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Hawaii State Senate 29th Biennium Legislative Session Convenes

Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate convened the 29th Biennium Legislative Session reaffirming their commitment to work collaboratively in addressing the state’s most pressing problems and ready the state to be sustainable and prepared for the future.

A photo from Senator Kahele’s Facebook page.

Today’s opening session commenced with an oli by kumu hula Leina‘ala Pavao and included an invocation by Kahu Curt Kekuna, Pastor of Kawaiahao Church. The National Anthem was performed by Ms. Nalani Brun and Hawai‘i Pono‘i by Mr. Nick Castillo.  The Kahaluu Ukulele Band and Na Hoku Hanohano nominee Shar Carillo and Kaua‘i artists Loke Sasil and Shay Marcello also provided entertainment during today’s program.

Among the honored guests in the Senate Chamber were government officials from the Fukuoka Prefecture, Consul General Yasushi Misawa of Japan, Commander Ulysses Mullins, United States Coast Guard, Hawai‘i State Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald, Governor David Ige, Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui, and former Governors George Ariyoshi, John Waihe‘e, Ben Cayetano, and Neil Abercrombie, and mayors from the neighbor islands.

In his remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi pressed his Senate colleagues to work towards building our economy and creating educational opportunities for the younger generation in Hawai‘i.

Senator Kouchi recognized Chenoa Farnsworth, managing partner of Blue Startups, a Honolulu-based startup support program, for her efforts in supporting entrepreneurship and creating jobs to build the economy in Hawai‘i.  Farnsworth also manages the Hawai‘i Angels investment network, which has invested over $40 million in startup companies. She also co-founded Kolohala Ventures, a Hawai‘i-based venture capital firm that invested $50 million into Hawai‘i-based technology start-ups.

In highlighting the successes of Hawaii’s education system, Senator Kouchi mentioned Waimea High School principal and Masayuki Tokioka Award winner, Mahina Anguay. The Senate President said Anguay represents the best of Hawai‘i’s school administrators and under her leadership, a record number of students at Waimea High School are now the first in their family to attend college.

Senate President Kouchi also introduced Sarah Kern, who is currently a teacher at Wai‘anae High School. Kern was Valedictorian at Kaiser High School and graduated with a degree in Biology from Tufts University where she made the Dean’s List throughout her four years. The Senate President said Kern was a shining example of Hawai‘i’s young people who come home to pursue noble, but not necessarily high-paying careers, such as teaching.

“We need to create the economy to support all of our citizens,” said Senator Kouchi. “We need to support principals like Mahina and just as importantly we need to support teachers like Sarah who are on the frontline, so that we can create the educational opportunities for our young people.”

Senator Kouchi went on to say, “the only equalization that we can offer our children is a quality education to ensure that they get the tools and the skills to compete in the global market that they are going to enter.”

The Senate President introduced Mr. Kevin Johnson, the former Mayor of Sacramento and professional basketball player, whom he lauded for his work in establishing award-winning after school programs, reading programs and programs for the homeless.

Senate President Kouchi said he has been meeting with Johnson and hopes to work with him to address many of the concerns in Hawai‘i that mirror those of the Mayor’s hometown. “Our problems are not unique to the rest of the world. Where we have others who have found success why not find those who can help us solve our problems,” said Senator Kouchi.

The Senate President also referenced the Senate Majority Legislative Program which outlines the main themes for the State Senate.

“The Senate Majority Legislative Program serves as a guide as to where we will focus our work over the next sixty days and continue to build upon the work from the previous session,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English.

The public can access more information on hearings and session activities on the Hawai‘i State Legislature’s website at www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii House of Representatives Opening Day Remarks

In his opening day remarks, Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki called on members of the House of Representatives to extend the general excise tax to finance rail, to find viable alternatives to prison incarceration and to provide human compassion to those who are mentally ill and terminally sick.

“We have a lot on our plate for this session. And the last revenue forecast by the Council on Revenues does not make our job any easier,” Souki told legislators. “But we’ve been there before, as lawmakers and as a community. And we will together find solutions to our most pressing issues.”

In his speech, Souki also supported making needed changes to our public education system and completing the privatization of Maui’s public hospitals.

He called on legislators “to look for solutions like rail to relieve traffic on our roads. It does come with a high cost, but make no mistake, rail is the key to the future of Oahu.”

Souki wants to remove the sunset date on the original general excise tax financing bill, but only if we reduce the tax rate with the city making up the difference. He also wants to reduce administrative costs from 10 to 5 percent.

He proposed a feasibility study to see if elevated toll roads would make sense for Honolulu.

“We must employ a multi-faceted approach, utilizing our buses, flex scheduling and technology that allows distance learning, tele medicine and alternative workplaces to reduce commuter travel,” he said.

With our prisons severely overcrowded and an estimated 10 years needed to build a new one, Souki suggests using electronic bracelets to confine those guilty of misdemeanor, white collar or non-violent crimes to their homes.

“With new technology, we can employ varying degrees of restrictions based on the crime committed, and monitor movements of those under supervision,” he said. “What I’m talking about is creating a whole new level of Non-Institutionalized Incarceration.”

Souki said human compassion is important to everyone in Hawaii and we can see our family members who are near death that need our support.

“Those who are suffering from a terminal illness and are of sound mind should be given the opportunity to decide how they will end their own lives,” Souki said.

He will submit a bill to allow medical aid in dying this session.

The House will continue to provide food and rental tax credits for low income families that are about to expire, Souki said.

“There is nothing more important to human dignity than food on the table and a roof over your head,” Souki said.

House Majority Leader Scott Saiki welcomed the five new members to the House and asked the returning representatives to draw from their aspirations to be constructive and find solutions to our most pressing challenges.

“The need for Hawaii to be functional has never been more critical. In just two days, the United States will undergo profound change,” Saiki said. “We need to be ready and we need to overcome differences so that we can make Hawaii more effective and viable.”

Saiki asked the representatives to heed the words of President Obama to not demonize each other but listen, fight for our principles and find common ground.

(LINKS TO FULL SPEECHES, SOUKI, SAIKI)

Commentary – Former Councilman Airlifted to Oahu, Cardiac Care Unit Wanted at Kona Hospital

Former Council member Dominic Yagong is the latest high profile community member to be airlifted for heart or stroke problems to Maui Memorial or Queen’s on Oahu. Please ask your Hawaii State Senator and Council members to include a Cardiac Care unit in the state budget. It would be $2 million to remodel the ER at Kona Community Hospital and money for a stipend for two cardiologists.

Yagong posted the following on his Facebook page:
“Medivac to Queens hospital tomorrow morning. Spending the night in Waimea ER after experiencing severe chest pains at Basketball game in Honokaa. Sorry girls for missing announcing your game. I’ll be fine,,,,got my lucky Green Bay cap with me! Thanks Kahea for calling EMT. No worries…thumbs up!”

THE PROBLEM: There is a 2- hour window when patients need to be treated in order to expect a full recovery. Think about where you live on the Big Island. From my home it would take 45 minutes to get to Kona Community Hospital Emergency Room, then the time to be diagnosed and then get the helicopter and then the 45 minute + time to Oahu, getting checked in and a cardiologist hopefully is at the hospital and you need to be seen, an Operating Room hopefully is available. Get the picture? Other important island residents to be airlifted are Mayor Kim, Council Chair Pete Hoffmann and OHA Representative Bob Lindsey.

I talked to an architect who specializes in building hospitals and a medical planner at NBBJ Architects. There is currently no facility or any cardiologists to staff a dedicated cardiac care unit for West Hawaii. We agreed that Kona Community Hospital (KCH) was the best location for a Cardiac Care unit. Kona Community Hospital has one cardiologist, Dr. Michael Dang who travels from Honolulu. Dr. Larry Derbes is an interventional cardiologist in private practice in Kona, who agrees that a Catheterization Lab to do stents and ablations and to treat strokes, would save lives and result in better outcomes and quality of life for cardiac patients. He is eager to help. I talked to Jay Kreuzer, is the CEO of KCH, and has also been a cardiac patient. He pointed out that staffing the Catheterization Lab is the biggest challenge because we lose doctors, because the Medicare reimbursement rate of only 93% of the actual cost is compounded by Hawaii Medical Services Association (Hawaii’s biggest healthcare insurer), which compensates at only 110% of the Medicare Reimbursement. He told me that there is an airlift almost every day from KCH to either Queens in Honolulu or Maui Memorial and they are usually for heart or stroke patients.
I also met with Dr. Frank Sayre, Chair of the Board for the West Hawaii Regional Hospital Board of Directors, which oversees Kona Community Hospital and the North Kohala Community Hospital. He agreed with Jay Kreuzer. He told me that he had discussed setting up a “funded chair” for specialists (similar to academic chairs) as a stipend to keep doctors on the island.
SOLUTIONS:
1. A HYBRID CATHETERIZATION LAB/ OPERATING ROOM FOR KONA COMMUNITY HOSPITAL was recommended by architect and planner. The recent flooding of the Operating Room at KCH presents an opportunity to remodel the Operating Room and accommodate Cath Lab equipment.
2. STAFFING: An annuity with the Hawaii Community Foundation or the Kona Community Hospital Foundation to generate a yearly stipend for two cardiologists to establish a “chair position.
Please get in touch with your State Representatives and State Senators to include these items as allocation in their Budget Legislation for the coming year.
There has been some discussion about building a new hospital sometime, but even if that were started tomorrow, it would still take about 6 years to be built, with land acquisition, EIS, plans, hiring a contractor and building. We need a Cardiac Care unit NOW to save our friends and family and allow heart attack and stroke patients to recover fully and at home on our island. Please ask your Hawaii State Senator and Council members to include a Cardiac Care unit in the state budget. It would be $2 million to remodel the ER at Kona Community Hospital and money for a stipend for two cardiologists. Healthy people are happy people.

For more information go to this site: https://debbiehecht.com/2016/06/21/a-cardiac-care-unit-for-the-big-island-of-hawaii/

Debbie Hecht
Kailua-Kona

Hawaii Child Advocates Announce Legislative Priorities

Hawaii Children’s Action Network (HCAN) released their annual “Children’s Policy Agenda” today.  HCAN was created to help nonprofits, businesses, government, and citizens advocate for policies aimed at improving kids’ lives.

According to the group’s executive director Deborah Zysman, the event is all about collaboration.  “A diverse group of policy experts, non-profits advocates and coalitions have come together to prioritize the next steps we can take to make Hawaii the best place for children. Together, we share a common goal to improve the health, economic security, and education of our children,” said Zysman.

Over fifty organizations participated in the creation of this year’s Agenda.  Issues are categorized by economic security and equality, strengthening families, child safety, health and wellness, and education. All contain policy ideas that will be led by various groups.

Senator Karl Rhoads (D-13) and Rep. Matt Lopresti (D-41), new co-chairmen of the Keiki Caucus, supported HCAN for the launch.  The Keiki Caucus previously was chaired by former Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland until she retired last fall.

“We realize that of course kids are indeed our future,” said Rhoads.  “It’s an honor to chair this Caucus and to help carry the torch of doing what we need to do to make Hawaii a great place for children to grow up,” he said.

According to Lopresti, the future looks bright for the cooperation between citizen groups and lawmakers.  “We rely on citizen groups and issue experts in the same way that advocates rely on lawmakers to keep making progress,” said Lopresti.  “The Children’s Policy Agenda is a great way for us to open up the channels of dialogue and share expectations,” he said.

More information about the Children’s Policy Agenda can be found at www.hawaii-can.org

Hawaii State Senate Unveils 2017 Legislative Program

Our communities, environment, sustainability and public safety are areas of which the Hawai‘i State Senate will focus in the 29th Legislative Biennium.

The areas are incorporated under four over-arching themes that embrace Hawaiian values and collectively form the Legislative Program the Hawai‘i State Senate will use as a guide throughout the Regular Session of 2017.   

“On many of these issues, we’re continuing the work that had begun in the previous legislative sessions,” said Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English. “We recognize the importance to be self-reliant and take care of our island home. There’s also a responsibility to be prepared for the future, ensuring that the next generation is not saddled with problems we can do our best to address right now.”

The 2017 Legislative Program for the Hawai‘i State Senate is as follows:

Ola Lehulehu – People and Communities

  • Education – We will collaborate with educational leaders and interested stakeholders to identify and focus on priority educational needs and opportunities. We will strive to produce workforce-ready graduates to provide opportunities to cultivate and diversify the workforce and economy of Hawai‘i.
  • Affordability – We acknowledge Hawai‘i’s extremely high cost of living and the financial stress this places on many individuals and families. We will therefore explore options to increase affordability for residents, including avenues to better support low-income wage earners in Hawai‘i.
  • Social Services – We will support the State’s core functions, including strengthening our social safety net to ensure our keiki, kūpuna, families, and individuals are protected. We will also continue to support the creative coordination of social service and educational strategies that address the multi-faceted nature of homelessness.
  • Health Care – We will support collaborative efforts to ensure that funding for Native Hawaiian health care continues. We will further support Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders by focusing on essential social and cultural determinants that improve health outcomes amongst our indigenous population. We will also encourage options to improve health care for our keiki and our residents in rural areas and will support collaborative efforts to provide better dental care for keiki and adults throughout our communities.
  • Food Security – We will further explore opportunities and policies that support our local farmers, encourage good agricultural practices, and increase our local food production. Efforts that support food self-sufficiency will have positive effects on our local job market and economy.

 Aloha Kaiāulu Ho‘oulu – Preparedness

  • Community Development – We will work diligently to understand and promote smart community development, in particular transit-oriented development. We recognize transit-oriented development as a unique opportunity to address many socio-economic challenges. Because land along public transportation corridors presents an opportunity for the State to maximize land development, we support collaboration with interested stakeholders, including private businesses and non-profit organizations. We are also committed to supporting affordable housing and necessary infrastructure to strengthen our community.
  • Government Services – We will focus on improving the efficiency and modernization of government services, including election participation. We will continue to encourage the enhancement of the State’s information technology systems and incentivize the use of technology. We will also support efforts to advance innovation-oriented projects that improve living standards in Hawai‘i, while streamlining resources to most efficiently and effectively promote innovation and economic growth.
  • Financial Analysis – The Hawai‘i State Senate is committed to analyzing tax credit cost information provided by state agencies; assessing the viability of existing tax credits, exemptions, and exclusions; and determining whether each tax credit, exemption, or exclusion continues to be useful and beneficial to the State.

 Aloha Honua – Climate Change and Energy

  • Environment – We will protect and preserve Hawai‘i’s natural resources by exploring ways to improve agricultural practices and mitigate climate change impacts. We are committed to supporting the preservation of Hawai‘i’s unique geographical features, including coastlines and watersheds. In addition to supporting existing conservation and enforcement efforts, we will encourage the use of innovative technologies to combat invasive species, address biosecurity risks, conserve the State’s water resources, address changing sea levels, and protect the State’s fragile marine ecosystem.
  • Sustainability – We will continue our commitment to renewable energy alternatives that are practical and economical for the State and take into account Hawai‘i’s natural environment and terrain. With recent progress and clean energy goals in mind, we will further encourage the availability of renewable energy and advance projects to improve energy efficiencies.

 Pono Kaulike – Transforming Justice

  • Rehabilitation – We will explore alternatives to incarceration and options to reduce the recidivism rate amongst our incarcerated population, through means such as strengthening community ties. We will support efforts that enable incarcerated individuals to develop useable skills that will help in their transition back into their communities.
  • Public Safety – In an effort to promote continued public safety, we will encourage effectiveness, transparency, and interagency collaboration, and insist on higher standards of conduct and appropriate training.

It is the Hawai‘i State Senate’s sincere hope that we can work collaboratively with the House of Representatives, the Governor, and the Judiciary to achieve all the goals outlined in this Program.

Hawaii Representative Sponsors $15 Minimum Wage Bill

State Representative Kaniela Ing (D-South Maui), is sponsoring legislation to increase Hawaii’s minimum wage to $15 by 2019 and $22 by 2022. The bill will also tie the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index and eliminates the exemption for tipped employees. Ing says the bill will be the nation’s most progressive “living wage” law, and encompasses the spirit of the grassroots Fight for $15 movement.

“Hawaii is the most expensive state in the nation. Other high cost of living states and cities like Seattle, California, and New York have already passed $15 minimum wage laws,” said Ing. “Working families are struggling, so we as legislators have a moral obligation to act. The evidence shows that raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour is the single most impactful policy for Hawaii’s most vulnerable.”

Ing said that jurisdictions that have already won their “Fight for $15” are seeing businesses thrive, new restaurants open, and reduced income inequality. Hawaii is late to the party, and we need the raise desperately.

“I expect various big-money special interests to oppose the bill, but my hope is that empirical facts, popular opinion, and baseline morality will in prevail in the end,” he said.

For more information please see http://Hawaiifightfor15.com or its Facebook page at http://Facebook.com/fightfor15hawaii.

Hawaii Applicants Wanted for State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions

The Judicial Council is seeking applicants to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Hawai`i State Ethics Commission.  The council is also seeking nominees to fill vacancies on the Campaign Spending Commission.
Members 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 February 4, 2017 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.

Hawaii Governor Appoints Chris Todd to Fill Late Rep. Clift Tsuji’s Seat

After careful consideration of three nominees selected by the Hawai‘i County Democratic Party, Gov. David Ige today appointed Chris Todd to the State House of Representatives, District 2. Todd will fill the seat left vacant by the late Rep. Clift Tsuji, who died on Nov. 15, 2016.

Rep. Chris Todd

Todd was born and raised in Hilo, where he earned his college degree in economics and political science from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. He held several positions at the Suisan Fish Market before becoming distribution manager for Hawai‘i Paper Products last year.

Todd coaches football at Hilo High School. His wife, Britney, is a teacher at Kalanianaole Middle School.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve my community. I look forward to the hard work ahead and will always keep an open door and mind,” Todd said.

The governor is required by law to make his selection from a list of nominees submitted by the Democratic Party.

Hawaii State Now Accepting Grants-in-Aid Applications for 2017

Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Jill Tokuda and House Finance Committee Chair Sylvia Luke announced that qualified nonprofit and other organizations are able to apply for State Grants-in-Aid (GIA) that may become available and will be under consideration during the 2017 Regular Session.

Previous grants were appropriated to nonprofit and other organizations for various public purposes that were recognized as priorities and seen as complimentary to state government functions, including health, educational, workforce development, and social services and cultural and historical activities.

In order to allow the Legislature time to thoroughly review applications, the deadline to submit grant applications will be 4:30 p.m. on January 20, 2017.  Last year, the Legislature awarded nearly $37 million in grants to various organizations across the state.

Information on the GIA process is available on the Legislature’s website (www.capitol.hawaii.gov). For any questions, please contact the Ways and Means Committee at 808-586-6800 or the Finance Committee at 808-586-6200.

Rod S. Tanonaka Named House Sergeant-At-Arms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Kaialiʻi Kahele to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education

Newly elected State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo), was selected to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education (HED) by Senate leadership earlier today. Sen. Kahele will fulfill the final two years of his late father’s term in the Senate representing the residents of Hilo after being elected to the seat on November 8, 2016.

senator-kai-kahele-profileSen. Kahele, a 1992 graduate of Hilo High School, pursued his higher education at Hawai‘i Community College, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and received his Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 1998.

As Chair of HED, Sen. Kahele will oversee the formulation of legisation for the University of Hawai‘i System – including three baccalaureate universities, seven community colleges and four educational centers across Hawai‘i. In addition, his committee purvue includes the Senate confirmation of the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents.

Sen. Kahele will also serve as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Education (EDU) with Chair, Sen. Michelle N. Kidani.

“It is an honor and I am humbled to represent the residents of Senate District One in Hilo,” said Sen. Kahele. “I appreciate the trust and confidence the Senate Leadership has in me with these important committee assignments. I have a passion for education and providing quality, affordable education for all keiki, at all levels, across our State. Working together with Senator Kidani, I am looking forward to reshaping P-20 education throughout Hawai‘i and providing opportunities for our children to compete in the global arena as well as giving them the tools to shape the future of our Island home.”

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

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

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

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

Senate Leadership

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

Agriculture and Environment (AEN)

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

Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health (CPH)

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

Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology (ETT)

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

Education (EDU)

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

Government Operations (GVO)

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

Hawaiian Affairs (HWN)

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

Higher Education (HRE)

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

Housing (HOU)

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

Human Services (HMS)

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

International Affairs and the Arts (IAA)

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

Judiciary and Labor (JDL)

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

Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs (PSM)

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

Transportation and Energy (TRE)

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

Water and Land (WTL)

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

Ways and Means (WAM)

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

Hawaii House Majority Announces Committee Assignments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Call for Applications for the Water Security Advisory Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Water Security Advisory Group

Commission on Water Resource Management

1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 227

Honolulu, HI 96813

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

Hawaii House of Representatives Names 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs

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

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

House Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are:

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

Assistant Majority Leaders:

  • Chris Lee
  • Dee Morikawa
  • Roy M. Takumi

Agriculture (AGR)

  • Chair: Richard Creagan
  • Vice Chair: Lynn DeCoite

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)

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

Economic Development & Business (EDB)

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

Education (EDN)

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

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)

  • Chair: Chris Lee
  • Vice Chair: Nicole Lowen

Finance (FIN)

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

Health (HLT)

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

Higher Education (HED)

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

Housing (HSG)

  • Chair: Tom Brower
  • Vice Chair: Nadine Nakamura

Human Services (HUS)

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

Intrastate Commerce (IAC)

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

Judiciary (JUD)

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

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)

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

Legislative Management (LMG)

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

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)

  • Chair: Kaniela Ing
  • Vice Chair: Cedric Gates

Public Safety (PBS)

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

Tourism (TOU)

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

Transportation (TRN)

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

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

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

Water and Land (WAL)

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

Senator Inouye Graduates from the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute

Senator Lorraine R. Inouye (Dist. 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) has completed the Legislative Energy Horizon Institute’s (LEHI) course in energy policy.

Sen. Lorraine Inouye (Marc Chopin, Dean and Professor of Economics, University of Idaho and Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye)

Marc Chopin, Dean and Professor of Economics, University of Idaho and Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye

The institute is a 60-hour energy immersion executive course with the University of Idaho.  The course is designed to increase the knowledge of the energy infrastructure and delivery system to equip legislators with the latest research and data as they make future energy policy decisions.

With the 2016 class, over 200 policymakers have completed the LEHI program. Those who complete the 60-hour executive course receive a certificate from the University of Idaho in Energy Policy Planning.

Sen. Inouye is the first Hawai‘i state Senator to complete the LEHI course.

“It was an intense course, but definitely time well spent learning in-depth about our complex energy system. It’s even clearer to me now how we are all connected in ensuring our energy resources are used efficiently. It is also important that our decisions on energy are well thought out, not only for us today, but for generations to come,” said Sen. Inouye.

“It is critical that citizen legislators get this basic knowledge of how our energy systems operate. I am impressed that Sen. Inouye took over a week of her personal time this year to better equip herself to make energy policy decisions,” said Rep. Jeff Morris of Washington State, Institute Director.

The Pacific North West Economic Region (PNWER) partnered with the University of Idaho and the U.S. Department of Energy to found the Institute in 2009. In 2012, the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) and the federal government of Canada joined the effort to make the program nationwide and also include Canadian legislators.

Rep. McKelvey Questions Gabbard’s Lack of Support in Condemning Trumps Appointment

Maui lawmaker says Congresswoman should stand with Democrats against racism

Rep. Angus McKelvey last week sent a letter to Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard asking why she has not joined in solidarity with many other Democrats in opposition to President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Stephen Brannon as chief strategist to the White House.

Letter attached below

Letter attached below

Brannon is known as a racist xenophobe with support from white nationalist hate groups.

In light of recent national reports that the Congresswoman has met with Trump, McKelvey said Hawaii’s residents have a right to know if Gabbard stands in opposition to Brannon.

McKelvey is perplexed as to why Gabbard would not join our congressional delegation, and other House Democrats, in opposing this disturbing appointment.

“Your refusal to stand with other Democrats in solidarity infers that you not only support Trump’s appointment, but are shifting your political views to fall in line with the incoming administration,” said McKelvey in his Nov. 17 letter.

Click to read the whole letter: Letter from Rep. McKelvey

Hawaii County Democratic Party Seeking Candidates to Serve for House District 2

The Hawai’i County Democratic Party is seeking candidates who are interested in an appointment to serve as the Representative of House District 2.

democratic-party-of-hawaii-banner-logoI am sure you are aware of the recent and unfortunate passing of Representative Clift Tsuji who served humbly for more than a decade in this seat. Our party will hold a process to determine three names that will be forwarded to the Governor for his appointment to the seat.

To be eligible an individual must be a member in “good standing” of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i and reside in the district for a minimum of six months. The candidate must not be under current reprimand pursuant to Article I of the Constitution of the Democratic Party of Hawai’i. There will be a mandatory meeting of all candidates seeking the seat on Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 2:00p.m. The location is still to be determined and more information regarding the venue will be forthcoming in the next few days.

Prospective candidates are to provide to the County Chair, Phil Barnes, for dissemination to the appropriate selection body a written application including the following:

1. Credentials and reasons for consideration for the position
2. Evidence of Party participation
3. Verified signatures of at least five active party members within House District 2.

Items 1 and 2, above should be sent to Chair Barnes by email, preferably as PDF files, for electronic distribution to selectors. His email address is greenhi3@yahoo.com. Your signatures to complete #3 need to be on an official form created by the Hawai’i County Democratic Party which you can easily obtain by emailing Chair Barnes and asking for one. Any and all forms need to be delivered by mail to Chair Barnes at 64 Amauulu Road, Hilo, HI 96720.

The deadline for applications to be in Chair Barnes possession is Monday, November 28, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.

Hawaii Senate Accepting Applications for Upcoming Legislative Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate is accepting job applications for the upcoming 2017 legislative session.

capitalWorking at the Hawai‘i State Senate offers individuals an opportunity to work in a dynamic public service organization, work closely with elected officials and the public, and learn more about the legislative process.

Session jobs require a 4 to 6 month commitment, depending on the position. Most begin on January 3, 2017 and end on the last day of the legislative session.

Senate employees working 20 hours or more per week are eligible for health insurance through the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund.

More information about employment opportunities with the Hawai‘i State Senate can be found online at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sjobs.aspx.

To apply, please send a cover letter, position reference number, and resume to sclerk2@capitol.hawaii.gov.