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New Hawaii House Leadership Team Empowers Women and the Next Generation

Hawaii State House Speaker Scott K. Saiki announced his full leadership team today. His new leadership team for the House of Representatives will help to empower women and the next generation of leaders at the State Capitol.

From left: Rep. Jarrett Keohokalole, Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Rep. Mark M. Nakashima, Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Speaker Scott Saiki, Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Henry J.C. Aquino, Rep. Kaniela Ing, and Rep. Justin Woodson

For the first time since statehood, three of the top four leadership positions will be filled by woman and seven of the total 11 leadership positions will be filled by lawmakers in their early 40s or younger. Representatives from all three neighbor island counties comprise nearly half of the leadership team.

From left: Rep. Dee Morikawa, Rep. Della Au Belatti, House Speaker Scott Saiki, and Rep. Cindy Evans

“As we look to build and reform the Hawaii State House of Representatives, it is important to ensure that women and the next generation of leaders are given the opportunity to lead under my tenure as Speaker. We have a real diversity of perspective and life experience in this leadership team that will position us well to lead the state on the many critical issues facing us today,” said Speaker Saiki.

The new House leadership includes:

  • Vice Speaker – Representative Della Au Belatti (District 24)
  • Majority Leader – Representative Cindy Evans (District 7), Hawaii Island
  • Majority Floor Leader – Representative Dee Morikawa (District 16), Kauai
  • Majority Policy Leaders – Representative Jarrett Keohokalole (District 48)
  • Representative Kaniela Ing (District 11), Maui
  • Majority Whips – Representative Henry J.C. Aquino (District 38)
  • Representative Aaron Ling Johanson (District 31)
  • Representative Chris Lee (District 51)
  • Representative Mark M. Nakashima (District 1), Hawaii Island
  • Representative Justin Woodson (District 9), Maui

Maps of Cesspools on Hawaii Island and Hilo – 90,000 Banned Statewide By 2050

Last week the Environmental Protection Agency required the County of Hawaii to close 7 large cesspools here on the Big Island of Hawai.

Hawaii House Bill 1244 has passed and is headed to Governor Ige to sign into law.

Cesspools on the Island of Hawaii.

The bill as written would ban the currently 90,000 cesspools that are already here in Hawaii (50,000 of those on the Big Island alone) by the year 2050.

Cesspools in Hilo (I did not zoom into each TMK property… I just checked to make sure I was in the clear!)

Hawaii House Bill 1244:

According to the Hawaii Department of Health:

Cesspools are substandard systems.  They don’t treat wastewater, they merely dispose of it. Cesspools concentrate the wastewater in one location, often deep within the ground and in direct contact with groundwater, causing groundwater contamination.  This groundwater flows into drinking water wells, streams and the ocean, harming public health and the environment, including beaches and coral reefs.

 What are cesspools?

  • Cesspools are little more than holes in the ground that discharge raw, untreated human waste.
  • Cesspools can contaminate ground water, drinking water sources, streams and oceans with disease-causing pathogens, algae-causing nutrients, and other harmful substances.
  • Untreated wastewater from cesspools contains pathogens such as bacteria, protozoa and viruses that can cause gastroenteritis, Hepatitis A, conjunctivitis, leptospirosis, salmonellosis and cholera.

 How many cesspools do we have in Hawai`i?

  •  There are approximately 90,000 cesspools in the State, with nearly 50,000 located on the Big Island,  almost 14,000 on Kauai, over  12,000 on Maui, over 11,000 on Oahu and over 1,400 on Molokai.
  •  Hawai`i is the only state in the US that still allows construction of new cesspools.
  •  Approximately 800 new cesspools are approved for construction in Hawai`i each year.

How many cesspools pose a risk to our water resources and how do they impact our environment?

  •  There are 87,000 cesspools that pose a risk to our water resources.
  •  There are approximately 6,700 cesspools that are located within 200 feet of a perennial stream channel  throughout the State.  There  are approximately 31,000 cesspools that are located within the perennial  watersheds on the islands of Hawai`i, Kauai, Maui, and  Molokai.
  •  Cesspools in Hawai`i release approximately 55 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each  day.
  •  Cesspools in Hawai`i release as much as 23,700 pounds of nitrogen and nearly 6,000 pounds of  phosphorus into the ground each  day each day, which can stimulate undesirable algae growth, degrade  water quality, and impact coral reefs.

Click here to see if your property needs certification or is near a cesspool: Act 120 Eligibility Cesspool Finder

Hawaii State Budget Includes Over $331 Million for Capital Improvement Projects on the Big Island

Under the state budget passed by the Legislature, Big Island representatives secured more than $331 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the biennium of fiscal years 2018 and 2019 for various projects across Hawaii County. Hawaii lawmakers were also able to secure $5.4 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Big Island nonprofit organizations.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $89 million for extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway
  • $54.7 million for Hawaii Belt Road improvements
  • $40 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements
  • $20.8 million for Mamalahoa Highway road and bridge improvements
  • $19.3 million for Hilo International Airport improvements
  • $14.8 million for Kona International Airport improvements
  • $13.2 million for Hawaii Community Correctional Center for medium security housing
  • $13 million to replace 4 mile Creek Bridge $8 million for Kawaihae Road improvements
  • $4.5 million for Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center Improvements
  • $4.4 million for Hilo High School track & field, auditorium and locker room improvements
  • $3.6 million for Kealakehe High School track, performing arts center and gym design and improvements
  • $3 million for air conditioning improvements at the University of Hawaii at Hilo
  • $3 million for Akoni Pule Highway realignment and widening
  • $2.5 million for Waiakeawaena Elementary School cafeteria and administrative buildings
  • $2.5 million for Keaukaha Military Reservation maintenance shop projects
  • $2 million for Hilo Medical Center Telehealth unit
  • $2 million for Hawaiian Home Lands lot development in Kaumana and Kau
  • $1.5 million for Honokaa High School for covered walkways
  • $1.2 million for Naalehu Elementary School covered walkways
  • $1.1 million for paving and drainage improvements at Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor
  • $1 million for Upolu Airport improvements
  • $1 million for Kohala High School gymnasium
  • $850,000 for West Hawaii Veteran’s Center plan, design and construction of a veteran’s center
  • $700,000 for Hawaii Community College trades and apprenticeship program and physics lab classroom
  • $700,000 for Kohala Middle School dual use play court/assembly area

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-In-Aid were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hawaii Island community:

  • $925,000 for West Hawaii Community Health Center to build a health care facility
  • $800,000 for Waimea Nui Community Development Corp. to build a community agricultural park
  • $800,000 for Hamakua Health Center to build a new health center
  • $698,000 for Island of Hawaii YMCA repairs to the Hilo YMCA
  • $605,000 for Pacific Well Drilling and Pump Services for equipment
  • $500,000 for Kailapa Community Association to build a resource center
  • $500,000 for Laiopua 2020 to build a community center
  • $200,000 for Hawaii Island Community Development Corp. to build a new adult day care center
  • $130,000 for Friends of Palace Theater air conditioning system
  • $100,000 for Aloha Performing Arts Company for Aloha Theatre renovations
  • $100,000 for Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii to build affordable housing for low-income families in West Hawaii
  • $91,000 for Arts & Sciences Center fire alarm system

Hawaii Senate Announces New Chairs and Reorganization – Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele New Majority Whip

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi announced several new committee chairs and an addition to Senate leadership as part of the Senate’s recent reorganization.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele was named the new Majority Whip today.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz will be the new Ways and Means committee chair with Senator Gil Keith-Agaran serving as the Ways and Means committee vice chair.

The current Senate committee on Judiciary and Labor will be divided into two committees with Senator Brian T. Taniguchi chairing the Judiciary committee and Senator Jill N. Tokuda chairing the Labor committee.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele is the new Majority Whip.

These new positions are effective at the close of business on May 12, 2017.

Grand Naniloa Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton to Unveil “Kahele Point” in Honor of Late Hawaii Senator Gilbert “Gil” Kahele

The ownership of the new Grand Naniloa Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton is honored to announce that it will rename the hotel’s oceanfront dock as “Kahele Point,” in honor of the late Hawai’i State Senator Gilbert “Gil” Kahele. A dedication ceremony and the unveiling of the late Senator’s monument will take place on Monday, May 15 at 10:30 a.m., at the hotel’s oceanfront dock.

The late Senator Gilbert Kahele

The new hotel ownership offered to dedicate the monument and dock area as a means to show its gratitude of all of the redevelopment and service work of Senator Kahele. In response, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, through Hawai’i State Senate Resolution No. 104, established the monument area that will honor the late Hilo Senator for his contribution to public service and his efforts to commence the revitalization of Banyan Drive with the first nationally branded hotel in Hilo the DoubleTree by Hilton.

“Kahele Point” will feature a narrative plaque of the late Senator as well as fishing pole stands and keiki fishing poles, representing the Senator’s love for the ocean and fishing. The plaque will face moku ‘ola (Coconut Island) and downtown Hilo as well as expansive views of Hilo Bay and the coastline.

“The community of Hilo, Banyan Drive redevelopment efforts and now our new DoubleTree by Hilton project have all been blessed by the assistance and service of the late Senator Kahele,” said Ed Bushor, the CEO of Tower Development, which redeveloped the hotel project. “We extend a huge mahalo nui loa to the Kahele family for allowing us to honor his legacy by establishing this memorial in an area that will be used for boating and fishing activities for generations to come.”

The idea for the monument was in collaboration with the Kahele Family, Tower Development and the ownership of the new Grand Naniloa Hotel – a DoubleTree by Hilton.

Senator Kahele Hosting Town Hall Meeting on Legislative Updates

On Monday, May 15, 2017, the community is invited to attend a town hall style meeting hosted by Hawai‘i State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele who will present an update on the recent legislative session.

“The East Hawai‘i delegation worked together to pass vital legislation for higher education, health, and community development, while also securing over $80 million in funding to help with capital improvement projects in the district,” said Sen. Kahele. “I encourage the public to come listen and provide any questions they may have regarding this past session.”

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 PM at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in UCB Room 100. To RSVP, please contact (808) 586-6760 or toll-free 974-4000 ext. 66760.

  • Date: Monday, May 15, 2017
  • Time: 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM
  • Location: University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, UCB Room 100, 200 W. Kāwili St. Hilo, HI 96720

Hilo Legislative Update

Hawai‘i lawmakers passed the State’s two-year biennium budget on Tuesday along with numerous House and Senate bills that now move to Governor David Ige for his signature. The budget includes more than $70 million in capital improvement project funds for the Hilo area.

The approved budget includes $4.5 million for improvements to Hilo and Keawe Health Centers, as well as $2 million for the creation of a telehealth unit for Hilo Medical Center.

“The telehealth services at Hilo Hospital was a top priority of the Hilo Hospital Foundation in order to increase the level of health care services to residents of Hawaii Island. These budget items as well as the creation of a new line item for the Hawaii Island Family Residency Program will help to insure that we are able to better address the medical needs of our residents into the future,” said Representative Mark M. Nakashima.

State funds are earmarked for both the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hilo International Airport.

“The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will receive $3 million to provide air conditioning for the Hale ‘Alahonua student dormitory building. The budget also includes $19.2 million for renovations and improvements to the Hilo International Airport, as well as $2.6 million for noise-reduction efforts for nearby communities,” said Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele.

Waiakeawāena Elementary will receive $2.5 million for either renovations of their existing cafeteria or the construction of a new facility and $13 million will go toward replacing the single lane 4 Mile Creek Bridge at the intersection of Kilauea Avenue and Haihai Street.

HB478 HD1 SD1 CD1 enables the expansion of the successful inmate-operated farms at the Kulani (Hawaii Island) correctional facilities. The bill provides $50,000 for hiring a farm manager and $50,000 for farming equipment.

“The rejuvenation of the Kulani Correctional Facilities agriculture programs will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a full-time farm manager and funding for the purchase of equipment and supplies. This will allow inmates to participate in a broader range of technical skills and trades in horticulture. Along with the $13 million in funding for the 4-mile bridge, $2 million in funds were also secured for motor vehicle deceleration and acceleration lanes to increase the traffic safety to the Panaewa stretch at the Mamaki and Lama Street intersections,” said Representative Richard Onishi.

Hilo High School will receive $2.4 million to assist with renovations of their school auditorium building, as well as $1.25 million toward a much-needed upgrade to the school’s track and field facilities. Across the street, Hilo Intermediate School will benefit from a $950,000 appropriation for renovations of the school’s boys’ and girls’ locker rooms.

“We are very grateful for the funding we received for East Hawaii schools. On a personal level, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of our legislative team and I’m looking forward to continuing our work together,” said Representative Chris Todd.

Hawaii Senate Adjourns 2017 Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate adjourned the 2017 regular session today taking action on a number of priority areas including homelessness, healthcare, education, and the environment.  These priorities align with the Senate’s commitment to the Legislative Program set forth at the start of the 2017 session.

Members of the Senate, along with their House counterparts, approved the allocation of about $40 million over the next two years on homeless programs, a top priority of the Legislative Program, including $500,000 each year for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges; $800,000 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individual families with severe substance use disorders and $300,000 each year for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals.

Investing in our children, from preschool to college, reflects the Senate’s priority in education.  $90 million was allocated to address conditions for school facilities statewide. The Legislature passed SB423 which ensures that public school students will receive a school meal, even if the student’s meal fund account balance is zero. $1 million in general funds was appropriated in each fiscal year for the Early College High School Initiative.

Lawmakers passed measures to address our environment including funding to fight invasive species such as the Coffee Berry Borer and to provide support in the Rapid Ohia Death response.  They also passed SB559 which ensures statewide support for Hawai‘i’s green initiatives and measure the efforts being made to mitigate the effects of climate change throughout the state.

By passing HB607, Hawai‘i becomes the first state in the nation to pass legislation which authorizes a program to support those who provide care for the elderly.  In addressing a disease making headlines locally and nationally, $1 million was appropriated to address Rat Lungworm disease.

In his closing remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 -Kaua’i, Ni’ihau) said despite trying and difficult times during the Session, he was grateful and proud of his colleagues and Senate staff for “working as professionals each and every day.”

“I’m pleased with the work done over the last 60 days,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe).  “There were certainly challenges throughout this session, particularly in the area of the budget, where tough choices had to be made.  However, my Senate colleagues always kept in mind the best interest of the people of Hawai‘i. I’m hopeful that what issues remain unresolved at the end of this session, we can work together to find solutions and move forward.”

On the stalemate over funding for the rail project, the Senate remains open to negotiate an agreement with the House to ensure adequate financing to complete the project, yet minimize the impact on the most vulnerable citizens of the community.

Under Senate Rules and Senate Resolution 96, during the interim, the membership of each Standing Committee can be appointed by the President subject to action by the Senate. Should there be changes to a Standing Committee, the new assignments will be announced.

To view all the bills passed in the 2017 Legislative Session, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Rep. Souki Resigns as Speaker of Hawaii House of Representatives

Representative Joseph M. Souki has resigned as Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives effective immediately.

Souki was re-elected as Speaker of the House in January 2013. He previously served as Speaker from 1993 to 1999, and Speaker Emeritus from 2000 to 2013. He also served as Chair of the Committee on Finance, and most recently as Chair of the Committee on Transportation.

Souki, a Democrat, has served in the Hawaii State House since 1982. He represents the 8th district, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku and Waikapu on the island of Maui where he was born and raised.

See attached letter from Rep. Souki to all House Members.

Hawaii House Bills Passed on Final Reading

On the eve of the close of the 2017 legislative session, the House today approved 194 bills that address a wide range of issues, including the state budget, affordable housing, homelessness, kupuna care, taxation, agriculture, invasive species, and the environment. 

The House also approved the State Budget which now goes to Governor David Ige for his signature.

HB100 HD1SD1 CD1, the State Budget appropriates $14.1 billion in total operating funds for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. The budget includes $2.9 billion for capital improvement projects (CIP) over the biennium which starts July 1.

The budget funds all state department’s programs and services; CIP includes renovations, repairs, and major maintenance to existing facilities and infrastructure; and grants in aid support worthy nonprofit organizations.

Major items include $77 million for a new East Kapolei Middle School and $63 million for a new Kihei High School; $1.8 million for the Hawaii Promise Program to help cover the unmet financial needs of community college students; and $23 million to acquire 500 acres of agriculture land in Central Oahu.

Among the bills passed to support our low-income families is HB209 HC1 SD1 CD1, which establishes a state earned income tax credit mirroring the federal earned income tax credit. This will help low-income workers to keep more of what they earn.

The bill permanently extends the higher rates of the refundable food/excise tax credit which makes it less costly for those in need to afford necessities like food. The bill balances the increase in tax credits by restoring a higher income tax rate on those making more than $300,000 per year.

Highlights of the measures passed today include:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

HB1179 HD2 SD2 CD1, allows the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation to exempt certain affordable rental housing projects from general excise tax and use tax costs.

HB83 HD1 SD2 CD1, requires the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, in conjunction with the Department of Human Services and Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish a working group to examine and develop recommendations to the establish safe zones for persons experiencing homelessness.

HB375 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates a $1 million matching fund for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, working in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association for projects to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

EDUCATION

HB916 HD1 SD2 CD1, makes an appropriation for the health care provider loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

SB423 SD1 HD1 CD1, prohibits denying a student a meal for failure to pay within: (1) The first 21 days of the first semester of a school year while the student’s application for free or reduced lunch is being processed; or (2) seven days after the student’s meal fund account balance is zero or negative.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES

HB655 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to assist and provide supplemental funds to the National Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research the adverse effects of the rose-ringed parakeet on Kauai and develop and begin implementation of a control plan to reduce the negative impacts.

HB606 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the counties, through their employees or authorized agents, to enter private property to control or eradicate invasive species and pests.

SB1240 SD2 HD1 CD1, requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to submit proposed legislation with a definition of sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, a process for determining limits on collection practices of near shore aquatic life, and any additional resources required by the department. Prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits. Prohibits transfer of current permits subject to certain provisions. Prohibits renewal of permits that have not been renewed for five or more years.

PUBLIC SAFETY

HB 459 HD1 SD1 CD1, in the event an application for a firearm is rejected because the applicant is prohibited from owning a firearm or subject to a restraining order, the police department is required to notify the court, prosecutor and director of public safety.

HB478 HD1 SD1 CD1, enables the expansion of successful inmate-operated farms at the Kulani (Hawaii Island) and Waiawa (Oahu) correctional facilities.  Provides $50,000 for hiring a farm manager and $50,000 for farming equipment at each facility.

HB845 HD2 SD2 CD1, requires the Department of Public Safety to offer inmates the opportunity to obtain identification information, such as Social Security cards and birth certificates, at least 90 days prior to their release on furlough. This will enable them to more easily apply for employment.  Allots $25,000 for costs.

HB1135 HD1 SD2 CD1, enables crime victims to more easily obtain court-ordered restitution from offenders by allowing judges to order the forfeiture of cash deposited for bail or bonds, or the withholding of state income tax refunds. The measure also makes permanent several Justice Reinvestment Act initiatives to reduce recidivism and promote public safety.

SB718 SD1 HD1 CD1, enacts the Community Court Outreach Project to help deal with nonviolent, non-felony offenders by sentencing them to community service or directing them to drug abuse or mental health programs.

SB655 SD2 HD1 CD1, allows news media access into emergency zones with approval of emergency management authorities.

HB1501 HD2 SD1 CD1, reclassifies drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of no more than $500.

HB1246 HD2SD2 CD1, authorizes electronic monitoring and surveillance of offenders in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration.

SB895 SD1 HD2 CD1, establishes the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code. Amends the offense of criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secure.

HB554 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes and establishes criteria for administrative orders to provide inpatient psychiatric treatment to an involuntarily committed patient over the patient’s objection. Requires Department of Health and Department of Public Safety to make recommendations for an administrative process applicable to persons subject to DPS jurisdiction.

HB306 HD2 SD2 CD1, authorizes the fitting of a continuous alcohol monitoring device on persons charged for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant if the person: (1) Is a repeat intoxicated driver; or (2) Is currently awaiting a pending criminal investigation or prosecution for one or more prior charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.

KUPUNA

HB1396 HD2 SD2 CD1, known as the “Kawamoto Bill,” authorizes the Department of Health, working in consultation with the Department of Human Services, to allow two private-pay individuals to be cared for in the same community care foster family home after consideration of specified relevant factor.

HB615 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawaii’s kupuna

HB607 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Hawaii is the only state to offer this program.

HEALTH

HB213 HD1 SD1 CD1, permits an employee to take family leave in order to care for the employee’s sibling with a serious health condition.

HB561 HD2 SD1 CD1, known as “Finley’s Law,” this bill requires dentists who administer anesthesia or sedation to post contact information to verify licensure and authorization to administer anesthesia and sedation. Specifies requirements, including inspections, for written authorization or permit to administer anesthesia or sedation.

SB505 SD1 HD2 CD1, requires prescribing healthcare providers to adopt and maintain policies for informed consent to opioid therapy in circumstances that carry elevated risk of dependency. Establishes limits for concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Clarifies Board of Nursing authority to enforce compliance with Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

SB513 SD1 HD2 CD1, authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients regardless of a previous prescription, subject to specified education and procedural requirements. Enables pharmacists to be reimbursed for prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.

HB552 HD1 SD2 CD2, establishes the Affordable Health Insurance Working Group to plan for and mitigate adverse effects of the potential repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act by Congress.

SB501 SD1 HD2 CD1, requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services.

HB1488 HD1 SD1 CD1, adds additional qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana patients and permits possession of additional plants. Amends requirements for and access to testing. Extends deadlines related to implementation of the dispensary system. Amends security, information tracking, and access requirements for licensed facilities. Clarifies DOH regulatory authority. Authorizes additional retail dispensing locations and plants for existing licensees. Requires DOH to report to Legislative Oversight Working Group.

AGRICULTURE

HB2 HD2 SD1 CD1, 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. County councils may adopt ordinances for the oversight of tiny homes, as defined in this act.

HB453 HD1 SD1 CD1, 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, FDA regulations, and state food safety laws.

HB186 HD1 SD2 CD1, extends the subsidy offered to coffee farmers who purchase Beauveria bassiana products to combat the Coffee Berry Borer Beetle. This will support greater yields and a higher-quality, more valuable product.

HB1475 HD2 SD2 CD1, will broaden commercial operations permitted on agricultural land and allow farmers markets and food hubs on ag land. The bill will allow on-farm sales of produce and value-added products, a critical source of additional income for farmers.

SB773 SD2 HD1 CD1, amends the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program by restricting cultivation of industrial hemp under the pilot project to agricultural lands and requires counties to recognize it as an agricultural product, use, or activity. Allows license applications year-round.

TRANSPORTATION

HB727 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Department of Transportation to allow motorcycles and motor scooters on shoulder lanes, as determined by the department, in times of traffic congestion.

HB115 HD1 SD1 CD1, Requires each county with a population of more than 500,000 to take ownership and jurisdiction over all disputed roads under certain circumstances. Defines disputed roads.

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS

HB451 HD1 SD2 CD1, reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second. Requires Congressional approval.

ENERGY

HB957 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Loan Program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

HB942 HD1 SD1 CD1, authorizes the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to commission an artist to design and build a monument to honor and commemorate Filipino veterans of World War II, with all costs to be expended from the Works of Art Special Fund.

HB1420 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds for burial grants for qualifying Filipino-American veterans to provide funeral and burial services and transportation of their remains to the Philippines.

OTHERS

HB1516 HD1 SD1 CD1, permits duly incorporated humane societies and duly incorporated societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals to petition for full custody of an impounded pet animal or equine animal prior to the filing of certain criminal charges against the owner or custodian of the animal. Allows a pet or equine animal to be destroyed by the petitioner prior to final disposition of certain criminal charges if the pet or equine animal is a danger to itself or others. Clarifies that an acquittal or dismissal in a criminal proceeding does not preclude civil proceedings under animal cruelty offenses.

SB119 SD1 HD1 CD1, establishes a cap of 8 percent on late rent payment fees, applicable to all new rental agreements and rental agreement renewals entered into on or after the effective date of this measure. Effective November 1, 2017.

SB369 SD1 HD1 CD1, prohibits associations of apartment owners, boards of directors, managing agents, resident managers, unit owners, and persons acting on behalf of associations or unit owners from retaliating against a unit owner, board member, managing agent, resident manager, or association employee who files a complaint; acts in furtherance of a complaint, report, or investigation of an alleged violation of the state’s condominium laws or a condominium’s governing documents; or exercises or attempts to exercise any right as a unit owner.

SB207 SD2 HD2 CD1, authorizes the expenditure of general funds for a one-time lump sum cash bonus severance benefit to affected Maui region hospital employees.

Here are all bills passed by the Legislature this session (this report will be complete after all bills are sent to the governor).

Hawaii State Capital Improvement Project Highlights – CIP Part of Fiscal Years 2018, 2019 Budget

As part of the state budget bill passed in conference committee yesterday, lawmakers included funding for Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) statewide.

Representative Sylvia Luke and Senator Jill Tokuda co-chaired the conference committee and Rep. Kyle Yamashita and Senator Donovan Dela Cruz managed the CIP funding.

Capital Improvement Projects are renovations, repairs, and major maintenance to existing facilities, landscape improvements, new construction, land acquisition, and utility modifications.

Capital Improvement Projects Biennium Budget Totals (not including CIP grants-in-aid):

  • FY2018: $1,007.9 billion General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2019: $49.4 million General Obligation Bond Funds
  • FY2018: $2,269.7 billion All Means of Financing Funds
  • FY2019: $695.1 million All Means of Financing Funds

CIP highlights

Agriculture

  • $608 thousand for invasive species treatment units.
  • $1.2 million for improvements to the Waimanalo irrigation system.
  • $4 million for improvements to the Waiahole water system.

Accounting and General Services

  • $10 million for master plans and an environmental impact study for Aloha Stadium.
  • $15 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 in Kalaeloa.
  • $25 million for the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and $25 million for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to finance additional affordable rental housing.
  • $1 million for transit-oriented development master plan of state-owned parcels near proposed rail stations.

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

  • $90 million to address condition for school facilities statewide.
  • $32.9 million to address equity for school facilities statewide.
  • $32.9 million to address program support for school facilities statewide.
  • $27 million for a new classroom building at Campbell High School.
  • $77 million for the construction of the new East Kapolei Middle School.
  • $63 million for the construction of Kihei High School
  • $11.5 million for the construction of a fifteen classroom building at Mililani Middle School
  • $12.3 million for the construction of a new administration building at Waihee Elementary School.
  • $15 million for the construction of a performing arts center at Moanalua High School
  • $15 million for Phase I of a new classroom building at Waipahu High School.
  • $10 million for the new Pohukaina Elementary School.
  • $6.5 million for health, safety, accessibility, and other code requirements for public libraries, statewide.

Hawaiian Home Lands

  • $19.4 million for the development of Hawaiian Home Lands’ lots.
  • $7.6 million for repair and maintenance projects on Hawaiian Home Lands.

Human Services

  • $20.1 million for site, dwelling, and security improvements at Hawaii Public Housing Authority facilities.

Health

  • $1.6 million for improvements and renovations to the Kahuku Medical Center.
  • $19.9 million for improvements and renovations to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, 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

  • $2.2 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.
  • $3 million for rockfall and flood mitigation at various locations, statewide.
  • $9.3 million for Kaanapali beach restoration and berm enhancement.
  • $100,000 for hazardous tree mitigation in forest reserves, game management areas, natural area reserves, and wildlife sanctuaries.
  • $400,000 to provide statewide support for fire and natural disaster response.
  • $2.5 million for improvements at various boating facilities, statewide.
  • $3 million for flood damage reconstruction at the Iao Valley State Monument, Maui.
  • $20.3 million for construction and improvements at small boat harbors, statewide.

Public Safety

  • $34.4 million for new additions, renovations, alterations, electrical and mechanical infrastructure improvements and rehabilitation of buildings, at Public Safety facilities, statewide.
  • $8 million for a new consolidated women’s housing associated support office, and other improvements at the Women’s Community Correctional Center, Oahu.

Transportation

  • $31.6 million for renovations and new restroom facilities at various 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, Agricultural Inspection Station 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 firefighting (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.
  • $7.5 million to address storm water run-off, erosion, passenger safety issues, ineffective drainage, and/or subsurface irregularities at Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai.
  • $190.6 million for the repair, rehabilitation, improvements, and/or replacement of bridges, statewide.
  • $56.8 million for improvements, installation, or upgrading of guardrails and shoulders 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.
  • $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.
  • $83.2 million for the renewal, improvements, and modernization of facilities at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  • $10 million for capital renewal and deferred maintenance at University of Hawaii Community Colleges, Statewide.
  • $10 million for minor capital improvement projects at University of Hawaii Community Colleges, Statewide.

Hawaii Lawmakers Approve State Budget

House and Senate conferees met today to approve a final version of HB100 HD1 SD1, the state budget bill covering fiscal years 2018 and 2019.

The committee agreed on funding for pesticide regulation and studies and three Department of Agriculture positions for pesticides compliance; special funds for an enhanced 911 dispatch software upgrade; general funds for the Hawaii Promise Program to provide college tuition support; and general funds to support housing, outreach and legal services for homeless people.

The committee also decided to add $1 million to the budget for the Department of Health to fight Rat Lungworm Disease citing the need to act quickly in preventing the spread of the disease.

The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means conference committee met several times to iron out the differences between the two budget versions which must be completed by April 28, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.

The final conference draft will be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, sent to the governor for his signature.

Rep. Sylvia Luke (Dist. 25 – Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), said the conference committee was able to come up with a successful budget because of the hard choices made initially by both the Senate and the House.

“When we first received the budget from Governor David Ige, we were looking at a very different financial picture,” said Luke, the House Finance Committee Chair. “As it became clear that the state would have less revenue, we needed cut millions of dollars from the governor’s request. We were able to do that because of the hard work of the committee members.”

“Our ability to reach agreement on the budget reflects a shared belief that as resources are constrained, we must focus on priority needs that can be sustained. Even as fixed costs and unfunded liabilities rise, our communities look to us to provide support for the most basic and essential programs and services from homeless and health care to protecting the environment and resources for our keiki and kupuna,” said Senator Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 – Kaneohe, Kaneohe MCAB, Kailua, Heeia, Ahuimanu), chair of the Senate committee on Ways and Means.

At today’s meeting, the committee highlighted many budget items upon which the House and Senate reached agreement.

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for Agricultural Loan Revolving Fund (AGR101/GA).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $226,134 in FY18 and (3) positions and $200,000 in FY19 in general funds for the Agricultural Food Safety Certification Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (1) position and $115,772 in general funds in each FY for the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program (AGR151/BB).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $79,236 in FY18 and $158,472 in FY19 in general funds for pesticides compliance (AGR846/EE).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for pesticide regulation expenses and studies (AGR846/EE).

DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING AND GENERAL SERVICES

  • Add (1) permanent position and $39,000 in FY18 and $77,000 in FY19 in general funds for contract audits (AGS104/BA).
  • Change means of financing for (5) permanent positions and $505,585 from trust funds to general funds in each FY for Campaign Spending Commission (AGS871/NA).
  • Add $7,800,000 in special funds in FY18 for Enhanced 911 Board Computer Aided Dispatch Software Upgrade (AGS891/PA).

DEPARTMENT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

  • Add $5,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Litigation Fund (ATG100/AA).
  • Add $70,000 in special funds in each FY for maintenance of internet based registration systems and charity registration databases (ATG100/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND TOURISM

  • Add (1) permanent position and $25,386 in FY18 and $50,772 in FY19 in general funds for compliance with decisions and orders of Land Use Commission (BED103/DA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for feasibility and benefits study for establishing a small satellite launch and processing facility in the State (BED128).
  • Add $200,000 in general funds in FY18 for a market assessment and feasibility study for the development of a basalt fiber manufacturing plant in Hawaii (BED128).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,584 in FY18 and $57,168 in FY19 in general funds for economic research (BED130/FA).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Excelerator Program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for manufacturing grant program for High Technology Development Corporation (BED143).
  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for small business innovation research program (BED143).
  • Add (1) temporary position and $27,618 in FY18 and $55,236 in FY19 in general funds for Special Action Team on Affordable Rental Housing (BED144/PL).

DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND FINANCE

  • Add $34,625,428 in FY18 and $70,673,178 in FY19 in general funds for additional retirement benefit payments funding for the State to reflect phase-in of employer contribution rate increases.
  • Add (1) permanent position and $28,116 in FY18 and $51,432 in FY19 in general funds for the Administrative and Research Office’s Information and Technology staff (BUF101/BA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $55,671 in FY18 and $107,552 in FY19 in funds for Hawaii Domestic Relations Orders implementation (BUF141/FA).
  • Add $9,700,000 in each FY for statewide centralized vacation payout (BUF103/VP).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $148,930 in trust funds in FY19 for investment analysis (BUF143/EU).
  • Add (3) permanent positions and $445,768 in general funds in each FY for Community Court Outreach Program (BUF151).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

  • Add (1) permanent position and $51,000 in FY18 and $84,000 in FY19 in trust funds for condominium education (CCA105/GA).
  • Add $200,000 in special funds in FY18 for consultant services and training (CCA901/MA).

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

  • Add $325,000 in general funds in FY18 for Diamond Head Sewer Lift Station Emergency Generator (DEF110/AA).
  • Add $768,000 in general funds in FY18 for tree trimming and removal at Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery (DEF112/VA).
  • Add (1) permanent positon and $27,556 in FY18 and $54,112 in FY19 in general funds for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning maintenance (DEF110/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • Add $1,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Early College High School Initiative (EDN100/BX).
  • Add $2,027,645 in general funds in FY18 for Office of Hawaiian Education (EDN100/CJ).
  • Add $2,800,000 in general funds and $2,800,000 in federal funds in FY18 for Hawaii Keiki Healthy and Ready to Learn program (EDN100/BX).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $183,818 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (EDN200).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $703,980 in general funds in each FY for Homeless Concerns Liaisons (EDN200/GQ).
  • Add $1,100,000 in general funds in FY18 for Student Information System Enhancement and Expansion (EDN300/UA).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $135,216 in FY18 and $270,432 in FY19 in general funds for Workers’ Compensation Program (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $670,000 in general funds in FY18 for Alternative Teacher Route Programs (EDN300/KO).
  • Add $293,557 in general funds in FY18 for Community Engagement Office (EDN300/KD).
  • Add (15) permanent positions and $779,310 in FY18 and $1,434,885 in FY19 in general funds for Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance Capacity (EDN300/KH).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $1,755,525 in FY18 and $3,711,835 in FY19 in general funds for student transportation services statewide (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $100,000 in general funds in FY18 for athletic travel to and from Molokai and Hana (EDN400/YA).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in each FY for environmental health services (EDN400/OC).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in each FY for utilities (EDN400/OE).
  • Add $283,403 in FY18 and $207,445 in FY19 in general funds for personal services and food provisions for School Food Service programs (EDN400/MD).

PUBLIC LIBRARIES

  • Add (3) permanent positions and $50,592 in FY18 and $101,184 in FY19 in general funds for Nanakuli Public Library (EDN407/QD).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in FY18 for repair and maintenance backlog (EDN407/QB).

CHARTER SCHOOLS

  • Add $9,797,069 in FY18 and $10,668,406 in FY19 in general funds for Per Pupil Adjustment (EDN600/JA).

EARLY LEARNING

  • Add $136,688 in FY18 and (10) permanent positions and $556,842 in FY19 in general funds for Pre-Kindergarten and Induction Program (EDN700/PK).

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

  • Add $117,167 in general funds in each FY for membership fees for national and regional chief executive organizations (GOV100/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for Housing First Program (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for homeless outreach services (HMS224/HS).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in FY18 for legal services for homeless persons (HMS224/HS).
  • Add (29) permanent positions and $1,828,585 in FY18 and $2,510,996 in FY19 in general funds for multi-skilled worker pilot program (HMS229/HA).
  • Add $1,553,559 in general funds and $2,309,090 in federal funds in each FY for nursing facility inflation factor (HMS401/PE).
  • Add $240,000 in general funds in FY18 for juvenile justice and delinquency prevention (JJDP) (HMS501/YA).

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT

  • Add $3,274,000 in FY18 and $3,524,000 in FY19 in general funds for worker’s compensation claims (HRD102/SA).

HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORATION

  • Add $36,486,000 in FY18 and $34,686,000 in FY19 in general funds for operations subsidy for the regions (HTH212/LS).
  • Add $3,000,000 in general funds in FY18 for working capital or region operating subsidy (HTH212).
  • Add $33,420,000 in general funds in FY18 for operations subsidy for Maui Health System (HTH214/LS).
  • Add $30,637,298 in general funds in FY18 for employee separation benefits related to the transfer of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation Maui Region.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges (HTH420/HO).
  • Add $800,000 in general funds in FY18 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individuals and families with severe substance abuse disorders (HTH440/HO).
  • Add $1,340,000 in FY18 and $1,613,000 in FY19 in general funds for purchase of service contracts for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (HTH460/HO).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $422,540 in general funds in each FY for vector control (HTH610/FN).
  • Add $500,000 in general funds in each FY for Rat Lung-worm Disease (HTH610).
  • Add $799,833 in general funds in FY18 for statewide emergency ambulance services (HTH730/MQ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $46,638 in FY18 and $93,276 in FY19 in general funds for investigation of suspected health clusters from environmental sources (HTH849/FD).
  • Add $4,145,695 in general funds in FY18 for Kupuna Care (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add $1,700,000 in general funds in FY18 for Aging and Disability Resource Center (HTH904/AJ).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $157,168 in general funds in each FY for long term care ombudsman program (HTH904/AJ).

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS

  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY for enrichment programs of the advisory boards for health care, agriculture, and STEM (LBR111).
  • Add $450,000 in general funds in each FY for transition to the federal workforce innovation and opportunity act (LBR135).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $24,966 in FY18 and $48,280 in FY19 in general funds for labor law enforcement (LBR152/CA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $19,746 in FY18 and $39,492 in FY19 in general funds for legal support (LBR153/RA).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $60,530 in each FY for grants management (LBR903/NA).

DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

  • Add (3) temporary positions and $152,520 in general funds in each FY for ocean resources management plan support (LNR401/CA).
  • Add $4,000,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Invasive Species Council (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $750,000 in general funds in each FY, non-recurring, for Rapid Ohia Death response (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $400,000 in general funds in each FY for fire protection program (LNR402/DA).
  • Add $350,000 in general funds in FY18 for second phase of new integrated information management system and digitization of reports, records, and files (LNR802/HP).
  • Add (15) temporary positions and $1,065,147 in FY18 and $1,097,047 in FY19 in general funds for personnel and operating funds for management and restoration of Kahoolawe Island Reserve (LNR906/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY

  • Add $165,000 in general funds in each FY for malpractice insurance (PSD421/HC).
  • Add $92,500 in general funds in FY18 for psychological testing for deputy sheriffs (PSD900/EA).
  • Add $1,500,000 in general funds in FY18 for lease rent for Department of Public Safety Administration building and moving costs (PSD900/EA).

DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

  • Add $93,860 in general funds in each FY for security for medical marijuana tax collections (TAX107/AA).

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

  • Add (7) permanent positions and $157,939 in FY18 and $303,878 in FY19 for Airside Operations Section Security Unit Pass and Identification Office (TRN102/BC).
  • Add $300,000 in each FY for custodial and janitorial supplies for Custodial Services Unit (TRN102/BC).
  • Add (6) permanent positions and $162,752 in FY18 and $293,004 in FY19 for Federal Inspection Station (TRN114/BE).
  • Add $400,000 in each FY for Automated Passport Control Kiosk Maintenance Statewide (TRN195/BB).
  • Add $200,000 in each FY for underwater and superstructure pier inspections (TRN395/CB).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $101,809 in FY18 and $203,618 in FY19 for H-3 Tunnel Management Center (TRN501/DC).
  • Add (10) permanent positions and $679,152 in special funds in FY18 and $1,243,998 in special funds and $216,000 in federal funds in FY19 for Intelligent Technology Systems Branch (TRN595/DB).
  • Add $800,000 in FY19 for trash reduction plan implementation (TRN501/DC).
  • Add $3,514,950 in FY18 and $1,242,000 in FY19 for information technology projects (TRN995).

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

  • Add $350,000 in general funds in each FY for concussion awareness (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2.64) permanent positions and $240,800 in general funds in each FY for Heeia Reserve (UOH100/AA).
  • Add $250,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Investigator for UH Manoa (UOH100/AA).
  • Add (2) permanent position and $150,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Administrator and Educator/Advocate for UH Hilo (UOH210).
  • Add (1) permanent position and $70,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX for UH West Oahu (UOH700).
  • Add $1,829,000 in general funds in each FY for Hawaii Promise Program (UOH800).
  • Add (4) permanent positions and $820,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX Coordinators, Confidential Advocates, and Legal Support (UOH800).
  • Add (2) permanent positions and $375,000 in general funds in each FY for Title IX System-wide Legal Support (UOH900).

Budget worksheets detailing the appropriations in the overall Executive, Judiciary and Office of Hawaiian Affairs budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2017budget.aspx.

Commentary – How Lawmakers Can Deal With “Annoying” Citizens

Dear Damon,

This was the year when we learned how “annoying” the public can be to government agencies, what with their constant demands for transparency, sunshine, and access to government records.

In fact, some state agencies were so annoyed that they sought help from the legislature, which responded with a bill to limit the rights of “vexatious records requesters.” That bill (HB1518) is still alive, but fortunately the latest version requires a decision from a court before stripping government watchdogs of their rights.

The funny thing is that if anyone is entitled to feel “vexed” by the state’s transparency laws (and process), it’s the public. According to Civil Beat, state and city officials have regularly tried to hide records or withhold them by charging ridiculously high fees to the person requesting them.

The Grassroot Institute frequently requests public documents, and our researchers could share a few stories about the tactics agencies use to delay or avoid a response. When we worked with Judicial Watch to gain a copy of the Native Hawaiian Roll — a public voter list — we even had to go to court to get the records released.

Ironically, there’s a shockingly simple solution that would make everyone happy: just be more transparent.

It’s perfect. Requesters would get the documents they want and state workers could be spared the stress of coming up with reasons to avoid handing them over. In fact, if agencies were more open in their operations, some of those requests wouldn’t even be necessary.

There’s even a proposal already in place at the legislature. HB165 (now headed to a Conference Committee) would modernize the existing Sunshine Law by requiring electronic posting of public agency meeting notices and minutes and making board packets available for public inspection.

It’s an important step forward for transparency in Hawaii and a common sense way to reduce the work associated with records requests. After all, there’s no need to make a request when something’s already online.

Of course, several state agencies oppose HB165 and have testified about why they would find it difficult to comply with the bill. It’s almost as if they prefer being “vexed.”

Still, we hope that the legislature will embrace greater openness in government and take advantage of the internet to make more records publicly available. They could even think of it as a public health service. Because all that stress and vexation can’t be good for our state workers.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D. – President/CEO Grassroot Institute

Big Island Police Charge Women Who Stole from Schools Booster Club

Hawaiʻi Island police have charged a 42-year-old Hilo woman in connection with the theft of money from a public school booster club.

JoAnn Maldonado

On Monday (April 10), JoAnn Maldonado reported to South Hilo Patrol officers that an unknown suspect entered her Waiākea Uka residence and removed, among other personal belongings, in excess of $10,000 cash which belonged to the Waiākea Intermediate School Ukulele Band Booster Club.

She was arrested on Tuesday (April 11) after the investigation indicated that Maldonado, who is the club’s Vice President, took the money for herself, staged the burglary and made the fictitious report to police about a break-in.

At 1:55 p.m. Thursday afternoon (April 13), detectives with the Criminal Investigation Section charged JoAnn Maldonado with second degree theft and false reporting to law enforcement authorities.

Maldonado is being held at the Hilo cellblock in lieu of $2,500 bail, pending her initial court appearance in South Hilo District Court scheduled for Monday afternoon (April 17).

Hawaii Public Safety Committee Hearing – Update Shelter Plans in Case of Nuclear Attack from North Korea

The House Public Safety Committee (PBS) is holding a public hearing on SCR169 SD1 HD1. This resolution urges the state Department of Defense to update and modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans, as the current state of geopolitical tensions between North Korea and the United States make Hawaii a vulnerable and strategic target for a nuclear weapons.

Click to read

The resolution is proposed by PBS Vice Chair Rep. Matt LoPresti (Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ewa Villages, Hoakalei, Ocean Pointe), changes the way the state deals with future disasters and emergencies.

  • WHO: State Representative Matthew Lopresti
  • WHAT: The House Public Safety Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Concurrent Resolution 169 SD1HD1 urging the State Department of Defense to modernize Hawaii’s disaster preparedness plans amidst recent actions by North Korea and the Trump Administration.
  • WHEN: Thursday, April 13, 2 p.m.
  • WHERE: Room 312, House Public Safety Committee State Capitol

Hawaii Senate Passes 208 Bills on Third Reading

The Senate today passed 134 House bills on third reading that seek to address many issues including affordable housing, economic development, and protection from invasive species.  An additional 74 House bills previously passed third reading in the Senate, for a total of 208 bills, ahead of the Second Crossover deadline of April 13.

The bills passed on third reading will be transmitted to the House and many will be referred to a committee on conference where House and Senate members will meet jointly to remedy differences in House and Senate positions.  To follow the actions of conference, visit the “Reports and Lists” page of the legislature’s website capitol.hawaii.gov.

“These bills reflect the Senate’s focus on the priorities set forth in the Legislative Program which aim to support our communities, our environment, good governance and sustainability,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The challenge will be to provide funding for all these measures and the proposed GIA in light of diminishing revenues and requirements to pay for increasing fixed costs such as pension payments.”

“The passage of these measures illustrate the continued effort of the Senate to improve the lives of the people of Hawai‘i,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 – Kaua’i, Ni’ihau). “However, as we head into conference, the onus continues to be on the legislature to find funding sources for measures,  ensure that we meet our current financial obligations while exercising fiscal responsibility.”

A few of the key measures passed today by the Senate which reflect the Senate Legislative Program:

Ola Lehulehu – People and Communities

Education

HB957 HD1 SD2 Authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawai‘i green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools. Requires the Department of Education to make payments on the loan from revenues saved by energy efficiency measures.

HB480 HD1 SD1 Makes an appropriation to the Hawai‘i community college for the Hawai‘i community college and University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and the Agribusiness Development Corporation, to study agriculture and agricultural learning opportunities on the island of Hawai‘i. Requires the Hawai‘i community college to submit a report to the legislature.

Homelessness

HB527 HD1 SD2 appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB1195 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Health and Department of Human Services, including the Office of Youth Services, to provide homeless outreach services and rental subsidies to reduce and prevent homelessness.

HB530 HD2 SD2 updates the Downpayment Loan Program under the Hawai‘i Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Social Services

HB615 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawai‘i’s kupuna.

HB607 HD1 SD2 requires the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Clarifies the kupuna service and support options provided by area agencies on aging within the program. Makes establishment of the kupuna care program mandatory rather than discretionary.

HB674 HD2 SD2 requires all child care providers subject to regulation by the Department of Human Services to obtain and maintain liability insurance as a condition of licensure, temporary permission, or registration and disclose insurance-related information to certain parents or guardians. Requires the Department of Human Services to submit a report to the legislature prior to the 2018 regular session.

HB4 HD1 SD1 requires certain employers to provide a minimum amount of paid sick leave to employees to be used to care for themselves or a family member who is ill or needs medical care.

Health Care

HB672 HD2 SD2 formally establishes the Hawai‘i Keiki: Healthy and Ready to Learn Program within the Department of Education. Establishes a dedicated special fund and positions within the Departments of Education, Health, and Human Services to support the program.

HB552 HD1 SD2 ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress. Preserves the individual mandate, minimum essential benefit requirements, extended dependent coverage, and prohibitions on preexisting condition exclusions and gender discrimination in premiums and costs. Establishes a trust fund and procedures to reimburse insurers for unrecouped costs of providing minimum essential insurance benefits.

HB1272 HD1 SD1 specifies that coverage for telehealth under the State’s medicaid managed care and fee-for-service programs includes psychiatric services delivered via telehealth through a behavioral health care manager who is present in a primary health care provider’s office.

Food Security

HB1475 HD2 SD2 Permits farmers’ markets and food hubs on lands in an agricultural district. Requires that value-added products displayed and sold by agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts contain an unspecified per cent of Hawai‘i-grown content.

Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu – Preparedness

Government Services

HB1401 HD1 SD1 enacts voting by mail uniformly across all counties for all elections commencing in 2020, and allows any election to be conducted by mail prior to the 2020 primary election, in whole or in part, as determined by the chief election officer or county clerk, as appropriate.

HB206 HD2 SD2 establishes a prepaid wireless E911 surcharge of 1.5 per cent of prepaid wireless service purchased at the point of sale. Allows sellers to deduct and retain 3 per cent of the surcharges collected to offset administrative expenses, but requires sellers to remit the balance of surcharges collected to the Enhanced 911 fund on a specified periodic basis.

Community Development

HB1327 HD1 SD1 Appropriates funds for the Manufacturing Development Program.

Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy

Environment

HB1339 HD1 SD2 restructures the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council as the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 SD1 establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

Pono Kaulike – Transforming Justice

HB930 SD2 creates and appropriates funds for Erin’s Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse and sex trafficking prevention, and report recommendations for the establishment of a program to educate public school children on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curricula.

Hawaii Representative to Host Internet Personal Security Teach-In

Expert panel to discuss online privacy following loss of federal protections

Rep. Matt LoPresti will host a teach-in to discuss personal internet privacy on both the federal and state levels following the recent loss of government protections by the Trump Administration.

The Teach-in will be held on Sunday, April 30 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Box Jelly, 301 A Kamani Street in Honolulu.

With internet protections rules repealed, internet service providers are now allowed to track, package and sell your personal internet browsing history without your knowledge or consent.

Rep. LoPresti and a panel of internet security experts will explain attempts during the current legislative session to protect personal privacy, what steps are now being planned and, most importantly, what residents can do now to protect themselves.

Todd Nacapuy, Chief Information Officer of the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services will attend the event along with internet security experts.

Residents can bring their laptops to learn how to install a VPN (virtual private network) and ‘HTTPS everywhere’ add ons to their browsers.

The gap in privacy protections left by the federal actions require individual states to take action to protect consumers’ data. One of the most troubling aspects is that telecom companies are no longer responsible for protecting your data, even though they will be collecting it, according to Rep. LoPresti.

“The problem is multi-faceted and there are currently no government protections from companies selling your personal data to the highest bidder,” said LoPresti. “You need to know how to protect yourself until we can create state laws to make this kind of abuse illegal.”

LoPresti said it is now clear from the large amount of money donated to Congress members who voted to repeal these rules, that internet service providers have a huge invested interest in our private data including Social Security numbers, geo-locations, and browsing history.

“Even if telecom companies do not actually package and sell the browsing histories for individuals, they are compiling and packaging that data for sale as part of larger aggregates, and – thanks to Congress and President Trump signing the bill – these companies are not even incentivized to legally protect this data,” he said.

LoPresti said that everyone is vulnerable and should take action on their own to protect internet privacy.

Seating is limited. Call 808 769-6921 to RSVP for the event.

A Message From Senator Kahele – Rat Lungworm Disease

Aloha,

For this week’s legislative update, I want to focus on Senate Bill 272, Senate Draft 2, House Draft 1 (SB272 SD2 HD1), Relating to Rat Lungworm Disease. With the recent flurry of news stories covering Rat Lungworm Disease in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Civil Beat and even the Atlantic, I feel it particularly important to update you on what the legislature is doing to address the situation.

SB272 SD2 HD1 appropriates an unspecified amount of funds to the University of Hawai`i at Hilo for programs, studies, and activities related to the prevention and eradication of rat lungworm disease. We know that we have to appropriately fund these efforts to put an end to this menace.

Currently, SB272 SD2 HD1 has passed third reading in the House. The Senate has already communicated its disagreement to the HD1 version because it changes the effective date to July 31, 2150. This strategy is known as “defecting the effective date” and either kills the bill or forces it into conference since it is a forgone conclusion that neither house will pass a bill with such an unrealistic implementation date.

Hopefully, this bill will go to conference. If it does, Representative Richard Creagan and I will likely be the lead-chairs for the conference committee and we’ll be able to work with our colleagues to put out a draft both houses can support.

As we move forward, stay up-to-date on this effort by following its progress on our capitol website or our weekly updates. Mahalo for all your support!

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii House Approves Bills on Master Plan to Build a New Stadium and Other Bills

With just about a month left in the 2017 legislative session, the House passed 35 Senate bills today.

The bills passed head back to the Senate for their consideration. If the Senate does not agree with the House amendments, the bills will be negotiated in conference committees.

Key measures passed by the House today include:

Public Education

SB 683 SD2 HD1 proposes amendments to Articles VII and X of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii to authorize the Legislature to establish a surcharge on residential investment property and visitor accommodations to increase funding for public education.

Aloha Stadium

SB 1200 SD2 HD1 appropriates funds to create a master plan and environmental impact statement for the construction of a new Aloha Stadium.

Red Light Photo Detector

SB 221 SD2 HD1 establishes a Photo Red Light Imaging Detector Systems Program to improve enforcement of traffic signal laws and requires the DOT to establish a Red Light Running Committee to review the program and make further recommendations.

Child Care Facilities

SB 511 SD2 HD1 requires the DHS to post reports of all child care facility inspections on its website, include all actions that involve complaints of suspected or actual violations, and appropriates funds to implement and comply with the reporting requirements for child care facilities.

Maui Hospitals

SB 944 SD1 HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Budget and Finance for collective bargaining cost items to facilitate the transition of the affected Maui region hospital employees to employment with Maui Health System, a Kaiser Foundation Hospitals LLC.

Aquatic Life

SB 1240 SD2 HD1 requires the DLNR to submit their proposed legislation by 2019 including that a definition of “sustainable”, a policy for sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, limits on collection, and any additional resources required by the apartment. It also prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits and transfer of existing aquarium permits.

A complete list of Senate bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&rpt_type=secondCross_ammend&measuretype=SB&title=Second Crossover.

Commentary – Good Citizen or “Vexatious Requester”?

Dear Damon,

When it comes to transparency in government, both the requesters and requestees would do well to remember Hanlon’s razor: Never attribute to malice what can be attributed to (what we’ll diplomatically call) misunderstanding, negligence, or incompetence. To do otherwise risks the kind of policy that threatens the foundations of transparent government … as the debate over HB1518 demonstrates.

When first introduced, HB1518 put forth a very worrisome proposal: state agencies could petition the Office of Information Practices to declare someone a “vexatious requester” based on the subjective determination that the requester was a nuisance who made excessive, repetitive records requests. Having been deemed an official irritant by the state, the vexatious person would have their rights to make records requests severely limited.

The problem, of course, is that what a state employee finds annoying, an ordinary citizen can view as “just doing their job.”

And the testimony on the bill made it clear that this ambiguity about what it means to be vexing was at the heart of the controversy over the bill.

While various state agencies attested that they had been subject to serious annoyance by repetitive and “harassing” requesters, defenders of transparency attempted to put the complaints in perspective.

Brian Black of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest showed that despite claims by UH and the Department of Agriculture that they had been “inundated” with requests that made it impossible for them to keep up with their workload (prompting the need for this law), both agencies were anything but overwhelmed. Black pointed out that of the approximately 18,000 requests fielded by all state agencies over the last three fiscal years, UH only had to deal with 42 non-routine (i.e. other than a transcript) requests and the Department of Agriculture had only 220 non-routine requests.

In other words, certain agencies seem to be vexed by any request at all.

Both Civil Beat and the Grassroot Institute pointed out that the law could be used to target the most common requesters–reporters, think tanks, researchers, and others working in the public interest. Not coincidentally, these are the people most likely to be critical of government. They’re also the ones most familiar with the ways in which agencies–whether through bureaucracy or inefficiency–can stall or obstruct a response, leading to the need for multiple requests. What an agency might call “vexatious,” an experienced researcher could simply call “trying to get the government to release the right information.”

There is good news, however, and a victory to announce. Many watchdog organizations urged the legislature to amend the bill to include due process for anyone in danger of losing their rights under the “vexatious requester” label. The committee listened, and the most current version of the bill requires the agency to plead its case for vexation to a circuit court. The burden is then on the agency to establish that the requester has abused the process established by the Uniform Information Practices Act before the court can limit the requester’s rights.

All of which means that government watchdogs can safely conduct their research of waste and corruption without worrying about being labeled “vexatious.” Though it’s no guarantee that the agencies involved won’t have plenty of other names for us.

E hana kakou (Let’s work together!),

Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.
President/CEO
Grassroot Institute