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Man Achieves Goal to Visit ALL 59 National Parks

When Dave Parker entered Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park Tuesday night, he accomplished his lifelong dream to visit the 59 iconic national parks in the U.S.

Chief Ranger John Broward shakes hands with Dave Parker of McLean, VA who completed his quest to visit all 59 National Parks on Wednesday. (All photos NPS Photos by Janice Wei)

“To see Kīlauea erupt is indescribable and it’s just spectacular to see,” Parker said. “It’s the reason we came here,” he said.

On Wednesday, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park surprised Parker with a “59ers” Certificate of Achievement, signed by National Park Service Acting Director, Mike Reynolds. The certificate was presented by Acting Superintendent and Chief Ranger John Broward, who congratulated Parker in front of visitors and staff at the Kīlauea Visitor Center.

Dave Parker poses for a photo in front of an interpretive display in the Kīlauea Visitor Center of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

“It’s uplifting that Mr. Parker made it a priority to see all 59 of the iconic national parks,” Broward said. “Park visitors help steward our public lands, and by appreciating them, they protect them. And Dave Parker, you couldn’t have a better last name,” he said.

Parker’s love for national parks blossomed at the tender age of 14, when his parents took him to his first parks, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. His family camped, rode horses, hiked the trails and watched Yellowstone’s famous geyser, Old Faithful, erupt. Now 77, Parker, his wife Carol, and friends Red and Sheri Cavaney, will spend a few nights at Volcano House and explore the eruptions of Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. They enjoyed a ranger talk about the volcanic origins of the Hawaiian Islands, and a guided tour with the Friends of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (FHVNP).

Left to right: Elizabeth Fien, Executive Director of the Friends of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Dave Parker “59er”; , Margot Griffith, Executive Director of the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association; and Hawaii Volcanoes’ Acting Superintendent and Chief Ranger John Broward smile for a photo in the Kīlauea Visitor Center.

The park’s non-profit supporting partners, the FHVNP and the Hawai‘i Pacific Parks Association, presented the Parkers and friends with commemorative items including ball caps, T shirts, pins, a gift certificate for The Rim restaurant, and other mementos and educational items to help them enjoy and discover the park.

“There are many ways to support your parks,” Parker said. “All parks have organizations that support them that you can donate to. You can volunteer and give back with your time. It’s an important investment to make for the survival of public lands and our future generations,” he said.
The auspicious visit was Parker’s fifth time to Hawai‘i, and his first to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. During his early career working for the Dept. of Commerce in Wash., D.C., he helped promote travel to the U.S., and had close ties to the Hawai‘i visitor industry. He and his wife live in McLean, VA.

Left to right: Sheri Cavaney, Dave Parker, Carol Parker and Red Cavaney, smile for photos in the Kīlauea Visitor Center on Wednesday. Dave is wearing an NPS Centennial T-shirt listing all 59 national parks.

The National Park Service has more than 20,000 National Park Service employees who care for America’s 417 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

Governor Ige Announces Hawai‘i Among 14 States and Puerto Rico to be on Track to Meet Paris Climate Targets

Gov. David Ige attended Climate Week NYC 2017 this week, where he joined fellow state governors to meet with national and international government and business leaders for discussions on climate change and efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Hawai‘i is among 14 states and Puerto Rico who are members of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bi-partisan coalition that was formed in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

On Wednesday, the alliance released its 2017 Annual Report: Alliance States Take the Lead which finds:

  • The alliance states are collectively on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 24 to 29 percent — below 2005 levels — over the next eight years (by 2025).
  • Between 2005 and 2015, alliance states reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent, compared to a 10 percent reduction by the rest of the country.
  • Between 2005 and 2015 – the combined economic output of alliance states grew by 14 percent (the rest of the country grew by 12 percent). On a per capita basis, economic output in alliance states expanded twice as fast as the rest of the country.

“I’m encouraged by our meetings with leaders here at Climate Week. Collaboration is a critical part of how we move forward as a state, a nation, and as global leaders in addressing climate issues affecting our island state and communities around the world. The U.S. Climate Alliance report shows that alliance states are setting clear targets for greenhouse gas reductions and increasing clean energy. This is mobilizing the market to innovate and create new, well-paying green jobs,” said Gov. Ige.

In addition to minimizing emissions that cause climate change, alliance states are also focusing on investing in vulnerability assessments, and planning new innovative technologies, infrastructure and nature-based solutions that can help people adapt to climate change and its impacts.

During Climate Week, Gov. Ige spoke at the opening ceremony and participated in international discussions on a sustainable ocean economy and Hawaiʻi’s 100 percent renewable energy goal. The governor also took part in discussions on how businesses are implementing their own policies on renewable energy and investing in states that are taking steps to adapt to climate change. Gov. Ige also had the opportunity to meet with the governors of Washington and California to discuss enhancing cooperation to address climate change issues.

Hawaii Attorney General Seeks Documents From Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors

Hawaii has joined a bipartisan coalition of states seeking documents and information today from manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids. This is part of a multistate investigation into the nationwide opioid epidemic. This information will let state attorneys general evaluate whether manufacturers and distributors engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing, sale, and distribution of opioids. 41 state attorneys general are participating in the multistate investigations.

In Hawaii and across the country, opioids – both prescribed and illicit – are a main driver of drug overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths in 2015 including 169 in Hawaii. Opioid overdoses have quadrupled since 1999.

Attorney General Chin said, “Under Governor David Ige’s leadership, my office and the state health department are determined to educate the public here and enforce laws to prevent the spread of opioid abuse in Hawaii.”

The attorneys general served investigative subpoenas for documents and information – also known as Civil Investigative Demands – on Endo, Janssen, Teva/Cephalon, Allergan, and their related entities, as well as a supplemental Civil Investigative Demand on Purdue Pharma. The attorneys general also sent information demand letters to opioid distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson requesting documents about their opioid distribution business.

International Task Force Focuses on Protecting West Coast From Oil Spills

Western states and provinces on the Pacific Ocean will gather this year in Honolulu to discuss how best to protect the West Coast from oil spills.

Annual Meeting will take place at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

The Hawaii Department of Health is hosting this year’s Annual Meeting of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, comprised of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. The Task Force provides a forum where members can work together to implement regional initiatives to help protect 56,600 miles of coastline stretching from Alaska to California, including the Hawaiian Islands.

The meeting is taking place on Thursday, Sept. 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Coral Ballroom at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The event is open to the public and attendance is free of charge. To register, go to: https://2017taskforceannualmeeting.eventbrite.com.

At this year’s event, the six Task Force jurisdictions will provide updates on their spillresponse programs, projects and initiatives. Guest presentations and panel discussions will highlight pollution prevention measures in the cruise ship industry, issue involving the clean-up of heavy oils, and the challenges with managing data during a spill.

The Task Force was authorized by a Memorandum of Cooperation in 1989 by Governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the Premier of British Columbia following the Exxon Valdez and Nastucca oil spills. These events highlight the common concerns regarding oil spill risks shared by West Coast states and provinces, and the need for cooperation across shared borders.

The Task Force is committed to improving, preventing, preparing for and responding to oil spills. It collects and shares data on spills, coordinates spill prevention projects, and promotes regulatory safeguards.

The Task Force members include: 

  • Thomas M. Cullen Jr., Administrator, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, California Department of Fish and Wildlife 
  • Keith Kawaoka, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Hawaii Department of Health 
  • Larry Hartig, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation 
  • Dale Jensen, Spills Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Richard Whitman, Director, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality 
  • Mark Zacharias, Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of the Environment

For more information visit: http://oilspilltaskforce.org/task-force-events/annual-meeting/

Clarification – Cash Will Be Accepted at Hawaii Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

This was shared w/ Governor Ige’s followers on Facebook yesterday.

I received the following Press Release from Richard Ha this afternoon clarifying the shared Facebook post that Governor Ige shared from Civil Beat yesterday:

HONOLULU – Hawaiʻi Educational Association for Licensed Therapeutic Healthcare (HEALTH) has long been involved in seeking banking options for Hawaiʻi’s nascent medical cannabis dispensaries. We deeply appreciate the leadership and creativity demonstrated by Governor David Ige and Hawaiʻi Financial institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda that culminated in yesterday’s announcement that the state had secured a banking solution for its legal cannabis industry.

Partner Colorado Credit Union’s Safe Harbor Private Banking Program is a pioneering program that takes on the regulatory burden required for our industry to be in compliance with federal guidelines so that state-licensed cannabis dispensaries can access banking services. Because these services are unavailable in Hawaiʻi, we are grateful that Colorado has stepped up to help.

The CanPay debit payment application is an alternative to cash payments that will be a welcome option for patients and dispensaries alike. Unlike a credit or debit card, payment will be instantly transferred from the patient’s existing bank account to the dispensary’s account in Colorado to facilitate a cashless purchase.

We recognize that the success of Hawaiʻi’s medical cannabis dispensary program is directly linked to the ability of patients to have safe access to cannabis products to help manage their medical conditions. As employers, we also want to ensure our employees enjoy a safe work environment. These options take us in the right direction at the right time.

Hawaiʻi’s aspiration to have a predominantly “cashless system” for all medical cannabis dispensaries is admirable. However, it is important to clarify that progress toward this goal will take considerable time. We will work with all stakeholders to successfully implement the proposed system. Patients who choose not to participate in a program that requires checking account transfers will still be able to make cash purchases in all Hawaiʻi-Licensed Medical Cannabis Dispensaries. Qualified patient access and compassion are two key tenets to any successful medical program.

HPA Receives 2017 Healthy School Award

Hawaii Preparatory Academy (HPA) was one of three schools selected nationally to receive a 2017 Healthy School Award from The Healthy Facilities Institute (HFI), in partnership with School Planning and Management and College Planning and Management magazines.

Hawaii Preparatory Academy uses dry steam vapor for cleaning and disinfecting.

An expert panel selected winners based on submitted applications, interviews, and a strong commitment to facility health and practical steps. Health factors assessed included indoor air quality, chemical exposure, water quality, sound levels, lighting, cleaning and disinfecting, sanitizing and food service, integrated pest management, and ergonomics (musculoskeletal, strains, slips/falls).

“We’re very pleased to be recognized for our efforts to achieve environmental excellence and to make our school environment better and safer for everyone,” said Robert McKendry, head of school.

Hawaii Preparatory received the Healthy Facilities Advocate award “for its mission to promote healthful, place-based learning on a site with access to 80 percent of the world’s ecosystems.” HPA was commended for:

  • Monitoring the indoor environment using devices that detect carbon dioxide, temperature, and sound levels.
  • Making standing desks and anti-fatigue mats available to employees.
  • Using dry steam vapor for cleaning and disinfecting, and a hydrogen peroxide-based cleaner, having reduced annual spending on chemical cleaners by about $4,000.
  • Using low-toxicity plant-based intervention to control insects.

The school’s Energy Lab achieved Living Building Challenge certification by the International Living Building Institute (ILBI) in 2011 and also received Platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Schools 2.0 certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2010. In 2012, HPA also was one of a select group of schools throughout the state of Hawaii to receive the Green Ribbon Schools (GRS) award from the U.S. Department of Education.

Other 2017 Healthy School Award winners were Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Colorado, and Elk Grove USD (EGUSD) in Elk Grove, California. Winners were announced in the July/August 2017 issues of School Planning and Management and College Planning and Management magazines.

Winning schools will be featured in a webinar on November 2, Thirty Days to Healthy Schools at Lower Cost[webspm.com/articles/2017/07/01/healthy-facilities.aspx?m=1]. The webinar will focus on how healthy schools promote learning, savings, and attendance-based funding, and how any school can develop a framework for a healthy facility and budget within 30 days.
For more information, visit http://www.healthyfacilitiesinstitute.com.

UH Shines in 2018 U.S. News and World Report Rankings

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, UH West Oʻahu and UH Hilo once again made the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings, along with UH Mānoa Shidler College of Business. The 2018 U.S. News and World Report rankings were released on September 12.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa moved up 10 spots to 159 on the 2018 U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges Rankings. UH Manoa is also ranked 6 in Best Ethnic Diversity (National Universities), 83 in Top Public Schools, and 177 in High School Counselor Rankings.

“We continue to be gratified by the upward movement in recent academic and research rankings, both on national and international levels,” said Michael Bruno, UH Mānoa interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice chancellor for research. “They show that our faculty and staff are working hard, and working together, to give students the best and most accessible higher education experience.”

The announcement of UH Mānoa’s upward mobility on the U.S. News and World Report ranking follows the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings that rated UH Mānoa 63 in the U.S., up from 69 last year—representing its best showing ever in the Times ranking.

UH West Oʻahu ranked 25 among Best Regional Colleges (West), placing it in the top 38 percent of schools in their respective category.

“The faculty, staff and students are thrilled to be recognized as it is an affirmation of the great work we do to prepare 21st Century leaders—career creators who are making a positive difference in our communities!” said UH West Oʻahu Maenette K. P. Ah Nee-Benham.

UH Hilo ranked 66 among Best Regional Universities West, placing it in the top 47 percent in their respective categorory.

“We are very pleased to see UH Hilo recognized for its excellence in providing a quality educational experience,” said UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai. “This ranking is a testament to the work of our faculty and staff, who are deeply committed to providing our students with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed when they graduate and enter their chosen professions.”

The U.S. News and World Report rankings surveyed 1,600 colleges among more than 3,000 four-year institutions throughout the U.S. Its methodology considers, among various factors, endowment size, rate of alumni giving and student-to-faculty ratio, which tend to favor private institutions.

U.S. News and World Report profiles:
UH Mānoa
UH West Oʻahu
UH Hilo

House Passes Bipartisan Amendment to Appropriations Bill Cosponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Protect Against Property Seizures

The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed a bipartisan amendment to the appropriations package cosponsored by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) preventing police forces from seizing private property for profit without due process.

Known as adoptive forfeiture, the practice allows the federal government to accept money and property that has been seized by state law enforcement agencies from people, in some cases, before individuals are formally charged or proven guilty of a crime. This practice creates a loophole for states that have adopted stringent, constitutionally sound asset forfeiture laws and allows them to continue practices that are otherwise deemed illegal at the state level.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said: 

“Attorney General Sessions’ recent announcement to expand civil asset forfeiture allows local law enforcement to bypass state laws and seize property from people with the lowest possible burden of evidence without concern for whether the person is eventually charged or convicted. 

“While some will tell you this is necessary to go after big drug cartels, the reality is the median value of the adoptive forfeiture seizures is around $9,000. Not only is this median value not a sign of major drug trafficking operations, but seizures tend to be focused on poorer neighborhoods. Between 2012 and 2017, the median value of assets seized by Cook County police was just over $1,000; in Philadelphia in 2015, the median value was just $192.   

“This policy does not discriminate between the innocent and the guilty. Rather, this policy places the responsibility on private citizens to prove their innocence rather than put the appropriate burden on law enforcement to prove guilt. All too often, innocent people without legal representation never see their money or property again, and even those who are proven innocent have no promise their property will be returned. 

“The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution exists to protect the citizens of this country from being deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. In practice and in principle, adoptive forfeiture is a violation of that Fifth Amendment.”

Background: The practice of adoptive forfeiture was significantly drawn back during the Obama Administration and limited to exceptions related to public safety. However, Attorney General Sessions recently issued a policy directive reauthorizing adoptive forfeiture practices.  This decision marks a return to previous practices that run contrary to safeguarding civil liberties.

Hawai‘i Unveils First Cashless Payment System for Medical Cannabis

Gov. David Ige and state Financial Institutions Commissioner Iris Ikeda announced a “banking solution” that allows Hawai‘i’s medical cannabis dispensaries to access financial services and use a cashless payment system.

The solution makes Hawai‘i the first in the nation to have a cashless dispensary system.

The state has secured the services of Colorado-based Safe Harbor Private Banking that will provide limited and temporary financial services for Hawai‘i’s cannabis dispensaries. CanPay, a debit payment mobile application, will process sales transactions at retail dispensaries. Hawaii’s eight dispensary license holders have agreed to implement cashless operations by October 1, 2017.Financial services are currently unavailable in Hawai‘i because cannabis remains a federally prohibited substance.

“This new cashless system enables the state to focus on patient, public and product safety while we allow commerce to take place. This solution makes sense. It makes dispensary finances transparent and it makes it easier and safer for dispensaries to serve their patients and pay their employees and vendors,” said Gov. Ige.

While determining a banking solution, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Division of Financial Institutions focused on safety—for patients, employees, dispensaries, as well as the wider community. The department sought a cashless solution to address concerns about increased crimes committed against cash-based operations.

“This solution for the dispensaries to conduct banking services in an entirely cashless method would directly address many concerns we have and problems encountered by the dispensaries,” said Iris Ikeda, Hawai‘i Financial Institutions Commissioner. “This will establish a safe environment for medical cannabis-using patients and businesses to operate. It is our hope that a Hawai‘i-based financial institution opens accounts in the future. For now, we are appreciative of the mainland credit union for stepping in,” added Ikeda.

Hawai‘i’s cashless system will allow cannabis dispensaries to use traditional financial services to legally conduct financial transactions. In addition, dispensaries will be capable of setting up direct deposit for employee payroll, collect and remit taxes, and make payments to vendors.

All transactions will be transparent, as purchases at retail dispensaries occur through the mobile application and other transactions would be recorded by the financial institution.

Maui Wellness Group, LLC dba Maui Grown Therapies and Aloha Green LLC, the state’s two operational dispensaries, have opened accounts with the mainland credit union and have begun using the mobile debit payment application. The remaining six dispensaries are now at different stages of development and varying stages of the approval process.

More information on the Medical Cannabis Registry Program and the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program is available at http://health.hawaii.gov/medicalmarijuana.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the banking solution can be found at https://cca.hawaii.gov/dfi/files/2017/09/MCD-FAQs.pdf.

Student Debate Competition to Highlight Opening Day of Global Tourism Summit

Perpetuating sustainable tourism and encouraging young people to become more involved in determining the travel industry’s future, both in Hawaii and internationally, is a key objective of the Global Tourism Summit, September 19-21, at the Hawaii Convention Center.

The 2017 Global Tourism Summit Student Debate is a highlight event fulfilling that need. Featuring 18 debate teams, 10 teams from outside Hawaii and eight within the State, the round-robin tournament is taking place on the Summit’s opening day, September 19. The central topic for the debate program is “Resolved: Tourism Helps to Preserve Culture.”

Presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA), the Global Tourism Summit offers a diversity of sessions covering topics and trends vital to Hawaii’s future, including Hawaiian culture, eco-tourism, innovation and technology. According to George D. Szigeti, HTA president and CEO, the Student Debate is an essential program because of how it brings teens into the discussion on tourism’s future.

“We need to provide our young people with the incentive and opportunity to express their views on how to make tourism better for all of society” said Szigeti. “The future is theirs and they need to help chart its course for all of us. The Student Debate tournament is intended to seed their interest in tourism and inspire them to be future leaders.”

The 10 teams from outside Hawaii consist of two teams from both Japan and Hong Kong, and one team each from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S. mainland. Some teams won local competitions to earn the right to participate in the Global Tourism Summit Student Debate.

The eight Hawaii teams in the Student Debate tournament include three teams from Parker School, two teams each from Kamehameha Schools and the Home School League, and one team from Hilo High School.

Among the international debate teams is The Forensics Society from the Taipei American School representing Taiwan. In May, The Forensics Society won the International Division of the U.S. National Tournament of Champions in Public Forum Debate at the University of Kentucky. The team’s coach, Dr. Nick Coburn-Palo, said the students are thrilled to be in Honolulu for the debate tournament.

“We are tremendously excited to embrace this incredibly generous opportunity to match wits with debate teams from some of the top schools in the world, as well as experience the hospitality for which Hawaii is internationally famous,” said Dr. Coburn-Palo. “Furthermore, our debaters are excited to dip their toes into professional waters by learning more about the rapidly evolving international travel industry at the conference.”

On the morning of September 19, the 18 teams will be paired off in rounds of timed competition with a multi-tiered format that challenges the debate members to present and defend their case through the following process.

  • Presentation of the team’s case.
  • Crossfire with opposing speakers asking and answering questions of each other.
  • Rebuttal to refute the opposing team’s arguments.
  • Summary highlighting the main points of the debate.
  • Final focus with each team explaining why they won the round.

All of the teams participate in three rounds of debates, with the scores tabulated for each one. The two teams that emerge with the top scores will compete in the 2017 Global Tourism Summit Student Debate Finale from 2:00-2:45 p.m. in the Liliu Theater.

PATA Hawaii Student Forum: Planning for a Career in the Global Tourism Environment

Following the debate finals is the PATA Hawaii Student Forum on the topic of Planning for a Career in the Global Tourism Environment. Presented by the Hawaii Chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) the forum features prominent tourism industry leaders providing students majoring in hospitality, tourism or transportation management with valuable career advice. The PATA Hawaii Student Forum takes place from 3:00-4:55 p.m. in the Liliu Theater.

Registering for the Global Tourism Summit, September 19-21
Interested attendees can participate in the Global Tourism Summit by registering online at www.GlobalTourismSummitHawaii.com. Registration also includes lunch on the days registered for and participation in the Aloha Reception, featuring entrées from 20 restaurants, on September 20.

Several options are available for registration:

  • Individuals: Full Summit, September 19-21: $395
  • Groups of Eight or More: Full Summit, September 19-21: $365 per person (Groups can mix and match different attendees during the summit)
  • Student and Faculty Members: Full Summit, September 19-21: $150
  • Individuals, Partial Summit, September 19-20: $275
  • Individuals, Partial Summit, September 20-21: $265

Previously known as the Hawaii Tourism Conference, HTA changed the name of the annual event this year to the Global Tourism Summit to more accurately reflect Hawaii’s emergence as a leader in international travel and tourism.

Hawaii Files Supreme Court Brief on the Merits in the Travel Ban Case

Today Hawaii filed its brief on the merits before the United States Supreme Court in Hawaii v. Trump. The Trump Administration filed its opening Supreme Court brief on the merits on August 10, 2017.

Click to read brief

Hawaii’s brief states in part:

On March 6, 2017, the President issued an executive order that exceeds his authority under the immigration laws and transgresses the boundaries of the Establishment Clause. In defending that order, the President claims authority “parallel to Congress’s” to make “federal law” with respect to immigration, insists that the courts owe him complete “deference [as] the Executive,” and declares his decisions wholly “immune from judicial control.”

That breathtaking assertion of presidential power is irreconcilable with our constitutional framework. Our Framers crafted a Constitution predicated on the understanding that the “accumulation of all powers legislative, executive and judiciary in the same hands, * * * may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” The Federalist No. 47, p. 324 (James Madison) (Jacob Cooke ed., 1961). In issuing Executive Order No. 13,780 and then defending it in the courts, the President has named himself legislator, executive, and judge. The result is precisely the encroachment on individual liberties the Framers feared: The Order has sown chaos in our immigration system, separated our families, and infringed on the sovereignty of our States. It has also impeded the operations of our universities, our charities, and the tourism industry on which so many livelihoods depend.

In short, “this wolf comes as a wolf.” Morrison v. Olson, 487 U.S. 654, 699 (1988) (Scalia, J., dissenting). It falls to this Court to reestablish our constitutional separation of powers, and to reassert the bulwarks that protect our most sacred liberties.

Oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court will occur on October 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

A copy of Hawaii’s Supreme Court brief on the merits is attached.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Recognized for Service and Contributions to the National Guard

Yesterday, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) received the Charles Dick Medal of Merit from the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS). The award was presented at the 139th General Conference & Exhibition in Louisville, KY in recognition of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s distinguished legislative contributions to the National Guard.

“I’m truly grateful for the privilege of serving in the Hawaii Army National Guard, and in Congress, where in both capacities, I am focused on the safety and security of the people of Hawaii and our country.

“As we are witnessing the devastation being left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and now Hurricane Irma, thousands of National Guard soldiers and airmen from across the country are responding to the rescue, relief, and recovery efforts. These are every day Americans who have civilian jobs, are going to school, raising families, yet who maintain constant readiness and willingness to stand up at a moment’s notice to respond to disasters here at home, and to protect the nation when duty calls. I humbled to receive this award and as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, will continue to do my best every day to honor those who serve our country and make sure they have what they need to continue serving the American people,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

“Congresswoman Gabbard joins the ranks of exceptional Hawaii elected officials, like U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, who’ve worked diligently for the National Guard not just within their state but throughout the nation. Congresswoman Gabbard is the quintessential Soldier-Statesperson who ensures the National Guard continues to be Ready and Relevant within our States and the Nation,” said Major General Arthur “Joe” Logan, Hawaii’s State Adjutant General.

Hawaii Attorneys Providing Free Legal Support to Texans in Need

Hawaii attorneys have been answering the urgent call for legal help to Texans in need due to Hurricane Harvey. Last week, the Texas Supreme Court issued an emergency order authorizing out-of-state lawyers to practice law in Texas temporarily to help tens of thousands of Texans needing legal assistance resulting from the disaster caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald

“The utter devastation we have witnessed in the Texas Gulf Coast is heart breaking,” said Hawaii Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

“Although thousands of miles away, we are gratified that lawyers in Hawaii are able to help by volunteering either on the ground in Texas or remotely through a free virtual legal advice line.”

Hurricane victims will likely have legal questions about insurance, benefits, employment, tenant rights, and property damage issues. Hawaii attorneys wanting to volunteer to help them may register with the Texas.Freelegalanswers.org site. Once registered, they will receive confirmation from the Texas site administrator and may then start answering questions posted by those in need.

I want to thank Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii for coordinating Hawaii’s participation in the Texas Free Legal Answers program,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “I also want to express my sincere appreciation to the Hawaii State Bar Association for quickly taking the lead in recruiting attorneys.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Send Federal Aid to Hurricane Victims, and Ensure the Government Remains Open

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today voted for H.R. 601, which provides over $15 billion in emergency federal aid to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and other extreme weather events throughout the country. This funding ensures FEMA can provide immediate emergency response and relief as well as longer-term recovery efforts. The bill also extends the federal debt limit and ensures that the government remains open and able to deliver services until December 8, 2017.

“National tragedies like Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma test our country’s resolve. With today’s funding bill, Congress came together, putting the American people before partisanship and politics, to support the emergency response and recovery efforts serving the people most affected by these disasters.  Since Hurricane Harvey hit, we have seen the aloha spirit coming from people all across the country who have turned out to support those struggling in the wake of this disaster.  We are reminded that when one part of the country faces adversity, our nation comes together and perseveres. In the last week, we have witnessed compassion from neighbors, bravery from first responders, and responsiveness from public institutions. As communities in Texas and Louisiana begin the process of recovery and renewal, the entire country sends its thoughts, prayers, and support to the people of the Caribbean and Florida who are dealing with Hurricane Irma,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

Hawaii Ranks Among Top 20 States for Percentage of Graduates Taking ACT College Prep Test

This was the fourth year that HIDOE 11th graders were required to take the ACT, which landed Hawaii in the top 20 states for the percentage of graduates taking the college prep test according to the ACT’s Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 report.

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 report released today by the ACT, a research-based non-profit organization, shows that Hawaii’s public school students have continued to see steady growth in meeting college readiness benchmarks in Reading and Science. This was the fourth year that Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) 11th graders were required to take the ACT, which landed Hawaii in the top 20 states for the percentage of graduates taking the college prep test.

“The growth that Hawaii graduates have shown in college readiness since the state began administering the ACT to all students in 2013 has been remarkable. Steady gains in states are not unusual, but we rarely see this type of improvement over such a short period of time,” said Paul Weeks, ACT senior vice president for client relations.

Hawaii’s public school students continue to show improvements in performance since the test became part of the curriculum four years ago. The 0.7 point composite score increase (36 point scale) outpaced the national average, which remained flat during the same time period.

The results for The ACT’s college readiness benchmarks for HIDOE’s Class of 2017 resulted in these year-over-year changes for the state:

  • A 2 percentage point improvement in Science and Reading
  • A 3 percentage point decrease in Mathematics
  • Unchanged English scores

In each of the four subjects, ACT sets a college-readiness benchmark – the minimum score needed on an ACT subject-area test to indicate a 50 percent chance of obtaining a B or higher or about a 75 percent chance of obtaining a C or higher in the corresponding credit-bearing college course. The benchmarks are set based on national-level data. Similar to the composite scores, Hawaii’s percentage increases in meeting college readiness benchmarks outpaced the national increases.

“The results from the ACT provides valuable insight and highlights areas we should focus our efforts and resources in order to help our students compete with their peers on a national level,” added Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We will continue to work towards improving our testing portfolio to align with our ESSA and Strategic plans, and will rely on our students to continue to tell us what we can do to help them achieve their college and career goals.”

HIDOE supports high schools that administer the ACT by providing funding and support. The department views it as part of the college and career readiness process.

The ACT results provide students information about their readiness or postsecondary education, a score they can use for college admissions and placement, and information about how to better prepare for postsecondary education during their senior years. It is one of only two readiness examinations used for U.S. college and university admissions and was taken by approximately 2 million 2017 graduates nationwide, and 10,051 Hawai’i public high school students.

Click here to view The Condition of College and Career Readiness 2017 report.

Close Family Relatives and Refugees May Enter United States, Federal Appeals Court Rules

This afternoon the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the July 13, 2017 Hawaii district court order in the travel ban case, Hawaii v. Trump, allowing the entry to the United States of close family members and refugees with formal assurances from a United States resettlement agency.

Click tor read full opinion

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court issued an order in this case that the travel ban could not be enforced against foreign nationals who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States, including those with a “close familial relationship.” The same standard applies with respect to refugee admissions. The federal government subsequently issued guidance that such “close familial relationships” did not include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of people currently living in the United States.

Attorney General Chin said, “Today’s decision by the 9th Circuit keeps families together. It gives vetted refugees a second chance. The Trump administration keeps taking actions with no legal basis. We will keep fighting back.”

The Ninth Circuit’s order states in part:

[I]t is clear that the Supreme Court’s use of “close familial relationship[s]” meant that the Court wanted to exclude individuals who have no connection with the United States or have remote familial relationships that would not qualify as “bona fide.” The Government does not meaningfully argue how grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins of persons in the United States can be considered to have “no connection” to or “lack any bona fide relationship” with persons in the United States. Nor does the Government explain how its proposed scope of exclusion would avoid the infliction of concrete hardships on such individuals’ family members in the United States. Stated simply, the Government does not offer a persuasive explanation for why a mother-in-law is clearly a bona fide relationship, in the Supreme Court’s prior reasoning, but a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or cousin is not.

*** The Government offers no explanation as to why it relied on its selected provisions of the INA, while ignoring other provisions of the same statute as well as other immigration laws. The INA was implemented with “the underlying intention of . . . preservation of the family unit.” The Government’s artificially narrow interpretation of close familial relationships directly contradicts this intention.

*** Resettlement agencies will face concrete harms and burdens if refugees with formal assurances are not admitted. In the same way that the Court considered the harms of the U.S. citizen who wants to be reunited with his mother-in-law and the permanent resident who wants to be reunited with his wife, the employer that hired an employee, the university that admitted a student, and the American audience that invited a lecturer, the district court correctly considered the resettlement agency that has given a formal assurance for specific refugees.

*** Refugees’ lives remain in vulnerable limbo during the pendency of the Supreme Court’s stay. Refugees have only a narrow window of time to complete their travel, as certain security and medical checks expire and must then be re-initiated. Even short delays may prolong a refugee’s admittance.

A copy of the Ninth Circuit’s decision is attached.

Oral arguments on the merits of the travel ban appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court are scheduled to occur on October 10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Hawaii Joins 16 States in Lawsuit to Protect Dreamers and Preserve DACA

Today, Hawaii joined a coalition of 16 states in filing suit to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees. The lawsuit, which was filed this afternoon in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, details how the Trump administration has violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution by discriminating against the 800,000 DACA recipients across the country, violated due process rights, and harmed States’ residents, institutions, and economies.

Governor David Ige said,Hawaii is going to court – again. This time we’re joining 15 other states to fight for the future of our country’s Dreamers. 600 Dreamers currently go to Hawaii’s schools, work in our businesses, and deserve certainty and stability.”

Attorney General Chin said, “With cruel indifference the President has taken an action that immediately robs hundreds of Hawaii residents of certainty in their future. Many of these people, who have done nothing wrong, have only known Hawaii as their home. I am grateful to Governor Ige for his leadership and clear-eyed dedication to supporting the Dreamers and protecting DACA. Following his lead, I have joined this lawsuit not only because it is the right thing to do, but because the way the President has proceeded is illegal.”

Hawaii is home to nearly 600 DACA grantees. Hawaii DACA recipients have had their protection renewed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security more than 1,700 times. According to the Center for American Progress, 97 percent of DACA grantees are employed or go to school. In Hawaii alone, it is estimated that ending DACA would cost more than $28 million in annual GDP losses. Over the next ten years Hawaii stands to lose more than $126 million in tax revenues if DACA is rescinded

The complaint Hawaii joined today was led by the attorneys general of New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, and joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia.

Today’s lawsuit also includes a number of declarations from businesses, academic institutions, local governments, DACA grantees, and others impacted by the Trump administration’s decision.

The lawsuit states in part:

“Since 2012, DACA has allowed hundreds of thousands of young people to live, study, and work in the United States, and to become stable and even more productive members of their communities, without fear that they could be arrested and placed in deportation proceedings at any moment. Throughout the country, DACA grantees are employed by various companies and State and municipal agencies, which benefit from their skills and productivity. DACA grantees also contribute significantly to State and local revenues and tax bases. Yet, as a result of the DHS Memorandum, approximately 1,400 DACA grantees will lose their work authorization and risk termination of employment each day as their terms begin to expire. DACA recipients will lose their eligibility for public and employer-based health insurance programs that reduce the States’ health expenditures and promote public health. They also will lose their right to enroll in higher education institutions with in-state admissions preferences and tuition; thus, public universities will be deprived of a means by which they enrich the experience of all students and faculty through diversity and new perspectives.

“…More than 78 percent of DACA grantees are of Mexican origin, which is more than double the percentage of people of Mexican origin that comprise of the overall foreign-born population (29 percent) of the United States. Ending DACA, whose participants are mostly of Mexican origin, is a culmination of President’s Trump’s oft-stated commitments—whether personally held, stated to appease some portion of his constituency, or some combination thereof—to punish and disparage people with Mexican roots.

“The consequence of the President’s animus-driven decision is that approximately 800,000 persons who have availed themselves of the program will ultimately lose its protections, and will be exposed to removal when their authorizations expire and they cannot seek renewal. The individuals who have relied on DACA are now more vulnerable to removal than before the program was initiated, as they turned over sensitive information to the federal government in their applications. Despite the federal government’s repeated promises that it would not use such information to conduct enforcement measures, the Memorandum does not explain how the government will keep that information secure, nor does it provide any assurances that immigration enforcement agents will not use such information to find and remove those who applied for DACA.

“Rescinding DACA will cause harm to hundreds of thousands of the States’ residents, injure State-run colleges and universities, upset the States’ workplaces, damage the States’ economies, hurt State-based companies, and disrupt the States’ statutory and regulatory interests.”

A copy of the complaint is available here:

https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/new_york_et_al._v._trump_et_al_-_17cv5228.pdf

UH Mānoa Moves Up in Prestigious Ranking

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has received more global recognition of its academic and research excellence in an international ranking released on September 5.

The 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings rated UH Mānoa number 63 in the nation, up from 69 last year—representing its best showing ever in the Times ranking. According to the U.S. Department of Education, there are more than 3,000 four-year universities in the nation.

“This upward movement on the Times ranking is a bright note recognizing the hard work and continued dedication of our faculty, who teach students and lead research efforts that make an impact on a global level,” said Michael Bruno, UH Mānoa interim vice chancellor for academic affairs and vice chancellor for research.

The Times rankings are the only global university league tables to judge research-intensive universities across all of their core missions—teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

UH Mānoa also ranks among the top 100 U.S. universities in other international rankings, including number 71 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities, based at Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China, and number 69 in the United Kingdom-based QS World University Ranking.

For more information on rankings, see the Mānoa Institutional Research Office website.

Senator Schatz Statement on Trump Administration Decision to End DACA

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) today released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz and the Late Hawaii Senator Gil Kahele assist in Pahoa after Tropical Storm Iselle hit.

“This is one of the most inhumane things this administration could do. It doesn’t matter where you stand on immigration. We should all be able to agree that people who came here as children, who have grown up as American as anyone else’s kids, should not be stripped away from the communities they’re a part of to go back to a country they don’t remember.

“People trusted the government when they chose to register as Dreamers. And now, this administration has betrayed their trust and will ruin their lives.”

UH Hilo Student Participates in International Human Rights Summit

A University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo senior from Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor) represented her country as a youth delegate at the 14th Annual International Human Rights Summit, held recently at United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City.

Josefina Pereira (right) seated with fellow delegates at the UN Trusteeship Council Chamber Room.

Josefina Pereira, who is majoring in administration of justice and political science, was one of 52 delegates selected for the summit, which teaches youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspires them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.

“It was an honor to represent Timor- Leste and UH Hilo as a delegate, and to learn more about important human rights issues from true human rights champions and activists from around the world,” Pereira said.

Pereira is a recipient of a United States Timor-Leste Scholarship funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administered by the East-West Center. Her attendance at the summit was sponsored through a merit-based scholarship from Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and with financial assistance from the UH Hilo Office of International Student Services program.

“We were thrilled to have Josefina represent her country and UH Hilo at this important event,” said Jim Mellon, director of International Student Services at UH Hilo. “It is a testament to her dedication to human rights and to UH Hilo’s engagement with the global community.”

The summit brought together officials and advocates who work for equality and justice through human rights education, including ambassadors and other representatives of permanent missions to the UN. During the session, keynote speakers, youth delegates and ambassadors and observers from more than 45 countries were invited to share their thoughts and feelings on human rights issues in their home countries. Pereira addressed children’s rights in her homeland, with a focus on mitigating and eventually ending child abuse.

“This is an issue of great concern to me,” Pereira said. “I appreciate the opportunity the summit provided me to share my thoughts on this topic with an international audience.”

Participants also attended panel presentations on key human rights issues, including human trafficking, that featured leaders of the international effort to prevent human trafficking and a survivor who shared her own personal story. They later heard from noted human rights activists, including author and social entrepreneur Bryant McGill, Reach the World Director of Partnerships Christopher Ahearn, and radio and TV host Kerri Kassem. Pereira said she was deeply inspired by her experience and hopes to return.

“I feel I gained a lot from my experience, but have more to learn. So I would like to return next year as a youth ambassador,” Pereira said. “2018 will also be a very special year as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 70th anniversary and YHRI marks its 15th anniversary. ”