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Puna Lawmakers to Hold Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Sen. Russell Ruderman (Puna, Ka‘u) will host a community Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the Pahoa Community Center on Hawaii Island to talk about and provide a wrap up of the 2016 legislative session.

Medical MarijuanaAt the Town Hall Meeting they will also discuss the future of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in the islands.

Residents are encouraged to attend to ask questions, voice their opinions and present suggestions to address community concerns.

WHO:  Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna) and Senator Russell Ruderman (Puna, Ka‘u)

WHAT:  Town Hall Meeting to discuss the 2016 legislative session and the future of medical marijuana dispensaries

WHEN: Thursday, June 9, 2016,  5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Pahoa Community Center, 15-2910 Puna Road

State Budget Includes Over $389 Million for Capital Improvement Project Funding on Hawaii Island

Under the state budget passed by the Legislature last week, Big Island representatives secured more than $389 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for the biennium of Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 for various projects across Hawaii County.  Hawaii lawmakers were also able to secure $8.5 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Big Island nonprofit organizations.

Capital

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $126 million for Kona International Airport improvements
  • $55 million for construction for a new Kona Judiciary complex
  • $33.5 million for Keaukaha Military Reservation projects
  • $21 million for Hawaii Community Correctional Center for a new housing and a support building
  • $15 million for Highway 130 repair.
  • $12.5 million for a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School
  • $9 million for Hawaii Community College renovations
  • $8.5 million for Workforce Development to build a multi-purpose center
  • $8 million for Mamalahoa Highway, Ninole Bridge rehabilitation
  • $7.9 million for Hilo Harbor improvement.
  • $7.6 million for Saddle Road Maintenance Baseyard improvements
  • $7.1 million for Hilo International Airport improvements
  • $6.7 million for Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center Improvements
  • $5.5 million for improvements at the Research Campus at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park
  • $4.2 million for improvements at Kawaihae Harbor
  • $4 million for the improvements to the lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project
  • $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements
  • $3.2 million for Hawaii Belt Road improvements
  • $2.9 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements
  • $2 million for Haaheo Elementary School to design and build a covered playcourt
  • $2 million for Hilo Forest Reserve land acquisition
  • $2 million for Hilo Intermediate School for Building A renovations
  • $1.6 million for Youth Challenge Academy upgrade and improvements
  • $1.5 million for Honokaa High and Intermediate School for restrooms in the auditorium
  • $1.5 million for Zero Waste Conversion to develop biofuel and animal feed in Keaau
  • $1.5 million for Kapiolani Elementary School to build a covered playcourt
  • $1.5 million for a Kohala water study
  • $1 million for Puu Waawaa structure improvement and dam compliance
  • $1 million for a Kamuela vacuum cooling plant
  • $830,000 for Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School
  • $800,000 for the Pohakuloa Training Area construction
  • $735,000 for Mountain View Elementary School improvements
  • $660,000 for extending the Daniel K. Inouye Highway
  • $600,000 for Keaukaha Elementary School for cafeteria equipment and improvements
  • $511,000 for Waikea Intermediate School for electrical upgrades and other improvements
  • $500,000 for a feasibility study for a new university hospital in Kona
  • $450,000 for Waiakea High School to build a baseball batting cage
  • $355,000 for Kahakai Elementary School road safety improvements
  • $335,000 for Konawaena High School improvements
  • $300,000 for Kealakehe Elementary School improvements and parking
  • $300,000 for Hawaii Community College at Palamanui for office space and storage
  • $300,000 for Pohoiki Boat Ramp repairs
  • $290,000 for Naalehu Elementary School repairs and maintenance
  • $200,000 for Pahoa Elementary School improvements
  • $200,000 for Keaau Elementary School improvements
  • $150,000 for Kau High School improvements

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:

  • $1.2 million for Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School to plan, design, build and equip a community food kitchen
  • $1 million for Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce to design and build an education facility
  • $1 million for Panaewa Community Alliance to plan design and build a health facility
  • $1 million for Lai‘i‘opua 2020 to desing and build a community center
  • $1 million for Kailapa Community Association to plan, design and build a resource center
  • $800,000 for Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council to build and complete the Milolii Community Enrichment Historical Center
  • $535,000 for Ho‘oulu Lahui to build a commercial kitchen in Puna
  • $500,000 for Lyman House Memorial Museum to build a new island heritage gallery exhibit
  • $315,000 for Kailapa Community Association to plan, design and build a resource center
  • $300,000 for Hawaii Island Community Development Corp. to build a new adult day care facility in Hilo
  • $285,000 for Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences to plan, design and build a certified kitchen
  • $250,000 for Hamakua Health Center to design and build and equip a modular building addition to the Kohala Clinic
  • $150,000 for Panaewa Community Alliance to plan and design the Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center
  • $100,000 for Hawaii Wildlife Center to fabricate, install and operate exhibits
  • $88,000 for Anekona Ouli Kanehoa VFD Company to construct a volunteer apparatus garage
  • $35,000 for Holualoa Foundation for Art & Culture for repairs at the Donkey Mill Art Center

Hawaii State Senate Adjourns 2016 Regular Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate adjourned the 2016 regular session with a sense of accomplishment in passing a fiscally responsible budget, addressing priority needs for the state, and tackling a number of challenging issues as highlighted in the Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program at the start of the 2016 Session.

Capital

Over the course of this legislative session, Senators, along with their House counterparts, approved substantial funding to install air conditioning for our public schools, provided an unprecedented appropriation for homeless programs statewide, delivered additional support to meet the housing needs for Hawai‘i’s families, and improved health care services.

In his closing remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 -Kaua’i, Ni’ihau) reflected upon the trials the body faced this session with the passing of Sen. Gilbert Kahele, as well as the health challenges faced by Senators Breene Harimoto and Sam Slom.  He praised the courage of Senators Harimoto and Slom, and complimented the Senate staff for working hard under trying circumstances to get the work of the people done.

“In the face of difficulty, I congratulate each and every one of you for continuing to focus on the important work of the Legislature,” said Kouchi. “Through collaboration and cooperation, we are able to present not only a fiscally responsible budget, but also sound policy of which the citizens of Hawai‘i will see benefits.”

In alignment with the Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program theme of providing for our families (Mālama ‘Ohana), a $12 million lump sum appropriation for homeless programs is a recognition of this statewide concern and represents a significant opportunity to change the way to approach the homeless problem.  In understanding the holistic need to address this crisis, $160 million in funds for improvements at the Hawai‘i State Hospital, along with $3 million in general funds for the Hawai‘i Public Housing Authority and $75 million allocated toward the rental Housing Assistance Revolving Fund and Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund will support efforts to approach the homeless issue from a variety of angles.

In an investment in our children, lawmakers took a bold step and increased Preschool Open Doors base funding to $10 million, which will help struggling families with real opportunities for school readiness. Lawmakers also found a fiscally creative solution to fund a $100 million emergency appropriation for air conditioning and heat abatement measures that will help move forward the Department of Education program to cool schools.

In terms of nurturing our earth, (Mālama Honua) lawmakers provided substantial resources to study in-stream flow standards and assess water availability, a number of bills along with $1.6 million in general funds for various water infrastructure support statewide and more than $4.7 million in general funds was provided in bills for conservation efforts and the fight against invasive species.  More than $4.8 in general funds in various measures provide a solid foundation to reinforce agriculture as an industry moving forward.

By focusing on growing jobs and our economy, appropriations and measures to provide $4 million in grants and allocating funds to strengthen our infrastructure and position in the Pacific through the Hawai‘i Broadband Initiative, along with $1 million in general funds to budget for HI-Growth and $100,000 in matching general funds for the state’s Creative Labs program, fall in line with sustaining our communities (Mālama Kaiāulu).

Lawmakers passed measures that reflected good governance (Mālama Aupuni) by making steps toward taking care of our debts and obligations by approving $150 million for the Rainy Day Fund and $81.9 million to pay down unfunded liabilities.

“This puts us on a more solid financial footing going forward, knowing that if and when times get tough, paying less always helps,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda (Dist.24 – Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

Lawmakers also provided $1.15 billion in general obligation bonds and $2.5 billion for projects funded by all other means of financing for capital improvement projects that will play a vital role in rebuilding our economy and strengthening our social infrastructure.

On the contentious issues this session, such as water rights and transient accommodations tax collection, the Senate displayed its ability to participate in healthy debate, yet continue to collaborate while keeping the best interests of the people of Hawai‘i in mind.

“One of the strengths of the Senate is our ability to have differing opinions, yet recognize when to put those sentiments aside to get to work and come up with solutions,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe). “The measures we passed this session achieved our goal of improving the quality of life for our keiki, kūpuna, and nā ‘ohana who are most in need and we will continue to work to ensure what we’ve put in place this session will continue to move our state forward.”

The Hawai‘i Senate Majority 2016 Legislative Program can be viewed on the website: www.hawaiisenatemajority.com

Hawaii Senate District 1 Awarded Over $89 Million in Capital Improvement Project Funds

With the adoption of the supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2017, Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo) is proud to announce more than $89 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding has been appropriated for various projects for District 1. These projects address aging infrastructure, improve existing schools and facilities, and establish additional safety measures.

Kai Kahele Profile

“The projects funded by the budget will help move East Hawai‘i forward by creating jobs, enhancing our public infrastructure and facilities, and investing in education,” said Sen. Kahele. “By working collaboratively with my colleagues, Senator Lorraine R. Inouye, Representatives Mark M. Nakashima, Clift Tsuji and Richard H.K. Onishi, we will continue to secure funds to drive our economy and improve our quality of life.”

In realizing that the real future lies in the hands of our children and grandchildren, legislators reflected a Senate Majority priority goal of providing for our families and allocated funds for a covered play court at Chiefess Kapi‘olani and Ha‘aheo Elementary Schools, providing kitchen equipment for the Keaukaha Elementary School cafeteria and electrical upgrades for Waiākea Intermediate School.  In passing SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, $100 million was allocated to the Department of Education to assist in moving forward their program to install air conditioning and other heat abatement measures in our public schools and providing students with a better learning environment.

Lawmakers also recognized other imperative concerns of District 1 and allocated significant resources for the airports, harbors and health services.

“Throughout my life, my father taught me the importance of community service and I’m honored to carry on his legislative initiatives,” said Sen. Kai Kahele.

Notable CIP funding highlights for District 1 include:

  • $31.8 million for renovations on the Keaukaha Military Reservation
  • $2 million for covered playcourt for Ha‘aheo Elementary School
  • $1.5 million for design and construction for a covered playcourt at Kapi‘olani Elementary School
  • $252,000 for plans, design and construction for electrical systems upgrades for Waiākea Intermediate School
  • $6.75 million for improvements for the Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $300,000 for construction for a new adult day care facility at the Hawai‘i Island Community Development Corporation
  • $2 million for land acquisition to expand the Hilo Forest Reserve
  • $21 million for design and construction of a new support building, housing and support offices and security system for Hawai‘i Community Correctional Center
  • $3.5 million for improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $7.95 million for demolition of pier shed and water tower and other improvements for Hilo Harbor
  • $2.2 million for plans for rehabilitation and/or replacement of Wailuku Bridge along Hawaii Belt Road (Route 19)
  • $600,000 for design and construction for cafeteria equipment installation; ground and site improvement; equipment and appurtenances at Keaukaha Elementary School

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-in-Aid (GIA) were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Hilo community:

  • $1 million for design and construction for an education facility for Hawaii Island Portuguese Chamber of Commerce
  • $1 million for plans, design and construction for a health facility for Panaewa Community Alliance
  • $500,000 for construction for a new Island Heritage Gallery Exhibit at Lyman House Memorial Museum
  • $217,000 for Rainbow Falls Botanical Garden and Visitor Center
  • $200,000 for program to assist with at risk and low income school students to prevent from dropping out of High School in Hilo
  • $150,000 for Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center

Hawaii House of Representatives Adjourns 2016 Regular Session – Passing Several Bills

The House of Representatives today adjourned the 2016 regular legislative session, passing several remaining bills, including Senate Bill 2077, House Bill 2086, House Bill 1654 and House Bill 2543.

Capital

SB2077 SD1 HD2 CD2 authorizes Hawaii Hospital Systems Corp. employees facing reduction-in-force or workforce restructuring to opt to receive either severance benefits or a special retirement benefit in lieu of exercising any reduction-in-force rights.  The bill is in response to the pending privatization of Maui Memorial Hospital.

HB2086 HD2 SD2 appropriates $37 million into the state highway fund as a subsidy, and requires the Governor to provide a plan to sustain the state highway fund.

HB1654 HD1 SD2 allows a permanent absentee voter to temporarily receive a ballot at an alternate address for elections within an election cycle. Clarifies that certain conditions that normally lead to a termination of permanent absentee voter status do not apply if the voter resides in an absentee ballot only area. Replaces references to facsimile ballots with references to electronically transmitted ballots. Allows a voter to receive an absentee ballot by electronic transmission if the voter requires such a ballot within five days of an election, or the voter would otherwise not be able to return a properly issued ballot by the close of polls.

HB2543 HD2 SD 1 makes permanent the requirement that the state and the counties take action within 60 days for broadband-related permit applications, take action within 145 days for use applications for broadband facilities within the conservation district, and establish other requirements regarding broadband-related permits, and weight load for utility poles to capacities established by the FCC and PUC.

Click on this link for all bills passed during the 2016 session.

During the session, the House approved major funding for affordable housing and homelessness, air conditioning and heat abatement for 1,000 classroom statewide, the largest ever disbursement to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, help for displaced Maui sugar workers and significant pay down of the state’s unfunded liabilities.

“In January, I asked you to use the momentum created from our last session to keep us and Hawaii moving forward.  During this session, you did just that with hard work and perseverance,” according to House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu) in written remarks to state representatives.

“You helped shape a budget that is fiscally prudent, forward looking, and addresses the state’s priorities on the homeless and affordable housing, our classrooms and education, our public hospitals and healthcare, our prisons and public safety, and Hawaiian Home lands and our host culture.”

Souki thanked House members for providing $100 million for air conditioning in public school classrooms, $650,000 to retrain and support displaced Maui sugar plantation workers, $2.5 million to sustain Wahiawa General Hospital, $150 million to replenish the state’s Rainy Day fund, and $81.9 to pay down unfunded liabilities (owed toward the state retirees’ post-employment benefits).

“You also put us on a path toward building affordable housing units on state owned parcels along our future rail system,” Souki wrote.  “This effort offers great potential for not just home building but community building.

“An essential part of community building is to make that community sustainable for the long term.  That’s why it was important for us to protect prime agriculture land between Wahiawa and Waialua and invest $31.5 million to purchase those lands from Dole Food Co.”

Finally, Souki thanked the representatives for providing funding to support Maui workers and their families affected by the closure of Hawaii Commercial and Sugar Company, as well as for working out a compromise measure dealing with the issue of water rights among competing interests on Maui.

“It is never an easy task to deal with competing interests and priorities,” Souki wrote.  “Each priority seems so obvious in isolation.  But the devil is never in a single priority, but always in the prioritization process itself.

“It’s easy enough to throw your hands up and call them no-win situations.  But our job is to provide leadership and make the difficult decisions.  In doing so, you may not win any popularity contest.  But you will have earned the respect and appreciation from those who see the big picture, and understand your position and your responsibility to all the people of Hawaii.”

Lawmakers Pass Resolution to Preserve Kapua Lands

Members of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture today voted to pass Senate Resolution 46.

sr46SR46 requests the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to engage in negotiations with the current land owners of the makai lands of Kapua to acquire the lands on behalf of the state or to lease those lands in perpetuity on behalf of the state.

“Our late colleague, Senator Gil Kahele, had the dream of the state purchasing the Kapua makai lands. This resolution will make it possible to see this dream become reality,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Water, Land and Agriculture committee, in recommending the resolution be passed.

As one of his last actions as a state legislator, the late Senator Gilbert Kahele signed SB3071 for its introduction during the 2016 session, which would have required the DLNR to engage in negotiations to acquire the Kapua makai lands. Kaiali‘i Kahele was appointed to the seat vacated by his father, following his death in January. SR46 was drafted by Sen. Kahele who was determined to ensure the process to preserve the lands would continue, despite the SB3071 being stalled in conference.

“This is not just for my dad, but for generations of keiki,” said Sen. Kahele. “This area has significant archeological and culturally historical value and must be preserved.”

SR46 is the final resolution to be heard this legislative session and will be voted on the floor on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

Commentary on HB1072: “This Deserves a More Transparent Process”

It is alarming the House chose not to allow this measure HB1072 to come to a vote while there is so much support from Senators, state agencies, mental health consumers and a wide swath of the community. This deserves a more transparent process.

Click to view status of bill

Click to view status of bill

The issue has been thoroughly vetted to address a mental health crisis occurring in our rural communities. We’ve spent almost ten years on this, gathering support that is now overwhelming, from even the Department of Health. The only opposition was the medical community that offered no solutions and has failed to address this for decades. This is a sad day for consumers, indeed.

The level of denial of how bad Hawaii’s mental health gaps are is evidenced when our legislators are influenced by powerful lobbyists while so many of our residents are suffering from mental illness and can’t access care.

Are we being forced to debate for another year whether highly trained psychologists should have the ability to help these patients with medication needs, even though there’s a serious shortage of psychiatrists, and many of those won’t see the neediest patients?

What we saw today is an insult to our legislative institution; elected officials have failed to live up to the standards that are set for public servants, they have allowed the institution to be used by the rich and powerful to the detriment of the hundreds of consumers of mental health services who asked for their help.

The public needs to demand that individuals who occupy seats in the Capitol building, do so with integrity and courage. These were absent today; it is a shameful and cowardly way for legislation to be killed.

Alex Santiago, Hawaii Psychological Association

Hawaii State Senators Pass Important Measures on Final Reading

Members of the State Senate voted to pass a number of important measures on today’s final reading.

Capital

By a unanimous vote, the Senate adopted HB1700 CD1 which added for the supplemental operating budget $405,792,059 in all methods of financing, of which $202,317,436 accounts for general fund increases for Fiscal Year 2017.  This represents a targeted 3.1% increase on last year’s biennium budget, and $159,773,111 less than what the Governor requested.  The conference draft also reduces $13,761,322 in general funds in Fiscal Year 2016 as a result of Medicaid savings that were realized, in line with the Senate Ways and Means’ guiding principle of better utilizing base funding and maximizing existing resources.

Other highlights of the budget bill include:

  • $81.9 million in prefunding for Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB)
  • $12 million lump sum appropriation for homeless programs
  • $10 million for Preschool Open Doors
  • $4.7 million for conservation efforts and protection against invasive species
  • $4.8 million for programs supporting the agriculture industry
  • $3 million for kūpuna care
  • $4 million in grants supporting high tech and manufacturing industries

In support of education, the Senate passed SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, which provides $100 million in general funds to install air conditioning for public schools.

The Senate also voted to approve HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1 which would allow alternative accommodations companies to register as tax collection agents with the state.

Other bills passed on final reading include:

  • HB2501 HD1, SD2, CD1 requires that where an application has been made for a lease to continue a previously authorized disposition of water rights, a holdover may be authorized annually until the pending application for the disposition of water rights is finally resolved or for a total of three consecutive one-year holdovers, whichever occurs sooner.
  • HB2675 HD1 SD2 CD1 which appropriates funds for research to combat rapid ohia death.
  • SB2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 which establishes an industrial hemp pilot program.
  • HB1907 HD2 SD2 CD1 requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General.
  • SB2618 SD1, HD2, CD1 requires the department of transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.
  • SB2954 SD2 HD1 authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.
  • SB2647 SD1 HD2 prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, or possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species. Provides exceptions for traditional cultural practices protected under the State Constitution.

The Senate recommitted SB2816, SD1 HD2 which would have amended the criminal trespass law to apply to state properties regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secured and HB32, SD2 CD1 which would have clarified crosswalk procedures and establish safety precautions at crosswalks.

The bills that were adopted on final reading and passed by the House will now be enrolled to the Governor for his signature, veto or passage without his signature.

For a list of all the bills that were voted on Final Reading, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Hawaii House of Representatives Approve Bills on Last Day of Legislative Session

On the eve of the close of the 2016 legislative session, the House today approved bills that address a wide range of issues, including the state budget, affordable housing, homelessness, seniors, taxation, agriculture, invasive species, the environment and sexual assault.

Capital

“These measures reflect the House’s concerted efforts to work closely and collaboratively with the Administration and the Senate to come up with sound and reasonable solutions to the state’s and our citizen’s needs,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu).  “We also crafted a cautious yet responsible budget that addresses our long-term obligations and immediate social services needs and capital improvement requirements.”

HB1700 HD1 SD1 CD1, the state budget bill, appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the supplemental year of the current biennium will now go to the Governor David Ige for his signature.  The bill appropriates approximately $13.7 billion in general funds for FY2017, including more than $1.1 billion for capital improvement projects (CIP) funded by general obligation bonds and approximately $2.5 billion for CIPs funded by all other means of financing.

In crafting the budget, lawmakers provided funds for affordable housing, the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Wahiawa General Hospital, Hawaii State Hospital, and to pay down unfunded liabilities for state retiree post-employment benefits.

Highlights of the measures passed today include:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SB2833 SD2 HD2 CD1, which increases funding for affordable rental housing development by making the State Low-Income Housing Tax Credit more valuable.  Reduces state tax credit period from 10 to five years.

HB2305 HD1 SD1 CD1, which authorizes the creation of Regional State Infrastructure Improvement Subaccounts within the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund and the use of that fund to provide loans and grants to finance regional state infrastructure improvements in areas of planned growth.

SB2566 SD1 HD1 CD1, which provides capital for the development of affordable rental housing by transferring excess monies from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund.

SB2561 SD2 HD1 CD1, which establishes a goal of developing or vesting the development of at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units ready for occupancy between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 31 2026. Establishes a temporary special action team on rental housing to make recommendations to the Governor, Legislature, and other parties to achieve this goal.

SB2559 SD1 HD1 CD1, which requires homeless shelter stipends to be paid for achievement of performance measures.  Revises existing provisions on the establishment and collection of shelter and service payments from homeless families and individuals.

SB2560 SD2 HD1 CD1, which requires and appropriates $500,000 for the Department of Health to provide treatment and care for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges to enable them to reside in a permanent dwelling or homeless facility.

EDUCATION

SB3126 SD2 HD2 CD1, which provides $100 million for air conditioning, heat abatement and related energy efficiency measures at public schools.

HB1814 HD1 SD1 CD1, which appropriates funds for a full time position to provide training and track data on public school pupil punishment and use of restraints restrictions.

SB2731 SD1 HD1 CD1, which clarifies that developers of certain projects are subject to school impact fees, even when the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation or a corresponding county agency participates in the development of the projects. Provides that in urban Honolulu, fee in lieu funds may be used to purchase completed construction, construct new school facilities, improve or renovate existing structures for school use, or lease land or facilities for school use.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

HB1608 HD1 SD1 CD1, which appropriates $750,000 for the UH Graduation Pathway System.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES

HB2037 HD1 SD2 CD1, which appropriates $4 million for the Department of Land and Natural Resources to host the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress meeting at the Hawaii Convention Center on September 1-10, 2016.

HB2626 HD1 SD2 CD1, which prohibits the Department of Health from issuing a permit for a new underground fuel storage tank within 100 yards of the shoreline. Allows DOH to issue a permit to repair or replace existing underground fuel storage tanks. Allows permit holders for existing underground fuel storage tanks located within 100 yards of the shoreline to renew their permits. Prohibits operation of and renewal of a permit for an underground fuel storage tank within one hundred yards of the shoreline, beginning 1/1/2045.

HB2646 HD2 SD2 CD1, which creates a permanent fuel tank advisory committee to study, monitor, and address fuel tank leak issues.

SB2645 SD2 HD1 CD1, which requires the Commission on Water Resource Management to establish a program to provide technical assistance to the counties and public water systems to implement standardized water audits of public water systems.

HB1050 SD2 CD1, which mandates the Department of Agriculture to perform specified tasks to address the interisland spread of invasive species.

PUBLIC SAFETY

HB2772 HD1 SD2 CD1, which requires UH to train employees and students on sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking policies, appoint a confidential advocate at each campus, designate all faculty members as responsible employees under Title IX, enter into memorandums of understanding with county police departments regarding reporting of sexual assault cases to the police, conduct a campus climate survey, and submit reports to the Legislature.

HB1902 HD2 SD1 CD1, which replaces the offense of promoting prostitution in the first degree with sex trafficking to be classified as a violent crime and a class A felony.  Provides that the offense of prostitution by a person younger than 18 years is a violation and subject to the jurisdiction of the Family Court. Establishes a class C felony for the act of paying for sex in reckless disregard of the fact that the other person is a victim of sex trafficking.

SB2196 SD2 HD1 CD1, which establishes the law enforcement officer independent review board within the Department of the Attorney General to investigate incidents of officer-involved death.

HB1907 HD2 SD2 CD1, which requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all stored kits and report to the Attorney General.  Requires the Department of the Attorney General to report to the Legislature on the number of untested sexual assault evidence collection kits being stored, plans and procedures for the disposition of new and untested kits, and related information. Appropriates funds for testing of at least 500 kits.

SB2439 SD1 HD1 CD1, which establishes exceptions to the offense of obstructing government operations and the offense of violation of privacy in the second degree for a person making a video or audio recording or photograph of a law enforcement officer while the officer is in the performance of duties in a public place or under circumstances in which the officer has no reasonable expectation of privacy; provided that the officer may take reasonable action to maintain safety and control, secure crime scenes and accident sites, protect the integrity and confidentiality of investigations, and protect the public safety and order.

HB2632 HD2 SD2 CD1, which requires firearms owners who have been disqualified from owning, possessing or controlling a firearm and ammunition due to a diagnosis of significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder, or due to emergency or involuntary hospitalization to a psychiatric facility, to immediately surrender their firearms and ammunition upon notice to the Chief of Police.

PRISONS

HB2391 HD2 SD2 CD1, which defines circumstances under which the director of Public Safety may release low level, nonviolent inmates from community correctional centers. Requires the director of Public Safety to submit a report to the Legislature regarding certain information regarding the early release of these inmates.

SB2630 SD1 HD1 CD1, which authorizes Hawaii Correctional Industries to sell inmate-made products and services on the open market to the general public.  Repeals the prohibition of the sale of such products on the open market.  Requires Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to conduct a feasibility study on establishing a Reentry Academy for Training and Entrepreneurial Resources (RAFTER).

LABOR

HB2605 HD1 SD2 CD1, which appropriates funds to establish, administer, and support job training and supportive services for individuals who are unemployed and dislocated due to the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company and the Makena Beach and Golf Resort on Maui.

HB2722 HD1 SD1 CD1, which creates a temporary program limited to Maui County to provide additional benefits to unemployed workers by extending their unemployment insurance benefits.

HB1739 HD2 SD1 CD1, which prohibits employers from requiring, requesting or coercing employees or potential employees to provide access to their personal social media accounts, subject to certain exemptions.

HEALTH

HB2707 HD1 SD2 CD1, which requires the Department of Health and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries to provide aggregated de-identified data to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism upon request. Amends various definitions and provisions relating to medical marijuana dispensary background checks, operations, paraphernalia, transport, and testing. Provides that advanced practice registered nurses may certify patients for medical marijuana use.

SB2392 SD2 HD3 CD1, which takes steps to reduce opioid-related overdoses by encouraging the use of opioid antagonists to assist individuals experiencing or at risk of experiencing an opioid-related drug overdose.

SB2557 SD2 HD1 CD1, which appropriates funds to develop and implement the concussion monitoring and education program for school athletics, administer concussion testing to high school student athletes, and implement a concussion awareness program for school athletics and youth athletics.

HB1897 HD1 SD1 CD1, which ensures that all insurers in the State, including health benefits plans, provide insurance coverage for annual screenings for sexually transmitted diseases, including screenings for human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

KUPUNA

SB2384 SD1 HD1 CD1, which requires the Department of Health to conduct unannounced visits and inspections, including inspections for relicensing and recertification, for certain state-licensed or state-certified care facilities, and unannounced inspections for license renewals for medical marijuana production centers and dispensaries.

HB1878 HD1 SD2 CD1, which appropriates $1.7 million for Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs) and $32,000 for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly. Requires the Executive Office on Aging to submit reports to the Legislature on its development of a system of evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the ADRCs in each county and its implementation of the federal No Wrong Door/ADRC network implementation grant it received.

HB2252 HD1 SD2 CD1, which requires hospitals to adopt and maintain written discharge policies consistent with recent updates to federal regulations to support families by enabling patients in inpatient hospitals to designate a caregiver prior to discharge from the facility, and allow the patient and the patient’s caregiver to participate in the discharge planning.

SB2076 SD2 HD1 CD1, which establishes the Durable Medical Equipment Supplier License Program for suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and related supplies through the Office of Health Care Assurance.  Allows license fees to be deposited into the Office of Health Care Assurance Special Fund and amends the cap on amounts of the Special Fund that may be used per fiscal year.

AGRICULTURE

HB1689 HD2 SD2 CD1, which establishes an organic foods production tax credit, making Hawaii one of the first state in the nation to do so, applicable to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2016. Sunsets 12/31/2021.

HB1982 SD1, which authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Big Island Dairy LLC with the operation of its dairy farm in Ookala.

SB2659 SD2 HD1 CD1, which establishes an Industrial Hemp Pilot Program to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii through limited activities by licensee-agents of the Board of Agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research.

HB1997 SD1 HD1 CD1, which implements the recommendation of the Hawaii Agriculture Workforce Advisory Board to create an Agriculture Workforce Development Pipeline Initiative Program to conduct training on all islands for teachers and school administrators in agricultural self-sufficiency.

HB2657 HD2 SD2 CD1, which amends the Molokai Diversified Agricultural Revolving Loan Program to provide cost reimbursements to Molokai farmers and ranchers to reimburse costs of mandated food safety compliance audits and other related costs.

HB1999 HD1 SD2 CD1, which establishes within the Livestock Revitalization Program a grant program for Qualified Feed Developers.  Appropriates funds for the Feed Developer Grant Program and reimbursements to Qualified Producers for feed costs.

TRANSPORTATION

HB2086 HD2 SD2, which appropriates and deposits $37 million in general funds into the state highway fund as a subsidy.  Requires the Governor to provide a plan to sustain the state highway fund.

SB2618 SD1 HD2 CD1, which requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.

HB2049 HD2 SD2 CD1, which establishes the roads commission to make recommendations on the ownership of private roads.  Adds roads, alleys, streets, ways, lanes, bikeways, and bridges to the list of public highways or public trails that can be dedicated or condemned.

HB260 HD1 SD1 CD1, which establishes motor vehicle insurance requirements for transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers to take effect on Sept. 1, 2016.

HB1736 HD1 SD2, which renames the Kona International Airport at Keahole as the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole.

LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

HB2604 HD1 SD1 CD1, which clarifies that acceptance by the Territorial Legislature or the Legislature of a dedication of land in the Kakaako Community Development District by a private owner is sufficient to convey title to the State.

HB1581 HD2 SD2 CD1, which requires decisions in contested case hearings of the Commission on Water Resource Management, Land Use Commission, Public Utilities Commission, Hawaii Community Development Authority, and those involving conservation districts to be appealed directly to the Supreme Court, with certain exceptions.

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS

HB2034 HD1 SD2 CD1, which appropriates funds to the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission for restoration and preservation projects.  Requires submission of a financial self-sufficiency and sustainability plan to the Legislature no later than 20 days prior to the 2017 Regular Session.

ENERGY

HB2569 HD2 SD1 CD1, which requires the Department of Education to establish a goal of becoming net-zero with respect to energy use by January 1, 2035, making Hawaii one the first in the nation to set such a goal for its public school system.  Requires the DOE to expedite the cooling of all public school classrooms.

SB2652 SD2 HD2 CD1, which establishes a 5-year renewable fuels production tax credit applicable to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2016. Repeals the ethanol facility tax credit.

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

HB2489 SD1 CD1, which appropriates funds for the establishment of a veterans services counselor IV position within the Office of Veterans’ Services to assist all veterans, with a primary focus on female veterans and for the Vietnam veterans 50th anniversary commemoration.

FISCAL INITIATIVES

HB2317 HD1 SD1 CD1, which makes a general fund appropriation of $150 million for fiscal year 2016‑2017 to further capitalize the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund (“Rainy Day” fund).

TAXES

HB1850 HD1 SD3 CD1, which allows transient accommodations brokers to register as tax collection agents to collect and remit general excise and transient accommodations taxes on behalf of operators and plan managers using their services.

SB2987 SD2 HD2 CD1, which extends the annual $103 million allocation of Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT) revenues to the counties for fiscal year 2016-2017.

SB3084 SD1 HD2 CD1, which amends the cesspool upgrade, conversion, or connection income tax credit by making it available for cesspools within a tax map key area in which more than one residence is connected to a large-capacity cesspool.

OTHERS

SB2077 SD1 HD2 CD1, which authorizes Hawaii Health Systems Corp. employees facing position abolishment, reduction-in-force, or workforce restructuring to opt to receive either severance benefits or a special retirement benefit in lieu of exercising any reduction-in-force rights.

HB2008 HD2 SD2 CD1, which requires state departments and agencies to obtain approval from the governor for employment of temporary hires for periods of greater than two terms of 89 days for a position that is wholly funded by general funds.

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

Hawaii Bills to Address Homelessness, Housing, Health, Good Governance Head for Final Vote

State lawmakers have passed a number of important measures ahead of tonight’s final decking deadline that align with the Senate Majority’s Legislative Priorities outlined at the start of the 2016 Legislative Session.

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Approved by members of the Senate and House conference committees include bills that address housing and homelessness such as SB2561 SD2 HD1 which establishes a goal of developing or vesting the development of at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units ready for occupancy between 01/01/17 and 12/31/26 and SB2559 SD1 HD1 which addresses homelessness by making available emergency and transitional shelter space and appropriates general funds to improve homeless shelter space.

Measures addressing health include SB2083 SD1 HD1 which prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle in which a minor is present.

Other Legislative priorities in which lawmakers approved bills:

Mālama ‘Ohana (Providing for our Families)

SB2557 SD2 HD1 expands the concussion educational program established under Act 197, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, and incorporates additional concussion protocol program requirements. Appropriates funds to develop and implement the concussion monitoring and education program for school athletics and youth athletic activities, administer concussion testing to high school student athletes, and implement a concussion awareness program for Hawaii public school students aged 11 to 13.

SB2315 SD2 HD2 which exempts from jury duty a woman who is breastfeeding or expressing breast milk for a period of two years from the birth of the child.

SB2476 SD2 HD2 CD1 enhances early intervention language services for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

Mālama Honua (Nurturing the Earth)

SB2647 SD1 HD2 which prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species.

SB2659 SD2 HD1 establishes an industrial hemp pilot program to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii through limited activities by licensee-agents of the Board of Agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research.

Mālama Kaiaulu (Sustaining our Communities)

SB2566 SD1 HD1 CD1 transfers excess moneys from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund.

SB3077 SD1 HD1 which designates the Office of Planning as the lead state agency for transit-oriented development coordination.

SB3109 SD1 HD1 CD1 supports and appropriates funds for the manufacturing development program with the High Technology Development Corporation.

SB2618 SD1 HD2 requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.

Mālama Aupuni (Good Governance)

SB2954 SD2 HD1 which authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

SB2512 SD1 HD2 increases penalties for animal desertion, except where the animal is released as part of a game management program.

These bills will be forwarded to the full Senate for Final Reading or have passed Final Reading and have been enrolled to the Governor.

A list of all the Senate bills that have passed the Legislature or been decked for Final Reading is on the Hawaii State Legislative website.

The 2016 Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program can be viewed on the Hawai‘i Senate Majority website.

Hawaii Senate Confirms Ching Nagata to Hawaii Third Circuit Court

Members of the State Senate today confirmed Darien W.L. Ching Nagata to serve as a district court judge of the Third Circuit, State of Hawai‘i.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Ms. Ching Nagata was born and raised on Oahu, attended Iolani School, and graduated from Santa Clara University.  After studying in Shanghai and Singapore, she attended the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawai‘i, where she was a Student of the Year and served as president of the Student Bar Association.

Ms. Ching Nagata joined the office of the Prosecuting Attorney of the County of Hawai‘i in 1998.  Currently, she oversees litigation in the district court and family court, including domestic violence and juvenile cases. Her career has also included serving as the Violent Crimes Unit Litigator, and Circuit Court Unit Supervising Attorney and Litigator. She has been cross-deputized since 2008 to serve as a Special Assistant to the United States Attorney’s Office to assist with their Project Safe Neighborhood initiative.

“Throughout her career as a prosecutor, Darien Ching Nagata has shown patience, compassion, diligence and a willingness to put in the long hours necessary to seek justice for the people of the Big Island,” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D 5th District), chair of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee.  “I have no doubt that the Third Circuit Court as a whole and the district court to which she has been nominated will benefit greatly from her experience, energy and dedication.”

Ching Nagata was appointed by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of District Court Judge Barbara T. Takase. Ching Nagata will serve a term of six years.

Hawaii House Passes Bills on Social Media Sharing of Marked Ballots, Firearms Possession and Gender Based Discrimination

The full House today passed three measures relating to: the sharing of digital images of a voter’s marked ballot, possession of firearms by individuals who have misdemeanor convictions of stalking or sexual assault, and discrimination based on gender identity. Capital

HB27 SD1, allows a voter to distribute or share an electronic or digital image of the voter’s own marked ballot via social media or other means. The intent of the measure is to repeal the prohibition against willfully exhibiting one’s own ballot at polling places during an election.  The prohibitions originally related to the operation of polling places, where it was meant to prevent voters from declaring how they voted in order to encourage others to vote in the same way.

The prevalence of electronic mobile devices and social media applications and platforms increases the opportunities for people to display their ballots via social media, which are commonly known as “ballot selfies.”  This measure clarifies that voters may exhibit their own ballots, which includes the dissemination of ballot images electronically or digitally.

HB625 HD1, SD1 prohibits a person from legally owning, possessing, or controlling any firearm or ammunition, if he or she was convicted of misdemeanor stalking or sexual assault.  The Honolulu Police Department, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Domestic Violence Action Center, Center for American Progress, BradyHawaii, IMUAlliance, and others testified in support of this measure.

Supporters noted that actions such as stalking and misdemeanor sexual assault are precursors to more extreme acts of domestic violence and that precautions are necessary to prevent individuals convicted of these offenses from accessing firearms.  Disqualification from firearms ownership for a misdemeanor offense requires a conviction, unlike disqualification for a felony offense which only requires an indictment.

HB2084 HD2, SD1 prohibits all insurers in the state, including health insurers, mutual benefit societies, health maintenance organizations, and health benefits plans under chapter 87A, Hawaii Revised Statutes, from discriminating against any person on the basis of a person’s actual gender identity or perceived gender identity.

The bill was initiated in response to the fact that many health insurance plans and policies include some form of transgender-specific exclusions.  As a result, transgender individuals may be excluded from healthcare coverage based on actual gender identity or perceived gender identity, rather than because of lack of medical necessity of treatment.  In addition, these exclusions may also prevent transgender individuals from obtaining common wellness care treatment.

The three bills, which were amended by the Senate, now go to the Governor for his review along with 13 other bills passed today.

Hawaii House and Senate Budget Conferees Agree on Funding to Increase Vector Control Staffing – Concern for Dengue and Zika Drives Need

House and Senate conferees on the state budget today agreed to provide $1,270,120 to bolster the state Department of Health Vector Control Branch to focus on controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease.

Mosquito Bite

Hawaii Island’s recent outbreak of dengue fever and the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil, which are spread by mosquitoes, have highlighted the continued importance of vector control, and House and Senate conferees want to ensure that the state is prepared to adequately short circuit, monitor and respond to any future outbreaks.

“This funding will help re-establish the vector control branch, which has been reduced over the past few years by furloughs and budget cuts,” said Sylvia Luke, chairperson of the House Finance Committee.  “In making these appropriations, the department will be able to add 20 new positions to monitor populations of vectors such as mosquitoes and rats, and to respond appropriately when a threat arises.”

Before the dengue fever outbreak in October, 2015, the state had 25 vector control positions, but 8 were vacant. With the added 20 new positions, there will be a total of 45 people in vector control when all positions are filled.

“Infectious disease has been and will continue to be one of our key challenges in a world made smaller and more connected with modern day air travel,” said Jill Tokuda, chairperson of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.  “The state’s recent slow response to the dengue fever outbreak on the Big Island was a wake-up call for all us.  We must be more vigilant in anticipating and responding to such outbreaks spread by mosquitoes and other vectors.”

In addition, the budget items agreed upon today included:

  • $6.9 million for public school transportation services;
  • $5.2 million for utilities for public schools;
  • $2.5 million for new fire trucks, firefighter equipment and fire retardant suits to ensure airport safety;
  • $1.5 million to fund a U.S. geographical survey study on Hawaii streams;
  • $1.4 million for port security and safety boats to reduce impact of natural disasters;
  • $1.25 million for maintenance and replacement of equipment at UH community colleges;
  • $400,000 to support beach restoration and protection projects and studies;
  • $180,000 for hydrologist and project development specialist positions for public land management for the disposition of water rights lease management and oversight; and
  • $162,354 for physician salary increases for better access to medical services for the Department of Public Safety.

The agreements were part of House and Senate conferees continued negotiations on a final version of HB1700, the state budget bill.  Earlier in the session, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee crafted their respective versions of the budget.

Lawmakers will continue to meet to iron out differences between the two versions through April 29, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee.  A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Budget worksheets detailing agreements and disagreements in the state and judiciary budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2016budget.aspx

The conference committee is scheduled to reconvene on Friday, April 22, at 2:30 p.m. in room 309.

Hawaii Legislature to Meet in Special Joint Session to Consider Three Key Appointments

The state House and Senate will meet Friday, April 22, at noon in the House chambers in a special joint session to vote on three key legislative appointments, including the ombudsman, the director of the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) and the legislative auditor.  Nominees for those positions include Charlotte Carter-Yamauchi as the director of LRB, Robin Matsunaga as the ombudsman, and Leslie Kondo as legislative auditor.

CapitalRobin Matsunaga has been director of the Office of Ombudsman since 1998 and is up for reappointment to a six-year term.  The ombudsman is an officer of the Legislature who investigates complaints from the public about actions by state and county executive-branch agencies.

Prior to his appointment, Matsunaga worked for 12 years in the Legislature, starting as a budget analyst in the House Finance Committee under Rep. Ken Kiyabu, and later as chief of staff for Speaker Souki.

“Robin has provided strong and consistent leadership to the Office of the Ombudsman, ensuring that impartial and independent investigations are conducted whenever complaints are registered to that office,” said Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi.  “We look forward to his continued guidance in matters of concern from the public relating to our state agencies.”

The ombudsman is an officer of the Legislature who investigates complaints about actions of executive branch agencies of the state and county governments.  The office has the power to obtain necessary information for an investigation and to recommend corrective action if a complaint is found to be substantiated.  The ombudsman serves as a neutral, independent intermediary between the public and the state agencies.

Charlotte Carter-Yamauchi has been acting director for LRB since 2010.  She began her career with the bureau as a research attorney, and was appointed as the assistant director for research in 2003 and the first assistant in 2008.  If approved, she will be appointed for a six-year term.

Prior to her appointment, Carter-Yamauchi was in private practice, served as a deputy prosecuting attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, and worked as a staff attorney for the National Center for State Courts in Williamsburg, Virginia.

“The LRB has been an outstanding and invaluable resource to not only the Legislature but to the general public as well, and Charlotte has provided strong leadership since becoming acting director,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki.  “It is with great confidence that we ask her to continue to lead the LRB in support of the Legislature’s mission.”

The Legislative Reference Bureau is a nonpartisan legislative service agency that provides a wide variety of services to legislators, legislative committees, and in some cases, members of the public.

The LRB was originally founded in 1943 when the Territorial Legislature created it as a department of the University of Hawaii.  Originally, LRB was established to provide research services for the Governor, the Legislature, and the various departments, institutions, and agencies of the territory.  In 1972, the bureau was transferred to the legislative branch and its mission broadened to provide informational services to the general public.

Leslie Kondo is currently executive director and the chief legal counsel of the state Ethics Commission.  Prior to joining the Ethics Commission, he was a commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission and headed the Office of Information Practices from 2003 to 2007.  He is a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law and Northwestern University, where he majored in industrial engineering.

“When we began discussing the position of the auditor, we wanted someone who could refocus the auditor’s office beyond financial audits to help the departments become more efficient and performance driven in all facets of their operation,” Kouchi said.

“We strongly believe that Les brings that kind of discipline, integrity and independence to the office,” added Souki.  “His background in industrial engineering will also be an advantage in his new position in helping the departments operate more efficiently—a goal we’ve focused on over the last several years through the budgeting process at the Legislature.”

If approved, Kondo will be appointed to an eight-year term.  Created by the first state constitutional convention in 1950, convention delegates envisioned an auditor who would help eliminate waste and inefficiency in government, provide the Legislature with a check against the powers of the executive branch, and ensure that public funds are expended according to legislative intent.

If approved by the joint session, all three candidates will begin their terms starting May 1, 2016.

Hawaii Senators Pass More Than 250 House Bills for Second Crossover

Members of the State Senate today passed 150 House bills that addresses areas of the environmental protection, economic development, crime victim protections and water rights.

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More than 250 bills have passed third reading on the floor of the Senate and will be returning to the House ahead of the final crossover deadline of Thursday, April 14, 2016. A majority of the bills will move into conference committees where the House and Senate Conferees will convene to discuss the House and Senate drafts and come to an agreement on a final amended version.

“We attempted to move forward measures we felt reflected the priorities of the Senate,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe), Senate Majority Leader. “There are a number of areas in which the House and Senate share a mutual concern. We’ll work on the details in conference and I’m hopeful the outcome will be responsible bills.”

A top priority for the Hawai‘i Senate Majority concerns homelessness and housing. A number of measures that focuses on these issues were passed by the Senate, including HB2647 HD2 SD2, which establishes a three-year Work for a Day pilot program to be administered by the City and County of Honolulu that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities and HB2244 HD1 SD2 which appropriates funds to support housing programs.

Measures passing third reading that protect the environment, another priority of the Senate program, include HB1050 SD2 which appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture to address the interisland spread of invasive species and HB2646 HD2 SD2  that creates a permanent fuel tank advisory committee to study, monitor, and address fuel tank leak issues.

The Senate also passed bills that support good governance including HB1653 HD1 SD1 implementing election by mail beginning with the primary election in 2018 and HB2632 HD2 SD2 which requires firearms owners who are diagnosed with a significant behavioral, emotional, or mental disorder or for treatment for organic brain syndromes, or due to emergency or involuntary hospitalization, to immediately surrender their firearms and ammunition to the Chief of Police.

Other significant House measures passed by the Senate include:

HB260 HD1 SD1 establishes motor vehicle insurance requirements for transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers.

HB1072 HD1 SD2 enables the board of psychology to accept applications for prescriptive authority privilege and grant prescriptive authority to prescribing psychologists who meet specific education, training, and registration requirements.

HB1700 HD1 SD1 adjusts and requests appropriations for Fiscal Biennium 2015‑-17 funding requirements for operations and capital improvement projects of Executive Branch agencies and programs.

HB1713 HD2 SD2 exempts extracurricular service of employees from the state ethics code if certain conditions are met. Defines detached remuneration and extracurricular service.

HB1787 HD3 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.

HB1902 HD2 SD1 replaces the term “promoting prostitution in the first degree” with the term “sex trafficking,” as a class A felony and establish that prosecution is required to prove only that the person committing the offense of sex trafficking acted negligently if the person knowingly advanced or profited from prostitution of a minor. Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the department of the attorney general’s statewide witness program.

HB1907 HD2 SD2 requires all law enforcement agencies and departments charged with maintenance, storage, and preservation of sexual assault evidence collection kits to conduct an inventory of all kits they store and transmit a report of the number of untested sexual assault evidence kits they possess to the department of the attorney general.

HB2263 HD1 SD1 appropriates funds for the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to conduct an economic assessment study on the development and economic viability of a small satellite launch and processing facility on the Island of Hawai‘i.

HB2501 HD2 SD2 requires that where an application has been made for a lease to continue a previously authorized disposition of water rights, a holdover may be authorized annually until the pending application for the disposition of water rights is finally resolved or for three years, whichever is sooner. Requires that the holdover is consistent with the public trust doctrine and any applicable law.

HB2605 HD1 SD2 appropriates funds to establish, administer, and support on-the-job training for individuals who are unemployed and dislocated due to the closure of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company and the Makena Beach and Golf Resort on Maui.

A full list of the House bills passed by the Senate can be found on the Hawai‘i State Legislative website www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

The Hawai‘i Senate Majority’s Legislative Program can be viewed at www.hawaiisenatemajority.com.

Hawaii House of Representatives Passes More Than 100 Senate Measures on Final Crossover

The state House of Representatives passed today more than 100 Senate measures dealing with heat abatement for schools, homelessness and affordable housing, crime victims’ rights, body-worn cameras for police, the creation of a law enforcement review board, senior care facility and medical marijuana dispensary inspections, an interisland ferry study, and the Judiciary budget.

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“These bills represent a broad range of concerns for the state, from affordable housing and homelessness to interisland transportation,” said Joseph M. Souki, Speaker of the state House of Representatives.  “They address the needs of our keiki, victims of crime, medical patients, and our kupuna, and go a long way in making life and lives better in Hawaii.  I would like to thank the representatives, their staff, the state departments, the private and nonprofit organizations, and every Hawaii resident who took the time to provide input so that we could create and improve the laws that govern us all.”

Among the bills passed by the House were:

EDUCATION

SB3126 SD2 HD2, which authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and the use of funds from the Green Infrastructure Loan Program to implement and expedite cooling measures in public school classrooms, and requires the Department of Education to become net-zero with respect to energy use by January 1, 2035;

SB2624 SD2 HD1, which provides a state income tax credit for certain expenses paid or incurred by school teachers, special education teachers, school librarians, and counselors for supplementary materials used in the classroom, as well as for accompanying students for educational travel;

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

SB2833 SD2 HD2, which amends the state low-income housing tax credit and bases the amount of the tax credit on whether a building is financed by tax-exempt bonds;

SB2566 SD1 HD1, which transfers excess moneys from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund;

SB2563 SD1 HD1, which amends operations of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority and funding eligibility criteria of the Rental Housing Revolving Fund to make HPHA projects eligible for loans and grants from the Revolving Fund and granting the Authority preferences and priority in loan and grant applications.  Requires the Authority to coordinate with other state agencies in developing transit-proximate affordable housing;

PUBLIC SAFETY

SB3034 SD1 HD2, known as Marsy’s Law, which proposes a ballot question for an amendment to the Hawaii State Constitution to provide the victims of crimes with specific rights related to the criminal justice process;

SB2411 SD2 HD2, which establishes requirements, restrictions, and implementation timelines for body-worn cameras and vehicle cameras for county police departments, and appropriates funds for each county to purchase body-worn and vehicle video cameras;

SB2439 SD1 HD1, which establishes exceptions to the offense of obstructing government operations and the offense of violation of privacy in the second degree for a person making a video or audio recording or photograph of a law enforcement officer while the officer is in the performance of duties in a public place or under circumstances in which the officer has no reasonable expectation of privacy;

SB2196 SD2 HD1, which establishes a law enforcement officer independent review board within the Department of the Attorney General to investigate incidents of officer-involved death;

SB2816 SD1 HD2, which adds the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code, amends criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed or otherwise secured;

HEALTH

SB2384 SD1 HD1, which requires the Department of Health to conduct unannounced visits and inspections, including inspections for relicensing and recertification, for certain state-licensed or state-certified care facilities and unannounced inspections for license renewals for medical marijuana production centers and dispensaries;

SB2181 SD2 HD2, which permits manufacturers of investigational drugs or biological products beginning on January 1, 2017, to make these drugs and products available to terminally ill patients under certain conditions;

SB2319 SD1 HD3, which requires health insurers in the state, including health benefits plans under the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund and Medicaid managed care programs, to cover reimbursement for contraceptive supplies intended to last for up to a 12-month period for an insured;

SB3084 SD1 HD2, which authorizes the state Department of Health to establish a cesspool tax credit or rebate program to facilitate cesspool conversions or improvements by residents;

TRANSPORTATION

SB2618 SD1 HD2, which directs the state Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study on establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system;

AGRICULTURE

SB1374 SD2 HD2, which requires the Department of Agriculture to negotiate land exchanges with Dole Food Company, Inc. to conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency, and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands for the future;

HIGHER EDUCATION

SB2398 SD2 HD2, which establishes a collective bargaining unit for graduate student assistants employed by the University of Hawaii;

ENDANGERED SPECIES

SB2647 SD1 HD2, which prohibits the sale, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product, including ivory, from animal species that are threatened with extinction;

The House also passed the Judiciary supplemental budget.  Both chambers have until Thursday, April 14, to pass on third reading any remaining bills before the Second Crossover deadline.

Following the deadline, the amended Senate bills passed by the House, along with the amended House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

For more information on all of the Senate bills passed by the House so far this session, see the links to the (amended) and (unamended) bills.

Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee Proposes Fiscally Equitable Budget

The Senate Ways and Means (WAM) Committee today introduced and passed budget amendments in HB1700 HD1 SD1 that reflects the priorities facing our communities, yet broadly represents and addresses needs across the state.

Capital

The Governor’s operating budget proposed to add approximately $335 million in general funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.  The Senate draft reduced this amount by approximately $215 million in general funds, resulting in a total operating budget add of $120 million in general funds for fiscal year 2016-2017.  The Senate draft did not include 100% pre-funding of Other Post-Employment Benefits, which was included in the Governor’s draft, and amounted to approximately $163 million dollars.

“The Senate draft of the supplemental budget balances priority needs with existing resources, ensuring programs and services can be maintained over time,” said Sen. Jill Tokuda (Dist. 24 –Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu), WAM Committee chair.  “Our Committee once again identified ways to encourage efficiencies and better utilize base appropriations to do more with less, without unsustainably adding to our budget.”

The Senate draft reflects a significant investment in operating support for homeless programs, totaling over $7.3M.  These include the following:

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for the Housing First Program
  • $1,100,000 in general funds for Homeless Outreach Services
  • $2,000,000 in general funds for Rapid Re-housing Services
  • $450,000 in general funds for a new homeless shelter in Kakaako
  • $200,000 in general funds for a Stored Property Program

In addition, the Senate draft included operating and capital improvement projects to increase the supply of affordable housing statewide.  These include:

 Operating

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for the State Family and Elderly facilities’ operations, deferred maintenance, and repair.
  • (36) positions and $2,703,581 in revolving funds for the Multi-Skilled Worker Pilot Program in the Hawaii Public Housing Authority.  These funds will be used to repair vacant public housing units.
  • (29) positions and $1,125,584 in general funds for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to issue more housing vouchers and secure additional federal funds.

Capital Improvements Projects

  • $29,150,000 in general funds and $6,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to the Hawaii Public Housing Authority
  • $50,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the Rental Housing Trust Fund
  • $33,289,000 in general obligation bond funds for the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund

Working with the housing agencies in each county, an additional $59,612,000 in revolving funds was provided for shovel ready housing projects statewide, which will provide for the renovation of 850 current units and the creation of an additional 1,600 units for our communities.

The Senate draft also provides extensive support for hospitals and healthcare needs for the State, including:

Operating

  • $10,000,000 in general funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, to be used at the discretion of the Board in allocating to the regions as well as for any necessary seed capital for the Maui Health System
  • $7,900,00 in general funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation in order to meet the shortfall of the corporate allocation costs due to the Maui transition, which would have otherwise been assessed to the regions without additional funding support
  • $21,000,000 in general funds for an operating subsidy to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to continue to provide healthcare services statewide

Capital Improvement Projects

  • $160,000,000 in general obligation bonds is provided for the Hawai‘i State Hospital for a new forensic facility to house the high-risk patients
  • $5,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the purchase of two parcels owned by the Wahiawa Hospital Association, resulting in an immediate cash infusion ensuring greater financial stability for the hospital.  The intent is for the State to provide a long-term lease to the Wahiawa Hospital Association at a nominal rate.

 Other operating and capital improvement funding highlights include:

Department of Agriculture
Funding for efforts to support Hawai‘i farmers

Operating:

  • $500,000 in general funds for pesticide regulation expenses
  • (1) position and $98,800 in special funds for General Administration for the Farm to School Program

Capital Improvement Projects:

The Senate draft includes $107,074,000 in general obligation bond funds to purchase over 8,000 acres of agricultural land which will help support local farmers, decreasing Hawaii’s dependence on importing agricultural products and another $33,700,000 in general obligation bond funds for upgrades and improvements to water infrastructure systems statewide.

Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism
Funding for programs that are sustainable and bolster the economy

Operating:

  • $30,000 in general funds for repair and maintenance for the statewide film program for Creative Industries Division
  • $100,000 in general funds for Creative Industries Division for Creative Lab Program
  • $150,000 in general funds for unmanned aerial systems test site for Office of Aerospace Development
  • (1) temporary position and $100,000 in general funds for Hawaii broadband initiative
  • $5,000,000 in general funds and $5,000,000 in revolving funds for HI Growth initiative for Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation

Capital Improvement Projects:

Focused on reversing the brain drain, creating jobs, diversifying our economy, the Senate draft includes investments of $3,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to develop the Entrepreneur’s Sandbox in Kakaako, $5,200,000 in general obligation reimbursable bond funds to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in Kona, $6,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for infrastructure upgrades at Kalaeloa, and over $38,800,000 in general obligation bond funds for a Creative Media Facility at the University of Hawaii West Oahu.

Department of Defense
Funding to support and recognize Hawai‘i veterans

Operating:

  • (7) positions and $160,036 in general funds for multi-skilled worker team to provide services at the Hawaii State Veterans’ Cemetery
  • $500,000 in general funds for veterans’ memorials and commemoration events

Department of Education
Funding to provide student services support, transportation and libraries

 Operating:

  •  $10,000,000 in general funds for Weighted Student Formula for English Language Learners
  • $16,537,791 in general funds for Weighted Student Formula
  • $1,000,000 in general funds for classroom supplies and equipment for new facilities
  • $6,984,689 in general funds for Public School Transportation Services
  • $5,215,919 in general funds for Utilities
  • $200,000 in general funds for repair and maintenance backlog for public libraries statewide
  • Add $250,000 in general funds and $250,000 in special funds for Hawaii State Public Library System

 Capital Improvement Projects:

$358,175,000 in general obligation bond funds, $30,603,000 in federal funds and $4,349,000 in general funds for funding Department of Education projects including $30,000,000 in general obligation bond funds to address the cooling and air conditioning needs of public schools, $40,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for a new secondary school in Kapolei and $38,000,000 in general obligation bond funds for the continued construction costs for new high school in Kihei.

Office of the Governor

Funding to provide staff support

Operating:

(2) temporary positions and $300,000 in general funds for Office of Military Affairs and Federal Grants Maximization

Department of Human Services

Funding to ensure social safety nets and improve IT infrastructure for better service delivery

Operating:

  • $6,000,000 in general funds for Preschool Open Doors Program
  • $4,799,926 in general funds and $7,664,177 in federal funds for preventive adult dental benefits
  • $4,294,333 in general funds and $3,343,667 in federal funds for increased cost of Medicare Part B supplements
  • $4,878,120 in general funds and $5,721,880 in federal funds for services to Medicaid recipients through age 6 with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • $8,000,000 in general funds and $9,383,746 in federal funds for Medicaid recipients with chronic Hepatitis C infections
  • $1,553,559 in general funds and $1,775,971 in federal funds for increase in nursing home payments by the Data Resources Incorporated Rate
  • $5,905,962 in general funds and $17,717,886 in federal funds for Department Enterprise System maintenance and operations
  • $770,000 in general funds for A-Plus Program fee subsidies for employed low-income families
  • $3,196,346 in general funds and $17,714,682 in federal funds for information technology for the Department of Human Services

Department of Human Resources Development
Funding to increase effectiveness

Operating

$250,000 in general funds for workers’ compensation claims

Department of Health
Funding to support healthcare services, assist in fight against Dengue Fever, address Red Hill Consent Order

Operating:

  • (33) positions and $1,777,362 in general funds for the management of the dengue fever outbreak and newly emerging public health threats
  • (3) positions and $88,362 in general funds for Red Hill Administrative Order of Consent for Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch
  • $2,829,923 in general funds for the home and community based services waiver

Capital Improvement Projects:

To continue to provide quality healthcare services for our communities, $31,982,000 in general obligation bond funds and $19,704,000 in federal funds to address critical repairs and maintenance for health safety needs statewide.

Department of Labor and Industrial Relations
Funding to provide support to ensure protection of civil rights

Operating:

(1) position and $25,388 in general funds for Hawaii Civil Rights Commission

Department of Land and Natural Resources
Funding for protection of land and wildlife, small boat harbor access

Operating:

  • $3,000,000 in special funds from transient accommodation tax to Special Land and Development Fund for various programs
  • $1,700,000 in special funds from conveyance tax to Land Conservation Fund for land acquisition
  • $400,000 in special funds for beach restoration
  • $600,000 in general funds for wildfire contingency Aloha+ initiatives
  • $250,000 in general funds for endangered species management
  • $1,500,000 in general funds for United States Geographical Survey study on Hawaii streams
  • (18) positions and $617,544 in general funds for operation of small boat harbor facilities six days a week

Department of Public Safety
Funding to enhance safety enforcement

Operating:

$869,165 in general funds for the Department of Public Safety Administration building and State Narcotics Enforcement Division offices

Department of Taxation
Funding to reinforce ability to bring in revenues for the state

Operating:

  • (9) positions and $503,327 in general funds for Investigation Branch
  • (2) positions and $69,462 in general funds for Criminal Investigation Section
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Maui
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Hawaii
  • (1) position and $21,684 in general funds for Audit Branch Kauai

Department of Transportation
Funding to support requests that are sustainable and targeted

Operating:

Honolulu International Airport

  • $402,500 in special funds and $1,132,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement
  • $252,500 in special funds and $682,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement

Hilo International Airport

$580,000 in special funds for airport seating replacement

Kahului Airport

$402,500 in special funds and $1,132,500 in federal funds for motor vehicle replacement and other current expenses

Lihue Airport

$613,500 in special funds for routine maintenance contracts

Harbors Administration

$1,000,000 in special funds for pier and wharf insurance

Kauai Highways

$800,000 in special funds for replacement of bridge inspection equipment

Highways Safety

$517,000 in federal funds for highway safety improvement program flex funding

University of Hawai‘i
Funding to support UH Cancer Center, UH West Oahu

Operating:

  • $3,000,000 in general funds for University of Hawaii Cancer Center for faculty and administrative support
  • (4) positions and $197,604 in general funds for University of Hawaii, West Oahu Campus

Capital Improvement Projects:

Acknowledging the deferred maintenance and backlog of projects at our University of Hawai‘i  campuses, the Senate draft provides the funding for the full capital improvement request of the University and it’s Community Colleges by providing $224,925,000 in general obligation bond funds, $113,000,000 in revenue bond funds, and $5,750,000 in special funds and by granting the University of Hawai‘i revenue bond authority.

Big Island Legislators Secure $389.3 Million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Funding

Big Island legislators secured more than $389.3 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the recently passed House proposed budget.

Capital

The proposed budget includes funding for various airport and highway improvements, Hawaii Community Correctional Center, Big Island facilities for Hawaii Army National Guard, monies for Big Island schools and Hawaii Community College, and regional community centers.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

GENERAL

  • $55 million for construction of Kona judiciary complex (FY2016)
  • $30.2 million for construction of a new combined support maintenance shop for Hawaii Army National Guard at the Keaukaha Military Reservation
  • $15 million for new housing and support offices for Hawaii Community Correctional Center
  • $9 million for lump sum CIP for Hawaii Community Correctional Center
  • $5.2 million for improvements and upgrades to the seawater system at the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST)
  • $4 million for improvements to lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed project
  • $3.3 million for construction and renovation projects (Bldg. 621) at Hawaii Army National Guard’s Keaukaha Military Reservation
  • $3 million for improvements to Kohala Ditch irrigation system
  • $2 million for infrastructure and building of a post-harvest facility and vacuum cooling plant in Kamuela
  • $1.6 million for improvements to the Keaukaha Military Reservation’s Youth Challenge Academy
  • $1 million for construction of a storage warehouse at Pohakuloa Training Area
  • $800,000 for construction and completion of Miolii Community Enrichment and Historical Center
  • $330,000 for improvements to the research campus in the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park (HOST)
  • $150,000 for plans and design for the Kamoleao Laulima Community Resources Center

SCHOOLS

  • $13.1 million for design and construction of a classroom building for Waikoloa Elementary/Middle school
  • $9.5 million for renovation of former hospital into kitchen and classrooms for North Hawaii Education and Research Center, Hawaii Community College
  • $2.3 million for covered play court at Kohala Middle School
  • $2 million for construction of a covered play court at Haaheo Elementary School
  • $2 million for renovations at Hilo Intermediate School
  • $1.5 million for track and field facilities at Honokaa Park for Honokaa High School
  • $1.5 million for construction of portable trailers for Hawaii Community College
  • $1.2 million for community food kitchen for Friends of Kona Pacific Public Charter School
  • $1 million for the transition from Keaau Elementary School to Keonepoko Elementary School
  • $735,000 for improvements to covered walkway at Mountain View Elementary School
  • $511,000 for electrical upgrades and covered walkway at Waiakea Intermediate School
  • $355,000 for access road safety improvements for Kahakai Elementary School
  • $335,000 to replace lighting and scoreboards in Konawaena High School gymnasium
  • $300,000 for additional parking at Kealakehe Elementary School
  • $300,000 for additional office and storage space for Hawaii Community College at Palamanui
  • $290,000 for repair and maintenance at Naalehu Elementary School
  • $285,000 for a certified commercial kitchen for Friends of the Volcano School of Arts & Sciences
  • $200,000 for covered walkway at Pahoa Elementary School
  • $150,000 for walkway safety lighting for Kau High School

TRANSPORTATION

  • $127.2 million for improvements, new training facility and federal inspection station at Kona International Airport
  • $15 million for repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for Highway 130
  • $8 million for rehabilitation and/or replacement of Ninole Bridge on Mamalahoa Highway
  • $7.9 million for demolition of Pier 2 shed and water tower and related improvements at Hilo Harbor
  • $7.6 million for a road maintenance facility near Mauna Kea State Park
  • $7.1 million for improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $4.2 million for improvements to access ways in and out of Kawaihae Harbor
  • $3.6 million for drainage improvements of Kohala Mountain Road
  • $2.9 million for Keaau-Pahoa Road improvements
  • $1.2 million for rehabilitation for Wailuku Bridge along Hawaii Belt Road
  • $1 million for drainage and rockfall improvements along Hawaii Belt Road
  • $1 million for replacement of Pahoehoe Stream Bridge along Hawaii Belt Road
  • $660,000 for the Daniel K. Inouye Highway extension
  • $$550,000 for water lines replacement at Santos Lane and Nohea Street
  • 400,000 for improvements to North Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor
  • $300,000 for repairs to Pohoiki Boat Ramp
  • $150,000 for installation of runaway truck ramp along Kawaihae Road
  • $101,000 for rehabilitation and/or replacement of Hilea Stream Bridge
  • $50,000 for feasibility study for a small commercial airport in South Puna

OTHERS

  • $8.5 million for a multi-purpose processing facility for Workforce Development
  • $6.7 million for reroofing and improvements to Hilo Counseling Center and Keawe Health Center
  • $2 million for land acquisition to Hilo Forest Reserve
  • $1 million for feasibility study for a new University Hospital in Kona
  • $1 million for dam compliance and improvements to Puu Waawaa dam
  • $600,000 for land acquisition and design for a community center in Waiakea Uka
  • $500,000 for an education center for the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission
  • $315,000 for design and construction of the Kailapa Community Resource Center
  • $100,000 for fabrication and installation of exhibits at Hawaii Wildlife Center

Hawaii House to Launch Pilot Project to Accept Neighbor Island Video Testimony

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives will launch a pilot project to accept video testimony from neighbor island residents during a hearing of the House’s Committee of Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs hearings.  Maui Judge Richard Bissen will be the first video testifier, speaking in support of his and Ing’s initiative to incorporate the Hawaiian language into the Judiciary website.
hb1595Initially, the pilot project will include only video testimony for the Committee of Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs.  The project will be the first of its kind in the Legislature, and simply requires a laptop with a camera and internet connection.  However, House Bill 1595, HD2 is currently moving through the Legislature to explore the possibility of expanding the program to all committees in both chambers.

  • WHO:  Rep. Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) and  Rep. Nicole E. Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau)
  • WHAT:  House Committee of Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiians Affairs hearing
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at 9 a.m.
  • WHERE:  Room 325, third floor, State Capitol

Hawaii Art at the Capitol Held Today

State Senators and Representatives put politics aside for a few hours today (March 12) and tapped into their inner artist for Art at the Capitol.

A few years ago, my sons art was awarded a cash prize for his art at the capital

A few years ago, my sons art was awarded a cash prize for his art at the capital

Legislators gave up their pen and picked up pastels for a lesson on creating a self-portrait.  The lawmakers’ comments on the class ranged from “therapeutic” to “stressful,” but the creative endeavor is just for fun.

The public is encouraged to view the finished artwork during Art at the Capitol from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Fri., April 1, 2016 at the State Capitol.  The self-portraits will be part of an art contest to be judged by professional artists and by the public that evening.

Art at the Capitol is an annual event that allows the public to access Lawmakers offices in the State Capitol to see the work of local artists in their offices. https://www.facebook.com/artatthecapitolhawaii/?ref=hl