resources

  • $4,000,000 for Hawaii Invasive Species Council operations
  • $3,405,749 for Native Resources and Fire Protection operations
  • $2,832,996 for Forest Reserve Management and Development operations
  • $500,000 for Bureau of Conveyances to modernize accessibility to records
  • $500,000 to implement an Integrated Information Management System
  • $250,000 for the Ala Wai Watershed Initiative

Department of Transportation

  • $124,400,000 for 10-year replacement plans for motor vehicles, equipment, and ongoing base funding for special maintenance projects
  • $35,500,000 for airports
  • $17,600,000 for harbors
  • $71,300,000 for highways
  • $4,000,000 for highway cleanup services in Department of Transportation
  • $3,000,000 in state matching funds for Airport Rescue and Firefighting vehicles statewide

University of Hawaii System

  • $600,000 and 6 psychologist positions to address mental health concerns of students enrolled in the University of Hawaii System

Capital Improvement Projects (CIP)

Capital Improvement Program Biennium Budget Totals:

  • FY2018: $784.9 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2019: $304.9 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2018: $1,997.8 billion All Means of Financing Funds
  • FY2019: $926.5 million All Means of Financing Funds

CIP highlights

Agriculture

  • $10 million for the development of an agricultural park in Upcountry Maui
  • $3.7 million for improvements to the Waimanalo irrigation system

Accounting and General Services

  • $19 million for Aloha Stadium to meet code, safety, and/or operational requirements
  • $25 million for improvements and maintenance of existing public facilities and sites, statewide.

Business, Economic Development, and Tourism

  • $3 million for an underground utility distribution system on Enterprise Avenue to Midway Road in Kalaeloa
  • $50 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to finance additional affordable rental housing

Defense

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

Education

Lump sums of CIP that total over $202 million for school facilities statewide to address equity, school condition, and program support.

  • $13.4 million for a new classroom building at Campbell High School
  • $77 million for the construction of the new East Kapolei Middle School
  • $28.2 million for the construction of the new Pohukaina Elementary School
  • $10 million for health, safety, accessibility, and other code requirements for public libraries, statewide

Hawaiian Home Lands

  • $74 million for lot development, repair, and maintenance of Hawaiian Home Lands

Human Services

  • $2 million for site and dwelling improvements, site utilities, rock fall protection, exterior building repairs, and roof repairs at Puahala Homes
  • $10.7 million for interior and exterior building and site improvements at Hale Po‘ai
  • $1.5 million for rockfall mitigation at Hauiki Homes

Health

  • $1.6 million for improvements and renovations to the Kahuku Medical Center
  • $24.4 million for improvements and renovations to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, statewide
  • $4.4 million for improvements to health facilitates, statewide
  • $2.1 million to modernize elevators at Diamond Head, Lanakila, and Leeward Health Centers
  • $4.5 million for re-roofing, interior and exterior improvements to the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center

Land and Natural Resources

  • $4.5 million for assessments, maintenance, and remediation of dams under the jurisdiction of the Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • $5 million for dredging and related improvements to the Ala Wai Canal
  • $6 million for rockfall and flood mitigation at various locations, statewide
  • $200,000 for hazardous tree mitigation in forest reserves, game management areas, natural are reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries
  • $800,000 to provide statewide support for fire and natural disaster response
  • $4.5 million for improvements at various boating facilities, statewide
  • $9 million for flood damage reconstruction at the Iao Valley State Monument, Maui

Public Safety

  • $53.5 million for electrical and mechanical infrastructure improvements and rehabilitation of buildings, at Public Safety facilities, statewide
  • $6.7million for a new consolidated women’s housing associated support office, and other improvements at the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC), Oahu

Transportation

  • $46.1million for renovations and new restroom facilities at airports statewide
  • $170 million for improvements to the overseas terminal ticket lobby at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu
  • $30 million for improvements at gates 29 and 34 to accommodate A380 Aircraft at Honolulu International Airport, Oahu
  • $8.7 million for a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Inspection Station at Kona International Airport, Hawaii
  • $50 million for a Federal Inspection Stations (FIS) at Kona International Airport, Hawaii
  • $39.2 million for holdroom and gate improvements at Kahului Airport, Maui
  • $10.5 million for inbound baggage handling system improvements, Kahului Airport, Maui
  • $7.2 million for terminal improvements at Molokai Airport, Molokai
  • $4.5 million for a new aircraft rescue and fire fighting (ARFF) garage, renovation of the terminal, and replacement of airfield lighting at Kalaupapa Airport, Maui
  • $17.8 million for ticket lobby and holdroom improvements at Lihue Airport, Kauai
  • $6.3 million to address safety needs, optimize energy and operational efficiencies, and provide essential infrastructure to Pier 24-28 at Honolulu Harbor, Oahu
  • $7.5 million to address storm water run-off, erosion, passenger safety issues, ineffective drainage, and/or subsurface irregularities at Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai
  • $172.7 million for rehabilitation and/or replacement of bridges, statewide
  • $7.5 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways, statewide
  • $89 million for a new roadway and/or realignment, and extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo Terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway, Hawaii
  • $25.9 million for improvements and installation of drainage systems on state highways, statewide
  • $50 million for shoreline protection, highway realignment, and beach fill/nourishment for state highways, statewide

University of Hawaii

  • $30 million for the Culinary Institute of the Pacific, Phase II at Kapiolani Community College, Oahu
  • $5 million for renovations at Snyder Hall, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu
  • $15 million for renovations and new facilities at community colleges and neighbor island university campuses, statewide
  • $550,000 for renovations and improvements for University of Hawaii athletics facilities to address Title IX compliances, statewide
  • $1.8 million for replacement and, renovation of fire alarm systems at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oahu

Hawaii Awards Highlight Successes in the Fight Against Invasive Species

Governor David Ige proclaimed the 5th annual Hawaii Invasive Species Awareness Week (HISAW) at a ceremony Friday that included agency leaders, legislators, industry champions, and citizens who help project Hawaii from the impacts of invasive species. The Governor presented the proclamation to members of the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC), the interagency board responsible for policy direction and cross-sector coordination on invasive species issues. Addressing invasive species is a critical component of this administration’s vision for Hawaii’s future, as described in the recent Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan and the Sustainable Hawaii Initiative.

In partnership with the HISC, legislators presented a series of awards to community members and businesses who have made substantial contributions to invasive species prevention and control. Representatives Richard Creagan, Nicole Lowen, James Tokioka, Dee Morikawa, and Nadine Nakamura joined Senators Mike Gabbard and J. Kalani English in highlighting the importance of this issue for Hawaii. The Governor, legislators, and HISC members were joined by two giant invasive species: costumed versions of a Little Fire Ant and Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, provided by the Oahu Invasive Species Committee.

The awardees for Greatest Hit of 2017, Community Hero, and Business Leader were selected from community nominations, and County MVP awards were selected by the University of Hawaii’s Invasive Species Committees. An award for the Hottest Pest Hotline Report was nominated by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

“While there is much work to do, this event is an opportunity for us to celebrate successes,” said DLNR chair Suzanne Case. “The awardees today exemplify how much Hawaii’s communities care about protecting Hawaii’s natural resources, agriculture, and way of life from invasive species.”

HISAW is organized in coordination with the U.S. National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) and regional Pacific Invasive Species Awareness efforts. The event promotes information sharing and public engagement in what the Hawaii State Legislature has declared “the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.” In addition to the proclamation from Governor Ige and awards ceremony, HISAW 2017 included a student video contest, community presentations, and numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the state. Full information is available at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/hisaw/.

2017 HISAW Awards

COMMUNITY HERO

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes The Pacific American Foundation for their efforts to reduce invasive species impacts to the Waikalua Loko I’a. During 2016, the Pacific American Foundation (PAF) diligently worked to reduce the negative impacts of invasive species to the Waikalua fishpond. By positively engaging with the local community, the PAF has shown an outstanding commitment to the continued to protection and preservation this historic community resource.

BUSINESS LEADER

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Serina Marchi, of Seascapes Nursery for her efforts to minimize the introduction and spread of invasive species. Serina is the Owner of Kauai Seascapes Nursery on the North Shore of Kauai. Seascapes Nursery is a family owned business operating on Kauai for over 30 years and is one of the largest nurseries on the island. Serina has shown a very strong interest in helping to minimize the spread and introduction of invasive species by supporting Kauai Invasive Species Committee’s (KISC) Pono Endorsement Program. In April 2016, Seascapes Nursery became one of the first nurseries to become endorsed. When choosing the best management practices for her business to follow, Serina has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements to become Pono Endorsed. She not only chose to immediately discontinue the sale of the Pono Endorsement Program “Black List” plants, but also the “Phase Out” list plants”. Her actions during 2016, and continued dedication to reducing the introduction and spread of invasive species will help to minimize future impacts of invasive species on Kauai.

GREATEST HIT

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Solomon Champion for his efforts in stopping the spread of Miconia calvescens on Oahu. During a routine aerial survey, Solomon spotted an immature Miconia tree beneath the canopy on the leeward side of the Ko’olau Range within the Waiawa watershed. This particular individual has been identified as the farthest documented tree within an intact native forest, as well as an extension into a new watershed. By spotting this individual tree, Solomon has helped to protect the Waiawa watershed and prevent the spread of a highly invasive species.

HOTTEST PEST REPORT

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Shawn Baliaris for his efforts relating to reporting and stopping the spread of Mongoose on Kauai. As a proactive community member, Shawn promptly reported sighting a Mongoose on Kauai to the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). His diligent action allowed for rapid response from the appropriate agencies, and clearly highlights the usefulness of the 643PEST reporting system, and how the community can personally take actions to protect Hawaii from invasive species.

HAWAII COUNTY MVP

The Hawai’i Invasive Species Council recognizes Carolyn Dillon for her outstanding community efforts and her work controlling Little Fire Ants on Hawaii Island. Throughout 2016 Carolyn has diligently worked to organize her community in a coordinated effort to combat Little Fire Ants (LFA) in her community in Holualoa, West Hawaii Island. Beginning in Late 2015, she became aware of the size of the infestation in her neighborhood and took it upon her to engage community members to treat this pest.  More recently, Carolyn has formed a LFA coalition on the Big Island consisting of members of the County Council and State Legislature, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Hawaii Department of Health, the Governor’s Liaison, and the Kohala Center, with the express purpose of furthering LFA education and training, as well as mapping the West Hawaii Infestations. The coalition intends to train business owners on LFA best management practices in order to provide treatment services to homeowners. As a community organizer, Carolyn moved extremely swiftly to increase awareness and has brought many organizations to the table to work together. Her actions and continued dedication showcases the need for community involvement in the fight against invasive species.

MAUI COUNTY MVP

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes the Community of Haiku Hill for their efforts to control Coqui frogs on the Island of Maui. Haiku Hill is a small a suburb of 39 properties along the border of Maliko Gulch, the site of a major infestation of coqui frogs on Maui. Over the last decade, the Haiku Hill community has transformed from a group of concerned homeowners reporting frogs to partners in coqui control. In 2016 the community truly took matters into their own hands, building tanks, purchasing sprayers, cutting back vegetation, and advocating to funders to address coqui on Maui. Residents sprayed over 1600 gallons of citric acid on their own properties, facilitated a neighborhood citric and sprayer distribution center, and spent countless hours keeping the coqui from spreading from their neighborhood. Their effort not only reduce the frog density in their community, but also helps to stop the spread of coqui to new areas.

OAHU MVP

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Sandy Webb for her efforts to incorporate invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures Program. Sandy has encouraged her students to delve deeper into citizen science by incorporating invasive species investigations into the Youth Envisioning Sustainable Futures program (YES! Futures). http://www.yes-futures.org/about/. This interdisciplinary program she helped found with other Mililani teachers allows students to utilize the skills they develop in many of their classes to address problems in their community and build relevance into their educational experience.  For the past two years, Sandy has lead the Little Fire Ant (LFA) Hoike Activity independently in her classes; resulting in the submittal of 269 samples from the Mililani area in the past two years, with 134 samples submitted in 2016 alone. By incorporating invasive species into her teaching, Sandy has encouraged her students to students learn about relevant issues relating to invasive species impacts, and become part of the solution.

KAUAI COUNTY MVP

The Hawaii Invasive Species Council recognizes Kawika Winter for his efforts to protect priority watershed areas and control the spread of invasive species on the island of Kauai. As part of his role as the Director of Limahuli Botanical Garden and Preserve, Kawika has played a crucial role in the protection and preservation over 1000 acres of priority watershed area on the north shore of Kauai.  In addition, Kawika aims to create a model of a functioning, 21st-century ahupua`a. This model focuses on a mountain-to-sea resource management strategy and includes both modern and traditional techniques. By incorporating landscape scale invasive species control efforts, native plant restoration, sustainable fisheries practices, and community engagement into his management practices, Kawika has demonstrated a lasting dedication to protecting and restoring key resources on the Island of Kauai.

Applicants Sought to Serve on Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court

The Nominating Committee of the Hawaii Supreme Court is seeking qualified applicants to serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board.  Four attorney and two non-attorney board positions are expected to be available.  Applicants from all islands are invited to apply.
The term of each position is three years, beginning July 1, 2017.  These positions are not compensated; however, expenses to attend board meetings are reimbursed.

The Hawaii Supreme Court Disciplinary Board oversees the Office of Disciplinary Counsel, which investigates allegations of attorney misconduct and incapacity, and recommends appropriate action to the Hawaii Supreme Court to effectuate the purposes of its Disciplinary Rules.

The application deadline is April 14, 2017.  Those interested in serving should submit a resume and letter of interest to:

Gayle J. Lau, Chair
Nominating Committee
Supreme Court of Hawaii
P.O. Box 26436,
Honolulu, Hawaii  96825

Out-of-State Owner Contribute Up to One Third of Hawaii’s Property Taxes

The Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) today released a report titled, “An Analysis of Real Property Tax in Hawaii.”  The report estimates that 32.3 percent of Hawaii’s real property tax was paid by out-of-state owners in fiscal year 2016.

Click to read the report

The analysis is based on the real property tax records obtained from all four counties in the state. DBEDT conducted the analysis at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature.

“The report provides detailed information about property ownership and the contributions of real property tax by type of property and by residency of owners”, said DBEDT Director Luis P. Salaveria.  “This study examines the correlation between real property tax and the other sectors in the economy such as government, finance, real estate investment, construction, housing demand, and tourism.“

Chief State Economist Dr. Eugene Tian explained, “It is a challenge to determine the location of residence for property owners, since this is not included in property tax records.  Therefore, the analysis used tax notice mailing addresses as a proxy for the resident location of the property owner. However, mailing addresses provide an estimate rather than an exact measure because, in addition to including property owners, the mailing address may also include management companies, attorneys, accountants, or even friends and relatives.  As a continuation of the study, DBEDT is planning to conduct a survey to identify the nature of the mailing addresses.”

The following is a brief summary of the analysis:

  • Hawaii is one of 14 states in the United States where property taxes are not levied at the state level, but at county level only.
  • Nearly one-third (32.3 percent) of the property taxes were contributed by property owners residing out-of-state.
  • Growth of Hawaii’s real property tax base (valuations) has been following economic conditions; the growth of the property tax base slowed when unemployment rates were high and vice versa.
  • Of the total number of properties (TMKs) in the state, the report estimated that 75.1 percent are Residential and Related; 15.8 percent are Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation; 5.6 percent are Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related; and 3.5 percent are Commercial/Industrial and Public Service.
  • The estimates for property tax collection in the state showed that 53.2 percent of total property tax are collected from Residential and Related; 23.2 percent from Commercial/Industrial and Public Service; 18.2 percent from Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related; and 5.4 percent from Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation.
  • For the state overall, it was estimated that 87.5 percent of the Residential & Related properties were owned or managed by Hawaii residents or entities; 10.8 percent were owned or managed by U.S. mainland residents; 1.1 percent were owned or managed by foreign residents or entities; and 0.6 percent of the residential properties were jointly owned by Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • For the Hotel/Resort and Tourism Related category, it was estimated that 59.1 percent were owned or managed by U.S. mainlanders; 31.8 percent by Hawaii residents; 7.9 percent by foreign residents; and 1.2 percent were jointly owned between Hawaii and non-Hawaii residents.
  • For the Commercial/Industrial and Public Service category, it was estimated that 84.8 percent were owned or managed by Hawaii residents; 12.3 percent by mainlanders; 0.3 percent by foreigners; and 2.6 percent were jointly owned by Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • For the Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation category, it was estimated that 59.8 percent were owned by Hawaii residents or entities; 35.2 percent by mainlanders; 2.6 by foreigners; and 2.3 percent were jointly owned between Hawaii and out-of-state residents.
  • Including all tax classes, it was estimated that Hawaii residents contributed 67.8 percent of the total real property taxes collected; U.S. mainlanders contributed 29.9 percent; and foreigners contributed 2.4 percent of property tax collections.
  • For the Residential and Related category, Hawaii residents contributed the majority at 76.5 percent of total real property tax collected; U.S. mainlanders contributed 21.1 percent; and foreigners 2.3 percent of property tax collections.
  • For the Hotel/Resort & Tourism Related category, U.S. mainlanders contributed over half of real property taxes paid at 52.0 percent; Hawaii in-state contributed 42.8 percent; and foreigners contributed 5.3 percent of real property taxes paid.
  • For the Commercial/Industrial and Public Service category, Hawaii residents contributed 68 percent; mainlanders contributed 31.9 percent; and foreigners contributed 0.2 percent of real property taxes paid.
  • For the Agriculture, Conservation, and Preservation category, Hawaii residents contributed 64.3 percent; mainlanders contributed 33.3 percent; and foreigners contributed 2.4 percent of total property taxes paid.
  • The average effective rates for in-state-owners were 0.43 percent for the state overall; 0.38 percent for Honolulu County; 0.9 percent for Hawaii County; 0.56 percent for Maui County; and 0.49 percent for Kauai County.
  • The average effective rates for out-of-state-owners were 0.83 percent for the state overall; 0.46 percent for Honolulu County; 2.22 percent for Hawaii County; 1.05 percent for Maui County; and 1.01 percent for Kauai County.

The full report is available at: dbedt.hawaii.gov/economic.

Rewards for Information on Monk Seal Killings Tops $50,000

Local and national non-profit and non-governmental organizations are offering $50,000 for information about the killings of five Hawaiian seals, with the February suspicious death of seal R4DP near ‘Ele‘ele on Kaua‘i making the matter even more urgent. Since 2011, these groups have offered $10,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved in the killing of Hawaiian monk seals.

These deaths are among 11 reported monk seal killings since 2009 that remain open and unsolved. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We are deeply indebted to The Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, Conservation Council for Hawai‘i and the Center for Biological Diversity, which once again have stepped forward to try and help solve the senseless and outrageous killings of one of Hawai‘i’s iconic, naturally and culturally important marine mammals.”

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) continue to seek witnesses and information on the suspicious death of the 15-year-old female seal, tagged as R4DP.  Angela Amlin, the Hawaiian monk seal recovery coordinator for NOAA’s Pacific Islands Regional Office commented, “We are still waiting for final lab results but everything indicates that R4DP was in good health and did not have any diseases.” DOCARE Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell commented, “These may be serious crimes with significant fines and jail time punishable under both federal and state laws. DOCARE officers on Kaua‘i are working closely with NOAA/OLE agents to gather information and we hope anyone who has information about the death of R4DP or any of the other outstanding cases will come forward.” (Confidential tip line information is below).

Keith Dane, Hawai‘i policy advisor for The Humane Society of the United States, said “The magnitude of the reward for information about these suspicious deaths of defenseless monk seals reflects how much our community values these critically endangered animals and demands justice for those who would seek to harm them.”

Ben Callison, president of the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust said, “If someone intentionally killed this defenseless endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal as she lay resting on the beach they did so with complete disregard for regulations and the reasons behind them.

This is an egregious crime against wildlife, and is particularly reprehensible when it involves an endangered species struggling to make a comeback. We must work together to ensure any and all who were involved are held fully accountable”

“We are deeply saddened by the cruel and senseless killings of precious monk seals,” said Marjorie Ziegler, executive director of the Conservation Council for Hawai’i (CCH). “For our own sake and the good of the planet, we must learn to coexist with other species that share our island home.  If you know anything about any of these killings, please speak up.” CCH is a membership non-profit dedicated to protecting native Hawaiian plants, animals, and ecosystems.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization. Dr. Loyal Mehrhoff is the organization’s Honolulu-based endangered species recovery director. “Monk seals are still highly endangered and a very special species,” Mehrhoff said. “It is important to protect our seals from malicious acts.”

Hawaiian monk seals are endemic to Hawai‘i – a native species found nowhere else in the world. The species is critically endangered with an estimated 1,400 remaining in the wild.

Anyone with information about these deaths should call the NOAA OLE hotline at

1-800-853-1964 or the statewide DOCARE hotline at 1-855-DLNR-TIP or 643-DLNR (3567).

Nation’s First Judicial Outreach Week Comes to Hawaii

Commemorating America’s first National Judicial Outreach Week (March 5 – 11, 2017), Hawaii state judges are meeting with student and community groups to promote public understanding of the rule of law.  Judges will share their insights on how the courts apply this important concept in maintaining open and transparent government, ensuring fairness in our system of justice, and protecting the fundamental legal rights of all citizens.

Oahu Judge William Domingo shows a sketch of Lady Justice to 8th grade students who visited his courtroom at the First Circuit Court Building on March 7, 2017. Judge Domingo used the sketch to explain the Judiciary’s role in applying the rule of law equally for all people.

National Judicial Outreach Week is a new initiative of the American Bar Association Judicial Division, set to take place each year in the first full week of March.  During this week, judges and lawyers will host a variety of community engagements to discuss the rule of law – the legal principle that every citizen is subject to the law, including a country’s lawmakers, leaders, and judges.

“We are a nation where all people are equal under the law,” said Judge William Domingo.  “Our courts are the institutions charged with safeguarding this fundamental principle, so it is important for the public to have a firm understanding of the court and its legal processes.  This promotes trust in the fairness and impartiality of our system of justice.”

During the month of March, the Judiciary invites people to contact their local courthouse to inquire about having a judge speak to their school or community group on the rule of law, our system of justice, and the resources and public services available through the courts.

On Oahu (First Circuit) call the Judiciary History Center at (808) 539-4999.

On Maui, Molokai, and Lanai (Second Circuit) call the chambers of the Chief Judge at (808) 244-2860.

On Hawaii Island (Third Circuit) call the Program Services Branch at (808) 322-8726.

On Kauai (Fifth Circuit) call the Office of the Deputy Chief Court Administrator at (808) 482-2347.

Statement of Attorney General Doug Chin Regarding Activity Today in Hawaii vs. Trump

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin confirmed today that the State of Hawaii intends to pursue legal action regarding President Trump’s new travel ban, which was issued yesterday. The State, together with the Department of Justice, asked Judge Derrick K. Watson for an expedited briefing schedule on a motion for temporary restraining order. If Judge Watson agrees, this schedule will allow the court to hear the State’s motion before the new travel ban goes into effect on March 16, 2017.

A copy of today’s filing is attached. The State anticipates filing a second amended complaint and a motion for temporary restraining order in the near future. Those documents will be available to the public after they have been filed in court.

Hawaii State Civil Rights Commission Decries Threat Against Jewish Preschool

On behalf of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission, Chair Linda Hamilton Krieger today strongly condemned the threatening phone call made on Monday, February 27, 2017, that necessitated the evacuation of the Temple Emanu-El preschool, and renewed the Commission’s previous call for Hawaiʻi to stand against the national upsurge in discriminatory harassment and intimidation. “We must all come together to condemn this despicable, hateful act against Hawaii’s Jewish community,” said Krieger. “No one should have to live in fear because of their religion, just as no one should live in fear because of their national origin, race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status.”

“It is sobering that this happened here in Hawaiʻi, in the context of threats against 20 Jewish community centers and day schools on the same day nationwide, as well as the bias-motivated shooting that took the life of an Indian man in Kansas last week,” added HCRC Executive Director William Hoshijo. “Those who share a commitment to civil rights must stand up for those who cannot stand alone, and condemn the post-election proliferation of anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant attacks and threats, acts of vandalism, and hateful rhetoric.”

The Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Commission is responsible for enforcing, and will enforce, state civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and

State-funded services. The HCRC stands in opposition to discriminatory harassment, whether in schools, workplaces, places of business, or in our communities.

If you feel you have been subjected to discrimination or harassment because of your race, ancestry, disability, sexual orientation, religion, sex, including gender identity, or other prohibited bases, contact the HCRC at telephone (808) 586-8636, or email DLIR.HCRC.INFOR@hawaii.gov.

For more information, go to the HCRC webpage at:  http://labor.hawaii.gov/hcrc/.

Record $394,000 Raised by Hawaii Food & Wine Festival

The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival (HFWF), the state’s premier culinary event, raised a record $394,000 for local beneficiaries following another successful year. Fourteen nonprofit organizations received checks during a Mahalo Reception for the 2016 festival held on March 7th at Neiman Marcus’ Mariposa Restaurant. The $394,000 contribution brings the total giving from HFWF to nearly $1.7 million in six years.

“We’re proud that Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival not only shines a spotlight on Hawai’i as a culinary destination, but pays it forward through contributions for nonprofit charitable organizations that support local food sustainability, cultural, and educational programs” says Denise Yamaguchi, HFWF Chief Executive Officer. “The tangible impact of the festival is far-reaching, with funds supporting local culinary colleges, grants for Hawai‘i chefs to learn in the kitchens of the world’s  culinary masters, programs to help small farms get their produce to consumers, and curriculum to teach children how to grow their own food in school and make healthy dishes at home.”
2016 HFWF beneficiaries include:
  • Culinary Institute of the Pacific- $80,000
  • Hawai‘i Agricultural Foundation- $70,000
  • Imua Family Services- $50,000
  • Kapi‘olani Community College Culinary Arts Program- $50,000
  • Ment’Or BKB Foundation- $29,000
  • Kapi‘olani Community College Hospitality and Tourism Program- $25,000
  • Leeward Community College Culinary Arts Program- $25,000
  • Maui County Farm Bureau- $20,000
  • Hawai‘i Island Community College Culinary Arts Program- $10,000
  • Paepae o He‘eia- $10,000
  • Papahana Kuaola- $10,000
  • Maui Culinary Academy- $7,500
  • Hawaii Seafood Council- $5,000
  • Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation- $2,500
In six years, HFWF has expanded from a 3-day festival with 30 chefs in Waikiki to more than 20 events spanning 3 Islands. HFWF16 welcomed 8,765 attendees from around the world to signature events on O’ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island featuring 114 top chefs, 50 wine makers, and 10 mixologists. That’s up 1,365 attendees from 2015. More than 200 Hawai‘i culinary students gained priceless experience working side-by-side with culinary masters.
“We wanted to make sure the chefs that we invited were going to be world class, at the same time have a real deep feeling about what Hawai‘i means to them” explains HFWF Co-Founder Roy Yamaguchi. “In that sense, we were looking for something to become big because we felt that we wanted to reach the entire world and we needed to have a quality festival and large enough festival to capture that.”
HFWF garnered nearly $11 million in publicity value from media coverage including Good Morning America, FOX News, USA Today, Fiji Times, Food and Wine, Eater San Francisco, Delta Sky Japan, The San Jose Mercury News, and Hawaii Chinese TV. Of the worldwide exposure, HFWF Co-Founder Alan Wong stresses, “The most important thing is, the spotlight has been put on Hawai‘i- on our tourism, our people, our culture, our food, what we grow here. It’s a win win win.”
The non-profit mission of the festival sets it apart from other notable food and wine events. “I think that really comes from the hearts of the chefs who got this going in the beginning” shares Dean Wong, Executive Director for Imua Family Services, a Maui beneficiary that received a check for $50,000. “They all wanted to give back to the community as well to support Hawai‘i and the tourism and the food industry in Hawai‘i. That speaks volumes of the Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival.”
HFWF is a program of the nonprofit, Hawai‘i Ag and Culinary Alliance. Its mission is to attract national and international attention to the extraordinary culinary talent, as well as the diversity of quality locally grown products to ensure Hawai‘i maintains its competitive edge as a world-class destination.
HFWF co-chair Alan Wong was featured at the Mahalo reception, along with chefs Mark Freiberg of Neiman Marcus, Chef Alan Takasaki from Le Bistro, and Chef Vikram Garg.

Hawaii House Sends 159 More Bills to Senate

As the Thursday deadline to crossover bills to the Senate approaches, the House passed bills to alleviate prison crowding, support affordable housing initiatives, protect kupuna from physical and financial exploitation, and fighting invasive species.

The House voted to pass on to the Senate today another 159 bills including measures addressing the state’s goals on cyber security, crime, homeless support and tax relief.  These measures reflect the focus of the House majority on improving the lives of the people in Hawaii.

“Among the many needs that we are addressing this session is helping our low- and middle-income families ease their financial burden and increase rental and affordable housing support for them,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “We have passed bills to expand the renters income and food tax credit for low-income households, authorized the issuance of general obligation bonds for rental housing and mixed use affordable rental housing, updated the loan program to assist low- and moderate-income households to become first-time homebuyers, and established a loan fund for developers to finance infrastructure costs of affordable rentals and fee simple housing developments.”

The House now stands in recess and will reconvene to take action on any remaining final measures for third reading on Thursday, March 19 at noon. To date, the House has approved more than 360 bills this session.

Key measures passed by the House today include:

Prison Crowding

HB1246 HD2 authorizes electronic monitoring and surveillance of offenders in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration.

HB462 HD2 requires the Department of Public Safety to solicit proposals for a new correctional facility.

Housing Support

HB488 HD2 authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for rental housing, mixed-use affordable rental housing, a multi-use juvenile services and shelter center, and public housing. Appropriates funds for public housing security improvements, renovation, and repairs.

HB207 HD2 expands the low-income household renters’ income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status.

HB530 HD2 updates and expands the Downpayment Loan Program under the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation and establishes the Downpayment Loan Loss Reserve Program to assist low- and moderate-income households to become first-time homebuyers.

HB660 HD2 establishes the Infrastructure Development Loan Revolving Fund to make loans to developers to finance the costs of the infrastructure of affordable rental and fee simple housing developments, and appropriates funds for this purpose.

Kupuna Protection

HB199 HD2  authorizes the Department of Human Services to investigate allegations of the physical isolation of vulnerable adults and take corrective action including obtaining judicial relief.

HB432 HD2 makes financial exploitation of an elder by a caregiver a felony.

Invasive Species

HB655 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to assist the National Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research the negative impacts of the rose-ringed parakeet on Kauai and develop and implement a control plan to reduce the negative impacts.

HB1006 HD1 appropriates funds to the Hawaii ant lab for personnel and equipment to support mitigation of the little fire ant.

HB1301 HD2 provides that a person or entity that is determined by the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to have introduced an invasive species into the state may be strictly liable for all or part of the expenses to eradicate the invasive species from the state.

HB606 HD2 authorizes the counties to enter private property to control or eradicate invasive species and pests.

Other important bills passing the House today and moving to the Senate include:

Homeless Support

HB1240 HD2 appropriates funds to the Department of Human Services for the coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative to prevent homelessness and rehouse individuals in the State.

Taxes

HB209 HD1 HB209 HD1 expands the low-income household renters income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status. Establishes a state earned income tax credit.  Restores the tax rates for high income brackets that were repealed in 2015.  Removes the sunset date for the refundable food/excise tax credit.

HB932 HD1 Gradually increases the credit amounts and amends the income brackets of the refundable food/excise tax credit.

HB1012 HD2  temporarily disallows the deduction for dividends paid by real estate investment trusts for a period of 15 years, but with an exception for dividends generated from trust-owned housing that is affordable to households with incomes at or below 140 percent of the median family income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HB1471 HD3 requires transient accommodations 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. Ensures that the subject property is in compliance with applicable land use laws. Allocates $1 million of TAT revenues to each county for FY 2017-2018 to comply and enforce county ordinances regulating transient vacation rentals. Creates a surcharge tax on transient accommodations brokers.

HB263 HD2 amends provisions related to licensed medical marijuana dispensaries by imposing general excise tax on a percentage of dispensaries’ gross proceeds or gross income and allocating a portion of GET revenues received from dispensaries to the Medical Marijuana Registry and Regulation Special Fund.

Agriculture

HB961 HD2 excludes for income tax purposes a portion of income earned by farmers who grow or raise food or value–added food products within the state and whose annual gross income does not exceed a certain amount.

HB2 HD2 authorizes tiny homes of less than 500 square feet for farm workers in agricultural districts in a county with a population of more than 180,000 but less than 250,000.

Veterans

HB168 HD1 appropriates funds for the planning and design of a memorial to honor service members of the recent conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the various theaters of the Global War on Terrorism, to be located at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe and replicas to be located at state veterans cemeteries statewide.

Cyber Security

HB 598 HD2 authorizes and provides funding for the University of Hawaii to participate in and contribute funding for the development of a Hawaii cyber ecosystem and related aspects of cyber security.

HB814 HD2 adopts uniform laws on protecting the online accounts of employees and students from employers and educational institutions, respectively.

UH Promise Program

HB1591 HD2 establishes the Hawaii Promise Program to provide scholarships for the unmet direct cost needs of qualified students enrolled at a University of Hawaii community college.

Crime

HB1501 HD2 reclassifies drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of $100.

HB1172 HD2 allows probable cause for fireworks offenses to be established from statements from witnesses and photographs, video, and other recordings authenticated by witnesses.

HB680 HD2 Requires licensees under the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to complete a one-time awareness education program on intimate partner violence awareness and education

Police disclosure

HB456 HD1 requires police departments to disclose to the Legislature the identity of an officer upon the officer’s second suspension in a five-year period or discharge, as well as certain employment misconduct related information upon an officer’s second suspension in a five year period.

Transportation

HB727 HD1 Allows motorcycles and motor scooters to pass between two same-bound lanes when traffic is stopped.

Civil Rights

HB1489 HD1 prohibits a state agency or program or activity receiving state financial assistance from excluding from participation, denying benefits to, or discriminating against a qualified individual by reason of disability, sex, including gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.

Quiet Title

HB860 HD1  provides that: (1) actions for quiet title of kuleana lands shall be subject to mandatory mediation; (2) court cases by the same plaintiff that seeks quiet title for separate kuleana lands within the same court circuit shall be consolidated; (3) defendant’s access for cultural and traditional practices shall not be alienated or extinguished; and (4) plaintiff shall not recover costs, expenses, or attorney’s fees from the defendant.

Finley’s Law

HB561 HD2 called “Finley’s Law,” this bill requires dentists who administer general anesthesia, deep sedation, or moderate (conscious) sedation to post notice of contact information for verification of the dentist’s licensure and authorization or permit to administer anesthesia and perform sedation.

Sex Abuse Prevention

HB 930 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.

Elections

HB1581 HD1 requires candidates for President and Vice President of the United States to disclose their federal income tax returns in order for their names to appear on a Hawaii ballot and prohibits Hawaii’s electoral college electors from voting for a candidate who has not disclosed this information.

Landlord-Tenant Code

HB223 HD2 allows a landlord or landlord’s agent to charge an application screening fee as part of the applicant screening process for renting residential property. Sets limits on the amount of the application screening fee and requires the landlord or agent to return any unauthorized fee amounts to the applicant.

Reef Fish Collecting

HB1457 HD2 Places a temporary moratorium on the issuance of new aquarium fish collecting permits until the Department of Land and Natural Resources has developed a comprehensive plan for the sustainable management of nearshore reef wildlife.

Drones

HB314 HD1 establishes prohibited uses of unmanned aerial vehicles for individuals, law enforcement agencies, and public agencies. Provides certain exceptions for the use of unmanned aerial vehicles. Makes certain uses of an unmanned aerial vehicle a petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor and Class C felony for a second of subsequent violations.

A complete list of 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&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

Deadline to Apply for State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Extended

The Judicial Council has extended the deadline to apply for vacancies on the Hawai`i State Ethics Commission and the Campaign Spending Commission.  The new application deadline is Friday, March 31, 2017. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawai`i, and may not hold any other public office.

Applicants from all islands may apply.  Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island members to attend meetings on O`ahu will be reimbursed.

The Ethics Commission addresses ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees (with the exception of judges, who are governed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct).  The five commission members are responsible for investigating complaints, providing advisory opinions, and enforcing decisions issued by the Commission.  The Hawai`i State Constitution prohibits members of the Ethics Commission from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns.

The primary duty of the five members of the Campaign Spending Commission is to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures.  Campaign Spending Commissioners are prohibited from participating in political campaigns or contributing to candidates or political committees.

Interested persons should submit an application, a resume, and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 31, 2017 to:  Judicial Council, Hawai`i Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813-2902.

An application form is available on the Judiciary website or can be obtained from the Communications and Community Relations Office, Room 212, Ali`iolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813 or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Sponsors Sought for Summer Food Service Program to Provide Meals for Children During Summer Break

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is seeking sponsor organizations on all islands to help provide children in low-income communities with reduced-price meals during the summer months.  The SFSP provides nutritious meals that help children to learn, play and grow during the summer break when many schools are not in session.

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors. Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger. Photo Credit: Department of Education

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors.  Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger.  Sponsors are encouraged to provide educational or recreational activities.

In 2016, a daily average of 12,829 children, 18 years and younger, participated in Summer Meals Programs. This average increased by 1,125 children per day from the previous year. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“Summer food service programs are vital to many of our keiki who normally rely on school meals for most of their daily intake,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “Well-rounded, nutritious meals are a priority for children who need regular fuel for learning, physical activities and growth.”

In 2016, a daily average of 12,829 children, 18 years and younger, participated in Summer Meals Programs.  This average increased by 1,125 children per day from the previous year.  SFSP sites are often located at nonprofit organizations, preschools, churches, parks and housing facilities and the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Seamless Summer Option provides meals at select school locations.

The Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs (HCNP) will conduct workshops for new and returning sponsors on Maui, Hawaii, Kauai and Oahu from March 14 to 24.  Personnel responsible for administering the SFSP will be required to attend.

For more information about SFSP, contact Jennifer Dang at Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs at 587-3600.

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Legislative “Crossover” Update From Senator Kai Kahele

Aloha!

We are a third of the way through the 2017 Legislative Session and just six days out from First Crossover. Now that the Senate Committees on Ways and Means; Judiciary and Labor; and Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health have completed their deliberations, bills that are still alive will make their way to third reading next week Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Thanks to you, many of our priority bills are still alive:

If these bills are approved next week, they’ll crossover to the State House for further deliberations by our colleagues. In turn, House approved bills will crossover for further deliberation by the Senate. As we move forward, be sure to stay tuned for our weekly updates.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii Senate Confirms DHS Director, Appeals Court and First Circuit Court Judges

The Hawai‘i State Senate today gave their consent on Governor Ige’s nominees to the Department of Human Services, Intermediate Court of Appeals Court, and three Judges to the First Circuit Court – O‘ahu.

In a unanimous decision, Senators confirmed Pankaj Bhanot as the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Bhanot received a BA in political science and a law degree from the University of Delhi.  He graduated in 1991 with an LL.M. degree from Cornell University, School of Law.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

His career in human and social services began in August 1998 as the Family Development Director with the Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity.  Bhanot went on the serve as a program specialist with the state DHS Employment and Child Care Program Office of the Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division and the Employment and Child Care Program Administrator.  He most recently served as DHS Deputy Director before being appointed to lead the department.

The Senate also voted to consent to Derrick H.M. Chan as an Associate Judge to the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Chan was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in August 2000.  Prior to this, he was the First Deputy Prosecutor for the County of Kaua‘i. He also served as an attorney for the Hawai‘i Carpenters Union, as Deputy Public Defender for the state, law clerk to Judge Wilfred Watanabe, and Deputy Attorney General for the state. Chan is a 1985 graduate of California Western School of Law. Chan will fill the vacancy created by the retirement in December 2016 of former Associate Judge Daniel R. Foley.

“Throughout his tenure, Judge Chan has cemented a reputation for diligence, hard work and integrity, as well as decisiveness, courage, and street smarts which allows him to “cut to the chase,’” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (Dist. 5- Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului), chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.  “With Judge Chan’s background, character, quiet passion, and even-keeled demeanor, he will be a very good addition to Hawai‘i’s appellate courts.”

Senators gave their unanimous consent to Catherine H. Remigio to the First Circuit Court.  Remigio most recently served as Family Court judge after being appointed in 2011.  Prior to that, she served in the Judiciary as a Per Diem District Court Judge and Circuit Court Grand Jury Counsel.  Remigio has also practiced law in several private firms, including as a partner at Bryant & Remigio, LLC.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

She served as a deputy public defender for the State of Hawai‘i and as a law clerk to Judges Thomas K. Kaulukukui, Jr. and Eden Elizabeth Hifo in the First Circuit Court.  Remigio is a Kamehameha Schools graduate and received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and earned her juris doctorate at the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1992.  Remigio replaces former Circuit Judge Steven S. Alm who retired in August 2016.

“Thoughtful, considerate, smart and well-prepared is how others have described Judge Remigio,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran. “Judge Remigio’s strong background and character, steady demeanor, and determination promise that she will be a solid addition to the First Circuit Court,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran.

The State Senate also unanimously approved the appointment of Keith K. Hiraoka to the First Circuit Court.  Hiraoka has practiced law for the last 34 years, focusing on insurance coverage and defense. He has tried cases before juries, judges and arbitrators, participated in many mediations and briefed and argued appeals before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Hiraoka is a graduate of the University Hawai‘i at Mānoa and earned his juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1983.  Hiraoka fills the vacancy created by the retirement in June 2016 of former Circuit Judge Karen S.S. Ahn.

“Mr. Hiraoka’s background, character, professionalism, and demeanor promise that he will be a very good addition to the circuit court, the busiest circuit in Hawai‘i’s legal system,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran.

The State Senate unanimously voted to consent to Todd Eddins joining the First Circuit Court. Eddins graduated from the College of William & Mary and the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he was the executive editor of the University of Hawai‘i Law Review.  He served as a law clerk to Justice Yoshimi Hayashi of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court. Eddins worked as a trial lawyer at the Office of the Public Defender for more than ten years. In private practice he has concentrated on complex civil, criminal, and appellate litigation. Eddins fills the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Richard K. Perkins in June 2016.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

“Mr. Eddins brings to the bench nearly 25 years of experience from the criminal bar and as a trial lawyer, where he has distinguished himself as one of the top defense lawyers in our state,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran. “Clearly, he has the background, character and demeanor to be a very good addition to the first Circuit Court.”

The term of office for the judgeships is for ten years.

Hawaii House Sends 137 Bills to Senate

The Hawaii House or Representatives today passed 137 bills including measures relating to helping homeless people, fighting invasive species, protecting health care and flood insurance coverage, and reducing the blood quantum requirement in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

HB83 HD1 Homelessness: Allows the Department of Human Services to establish puuhonua safe zones where homeless persons may reside.

HB453 HD1 Agriculture Grant: Requires the Department of Agriculture to provide grants to farmers to assist them in paying for the costs of compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and state food safety laws.

HB527 HD1 Homelessness: Appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB552 HD1 Health Insurance: Ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress.

HB1418 Flood Insurance: Amends the county exemptions from building permit and building code requirements to ensure that Hawaii’s communities are not suspended from participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

HB1339 HD1 Invasive Species: Restructures the Hawaii Invasive Species Council as the Hawaii Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 Invasive Species: Establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

HB1300 HD1 Coral Reefs: Requires UH Environmental Center to conduct ongoing studies of the environmental impacts of sewage spills on affected coral reefs.

HB450 HD1 Coral Reefs: Requires UH to conduct a study on the effects of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.

HB451 HD1 Blood Quantum: Reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second.

Other bills that passed third reading by the House today include measures that relate to identification for prisoners, heat abatement in our public schools, biosecurity in agriculture, vehicle tax, and pesticides.

HB386 HD1 Environment: Appropriates funds for the two-year extension of the Post-Bypass Beach Monitoring Program of the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor Sand Bypass Operation at Waimea, Kauai.

HB844 HD1 At-Risk Youth: Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a two-year Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program in partnership with private organizations to coordinate a network that youth can access for safety and where youth can obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services.

HB845 HD2 Prisoner ID: Requires the Department of Public Safety in collaboration with county and state agencies and, upon request of the inmate, to issue civil identification cards to inmates and to assist inmate in obtaining the inmate’s birth certificate, social security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry into society.

HB848 HD2 Microgrids: Exempt microgrids that promote and serve public higher education institutions from regulation as a public utility by the Public Utilities Commission.

HB889 HD1 Pesticides: Increases the pesticide licensing fee and requires annual renewal of the license.

HB916 HD1 Loan Repayment: Makes an appropriation for the health care professionals loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

HB957 HD1 Heat Abatement: Authorizes the Department of Education and Budget and Finance to borrow moneys from the Hawaii green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

HB1244 HD1 Cesspool Tax Credit: Amends the cesspool upgrade, conversion, or connection income tax credit to make it assignable and refundable, applicable to more cesspools, and applicable through 12/31/2022.

HB1325 HD1 Biosecurity: Requires the Department of Agriculture to establish parameters and construction requirements for biosecurity facilities that provide for and ensure the safety of agricultural and food commodities.

HB1378 HD1 Access Road: Requires the Department of Transportation to develop plans for the construction of secondary access roads for the Waianae district of leeward Oahu. Appropriates funds.

HB1587 HD1 Vehicle Tax: Replaces the state vehicle weight tax with a tax based on the assessed value of a vehicle.

Today marks the first decking deadline in the legislative process, when all measures must pass out of its final committee to be considered for a vote by the full House or Senate.  Each chamber has until next Thursday, March 9, to vote on all remaining measures that have made it out of their respective committees.

Following next Thursday’s crossover deadline, the House will focus its attention on HB100 relating to the state budget, which must be passed out of the committee on Finance by March 13 and voted on by the full body by March 15.

A complete list of 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&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

Attorney General Chin Joins 39 Other State Attorneys General in Lawsuit Over Inflated Drug Prices

Attorney General Doug Chin today announced that Hawaii joined 39 states yesterday in a federal antitrust lawsuit over inflated drug prices. The lawsuit alleges that six generic drug-makers entered into illegal conspiracies to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two generic drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release (an antibiotic) and glyburide (a diabetes medication).

Yesterday’s federal court filing amends a lawsuit initially filed in December 2016. The December 2016 complaint alleged violations of federal antitrust law and included 19 plaintiff states. The amended complaint increases from 20 to 40 the number of plaintiff states in the lawsuit. It also alleges violations of state antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws. The defendants include Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Connecticut is leading the multistate group of plaintiff states, consisting of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

In July 2014, Connecticut began to investigate the reasons behind suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. According to the complaint, the investigation, which is still ongoing as to a number of additional generic drugs, generic drug companies and key executives, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release and glyburide.

The amended complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The complaint alleges that the anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – continues to cause significant harm to the country’s healthcare system.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. A redacted copy of the amended complaint is attached.

Hawaii Department of Human Services Adopts Safe Sleep Rules

The Department of Human Services has adopted safe sleep provisions into its administrative rules, further strengthening its responsibility to keep infants safe in regulated child care settings. These amendments codify the department’s decade-long commitment to ensuring all licensed and registered child care providers follow safe sleep best practices. The rule went into effect on Friday, February 24, 2017.

“This department is committed to the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s children. These rules embody our commitment by making explicit our department’s practice of requiring licensed and registered child care providers to use safe sleep best practices. We believe these rules are the natural evolution of our dedication to safe sleep practices in licensing child care providers,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.

This act of codifying DHS practices responds to community concerns and reinforces that the department values safe sleep practices in all child care settings.

DHS has prioritized safe sleep practices since 2005 when the department began including them as part of the child care licensing protocol. The national Safe Sleep campaign began targeting child care settings just a few years prior.

DHS licenses various child care settings, including family care homes, group child care centers and homes, before- and after-school programs, and infant and toddler child care centers. The department’s Child Care Licensing staff conduct initial, annual and biennial monitoring visits at each home and facility to ensure providers are compliant with laws, regulations and best practices. Since 2005, licensing workers have educated providers about the importance of safe sleep practices and verified their compliance.

These protocols contributed to zero child fatalities in licensed and registered child care settings in 2016.

You can access the rules (17-891.1 and 17-895) here on our website. More information about the Department of Human Services is available at humanservices.hawaii.gov.