Puna Man in Custody on $1 Million Bail for Meth Trafficking & Other Offenses

A 31-year-old Puna man is in police custody on $1 million bail for meth trafficking and other drug and weapons charges.

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias

Richard Theodore Frias of Mountain View was one of three men arrested Friday afternoon (February 20) during the execution of a search warrant at a home on the 200 block of Alaloa Road in the Waiākea Ūka area of Hilo.

Police recovered 7.75 pounds of crystal methamphetamine, paraphernalia associated with the distribution of “ice,” an unregistered handgun, two unregistered rifles and $5,700 in cash.

Two other men, 32-year-old Christopher Manukai Mae of Hilo, and 35-year-old Waylon Thomas of Hilo, were also arrested at the scene on suspicion of drug offenses. All three were taken to the Hilo police cellblock while detectives from the Area I Vice Section continued the investigation. In addition, Mae was charged with contempt of court for an unrelated bench warrant.

At 9 p.m. Saturday, detectives charged Frias with first-degree meth trafficking, possession of drug paraphernalia and three weapons offenses. He remained at the cellblock until his initial court appearance scheduled for Monday (February 23).

Thomas was released Saturday pending further investigation. Mae was released Sunday after posting $1,500 bail for the contempt charge. Detectives continue to investigate drug offenses in connection with Thomas and Mae.

Carpet Cleaning Company Caught Dumping in Public Sewage Drains

Well Island Carpet Cleaning won’t be getting any of my business in the near future as one of their employees has been caught dumping stuff in a public sewage drain!

Island Carpet Cleaning

737 House Bills Continue Through Legislative Process

Measures relating to medical marijuana dispensaries, health, transparency in government, the state’s fiscal obligations, public hospitals and affordable housing

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One month into the session, 737 bills, a little more than half the 1,515 bills originally introduced by representatives for the 2015 Legislature, are still being considered.  The measures include bills relating to medical marijuana dispensaries, health care, transparency in government, the state’s public hospitals, affordable housing and the state’s fiscal obligations, including the Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund.

Today, Feb. 20, is the deadline for House bills to reach the final committee to which they’ve been referred.

Among the bills that continue to move through the legislative process in the House include measures that: create medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers, require the Office of Elections to implement elections by mail, appropriate funds for the Kupuna Care Program and an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center, require the UH Board of Regents to study the feasibility of selling or leasing the building housing the Cancer Center.

In addition, other House bills still alive include those that: address invasive species, increase the tax credit for low-income household renters, make permanent the counties’ authority to establish a surcharge on state tax, limit compelled disclosure of sources or unpublished information by journalists (Shield Law), and enable the Hawaii Health Connector to offer large group coverage.

All House measures that have passed the first lateral deadline can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/1w7aLUy.

Hawaii Island Spring Bearded Turkey Season Begins March 1st

The Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Hawaii Island Branch announces the opening of the 2015 Spring Bearded Turkey Hunting Season on Sunday, March 1, 2015.

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The spring season will run 31 consecutive days through Tuesday, March 31, 2015.  The spring season will be for bearded turkeys only in locations identified below.  The season length, bag limits, and hunting areas are those established in Title 13, Chapter 122, “Rules Regulating Game Bird Hunting, Field Trials and Commercial Shooting Preserves.”  The appellate court ruling (Tanaka v. State, December 31, 2007) removed the Department’s ability to make any seasonal adjustments.  The following conditions and restrictions will be in effect:

  • The daily bag limit shall be two bearded turkeys per hunter with a season bag limit of two.
  • All hunters are required to have a current unused turkey tag in their possession while hunting.
  • Tags are currently free of charge.
  • Turkey tags are nontransferable and must be fastened with snaps and secured tightly around the neck or tarsus of any bird taken immediately after the kill.
  • Tags may be obtained from any Hawaii Island Division of Forestry and Wildlife office and a number of commercial vendors.
  • Hunters must present current State of Hawaii Hunting License when obtaining tags.
  • Turkey tags are also required on private land.

Information may be obtained by contacting Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices at the following phone numbers:  Hilo: (808) 974-4221; Kamuela: (808) 887-6063 or the main office in Honolulu at (808) 587-0166.

Big Island Police Searching for Missing 16-Year-Old Pepeekeo Girl

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 16-year-old Pepeʻekeo girl, who was reported missing.

Shaniya Das-Lauro

Shaniya Das-Lauro

Shaniya Das-Lauro was last seen in Hilo on January 10. She is described as Hawaiian, 5-foot-2, 105 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Applicants Wanted for Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions

The Judicial Council is seeking applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Hawai`i State Ethics Commission created by a term expiring on June 30, 2015. The council is also seeking nominees to fill two upcoming vacancies on the Campaign Spending Commission.
JudiciaryMembers of both commissions serve on a voluntary basis. Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island commissioners to attend meetings on O`ahu will be reimbursed.

Applicants must be U. S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawai`i and may not hold any other public office.

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. Commissioners may not participate in political campaigns or contribute to candidates or political committees.

The Governor will select the commissioners from a list of nominees submitted by the Judicial Council.

Interested persons should submit an application along with a resume and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 13, 2015. to: Judicial Council, Hawai`i Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813-2902.

Applications are available on the Hawai`i State Judiciary website or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Domestic Dispute Leads to Attempted Murder Investigation

Hawaiʻi Island police have initiated an attempted murder investigation in connection with a confrontation that sent a man and a woman to the hospital with third-degree burns.
HPDBadgeKona Patrol officers responding to an 8:55 a.m. call Sunday (February 15) determined that a 53-year-old Kailua-Kona woman had confronted her 55-year-old estranged husband, who was with another woman in a van parked on the roadside at Kahaluʻu Beach Park in Kona. When the woman began to pour gasoline on the vehicle, the man exited the van, and the two became involved in a physical struggle that ended with gasoline being poured onto their clothing and bodies.

According to witnesses, during the struggle the woman used a lighter to set both herself and the man on fire. Witnesses at the scene used a blanket and towels to extinguish the flames.

The two were taken to Kona Community Hospital for treatment of their injuries and then transferred to Straub Medical Center on Oahu, where they remain in critical condition.

Detectives with the Area II Criminal Investigations Section are continuing the investigation.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the confrontation to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311 or contact Detective Levon Stevens at 326-4646 or lstevens@co.hawaii.hi.us.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Kona Car Wreck Leaves 3 Dead

Three people died in a traffic crash Saturday morning in Kailua-Kona .3 of a miles north of the Hina Lani/Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway intersection.

Their names are being withheld pending positive identification.

In response to a 5:17 a.m. call, Kona Patrol officers determined that a Nissan pickup truck driven by a 39-year-old Kailua-Kona man was traveling north on Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway when a Kia multi-purpose vehicle traveling south collided with the truck, causing the Kia to catch fire.

Kona Car Wreck
The driver of the truck was taken to Kona Community hospital for treatment of his injuries.

The male driver of the Kia and two of his passengers died at the scene. Another passenger, a 17-year-old Kailua-Kona girl, was able to exit the Kia. She was taken to Kona Community hospital for treatment of her injuries.

It was not immediately know if speed or alcohol were factors. Police have initiated negligent homicide investigations in connection with this crash.

Autopsies have been ordered to determine the exact cause of death and to identify the bodies.

These are the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fatalities this year, compared with three at this time last year.

DLNR Arrests Guide For Illegal Lava Tour Trespass On State Land

State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers last night arrested a tour guide involved in conducting illegal commercial tours within the Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve.  The Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve has been closed by DLNR due to hazardous conditions related to ongoing volcanic activity in the area.  

Joel D. Scharer works at Ahui Tour Company.

Joel D. Scharer works at Ahiu Tour Company.

An investigation conducted by DOCARE officers resulted in their arrest of Joel D. Scharer, Jr., age 24, of Hilo.  The investigation revealed that Scharer was a tour guide who had led a tour into the closed natural area reserve.  Scharer was transported to the Hilo Police Station for booking.  He is being charged with the following:  criminal trespass in the 2nd degree which is a petty misdemeanor, and reckless endangering in the 2nd degree, prohibited entry into a Natural area reserve and illegal commercial activities within the natural area reserve, all of which are misdemeanor offenses.  

“The safety of the public remains our top priority,” said Carty S. Chang, Interim DLNR Chairperson.   “Illegal commercial tours into areas closed by volcanic activity are dangerous to both the public as well as rescue responders. Violators will face citation or arrest,” Chang added.  

To report suspected trespass or illegal commercial activity within the closed Kahaualea NAR as well as the closed Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve call DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) at 643-DLNR.

Missing – Duane Mathew Truax

A California father is looking for his son who was last known to be homeless in the Pahoa area of the Big Island.

Duane Mathew Truax

Duane Mathew Truax

Duane Mathew Truax, 35, last made contact with his family in California on October 6th 2014.

If you have any information, please contact his father Wayne at (559) 905-9805 or the Clovis California Police Department, Officer Sobel (559) 324-2400 (Ref: 2015-6946)

Puna Representative San Buenaventura Announces 2015 Package of Bills

First-term Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura has introduced a slate of Puna related bills, in the aftermath of last summer’s Hurricane Iselle and in response to the ongoing lava flow from the Pu’u O’o vent.

Joy San Buenaventura“The residents of Puna face distinct issues that require us to take special action,” says San Buenaventura.  “By working together we can take on these problems and build a better and more vibrant community.  That’s why I’ve introduced these measures addressing a broad range of issues that Puna faces collectively and individually and will continue to face in the aftermath of this current flow activity.”

The following bills relate to the Puu Oo lava flow:

  • HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.
  • HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.
  • HB1106 CIP; 4th Representative District.  Authorizes issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates moneys for capital improvement projects in the 4th representative district.
  • HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.
  • HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.
  • HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.
  • HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.
  • HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.
  • HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.
  • HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

 The following bills relate to Puna and the Big Island in general:

  • HB1107 Bookmobile; Big Island; Educational Materials; Department of Education; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that shall serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii.
  • HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities. Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.
  • HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.
  • HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.
  • HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.  Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.
  • HB1134 Judiciary; Third Circuit; Ho‘okele; Appropriations.  Appropriates moneys for equipment, supplies, and salaries for Ho‘okele legal self-help service centers in Hilo and Kona.
  • HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit’s Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

 The following bills relate to overall state issues:

  • HB87 Process Server; Criminal Trespass.  Shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties.
  • HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.
  • HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.
  • HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.
  • HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.
  • HB381 Homeowners’ Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners’ associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.
  • HB382 Employees’ Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees’ Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.
  • HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax
  • HB834 Check Cashing; Deferred Deposits.  Requires the written agreement for the deferred deposit of checks to also state that all cumulative fees charged for deferred deposit transactions shall not exceed an annual percentage rate of 39%.
  • HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.
  • HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.
  • HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=San%20Buenaventura&rpt_type=first_pri.

 The public is also invited to a community meeting later this month at the Pahoa Community Center on Feb. 27, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. The community is welcomed to stop by to voice their concerns and to receive a legislative update from Rep. San Buenaventura.

Anyone wishing to receive information and updates via email can join Rep. San Buenaventura’s email list by sending a request to sanbuenaventura1@Capitol.hawaii.gov.

Michigan Man Identified in Drowning Last Month

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a possible drowning in Kealakekua late last month.
HPDBadgeOn January 30, Kona Patrol officers responded to a 12:11 p.m. report of a drowning at Manini Beach, which is just south of Kealakekua Bay. When police and Fire Department personnel arrived, bystanders were attempting cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Fire Department personnel took over attempts to revive the victim but were unsuccessful.

He has been identified as 72-year-old Anthony Lafata of Warren, Michigan.

The cause of death is being deferred pending additional forensic testing. Police do not suspect foul play. The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest.

Bill Introduced to Curb Domestic Violence by Law Enforcement Officers

Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno introduced HB1199 which requires law enforcement agencies to adopt and implement a written policy on domestic violence committed or allegedly committed by law enforcement officers.

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The bill also requires standards to be adopted as well as training deadlines, administrative procedures and reporting requirements. The bill requires public and private non-profit domestic violence advocates to be consulted when adopting policies.

“A victim of domestic violence is placed in an especially precarious position if her abuser happens to be a law enforcement officer” said Mizuno. “It is imperative that strong policies, procedures and training are in place so that incidents such as the recent indictment of a police officer for assault on his girlfriend can hopefully be prevented in the future.  If officers receive the proper training and clearly understand the agency’s policies and potential consequences regarding domestic violence we should be able to lower incidences by law enforcement officers in the future.”

Big Island Police Searching for Hilo Girl Missing Since January

Hawaiʻi Island police are searching for a 15-year-old Hilo girl who was reported missing.

Kyara K. Kalili

Kyara K. Kalili

Kyara K. Kalili was last seen in Hilo on January 9.

She is described as 5-foot-3, 170 pounds with brown eyes and long brown hair with “ehu” highlights.

Police ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Big Island Police Investigating Hit-and-Run

Hawaiʻi Island police are investigating a vehicle/pedestrian traffic crash that occurred Thursday evening (February 5.)

HPDBadgeAt approximately 9:00 p.m., Thursday, a 38-year-old Hilo man was walking on Piʻilani Street in Hilo when he was struck by a vehicle resembling a silver or gray Mazda Tribute, which then left the area. This vehicle should have some noticeable front-end damage.

The pedestrian was taken to Hilo Medical Center in critical condition.

Police ask anyone with information about this crash or the whereabouts of this vehicle to call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call the islandwide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Pahoa Man Drowns at Boiling Pots in Hilo

A Puna man apparently drowned Thursday (February 5) at Boiling Pots in Hilo.

In response to a 5:13 p.m. call, police responded to Boiling Pots, where Fire Department rescue personnel located a submerged man, who was unresponsive, and attempted unsuccessfully to revive him.

Witnesses said the man began struggling after swimming in an area under a waterfall.

He was taken to Hilo Medical Center, where he was officially pronounced dead.

Police have tentatively identified him as a 33-year-old Pāhoa man but are withholding his name pending positive identification and notification of his family.

Police do not suspect foul play. The case has been classified as a coroner’s inquest.

An autopsy has been ordered to determine the exact cause of death.

Boiling pots critical condition

Big Island Police Release Picture of Officer Arrested Today

The Hawaii Police Department has released a mugshot of  Sergeant Marvin Kelly Troutman involved in today’s incident:

Kelly Troutman

Marvin Kelly Troutman

A Hawaiʻi Police Department sergeant has been arrested and charged with four offenses in connection with an early morning incident in Kapaʻau.

In response to a 1:50 a.m. call, officers responded to a home on Kynnersley Road, where it was reported that 62-year-old Marvin Kelly Troutman had pulled the hair of a 55-year-old woman and then threatened her and an 18-year-old man.

When police responded, Troutman reportedly threatened a 44-year-old police officer.

He was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, which is responsible for domestic abuse cases, continued the investigation.

At 3:35 p.m. Thursday (January 29), Troutman was charged with abuse of a family/household member and three counts of terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $4,000.

In addition to the criminal investigation, police have initiated an internal administrative investigation into the incident. Troutman, a sergeant in charge of the Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit, has been placed on administrative leave.

Big Island Police Sergeant Charged with Abuse and Terroristic Threatening

 

A Hawaiʻi Police Department sergeant has been arrested and charged with four offenses in connection with an early morning incident in Kapaʻau.

Kelly Troutman
In response to a 1:50 a.m. call, officers responded to a home on Kynnersley Road, where it was reported that 62-year-old Marvin Kelly Troutman had pulled the hair of a 55-year-old woman and then threatened her and an 18-year-old man.

When police responded, Troutman reportedly threatened a 44-year-old police officer.

He was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Juvenile Aid Section, which is responsible for domestic abuse cases, continued the investigation.

At 3:35 p.m. Thursday (January 29), Troutman was charged with abuse of a family/household member and three counts of terroristic threatening. His bail was set at $4,000.

In addition to the criminal investigation, police have initiated an internal administrative investigation into the incident. Troutman, a sergeant in charge of the Area II Traffic Enforcement Unit, has been placed on administrative leave.

Women’s Legislative Caucus House-Senate Joint Package Focuses on Safety and Well-Being of Women

The Women’s Legislative Caucus, consisting of members from both the state Senate and House, today announced a joint package of measures for the 2015 legislative session.

2015 Women's Legislative Caucus Members

2015 Women’s Legislative Caucus Members

The package of bills cover five areas of concern to women of all ages and economic background, including improving reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assaults, reducing violence and sexual assaults on college campuses, ensuring women’s access to healthcare, addressing Hawaii’s high cost of living faced by working families, and restoring public trust of Hawaii’s law enforcement community.

“Domestic violence, campus assaults, perceived unsympathetic law enforcement officials—all of these issues remain ongoing concerns for women of all ages from all backgrounds,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “Whenever we think we are making progress, reports like the recent Star Advertiser article on the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of 55 college campuses across the nation punctures that balloon.”

“It shows we need to continue to press our case for better reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assault on our schools campuses, for greater transparency and accountability from our law enforcement entities, for better access to health care for women, and for greater support for women who are often more vulnerable to the high cost of living in Hawaii.”

“This year’s caucus package represents the collaborative work of women legislators and the Women’s Coalition, the community counterpart to the Women’s Legislative Caucus,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “These bills address some of the important societal issues facing women and girls – security in home, workplace and community.

“In the package we also highlight our concern for women’s health.  Breast and cervical cancer still goes undetected for too many women in Hawaii.  One of our bills will provide funding to expand screening and treatment services to underserved, at-risk women.  These cancers can be successfully treated and cured, if found early.  This bill’s modest investment will save suffering, healthcare costs and lives.  Together, our package will help to create a safer and healthier environment and contribute to a better quality of life for Hawaii’s women and their families.”

“Our state has the highest cost of living in the nation and we are in dire need of affordable housing,” added Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland (Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown).  “A 2011 housing study informed the state that we will be 50,000 housing units short by 2016.  This creates a perfect storm for many low-income earners, many of whom are women supporting their families, who are trying to get by paycheck to paycheck and keep a roof over their heads. Amending the income tax credit for low-income renters is one strategic component that will put more money in their pockets to support their families.”

“Different decades of women banding together can make a powerful sisterhood which will make our communities, state and world a safer and better place,” said Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay).

This year’s package is dedicated to the Women’s Coalition in recognition of their commitment and advocacy for women and girls.

The Women’s Coalition, established in 1990 by former State Representative Annelle Amaral, is a coalition of community organizations and volunteers from across the state that raise awareness and advocate for important issues to women and families.  Through its own collaborative processes, the Women’s Coalition assists the Caucus in creating its legislative practice.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is made up of all the female members of the state House and Senate.  Each year the caucus presents a package of bills relevant to the well-being of women and families and supports the bills throughout the legislative session. Belatti, Baker, Chun Oakland and Thielen serve as co-chairs of the Caucus.

IMPROVING REPORTING & ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES RELATED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULT

HB446/SB384, relating to the Confidentiality Program, Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund and Confidentiality Program Grant Fund

Establishes the Address Confidentiality Program to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault relocate and keep their addresses confidential.  Creates the Address Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund.

HB447/SB390, relating to domestic abuse, Department of Human Services and Family Court

Removes certain unnecessary and redundant reporting responsibilities of the family courts and the Department of Human Services in cases where temporary restraining orders are sought for alleged domestic abuse involving a family or household member who is a minor or incapacitated person.

HB448/SB386, relating to domestic violence fatality reviews and Department of Health

Requires the Department of Health to conduct reviews of domestic violence fatalities, near-deaths, and suicides.  Requires the DOH to enter into a memorandum of understanding to develop procedures for obtaining information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner assaults.  Requires reviews to commence within one year following the death, near-death, or suicide.  Requires information and recommendations from the review process to be compiled for system reform efforts.

HB453/SB391, relating to psychologists continuing education, ethics and domestic violence

Amends the continuing education requirement for psychologists to include at least three credit hours of ethics training and at least two credit hours of domestic violence training.

HB452/SB393, relating to statewide sexual assault services, the Attorney General, base budget and appropriations

Appropriates funds to increase the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services for fiscal biennium 2016-2017 to $2,380,000 per fiscal year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 fiscal year, requires the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services to be at least $2,380,000 per fiscal year.

REDUCING VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

HB451/SB387, relating to affirmative consent and the University of Hawaii system

Requires the University of Hawaii system to establish and enforce an affirmative consent standard for all policies and protocols relating to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as a condition of receiving state funds for student assistance.

ENSURING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

HB455/SB385, relating to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, the Department of Health and appropriations

Appropriates funds to the Department of Health for the breast and cervical cancer control program.

ADDRESSING HAWAII’S HIGH COST OF LIVING FOR WORKING FAMILIES

HB454/SB392, relating to the income tax credit and low-income household renters

Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation.  Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.

RESTORING PUBLIC TRUST WITH TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY OVER POLICE POLICIES & PROCEDURES

HB449/SB388, relating to county police departments, domestic violence policies and standards of conduct

Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.

HB450/SB389, relating to police commissioners, county police commissions, composition and requirements

Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that three commissioners on each police commission have backgrounds, including equality for women, civil rights, and law enforcement for the benefit of the public.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=package&pkey=12&year=2015&name=Women%27s+Legislative+Caucus

For more information, please contact:

Senate

  • Senator Rosalyn Baker 808-586-6070
  • Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland 808-586-6130

House of Representatives

  • Representative Della Au Belatti 808-586-9425
  • Representative Cynthia Thielen 808-586-6480

 

Hawaii Coast Guard Officer Convicted for Multiple Violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice

A Coast Guard officer was convicted during a general court-martial for multiple violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice at the Coast Guard Courtroom in the Prince Kuhio Federal Building, Tuesday.

Ens. Johnson Knox

Ens. Johnson Knox

Ens. Johnson C. Knox was found guilty of the following charges:

  • Article 112a – Wrongful use, possession and distribution of multiple controlled substances.
  • Article 80 – Attempting to manufacture MDMA (Ecstasy) and attempt to engage in a prohibited relationship.
  • Article 93 – Cruelty and maltreatment toward a subordinate.
  • Article 128 – Assault consummated by battery.
  • Article 134 – Communicating indecent language to a subordinate.
  • Article 86 – Absence without leave
  • Article 92 – Failure to obey an order or regulation and dereliction of duty.

Knox was sentenced to three years confinement in a military brig and received a dismissal from the Coast Guard.

While awaiting court-martial, Knox served at Coast Guard Base Honolulu. He was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Kukui at the time of most of the offenses.