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Live Stream with Bernie Sanders at UH Hilo – Proposed Legislation to Make Tuition Free

Tomorrow, Tuesday October 10th, the University of Hawaii Hilo registered group Global Hope, will be showing a nation-wide streaming of Bernie Sanders proposed legislation to make public colleges and universities tuition free.

The presentation will be at 7:00pm at University of Hawaii Hilo in UCB 100.

Many in Hawaii support Bernie Sanders and will be interested in this proposal.

Legislation Helps Provide More Body-Worn Cameras to Local Law Enforcement Agencies

Last week, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and U.S. Representative Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) introduced the Police Creating Accountability by Making Effective Recording Available (Police CAMERA) Act of 2017.  This legislation would create a pilot grant program to assist state and local law enforcement agencies develop safe and effective body-worn camera programs that also protect civilians’ privacy rights.

“We can’t restore trust between our communities and law enforcement without transparency and accountability. Body cameras alone won’t repair that relationship, but they have proven to be effective and can do a great deal to keep both police officers and community members safe and accountable,” said Senator Schatz

“Body cameras will benefit the brave men and women who serve in our police force and the people they protect,” said Senator Paul. “The use of body cameras helps officers collect and preserve evidence to solve crimes, while also decreasing the number of complaints against police. The Police CAMERA Act will help state and local police departments access this new tool, while ensuring that the privacy rights of every civilian are respected.”

“Justice is supposed to be blind, but it is not supposed to be blind to the facts. Police body cameras can help provide evidence and restore some much-needed trust between police and the communities they serve,” said Congressman Cohen. “The cameras could show the officer’s actions for what they were, proving both lawful and unlawful activity. The vast majority of police are well meaning, dedicated public servants, and we depend upon them to keep us safe from criminals. But the fact remains some officers go beyond the law in a callous disregard for due process.  Their actions damage the public trust that is essential for good police to be able to serve and protect our communities. Police body cameras, alone, will not solve this problem, but they are an important step in the right direction. I would like to thank Senators Schatz and Paul for their leadership on this issue and for partnering with me on this legislation.”

The Police CAMERA Act of 2017 would establish a pilot grant program using existing funding to assist state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies with the purchasing or leasing of body-worn cameras. It would also authorize an impact-study after two years. The study would assess the impact body-worn cameras have on reducing the use of excessive force by police, its effects on officer safety and public safety, and procedures to protect the privacy of individuals who are recorded.

“The resulting benefits of the body-worn cameras after almost two years of usage have greatly exceeded my expectations,” said Darryl D. Perry, Chief of Police of the Kauai Police Department. “Not only have our officers embraced this technology wholeheartedly, but our community has commended KPD for being open and transparent.”

Original cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).

State of Hawaii to Introduce Bill for Free Credit Freezes

The State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) announced the office will propose legislation directing consumer credit agencies to provide security freezes at no cost to Hawaii residents. The measure will be introduced as part of the Governor’s Administration package during the next legislative session.

Recent events involving security breaches of databases containing sensitive identifying information, such as social security numbers and addresses, has shown that repositories of consumers’ personal information continue to be at a high risk of infiltration by identity thieves.  Although many consumers have taken proactive steps to protect their personal information by requesting consumer reporting agencies to place a security freeze on their credit reports, many have not done so due to the costs associated with obtaining a security freeze.

The purpose of the bill is to enhance consumer protections by allowing consumers to request a consumer reporting agency to place, lift, or remove a security freeze on their credit reports free of charge, considering recent events involving security breaches of databases containing consumer identifying information. Consumer reporting agencies are allowed by state law to charge a fee up to $5 for each request to place, lift, or remove a security freeze.

“Our actions are based on doing the right thing to protect Hawaii’s residents,” said Governor David Ige. “When a business is designed to profit off of managing the public’s personal information, they have a good faith duty to protect that information—not solely on behalf of their shareholders but equally on behalf of their customers. This did not happen and the public is now at risk.”

“Our citizens should have the right to freeze their credit files without cost and without unnecessary hassles. The breach involving Equifax has shown that we cannot rely solely on companies to safeguard our personal information.  By encouraging people to proactively protect themselves from becoming victims of a security breach this bill will help to reduce identity theft in Hawaii,” added Steve Levins, Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection.

Equifax disclosed earlier this month that it suffered a breach affecting at least 143 million Americans. Information compromised in the breach includes Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, dates of birth, credit card numbers and addresses—creating a perfect opportunity for impacted people to become victims of identity theft.

In announcing the breach, Equifax stated it would offer free credit monitoring to everyone. The company has set up a website where people can check whether their personal information potentially was affected by the breach: http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com.

The Office of Consumer Protection has since announced an investigation into the massive data breach involving the consumer reporting agency.

In view of this breach the Office of Consumer Protection is urging consumers to seriously consider placing a credit freeze on their credit reports with all 3 consumer reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. More information on Equifax’s credit monitoring and a guide to initiate a security freeze is available at http://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/equifax.

Additionally, the OCP states that consumers should:

  • Regularly request their free credit reports, inspect them closely, and promptly dispute any unauthorized accounts;
  • Inspect all financial account statements closely and promptly dispute any unauthorized charges;
  • Consider placing alerts on their financial accounts so their financial institution alerts them when money above a pre-designated amount is withdrawn;
  • Beware of potential phishing emails; don’t open any email messages or attachments from unknown senders and do not click on any unknown links. Fraudsters will frequently send coercive and misleading emails threatening account suspension or worse if sensitive information is not provided. Remember, businesses will never ask customers to verify account information via email. If in doubt, contact the business in question directly for verification and to report phishing emails; and
  • Be on the lookout for spoofed email addresses. Spoofed email addresses are those that make minor changes in the domain name, frequently changing the letter O to the number zero, or the lowercase letter l to the number one. Scrutinize all incoming email addresses to ensure that the sender is truly legitimate.

Consumers with questions regarding Equifax’s data breach are encouraged to contact Equifax at 866-447-7559.

Click to read full release

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Visits Local Farm, Addresses Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United Convention

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today addressed the 7th Annual Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United (HFUU) Convention held at Kahumana Farms in Waiʻanae.

The congresswoman recognized the Hawaiʻi chapter’s achieving charter status with the National Farmers Union (NFU) and spoke about opportunities for Hawaiʻi in the upcoming 2018 farm bill, and her work to fight for funding for important grant programs that empower Hawaiʻi’s communities to live more sustainably, strengthen local and regional food systems, and empower those growing food to feed Hawaiʻi’s people, leveling the field, rather than more giveaways to big, agribusiness corporations.

The three day convention brings together members of the NFU, including NFU President Roger Johnson, NFU leadership from across the country, local farmers, small businessowners, and others to explore the concepts of Aloha ‘Aina and Malama ‘Aina to create regenerative agricultural systems for Hawaiʻi. This year’s conference includes panels and presentations on polyculture cover crops, agro ecology systems, soil and human health, hemp in Hawaiʻi, sustainable and organic farming, and much more.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “As a community, we have great potential for Hawaiʻi to empower our local farmers, strengthen our food security, secure funding for critical research, and empower our local communities through locally grown agriculture. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a rise in local farm-to-school programs, improved value of our coffee industries, and increased engagement among our local community to buy local and invest in community farming. There is much to be done to build on these successes, and events like today’s bring together all the necessary community components to make it happen.”

Hawai`i Joins Coalition of 18 States Opposing President’s Contraception Coverage Rollback

Attorney General Doug Chin today joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general warning the Trump administration that it should expect legal action over its discriminatory, ill-considered, and dangerous move to effectively end the contraception coverage rule created by the Affordable Care Act. The 18 attorneys general have written Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Don Wright, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta, and Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin expressing their strong opposition to the Trump administration’s action that will increase healthcare costs for women, lead to more unplanned pregnancies, and place even more strain on state budgets.

Attorney General Doug Chin

Attorney General Chin said, “We are talking about basic access to health care for women. Contraception provides women the autonomy they deserve. It’s also used to treat a variety of serious conditions having nothing to do with birth control. And the public has had no opportunity to comment.”

For millions of women the contraception coverage rule has reduced their healthcare costs, helped address medical conditions, and allowed them to make their own decisions about when and if to have children. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman’s out-of-pocket healthcare costs. Now, 62 million women across the country have access to contraception without a co-pay, saving an average of $255 per year for oral pill contraceptives, and the percentage of women who have a co-pay for contraception has fallen from more than 20% to less than 4%.

“Allowing any employer or insurance company with a religious or ‘moral’ objection to contraception to opt out of this requirement will take away women’s autonomy to make their own reproductive decisions and put those decisions in the hands of their employers,” write the attorneys general. “Subjecting women to the religious and moral beliefs of their employers violates the right to privacy that is so evident in Supreme Court doctrine. Women should have coverage for their critical health care just as men do.”

The attorneys general also informed the relevant cabinet secretaries that “we will closely monitor any legal challenges to this rule that discriminates against women in our states and negatively impacts our state budgets. We stand ready to take action to protect the best interests of our states and constituents.”

In addition to Hawaii, Oregon, and Virginia, joining today’s letter opposing the Trump administration’s rollback of contraceptive coverage are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

A copy of the letter is attached.

State Holds First Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission Meeting

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in partnership with the State Office of Planning, will be holding the first-ever Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission (Climate Commission) meeting on October 11 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, Waikiki Beach Resort, Coral Ballrooms 1 & 2 from 8:30 AM to 12:45 PM.

On June 6, 2017, Governor David Ige signed Act 32 Session Laws of Hawai‘i, 2017, making Hawai‘i the first state to enact legislation implementing parts of the Paris Climate Accord.  The Paris agreement was signed by 195 nations on November 4, 2016, and is the largest, concerted global effort to combat climate change to date.

Unprecedented warming of the atmosphere due to greenhouse gas emissions poses a significant threat to the people of our State.  Suzanne Case, Co-chair of the Climate Commission said, “Hawaii and our Pacific island neighbors contribute a proportionately small amount to global warming, but will experience disproportionate significant effects due to sea level rise, drought, increased storminess, and ecological changes in our marine and terrestrial environments.   The Climate Commission will work with all stakeholders to address these challenges by systematically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving our resiliency to its serious impacts, utilizing the principles and contributing to the goals set by the Paris agreement.”

It is anticipated that the new Climate Commission will provide direction, facilitation, coordination and planning among state and county agencies, federal agencies, and other partners about climate change mitigation (reduction of greenhouse gases) and climate change resiliency strategies. These include, but are not limited to, sea level rise adaptation, water and agricultural security, and natural resource stewardship.  The Climate Commission will be placed under DLNR for administrative purposes and is headed jointly by the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and the Director of the State Office of Planning, or their designees.

This first meeting will give Commission members a status update of the State Sea Level Rise Vulnerability & Adaptation Report that is due to the State Legislature at the end of the year. It includes an open discussion for the setting of the Climate Commission’s priorities.  Governor David Ige will make an appearance.

The meeting is open to everyone. Anyone with special needs requiring accommodations or assistance, is asked to please contact the DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands at least four days prior to the public hearing.  For more information contact the OCCL at (808) 587-0377 or visit http://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/

Hawaii to Challenge Travel Ban 3.0

Today Hawaii filed supplemental briefing with the United States Supreme Court regarding the Hawaii v. Trump litigation. Shortly after filing that supplemental briefing, Hawaii notified the U.S. Supreme Court that it intends to seek leave from the Hawaii federal district court to file an amended complaint challenging the lawfulness of the third travel ban.

Click to read full letter

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “Hawaii fought the first and second travel bans because they were illegal and unconstitutional efforts to implement the President’s Muslim ban. Unfortunately, the third travel ban is more of the same. This new ban still discriminates on the basis of nationality, it still exceeds the President’s legal authority, and it still seeks to implement his Muslim ban. Simply adding an obvious target like North Korea to the list and banning travel by some government officials from Venezuela does nothing to disguise this. And – unlike the first two versions – Travel Ban 3.0 has no end date.”

Hawaii’s supplemental brief filed with the Supreme Court and its letter to the Supreme Court clerk are both attached.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Fights to Prevent the FCC From Dismantling Broadband Internet Standards

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) signed a bicameral letter to urge Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai not to relax Internet broadband standards for millions of Americans across the country which would most adversely affect rural, tribal, and low-income communities. The FCC announced in a Notice of Inquiry that it would consider lowering the standards of broadband Internet access speeds from 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, while also classifying a mobile Internet connection as a suitable replacement for home broadband.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“It is indisputable that high-speed broadband Internet access is essential to succeed in today’s economy, and that rural, tribal and low-income communities already face significant obstacles to accessing 21st century jobs, training programs, and educational opportunities.  According to the FCC’s own 2016 report, 39 percent of rural Americans and 41 percent of tribal communities lack access to acceptable internet speeds, creating significant obstacles that often inhibit them from doing things like promoting their business, communicating with their families, and accessing education tools.  I’ve heard this firsthand from constituents in my district who live in very rural communities.  Often, the only access to the Internet for kids in school was through a parent’s wireless hotspot signal.

“The FCC should be looking at how to expand and strengthen the infrastructure and high-speed Internet in America’s rural, tribal and low-income communities.  By opting instead to lower the bar and redefine what constitutes an acceptable Internet connection, the FCC continues on its current trend towards favoring corporate interests over American consumers.  Should the FCC’s proposals move forward, they will create more obstacles for working Americans by putting them behind the technology curve.

“I firmly support the expansion of high-speed Internet access to rural and tribal areas, which is why I cosponsored H. Con. Res. 63, which calls for the availability of high-speed Internet for all Americans.”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Immigration Telephone Townhall Draws Nearly 4,000 Across Hawaiʻi

Nearly 4,000 Hawaiʻi residents participated in Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s immigration-focused “telephone townhall” on Wednesday afternoon. Local and national guests included:

  • Mateo Caballero, Legal Director of ACLU Hawaiʻi and a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition
  • Clare Hanusz, a Hawaiʻi immigration attorney and a member of the Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition and the Hawaiʻi Coalition for Immigrant Rights
  • Shiu-Ming Cheer, Senior Staff Attorney & Field Coordinator at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC)

The congresswoman discussed the status of DACA and the need for Congress to urgently pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients. She also talked about the United States’ broken and outdated immigration system and the need for reforms, family reunification for WWII Filipino veterans in Hawaiʻi, her work to restore access to federal healthcare for Compact of Free Association (COFA) migrants, expanding access to federal immigration services on the neighbor islands, and more. She and her guests also answered questions on education rights for DREAMers, fees for naturalization, qualifications to receive DACA, backlogs on citizenship applications, rules regarding re-entry for foreign-born relatives of U.S. military personnel, and more.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, “The majority of Americans can trace their history through their relatives and ancestors who, against all odds and great difficulties, found their way to and made a home here in the U.S. But while our family histories remind us of how far we have come, the heartbreak and suffering faced by millions of families across the country due to our broken immigration system demonstrates the need for real reforms. Today, the lives of hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and friends are on hold as they wait for U.S. leaders to take action on DACA. Congress must take action to pass legislation that will provide a permanent solution for DACA recipients, who are fearful they will be targeted and deported from the only home they’ve ever known. This telephone town hall was a great opportunity to engage with my constituents from every island across the state, answer their questions, and hear their concerns.  This is an issue that affects people in Hawaiʻi and all across the country in many unique and different ways. Rather than allowing the issue of immigration reform to divide us, let us work together in the spirit of aloha to bring about real, meaningful change.”

Background: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s office provide service to hundreds of Hawaiʻi residents every year to get assistance from U.S federal agencies, including United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, and others. Her office can assist constituents with passports, visas, immigration and naturalization applications, Social Security claims, veterans benefits, and much more. Constituent advocates are located in every county, and hold regular “casework staff office hours” to help residents with federal agency casework. For a list of upcoming staff office hours, click here. For information on how the congresswoman and staff can assist constituents, click here.

Hawaii Joins in Settling With Mylan Inc – Will Receive Over $700,000

Attorney General Doug Chin announced today that Hawaii has joined the United States, the District of Columbia, and all 49 other states in settling allegations against Mylan Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mylan Specialty L.P. (collectively “Mylan”). The settlement resolves allegations that Mylan knowingly underpaid rebates owed to the Medicaid program for the drugs EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. (“EpiPen”) dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. Mylan owns the exclusive rights to sell EpiPen in the United States and possesses legal title to the New Drug Codes (“NDCs”) for EpiPen.

Pursuant to a settlement Mylan entered with the United States in August, Mylan was to pay up to $465 million to the United States and the states, depending on the number of states that joined the settlement. As of Friday, September 29th, all fifty states and the District of Columbia had joined the settlement; as a result, the states will share $213,936,000 of the total settlement of $465 million. Hawaii’s share of the settlement is $742,679.02, which will be split between the Med-Quest program at the Department of Human Services as restitution and the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit at the Department of the Attorney General for its continued enforcement efforts.

The Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute was enacted by Congress in 1990 to keep costs down for Medicaid’s payment for outpatient drugs. The law requires participating drug makers and NDC holders such as Mylan to sign a rebate agreement with the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That agreement is a precondition to drug makers getting Medicaid coverage for their drugs, and to pay quarterly rebates to state Medicaid programs for drugs dispensed to Medicaid beneficiaries. NDC holders must provide information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) concerning their covered drugs. In particular, they must advise CMS regarding the classification of a covered drug as an “innovator” or “noninnovator” drug. This is because the amount of rebates owed varies depending on the drug’s classification. The amount of the rebate also depends on pricing information provided by the manufacturer. For drugs classified as “innovator” drugs, NDC holders must report their “Best Price,” or the lowest price for which it sold a covered drug in a particular quarter.

Specifically, this settlement resolves allegations that from July 29, 2010 to March 31, 2017, Mylan submitted false statements to CMS that incorrectly classified EpiPen as a “noninnovator multiple source” drug, as opposed to a “single source” or “innovator multiple source” drug. Mylan also did not report a Best Price to CMS for EpiPen, which it was required to do for all “single source” and “innovator multiple source” drugs. This meant Mylan submitted false statements to CMS and the States relating to EpiPen for Medicaid rebate purposes, and underpaid its EpiPen rebates to the State Medicaid Programs.

Hawaii Receives $427,000 in Federal Grants for Agriculture

Hawaii has awarded 11 projects to eligible non-profit and for-profit entities totaling more than $427,000 through the 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The federal program, funded by the Farm Bill, provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops.

Click for more information

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) submitted the application to the USDA in June 2017 and will be administering the program. The approved projects support activities for research and increasing production of specialty crops, including cacao, taro, mango, cucumber, banana, legumes and Christmas trees. The projects funded include farmer education and agricultural marketing programs. A list of the projects funded by the SCBGP is attached.

The USDA SCBGP has awarded more than $60.5 million nationwide for this coming fiscal year. The grant period runs from September 2017 to September 2020.

For more information on the USDA SCBGP, go to: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp/awards

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard Calls On Administration & Congress to Pass Aid Package for Puerto Rico Now

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today spoke on the House floor calling on the Trump administration & Congress to pass an aid package for Puerto Rico now in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard demanded that the administration immediately send all available resources to help with recovery efforts.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:

“Right now 3.5 million Americans, our fellow citizens, are facing a humanitarian crisis. In Puerto Rico, the majority of people still lack basic electricity, clean drinking water and medicine — the basic necessities just to stay alive. What to speak of the basic resources they need to begin the great task of rebuilding their lives and their communities. It has been days since the hurricane passed over Puerto Rico, leaving death and destruction in its wake.

“The people of Puerto Rico are literally crying out for help. There are far too many, especially those in rural communities, who still have not been reached by those bringing aid. As a representative from the island state of Hawaii, I can only imagine their frustration and desperation. I urge the administration to dedicate all available resources for recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and work with Congress to pass an emergency aid package to ensure that those delivering aid have what they need to help the people of Puerto Rico and save lives.”

Hawaii Department of Health Awarded $3.5 Million to Support Families Through Home Visiting Program

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) has been awarded $3,510,137 in federal funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support the state’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. The funds will provide voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with young children up to kindergarten entry.

“Home visiting services help to ensure our keiki and their families have a healthier start,” said Matthew Shim, DOH Family Health Services Division Chief. “This federal funding will allow the state to continue to provide this important service to expecting mothers and families during a critical time in their child’s development.”

The MIECHV Program serves about 850 Hawaii families each year with more than 10,000 home visits conducted statewide annually. Families are screened for eligibility in birthing hospitals, or families may contact MIECHV contracted providers online at www.yourohana.org to determine their eligibility. Services assist mothers through pregnancy and post-delivery, providing support to mothers learning to breastfeed and care for their baby’s health and early development through no-cost home visiting educational supports. Parents receive counseling to acquire knowledge and understanding of child development milestones and positive parenting techniques. Assistance is also offered to help families to set goals for the future, continue their education, and find employment and child care solutions.

During federal fiscal year 2016, 93.9 percent of pregnant women enrolled in the program accessed prenatal care before the end of their second trimester. Prenatal care is essential for ensuring the safe birth of a healthy baby. Pregnant women enrolled in the program also reported breastfeeding their infants for an average of 24.6 weeks or for the first 6 months of life as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All of the families enrolled in the program received counseling on the results of the child’s developmental screenings, and parents spent more time in adult education programs to move toward economic self-sufficiency by furthering their education.

“The MIECHV Program helps parents and caregivers connect with services and resources and improve the skills they need to support their families’ well-being and provide the best opportunities for their children,” said HRSA Associate Administrator for Maternal and Child Health Michael Lu, M.D., M.S., M.P.H. “In these voluntary programs, trained nurses, social workers, early childhood educators, or other trained professionals meet regularly with expectant parents or families with young children in their homes, building strong, positive relationships with families who want and need support.”

Administered by HRSA, in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families, the MIECHV Program gives pregnant women and families, particularly those considered at-risk, necessary resources and skills to raise children who are physically, socially, and emotionally healthy and ready to learn. Funded through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 through FY 2017, the MIECHV Program is also addressing HHS’ clinical priorities such as the opioid crisis, serious mental illness, and childhood obesity. Nationwide, $342 million in funding was awarded to 55 states, territories, and nonprofit organizations.

For more information on HRSA’s Home Visiting Program, visit http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/homevisiting.

For a list of all state and county awardees, visit https://mchb.hrsa.gov/maternal-child-health-initiatives/home-visiting/fy17-home-visiting-awards.

Hawaii Air National Guard Supports Hurricane Maria Relief Mission

A Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft from the 204th Airlift Squadron, 154th Wing, left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, heading to Puerto Rico, as part of the Hurricane Maria relief effort.    The C-17, carrying two flight crews and maintenance personnel (17 Airmen in total) will initially stage at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, from where they will transport relief supplies to Puerto Rico.

A Hawaii Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft from the 204th Airlift Squadron, 154th Wing, left Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam this morning, heading to Puerto Rico, as part of the Hurricane Maria relief effort. The C-17, carrying two flight crews and maintenance personnel (18 Airmen in total) will initially stage at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, from where they will transport relief supplies to Puerto Rico.
Gov. David Y. Ige and Hawaii National Guard leadership saw off the flight crews and maintenance personnel at Hickam Field.
(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andrew Lee Jackson)

Gov. David Y. Ige and Hawaii National Guard leadership saw off the flight crews and maintenance personnel at Hickam Field.   “Puerto Rico is suffering through a disaster of epic proportions.  The people there lack electricity, food, water and fuel. The people of Hawaii will do everything we can to assist our fellow Americans while they work to recover from this horrible devastation”.

The C-17 crew has been tasked with flying first to Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington State, where they will pick up relief supplies and additional personnel before heading to Puerto Rico.   They anticipate flying multiple missions, possibly including some to the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was hit by not only by Hurricane Maria but also by Hurricane Irma earlier in September.

The 204th Airlift Squadron is one of three flying units within the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Wing, the largest and most complex wing in the entire Air National Guard.   The Guard is tasked with being ready for war or any other operational contingency overseas and well as disaster response here at home.

Hawaii Department of Health Deputy Director Receives National Award for Excellence in Public Health

Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Deputy Director Keith Y. Yamamoto has been selected by the national Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) as a 2017 recipient of the prestigious Noble J. Swearingen Award. Yamamoto was honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC on Sept. 20.

Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler and Deputy Director Keith Yamamoto confirmed by Senate on April 9, 2015

Each year, ASTHO recognizes individuals nationwide who demonstrate excellence in public health leadership and work tirelessly to protect and promote the public’s health. Yamamoto was selected for his service as a member of ASTHO’s Senior Deputies Committee in which he provided critical guidance and expertise on multiple state and territorial public health issues.

“Keith brings transformative leadership to the field of public health and embodies a genuine desire to improve the health of Hawaii’s residents,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “His accomplishments have made a difference in the lives of others and we are inspired by his commitment to lead with compassion, integrity and perseverance.”

Yamamoto said, “It was an honor and at the same time very humbling to be recognized, especially knowing that I work alongside colleagues who are equally committed to improving the health and well-being of the people of Hawaii,” he said.

A resident of Nuuanu, Yamamoto was appointed DOH deputy director in 2011. He oversees the department’s general administration which includes budget, fiscal, facilities management, human resources, information technology and compliance. He also oversees the District Health Offices of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai; the Office of Planning, Policy and Program Development; and the Office of Health Status Monitoring.

Prior to his appointment, Yamamoto served for six years as chief of the department’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division, where he was responsible for overseeing and managing a range of adult and adolescent substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment services statewide.

Yamamoto also previously served as program administrator for the Hawaii Department of Human Services’ Office of Youth Services and managed various school-based vocational education and career development programs for at-risk youth for the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations.

Yamamoto earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of

Hawaii at Manoa and a bachelor’s in rehabilitation services from the University of Northern Colorado.

The Noble J. Swearingen Award was first bestowed in 1979 in recognition of public health administrators who have demonstrated excellence. ASTHO is a national nonprofit organization which helps state and U.S. territorial health agencies develop and implement essential programs and policies in public health priority areas.

Flags to be Lowered in Honor of Victims of Las Vegas Mass Shooting

At the direction of the President of the United States, Gov. David Ige has ordered that the United States flag and the Hawai‘i state flag will be flown at half-staff starting on Monday, October 2, 2017 at the State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard in the State of Hawai‘i. The flags will be flown at half-staff until sunset, October 6, 2017.

This action honors the victims of the tragedy in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“I am shocked and terribly saddened by the news of an unbelievable act of mass murder in Las Vegas. We call it The Ninth Island because we have so many family and friends living there, and most of us have visited the city for entertainment or business purposes. Today, we grieve with those who have lost loved ones and pray for the injured,” said Gov. Ige.

Hawaii State Senator Rosalyn Baker Named Top Influencer in Aging

Next Avenue, public media’s first and only digital publication dedicated to covering issues for people 50 and older, has named State Senator Rosalyn Baker (Dist. 6 – South and West Maui) as one of the top 50 Influencers in Aging.

Senator Rosalyn Baker

Senator Baker was recognized for her advocacy in the area of caregiving by leading the effort to pass a bill that establishes the Kupuna Caregivers Program, the nation’s first benefit program to help an employed family caregiver stay in the workforce while ensuring the loved one has additional supports to age in place. The Kupuna Care and Caregivers programs are especially designed for families for whom assisted living facilities or nursing homes are too expensive. The bill was signed into law on July 6, 2017.

The third annual list of top 50 Influencers in Aging includes advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writer and experts at the forefront of changing how we age and think about aging.

“I’ve spent my political career advocating for those who are most vulnerable in our community, so I’m honored to be recognized for my work in an area that I’m passionate about – our seniors,” said Sen. Baker. “The Kupuna Caregivers Program is a team effort between government, community and the public, and acknowledges the critical need to help our State’s elderly maintain their dignity and quality of life in their golden years while ensuring family caregivers can stay in the workforce and not jeopardize their own retirement benefits.”

Individuals are honored from each of the five areas that Next Avenue covers: Health & Well-Being, Caregiving, Money & Security, Work & Purpose and Living & Learning.

“Next Avenue is proud to honor these 50 people who are transforming aging in a time when this work is especially crucial,” said Next Avenue Editorial & Content Director Shayla Stern. “More than 100 million Americans are over age 50 now, and as life expectancy increases, it is imperative that policies, housing, science, technology and culture all evolve to better serve our population. These honorees on our list of Influencers in Aging are on the leading edge of this revolution.”

For a complete list of honorees and further information about Next Avenue’s 2017 Influencers in Aging, please visit: nextavenue.org/influencers.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to Host Live Immigration Telephone Townhall with Hawaiʻi, National Experts

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) will host a live immigration-focused “telephone town hall” on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 4:00pm HST with local and national immigration experts from the ACLU Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi Civil Rights Coalition, and National Immigration Law Center.

The call will provide an update on immigration issues including DACA and federal immigration reform, give constituents an overview of resources Rep. Gabbard’s office can help with including Social Security, immigration and naturalization applications, passports and visas, and more, and provide constituents an opportunity to ask questions related to immigration.

Please note: To protect each individual’s privacy, constituents living in Hawaiʻi’s Second Congressional District with questions regarding a personal claim or casework should contact Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s office directly at (808) 541-1986 or TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.

How to participate:

  • To call in live at the time of the event, call 888-476-4187 at 4:00pm HST on Wednesday October 4 to be joined in to the call
  • To receive a pre-call reminder to join this event: Text “TULSI” to 828282, OR go to vekeo.com/reptulsigabbard and enter your name, phone number and email. Once you submit your information, you will receive a confirmation email. You must click “Verify” in the confirmation email in order to complete your registration

President Trump to Visit Asia and HAWAII

President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will travel to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Hawaii from November 3-14, 2017. The President will participate in a series of bilateral, multilateral, and cultural engagements—including the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit—demonstrating his continued commitment to the alliances and partnerships of the United States in the region.

The Trump International Hotel in Waikiki

President Trump will discuss the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific region to America’s prosperity and security. He will also emphasize the importance of fair and reciprocal economic ties with America’s trade partners. The President’s engagements will strengthen the international resolve to confront the North Korean threat and ensure the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Census Bureau Statement on Asking Sexual Orientation Question On Census Barriers, Attitudes and Motivators Survey

The U.S. Census Bureau continues to research and plan communications and outreach strategies to maximize response and participation in the 2020 Census. Similar to preparations for the 2010 Census, we will again conduct the Census Barriers, Attitudes, and Motivators (CBAMS) Survey designed to better understand the mindsets related to census participation across demographics subgroups, including the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) population.

The question on sexual orientation remains a part of the initial set of proposed survey questions. Given the sample size of the CBAMS, the expected response rate, and the percentage of the U.S. population that is LGB, we would expect the survey to yield a sufficient amount of data upon which to make statistical inferences.