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Hawaii Tourism Authority Awarding $3.5 Million to Support 124 Hawaiian Culture, Natural Resources and Community Programs in 2018

In keeping with its commitment to foster sustainable tourism in the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is providing funding of more than $3.5 million to 124 programs that are perpetuating Hawaiian culture, protecting natural resources and showcasing community events in 2018.Recipients of the funding are nonprofit groups, community organizations and individuals statewide who have demonstrated through proposals submitted to HTA their dedication to strengthen the enduring qualities of Hawaii’s legacy that distinguish the islands as a place to live and visit.

“Sustainable tourism starts at the community level and that’s the focus of our support for initiatives by groups and individuals who have pledged to make Hawaii a better place for future generations,” said George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO. “Collectively, these community-based programs will help manage tourism’s impacts by preserving the quality of life we treasure as residents through culture, the environment and the sharing of festivals and events ingrained in the traditions of Hawaii’s people.”

Funding is being provided to recipients on all islands for usage in 2018 as part of three HTA program categories: Kukulu Ola, Aloha Aina and Community Enrichment. HTA issued a request for proposals on June 21 with submittals from qualified applicants received by August 4.

  • A total of $1,240,000 is being awarded to 33 recipients that are perpetuating Hawaiian culture through HTA’s Kukulu Ola program. Awardees include community groups, practitioners, craftsmen, musicians and artists committed to strengthening a broader understanding and appreciation of Hawaiian culture through place-based activity engagement. Founded on the value of ma ka hana ka ike (in working one learns), the Kukulu Ola program assists recipients steeped in ike Hawaii to share within communities the Hawaiian values inherent in each respective practice.
  • A total of $1,150,000 is being awarded to 26 recipients that are helping to protect Hawaii’s natural resources through HTA’s Aloha Aina program. Focused on the lasting value of stewardship by responsible community-based entities that emphasize aina-kanaka relationships and knowledge, the Aloha Aina program supports efforts to manage, conserve and revitalize Hawaii’s natural resources and environment.
  • A total of $1,153,300 is being awarded to 65 recipients through HTA’s Community Enrichment program, which supports quality experiences created by communities to be shared with residents and visitors for their enjoyment. The Community Enrichment program invests in a diverse array of festivals, events and year-round programs in support of culture, education, health and wellness, nature, agriculture, sports, technology and voluntourism.

Click here for the listing of awardees receiving funding from HTA.

Hawai`i Department of Health Approves Fourth Dispensary to Begin Retail Sales of Medical Cannabis

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a formal notice to proceed to Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals after the dispensary completed laboratory testing requirements and passed its final onsite inspection. Noa Botanicals is the fourth licensed medical cannabis dispensary in the state (and the second on O‘ahu) to receive approval to begin sales of medical cannabis to registered patients and their caregivers.

The licensed retail center for Noa Botanicals is located at 1308 Young Street in Honolulu, and the dispensary expects to begin sales at the site this month.

“We are continuing to closely work with both the licensed dispensaries and private laboratories in each of the counties to help them meet all of the requirements as efficiently as possible without compromising product or patient safety,” said Keith Ridley, who oversees the medical cannabis dispensary program for the Hawaii State Department of Health.

The rigorous dispensary approval processes to open and begin selling medical cannabis are based on the requirements of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes Chapter 329D and Hawai‘i Administrative Rules Chapter 11-850. Dispensaries are required to comply with all state and county, health, safety, and sanitation regulations, and are subject to unannounced inspections by the Hawaii Department of Health.

The other licensed retail centers are:

  • Maui Grown Therapies, located at 44 Pa‘a Street in Kahului, Maui, which was the first licensed dispensary in Hawai‘i to receive a notice to proceed on Aug. 8, 2017;
  • Aloha Green, in the Interstate Building at 1314 South King Street in Honolulu, received its notice to proceed on Aug. 9, 2017; and
  • Pono Life Sciences Maui LLC, at 415 Dairy Road in Kahului, Maui, was the second Maui dispensary to receive a notice to proceed on Sept. 29, 2017.

Registered patients and their caregivers may purchase up to four ounces of medical cannabis during a 15 consecutive day period and purchase a maximum of eight ounces over a 30 consecutive day period. All use of medical cannabis must be on private property and may not be used in a car while on the road, at work, at the beach, on hiking trails, or in any other public space.

There are eight licensed dispensaries in Hawai‘i. There are three on O‘ahu: Aloha Green Holdings Inc.; Mānoa Botanicals LLC dba Noa Botanicals; and TCG Retro Market 1, LLC dba Cure O‘ahu. There are two in Hawai‘i County: Hawaiian Ethos LLC and Lau Ola LLC. The two Maui dispensaries include Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies; and Pono Life Sciences Maui, LLC. The one dispensary located on Kaua‘i is Green Aloha, Ltd. Each licensed dispensary is an independent business and operates based on their individual business plans.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Dispensary Program is available at www.health.hawaii.gov/medicalcannabis/.

Bank of Hawaii Foundation Grants $100,000 for PBS Hawai’i’s HIKI NO

Bank of Hawaii Foundation, an early backer of PBS Hawai‘i’s award-winning HIKI NŌ statewide student digital media initiative, has renewed its support with a $100,000 grant.

HIKI NŌ, primarily an education program, encourages students to hone progressive “real world” learning skills. These skills are showcased in a weekly on-air and online newscast, in which students meet national PBS professional journalism standards.

“Kudos to Leslie Wilcox and PBS Hawai‘i for championing HIKI NŌ and helping students from all islands to develop skills in a digital world,” said Peter S. Ho, Chairman, President and CEO of Bank of Hawaii. “HIKI NŌ students tell the stories of their communities with a voice and perspective that is powerful and authentic.”

Bank of Hawaii Foundation’s support dates back to the launch of HIKI NŌ in 2011. Since then, HIKI NŌ schools have become digital media stand-outs at local and national competitions.

At no cost to schools, HIKI NŌ serves 90 public, private and charter schools across the Islands, middle and high schools. Under the guidance of teachers, participating students create their stories of their communities after school hours. The Hawaii State Department of Education is considering making HIKI NŌ an official elective course in public schools.

Says PBS Hawai‘i Director of Learning Initiatives Robert Pennybacker: “Bank of Hawaii Foundation has helped open career paths to students by enabling them to gain the ability to problem-solve, persevere and meet deadlines with quality digital media work.”

New Phase of Daniel K. Inouye Highway Opens

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are pleased to announce the opening of the final phase of reconstruction on the east side of Saddle Road, now known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway. The improvement connects the existing highway near milepost 11 to the west end of the Puainako Street extension.

“The importance of the combined Saddle Road Improvement projects as a cross-island route cannot be overstated. It is a huge accomplishment,” said Governor David Ige. “Senator Inouye’s vision when he initiated the Saddle Road Community Task Force in 1993 is an excellent example of government and the community working together to benefit generations to come.”

“This project was of great importance to Dan as it connects east and west, providing safer access for all travelers, as well as economic opportunities for Hawaii Island residents. He tried to make every groundbreaking and celebration, dating back to 2004. I am pleased that the 48-mile road is complete and so honored that it bears Dan’s name,” said Ms. Irene Hirano Inouye, wife of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye.

Saddle Road/Daniel K. Inouye Highway task force committee being recognized during the ceremony. DOT Photo

The Saddle Road East Side project encompassed a total of nearly six miles of highway, reconstructing approximately three miles of the existing Daniel K. Inouye Highway, upgrading the roadway to modern design standards and including safety features such as 8-foot shoulder lanes, straighter alignment and a climbing lane, and adding three miles of new road. The project also increased the overall highway capacity and removed potential conflicts between military operations and public traffic. The cost was $57 million, which was within the allocated budget.

This joint project between HDOT and FHWA presented unique challenges such as varying subsurface conditions from aʻa, pahoehoe, dense basalt, and volcanic ash and the need to address precautionary measures necessary for containment, treatment and placement of cleared timber to help prevent the spread of the Rapid Ohia Death fungus.

Funding for the Saddle Road projects was made possible through the U.S. Department of the Army Defense Access Road and Ecosystem Management Programs, U.S. Congress, and Hawaii Department of Transportation.

“The completion of the Saddle Road East Side project provides a safe, efficient, cross-island route with access across Hawaii between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa,” said FHWA’s Central Federal Lands project manager Mike Will. “In addition, the use of the Pohakuloa Training Area quarry resources is estimated to have saved approximately $20 million of state and federal funding.”

Previous phases of the Saddle Road Improvements widened and aligned more than 41-miles of road. The east side phase opened today makes for a total of nearly 48 miles of road that has been improved to modern standards at a total approximate cost of $316.5 million, of which the U.S. Army contributed more than $100 million. Saddle Road was initially built as a one-lane road by the U.S. Army in 1942 to connect military training facilities.

The Daniel K. Inouye Highway, State Route 200, begins at the outskirts of Hilo near milepost 6 and extends westward to Mamalahoa Highway State Route 190. The road passes through the saddle between the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes. The Daniel K. Inouye Highway climbs nearly 5,500 vertical feet from its eastern terminus to its mid-point. The rainfall gradient along the highway ranges from 10 inches to 200 inches per year, which posed an additional challenge for crews during construction. The 2013 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 43 to rename the upgraded section of Hawaii Saddle Road to the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

Criminal Pretrial Task Force Public Meeting Announcement

The Criminal Pretrial Task Force will be holding a public meeting from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, October 13, at Aliiolani Hale, 417 South King Street, room 101 on the first floor.

The purpose of the meeting is to gather input from individuals and interested organizations about criminal pretrial practices and procedures.

“We want to ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to provide feedback to the task force,” said Judge Rom A. Trader, chair of the task force. “For example, we want to know if the current pretrial system is working. What needs to be done to improve it? What features would a highly-functioning and fair pretrial system have?

“We also welcome thoughts or suggestions relating to criminal pretrial reform for the task force’s consideration as it develops recommendations to the Legislature,” Judge Trader added.

House Concurrent Resolution No. 134, HD1 was adopted by the 2017 Legislature and requested the Judiciary to convene a task force to examine and, as needed, recommend legislation and revisions to criminal pretrial practices and procedures to increase public safety while maximizing pretrial release of those who do not pose a danger or a flight risk. The task force is also charged with identifying and defining best practices and metrics to measure the relative effectiveness of the criminal pretrial system, and establish ongoing procedures to take such measurements at appropriate time intervals.

Members of the task force represent a broad cross section of agencies who participate in the criminal justice system in different ways.

For those who are unable to attend the meeting, comments may be sent to  HCR134.Jud@courts.hawaii.gov by 5 p.m. on Friday, October 13. Include your name, contact information, and affiliation.

Anyone needing auxiliary aids or services to participate in this meeting (i.e., ASL, foreign language interpreter or wheelchair accessibility) should contact the Judiciary Legislative Coordinating Office at 539-4893 at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

Letter to Alan Oshima, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiian Electric Company (“HECO”), Regarding HEI New Subsidiary Pacific Current

Dear Mr. Oshima:

The Commission received a press release issued by Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (“HEI”), dated September 20, 2017, stating that HEI has established a new subsidiary, Pacific Current, which has agreed to purchase the Hamakua Energy Partners (“HEP”) power plant on Hawaii Island, “for an undisclosed price.” The HEP power plant provides energy and capacity services to Hawaii Electric Light Co., Inc. (“HELCO”) under a power purchase agreement which is in effect and expires in 2030.

Under Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) Section 269-19.S(a), “affiliated interests” of public utilities include “every corporation ten per cent or more of whose voting securities is owned by any person owning ten percent of more of the voting securities of a public utility.” Under HRS Section 269-19.S(b), “contracts and agreements between [a] regulated entity and its affiliates must be shown by clear and convincing evidence to be in furtherance of the interests of the public.”

To assist the Public Utilities Commission’s determination whether the power purchase agreement between HELCO and its affiliate Pacific Current is in furtherance of the interests of the public, please respond to the following:

  1. Please discuss in detail all measures HELCO has instituted to identify and prevent potential preferential treatment of its affiliate’s interests in the HEP power plant, in the following areas:
    a) operational decisions about unit commitment and dispatch;
    b) interconnection of new generation resources, including both utilityscale and distributed sources;
    c) solicitation and procurement of new generation resources from nonaffiliate independent power producers (“IPPs”);
    d) negotiation of future power purchase agreements with nonaffiliate IPPs;
    e) re-negotiation of existing power purchase agreements with nonaffiliate IPPs;
    f) re-negotiation of the HEP power purchase agreement with an affiliate IPP;
    g) development and implementation of new programs to invest in “nonwires alternatives” to generation, such as energy storage and distributed energy resources; and
    h) development and implementation of new programs to expand customer choice, such as community-based renewable energy (CBRE), demand responset and “smart export” options.
  2. Please discuss in detail measures HELCO has instituted to prevent disclosure of confidential information to its affiliate and its affiliate’s owners.
  3. Please discuss in detail the code of conduct between representatives from HELCO and Pacific Current that ensures any contracts or agreements between these entities are in furtherance of the interests of the public.
  4. Please discuss in detail any additional measures HELCO has taken to ensure that the agreement between HELCO and Pacific Current is in furtherance of the interests of the public.
  5. Is HELCO or another Hawaiian Electric regulated utility currently in discussions or negotiations with Pacific Current for any new contracts or agreements? If so, please describe the nature of the contract or agreement under discussion or negotiation and any measures to prevent conflicts of interest with potential competitive procurement of similar services, equipment, or supplies from non-affiliated entities.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Randy Iwase, Public Utilities Commission Chair

Hawai`i Joins Coalition of 18 States Opposing President’s Contraception Coverage Rollback

Attorney General Doug Chin today joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general warning the Trump administration that it should expect legal action over its discriminatory, ill-considered, and dangerous move to effectively end the contraception coverage rule created by the Affordable Care Act. The 18 attorneys general have written Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Don Wright, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta, and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin expressing their strong opposition to the Trump administration’s action that will increase healthcare costs for women, lead to more unplanned pregnancies, and place even more strain on state budgets.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “We are talking about basic access to health care for women. Contraception provides women the autonomy they deserve. It’s also used to treat a variety of serious conditions having nothing to do with birth control. And the public has had no opportunity to comment.”

For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Now, 62 million women across the country have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255 per year for oral pill contraceptives, and the percentage of women who have a co-pay for contraception has fallen from more than 20% to less than 4%.

“Allowing any employer or insurance company with a religious or ‘moral’ objection to contraception to opt out of this requirement will take away women’s autonomy to make their own reproductive decisions and put those decisions in the hands of their employers,” write the attorneys general. “Subjecting women to the religious and moral beliefs of their employers violates the right to privacy that is so evident in Supreme Court doctrine. Women should have coverage for their critical health care just as men do.”

The attorneys general also informed the relevant cabinet secretaries that “we will closely monitor any legal challenges to this rule that discriminates against women in our states and negatively impacts our state budgets. We stand ready to take action to protect the best interests of our states and constituents.”

In addition to Hawaii, Oregon, and Virginia, joining today’s letter opposing the Trump administration’s rollback of contraceptive coverage are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the letter is attached.

Hawaii Governor Proclaims October ‘Cyber Security Awareness Month’

As part of Gov. David Y. Ige proclaiming October 2017 “Cyber Security Awareness Month,” the Hawaii Department of Defense Office of Homeland Security, in partnership with the Hawaii State Public Library System and local nonprofit Cyber Hui, will be offering cyber safety public awareness sessions led by cyber professionals throughout the month.

On Oct. 4, 2017, the following gathered in the governor’s office to support local Cyber Security Awareness Month efforts: (from left) Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara, Deputy Adjutant General, Hawaii Department of Defense; Marya Zoller, Acting Director, Hawaii State Library; Dennis Gibson, Chairman, CyberHawaii; Todd Nacapuy, Chief Information Officer, Office of Enterprise Technology Services; Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian, Hawaii State Public Library System; Reynold Hioki, State Cybersecurity Coordinator, Hawaii Department of Defense; Rachelle Mansilungan, Acting President, Collegiate Cybersecurity Student Clubs; and Roland Yee, representative of Hawaii Cybersecurity Professional Associations. (Courtesy of the Office of the Governor, State of Hawaii)

“Cyber security and safety is a shared responsibility in which each of us has a critical role,” Gov. Ige said. “Awareness of computer and online best practices will improve the overall security of Hawaii’s information, infrastructure and economy.”

The community-focused sessions will be held at local public libraries, shopping centers, and other locations statewide. Presentations will provide basic cyber best practices, also known as cyber hygiene. The range of topics will include malware protection, passwords, wifi usage, online shopping and banking, scams, safe email habits, phishing, data backup, and social media. Most sessions are scheduled to run approximately one hour and include an informal question and answer portion.

The schedule of sessions is available at the state Office of Homeland Security’s newly launched Cyber Awareness website (ohs.hawaii.gov/cyber), which will also offer additional information to assist in awareness and understanding of cyber issues faced by the local community. The website will provide cyber safety tips, information resources, information on other events and announcements, awareness training/education, community engagements and other cyber-related areas.

“It’s very exciting to see our community actively engaging the many cyber safety challenges we are confronted with today,” said Maj. Gen. Logan. “From this summer’s student CyberStart program to our planned Cyber Security Awareness Month safety sessions, Hawaii is becoming a safer place to be connected.”

State Librarian Stacey Aldrich added: “Educating our community about cyber security issues and how to protect themselves in our technology-driven world is vital. The Hawaii Public Library System is happy to be a part of this important learning opportunity.”

State Commits to Strengthening Cyber Defense, Workforce

Gov. Ige proclaimed Cyber Security Awareness Month in Hawaii on Oct. 4 in recognition of the state’s role in identifying, protecting its citizens from, and responding to cyber threats that may have significant impact to individual and collective security and privacy.

In July 2017, Hawaii joined a multi-state cybersecurity compact signed by thirty-eight governors to enhance state cybersecurity and develop the cyber workforce; the “Compact to Improve State Cybersecurity” is part of the National Governors Association’s “Meet the Threat: States Confront the Cyber Challenge” initiative and makes recommendations to better secure states’ cyber infrastructure by building cybersecurity governance, preparing and defending the state from cybersecurity events, and growing the nation’s cybersecurity workforce.

“The State of Hawaii has already taken proactive steps toward the compact’s goals, including establishing a state chief information security officer, reclassifying IT security positions to align with modern industry best practices, offering cyber internship opportunities, and implementing a state workforce awareness program,” said state Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy, who leads the Office of Enterprise Technology Services, the agency responsible for securing state government information resources and infrastructure.

Cyber Security Awareness Month in Hawaii coincides with the national observance, recognized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (www.dhs.gov/cyber), the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (www.cisecurity.org/ms-isac), and industry partners which collectively encourage all citizens to learn about cybersecurity to put that knowledge into practice in their homes, schools, workplaces, and businesses. The Stop.Think.Connect.™ campaign serves as the national cybersecurity public awareness campaign, implemented through a coalition of private companies, nonprofit and government organizations, as well as academic institutions working together to increase the understanding of cyber threats and empowering the American public to be safer and more secure online.

Hawaiian Electric Companies Launch Online Tool to Streamline Solar Application Process

Customers submitting new applications to install private rooftop solar can now complete the process entirely online using a new tool launched by the Hawaiian Electric Companies.

The Customer Interconnection Tool (CIT) is believed to be the first of its kind to provide a seamless, start-to-finish online solar application process that allows customers of Hawaiian Electric, Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light to check the status of their applications. The tool provides a user-friendly interface to guide contractors and customers through all steps of the Customer Self-Supply program application process, from submittal to finalizing the agreement.

“We’re excited to offer a streamlined electronic process to our customers,” said Jim Alberts, senior vice president of customer service. “The tool is able to show customers exactly where they are in the application process, which eliminates guesswork. This is one more way to make interacting with our companies as smooth and as easy as possible.”

CIT allows applicants to submit all of their information, including electronic documents, online. For convenience, customers and their designated representatives will have the ability to submit electronic signatures as well.

Applicants are prompted to provide required documentation, reducing the potential for delays caused by errors of omission. The tool also automatically calculates the system size based on four design guidelines, which simplifies the procedure.

Customers will receive regular status updates by email as various milestones are reached, keeping them informed every step of the way.

For more information, visit:

www.hawaiianelectric.com/DistributedEnergyResources

www.hawaiianelectric.com/CITonline

State Holds First Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission Meeting

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in partnership with the State Office of Planning, will be holding the first-ever Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission (Climate Commission) meeting on October 11 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Resort, Coral Ballrooms 1 & 2 from 8:30 AM to 12:45 PM.

On June 6, 2017, Governor David Ige signed Act 32 Session Laws of Hawai‘i, 2017, making Hawai‘i the first state to enact legislation implementing parts of the Paris Climate Accord.  The Paris agreement was signed by 195 nations on November 4, 2016, and is the largest, concerted global effort to combat climate change to date.

Unprecedented warming of the atmosphere due to greenhouse gas emissions poses a significant threat to the people of our State.  Suzanne Case, Co-chair of the Climate Commission said, “Hawaii and our Pacific island neighbors contribute a proportionately small amount to global warming, but will experience disproportionate significant effects due to sea level rise, drought, increased storminess, and ecological changes in our marine and terrestrial environments.   The Climate Commission will work with all stakeholders to address these challenges by systematically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving our resiliency to its serious impacts, utilizing the principles and contributing to the goals set by the Paris agreement.”

It is anticipated that the new Climate Commission will provide direction, facilitation, coordination and planning among state and county agencies, federal agencies, and other partners about climate change mitigation (reduction of greenhouse gases) and climate change resiliency strategies. These include, but are not limited to, sea level rise adaptation, water and agricultural security, and natural resource stewardship.  The Climate Commission will be placed under DLNR for administrative purposes and is headed jointly by the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Director of the State Office of Planning, or their designees.

This first meeting will give Commission members a status update of the State Sea Level Rise Vulnerability & Adaptation Report that is due to the State Legislature at the end of the year. It includes an open discussion for the setting of the Climate Commission’s priorities.  Governor David Ige will make an appearance.

The meeting is open to everyone. Anyone with special needs requiring accommodations or assistance, is asked to please contact the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at least four days prior to the public hearing.  For more information contact the OCCL at (808) 587-0377 or visit http://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/

Hawaii State Energy Office Schedules Community Meetings on Utility Model Study

The Hawaii State Energy Office (HSEO) will host a series of community meetings across the state next week to solicit community input for a study being done on future models for utility ownership and regulation in Hawaii.

HSEO, a division of the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), is undertaking the study at the request of the Hawaii State Legislature to evaluate the costs and benefits of various electric utility ownership models, as well as the viability of various utility regulatory approaches to help Hawaii in achieving its energy goals. The study will examine scenarios for each of Hawaii’s counties.

HSEO has contracted with Boston-based London Economics International (LEI) to carry out the study, which is expected to be completed by January 2019. LEI and subcontractor Meister Consultants Group will lead the community meetings for Oct. 9-13. The meeting schedule is as follows:

Maui County:

  • Wailuku, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m.. Wailuku Community Center, 395 Waena St. RSVP Link
  • Kaunakakai, Oct. 10, 5:30-7 p.m. Mitchell Pauole Center Main Hall, 90 Ainoa St. RSVP Link
  • Lanai City, Oct. 11, 5:30-7 p.m.  Lanai Community Center, Eighth St. and Lanai Ave. RSVP Link

Hawaii County:

  • Kailua-Kona, Oct. 9, 5:30 – 7 p.m. NELHA Research Campus, Hale Iako Building, 73-970 Makako Bay Drive. RSVP Link
  • Hilo, Oct. 10, 5:30 – 7 p.m.  Waiakea High School, 155 W Kawili St. RSVP Link

Kauai County:

  • Lihue, Oct. 12, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, 4431 Nuhou St. RSVP Link

Honolulu County:

  • Waialua, Oct. 11, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Waialua High & Intermediate School, 67-160 Farrington Highway. RSVP Link
  • Honolulu, Oct. 13, approx. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Hawaii Foreign Trade Zone #9, Homer Maxey Conference Center, 521 Ala Moana Blvd. Suite 201, Pier 2. RSVP Link

Next week’s meetings will focus on the topic of utility ownership and the role the utility plays in achieving community and state goals, including achieving 100 percent renewable energy in the electricity sector and minimizing costs. There are two additional rounds of statewide meetings scheduled. The second round of meetings slated for next spring will focus on utility regulatory models, while the third round of meetings next fall will be used to gather community input on draft findings of the report.

Community members planning on attending the meetings are encouraged to RSVP at the link above. Light refreshments will be served. Those unable to attend a meeting in person can view a copy of the material presented, which will be posted on HSEO’s website after the meetings, and may participate by submitting feedback via email to: dbedt.utilitybizmodstudy@hawaii.gov. Questions about the meetings or the study can be emailed to the same address.

Hawaii Launches New Online Workforce Tax Credit Application

Tax Credits for Hiring Vets Can Be Just a Click Away

Businesses applying for tax credits for hiring veterans and others can now do it online the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced. The Workforce Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal program that makes tax credits available to employers who hire veterans and individuals with significant barriers to employment.

“Making these requests available online is part of my effort to make government more effective and efficient while also facilitating the employment of our veterans and other job seekers,” said Gov. Ige. “I especially appreciate the department using special federal grant monies to develop the eApplication without State funds.”

Using the WOTC eApplication service, employers fill out online forms and their requests are immediately entered in to the processing queue. The WOTC eApplication also centralizes the processing of requests and serves as a repository for supporting documentation, all of which results in improved efficiency in processing.

“The department receives nearly 400 certification requests a month for the tax credit,” said DLIR Director Linda Chu Takayama. “This service enables employers to monitor the status of their requests via a personalized dashboard, which is a level of service we could not provide before.”

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Workforce Development Division developed the WOTC eApplication service as part of the eHawaii.gov State Portal Program (portal.ehawaii.gov). The department strongly recommends that employers use the new electronic system, but anticipates lag time before the federal government updates its website. Businesses seeking to use the new system may inquire through the following methods:

Email: dlir.workforce.develpment@hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 686-8877
Mail: Workforce Development Division
Rm 112
830 Punchbowl St
Honolulu, HI 96813

About the Workforce Development Division
Workforce Development Division (WDD) is a customer-driven workforce development system that assists job seekers, workers and industries. WDD provides a free referral and placement service that links qualified job seekers with employers. WDD also strives to develop and maintain various partnerships with the private sector to identify emerging employment trends, technological advances, declining industries and economic issues. The division develops grant proposals in coordination with other agencies to carry out employment and training program activities and services.

Hawaii to Challenge Travel Ban 3.0

Today Hawaii filed supplemental briefing with the United States Supreme Court regarding the Hawaii v. Trump litigation. Shortly after filing that supplemental briefing, Hawaii notified the U.S. Supreme Court that it intends to seek leave from the Hawaii federal district court to file an amended complaint challenging the lawfulness of the third travel ban.

Click to read full letter

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Hawaii fought the first and second travel bans because they were illegal and unconstitutional efforts to implement the President’s Muslim ban. Unfortunately, the third travel ban is more of the same. This new ban still discriminates on the basis of nationality, it still exceeds the President’s legal authority, and it still seeks to implement his Muslim ban. Simply adding an obvious target like North Korea to the list and banning travel by some government officials from Venezuela does nothing to disguise this. And – unlike the first two versions – Travel Ban 3.0 has no end date.”

Hawaii’s supplemental brief filed with the Supreme Court and its letter to the Supreme Court clerk are both attached.

Hawaii County Department of Public Works Request for Support Letters for Kea’au – Pahoa Road TIGER Grant Application

Aloha Big Island ‘Ohana!

Please assist the State of Hawaii, Department of Transportation, Division of Highways, Hawaii District with a support letter for their Pahoa Road Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant Application. I have attached DPW’s letter of support for your reference.

As support for the project is very important to the effort, we ask that you respond with a formal letter stating your support for the project. We ask that you respond by Thursday, October 12, 2017. Support letters can be emailed to: donald.l.smith@hawaii.gov

Please contact Donald Smith if you have any questions at (808)933-8866.

Mahalo,
Barett Otani, Hawaii County Department of Public Works

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Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Fights to Prevent the FCC From Dismantling Broadband Internet Standards

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) signed a bicameral letter to urge Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai not to relax Internet broadband standards for millions of Americans across the country which would most adversely affect rural, tribal, and low-income communities. The FCC announced in a Notice of Inquiry that it would consider lowering the standards of broadband Internet access speeds from 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, while also classifying a mobile Internet connection as a suitable replacement for home broadband.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“It is indisputable that high-speed broadband Internet access is essential to succeed in today’s economy, and that rural, tribal and low-income communities already face significant obstacles to accessing 21st century jobs, training programs, and educational opportunities.  According to the FCC’s own 2016 report, 39 percent of rural Americans and 41 percent of tribal communities lack access to acceptable internet speeds, creating significant obstacles that often inhibit them from doing things like promoting their business, communicating with their families, and accessing education tools.  I’ve heard this firsthand from constituents in my district who live in very rural communities.  Often, the only access to the Internet for kids in school was through a parent’s wireless hotspot signal.

“The FCC should be looking at how to expand and strengthen the infrastructure and high-speed Internet in America’s rural, tribal and low-income communities.  By opting instead to lower the bar and redefine what constitutes an acceptable Internet connection, the FCC continues on its current trend towards favoring corporate interests over American consumers.  Should the FCC’s proposals move forward, they will create more obstacles for working Americans by putting them behind the technology curve.

“I firmly support the expansion of high-speed Internet access to rural and tribal areas, which is why I cosponsored H. Con. Res. 63, which calls for the availability of high-speed Internet for all Americans.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Immigration Telephone Townhall Draws Nearly 4,000 Across Hawaiʻi

Nearly 4,000 Hawaiʻi residents participated in Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s immigration-focused “telephone townhall” on Wednesday afternoon. Local and national guests included:

  • Mateo Caballero, Legal Director of ACLU Hawaiʻi and a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition
  • Clare Hanusz, a Hawaiʻi immigration attorney and a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition and the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigrant Rights
  • Shiu-Ming Cheer, Senior Staff Attorney & Field Coordinator at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

The congresswoman discussed the status of DACA and the need for Congress to urgently pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients. She also talked about the United States’ broken and outdated immigration system and the need for reforms, family reunification for WWII Filipino veterans in Hawaiʻi, her work to restore access to federal healthcare for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants, expanding access to federal immigration services on the neighbor islands, and more. She and her guests also answered questions on education rights for DREAMers, fees for naturalization, qualifications to receive DACA, backlogs on citizenship applications, rules regarding re-entry for foreign-born relatives of U.S. military personnel, and more.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The majority of Americans can trace their history through their relatives and ancestors who, against all odds and great difficulties, found their way to and made a home here in the U.S. But while our family histories remind us of how far we have come, the heartbreak and suffering faced by millions of families across the country due to our broken immigration system demonstrates the need for real reforms. Today, the lives of hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and friends are on hold as they wait for U.S. leaders to take action on DACA. Congress must take action to pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients, who are fearful they will be targeted and deported from the only home they’ve ever known. This telephone town hall was a great opportunity to engage with my constituents from every island across the state, answer their questions, and hear their concerns.  This is an issue that affects people in Hawaiʻi and all across the country in many unique and different ways. Rather than allowing the issue of immigration reform to divide us, let us work together in the spirit of aloha to bring about real, meaningful change.”

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office provide service to hundreds of Hawaiʻi residents every year to get assistance from U.S federal agencies, including United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and others. Her office can assist constituents with passports, visas, immigration and naturalization applications, Social Security claims, veterans benefits, and much more. Constituent advocates are located in every county, and hold regular “casework staff office hours” to help residents with federal agency casework. For a list of upcoming staff office hours, click here. For information on how the congresswoman and staff can assist constituents, click here.

Hawaii Joins in Settling With Mylan Inc – Will Receive Over $700,000

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii has joined the United States, the District of Columbia, and all 49 other states in settling allegations against Mylan Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mylan Specialty L.P. (collectively “Mylan”). The settlement resolves allegations that Mylan knowingly underpaid rebates owed to the Medicaid program for the drugs EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. (“EpiPen”) dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. Mylan owns the exclusive rights to sell EpiPen in the United States and possesses legal title to the New Drug Codes (“NDCs”) for EpiPen.

Pursuant to a settlement Mylan entered with the United States in August, Mylan was to pay up to $465 million to the United States and the states, depending on the number of states that joined the settlement. As of Friday, September 29th, all fifty states and the District of Columbia had joined the settlement; as a result, the states will share $213,936,000 of the total settlement of $465 million. Hawaii’s share of the settlement is $742,679.02, which will be split between the Med-Quest program at the Department of Human Services as restitution and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Department of the Attorney General for its continued enforcement efforts.

The Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute was enacted by Congress in 1990 to keep costs down for Medicaid’s payment for outpatient drugs. The law requires participating drug makers and NDC holders such as Mylan to sign a rebate agreement with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That agreement is a precondition to drug makers getting Medicaid coverage for their drugs, and to pay quarterly rebates to state Medicaid programs for drugs dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. NDC holders must provide information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) concerning their covered drugs. In particular, they must advise CMS regarding the classification of a covered drug as an “innovator” or “noninnovator” drug. This is because the amount of rebates owed varies depending on the drug’s classification. The amount of the rebate also depends on pricing information provided by the manufacturer. For drugs classified as “innovator” drugs, NDC holders must report their “Best Price,” or the lowest price for which it sold a covered drug in a particular quarter.

Specifically, this settlement resolves allegations that from July 29, 2010 to March 31, 2017, Mylan submitted false statements to CMS that incorrectly classified EpiPen as a “noninnovator multiple source” drug, as opposed to a “single source” or “innovator multiple source” drug. Mylan also did not report a Best Price to CMS for EpiPen, which it was required to do for all “single source” and “innovator multiple source” drugs. This meant Mylan submitted false statements to CMS and the States relating to EpiPen for Medicaid rebate purposes, and underpaid its EpiPen rebates to the State Medicaid Programs.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month – 29th Hilo Family and Peace Walk and Vigil

Marking the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Department of the Attorney General and Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (HSCADV) encourage community members to come together to keep our communities safe. While law enforcement and victim advocacy services are available, we need the community to help end domestic violence.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Domestic violence is a persistent and unacceptable condition in our communities. Please use this month to educate yourself to help stop others from being hurt.”

HSCADV Executive Director Stacey Moniz said, “This October marks the 30th year we have been honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We encourage our communities across the state to engage with your local domestic violence programs. Please get involved, donate or volunteer, follow them on social media and help raise awareness of the valuable resources available on every island. Let’s all stand together and say, Hawaii Says No More to domestic violence.”

For information on what is domestic violence, go to the U.S. Department of Justice webpage https://www.justice.gov/ovw/domestic-violence. There are many ways to get involved. It could be as simple as wearing the color purple to bring domestic violence awareness on October 19th, National Purple Thursday. You can also participate in a number of free events around the state, including:

  • A Domestic Violence Awareness Fair being held at the Maui Queen Kaahumanu Center on October 14th;
  • The 29th Hilo Family and Peace Walk and Vigil on October 27th; and
  • ‘Slippa’ Donation to benefit Child and Family Service emergency shelters and domestic violence programs on October 14th at the Pearl City Walmart.

For a complete listing of events, go to HSCADV’s website at https://www.hscadv.org/

In 2015, there were 10,830 Protective Orders filed in Family Court in addition to 1,280 arrests for Violation of a Temporary Restraining Order and 2,774 arrests for Violation of a Protection Order. For a listing of domestic violence victim advocacy services go to https://www.hscadv.org/resources, and other important contacts https://www.hscadv.org/other-important-contacts

 

Hawaii Receives $427,000 in Federal Grants for Agriculture

Hawaii has awarded 11 projects to eligible non-profit and for-profit entities totaling more than $427,000 through the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal program, funded by the Farm Bill, provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.

Click for more information

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) submitted the application to the USDA in June 2017 and will be administering the program. The approved projects support activities for research and increasing production of specialty crops, including cacao, taro, mango, cucumber, banana, legumes and Christmas trees. The projects funded include farmer education and agricultural marketing programs. A list of the projects funded by the SCBGP is attached.

The USDA SCBGP has awarded more than $60.5 million nationwide for this coming fiscal year. The grant period runs from September 2017 to September 2020.

For more information on the USDA SCBGP, go to: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/awards

Changes in Hawaii House Leadership

After much consideration, Speaker Scott K. Saiki today accepted the resignation of Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, Kohala) as House Majority Leader. Evans offered her resignation as Majority Leader during the legislative special session held in August of this year.

Saiki has appointed Hawaii Island Rep. Mark M. Nakashima (Hamakua, Hilo), to Vice Speaker of the House. He replaces Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) who has been named House Majority Leader.

Rep. Evans will assume Nakashima’s chairmanship of the Economic Development & Business Committee.

With Nakashima’s appointment and with Kauai Rep. Dee Morikawa as Majority Floor Leader, neighbor island representatives continue to occupy two of the top four positions in House leadership.