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This Weekend – Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi 2016 State Convention

The Democratic Party of Hawaiʻi will have its 2016 State Convention this weekend, May 28th and May 29th, at the Sheraton Waikiki.

Democratic Party of HawaiiThe highlight will be the election of the new Party Chairperson on Sunday to replace outgoing Chair Stephanie Ohigashi who served a two year term. Candidates for Party Chair are Jacce Mikulanec, Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Florence Kong Kee and Tim Vandeveer.

Other scheduled activities include:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

  • Opening Ceremonies & Plenary
  • Party Executive Officer Reports
  • Executive Branch Reports
  • Convention Committee Reports
  • Election of State Central Committee members, National Convention Delegates, and Presidential Electors
  • Legislative Branch Reports

Sunday, May 29, 2016

  • Session Reconvenes & U.S. Senate and Congressional Member Reports
  • Announcement of Election Results from May 28, 2016
  • Election of the National Committeewoman, National Committeeman, and State Party Chair
  • Meritorious Award Presentation
  • Convention Committee Reports (Cont.)

“Our biennial convention is a special time for Hawaiʻi Democrats. With over a thousand delegates, alternates, party officials, elected officials, student observers and guests gathering at this convention, it’s an opportunity to visit with old friends, make new friends and to do the important work of moving Hawaiʻi forward,” Chair Stephanie Ohigashi said. “I absolutely look forward to seeing my fellow Hawaiʻi Democrats from across the state.”

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

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

Capital

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

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

Other Legislative priorities in which lawmakers approved bills:

Mālama ‘Ohana (Providing for our Families)

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

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

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

Mālama Honua (Nurturing the Earth)

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

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

Mālama Kaiaulu (Sustaining our Communities)

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

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

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

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

Mālama Aupuni (Good Governance)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Equal Pay Day, Senator Hirono Leads Measure To End Gender Barriers In STEM Careers

Senator Mazie K. Hirono today marked Equal Pay Day by introducing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Opportunities Act, legislation that would improve inclusion of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in STEM careers. Equal Pay Day marks the day in 2016 when, on average, women’s wages catch up to what men earned in 2015.

mazie 412“It’s unacceptable that we are more than 100 days into 2016, but women’s salaries are only now catching up with what men made last year,” said Senator Hirono. “While the gender pay gap affects women across all fields, women in STEM careers continue to face barriers that can limit their opportunities for employment and equal pay. The STEM Opportunities Act takes a comprehensive approach to combatting factors that limit the advancement of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM. For America to remain competitive in a 21st century economy, we must break down barriers for working women through passing the Paycheck Fairness Act and the STEM Opportunities Act.”

Senator Hirono also took to the Senate floor to mark Equal Pay Day and highlight disparities in STEM fields. For example, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in school year 2014-2015, men earned more than five times the number of computer science bachelor’s degrees and three times as many bachelor’s degrees in the College of Engineering as women.

The STEM Opportunities Act helps federal science agencies and institutions of higher education identify and share best practices to overcome barriers that can hurt the inclusion of women and other underrepresented groups in STEM, and also allows universities and nonprofits to receive competitive grants and recognition for mentoring women and minorities in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act builds on legislation championed by Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

The Senate measure is cosponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Patty Murray (D-WA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI).

“Science, technology, engineering and math are drivers of innovation in states like New Jersey, and across the country. If we are to remain globally competitive, we have to ensure all Americans- including women and minorities- are prepared to succeed in these important fields,” said Senator Booker. “I am pleased to support the STEM Opportunities Act to create inclusive career pathways that will help grow our economy and create opportunities for more Americans.”

“The STEM fields are critical to driving innovation and economic growth,” said Senator Gillibrand. “But we limit our potential when our STEM workforce does not reflect the diversity of our nation. I was proud to lead a successful bipartisan amendment to the recently enacted Every Student Succeeds Act to increase access to high-quality STEM coursework in K-12 education for students who are members of groups underrepresented in STEM fields. The STEM Opportunities Act will improve opportunities for advancement in STEM fields for women and underrepresented minorities further down the pipeline – in higher education, in early careers, and for STEM academics and professionals.”

“Increasing women and minority participation in the STEM economy will keep the United States at the forefront of scientific discovery and technological innovation in the 21st century,” said Senator Markey. “The diversity of STEM professionals will help fuel the diversity of discoveries in science, technology, engineering and math. For our future scientific endeavors to produce the next generation of life-changing results, we need to ensure that our universities, laboratories and research institutions reflect the rich diversity of our nation and continue to receive the support that fosters breakthroughs and helps maintain American leadership in science and technology.”

“If we’re serious about empowering more young women and communities of color to take on STEM careers and compete in the 21st century economy, we need to ramp up our research efforts to identify and share best practices so that we can diversify the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Senator Murray. “STEM skills are so important for Washington state’s economy, so making these fields more inclusive will ultimately strengthen our workforce and our economy in the years to come.”

“By expanding access to STEM disciplines in schools and sharing best practices for recruitment and retention in STEM careers, we can help more women and minorities become engaged in science, technology, engineering and math, boosting economic success and strengthening America’s competitiveness in the 21st-century global economy,” said Senator Peters. “The STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 will improve inclusion of women and minorities in STEM fields by tapping into and fostering their talents.”

The American Association for University of Women, American Women in Science, Girls, Inc., MAES- Latinos in Science and Engineering, Maui Economic Development Board, National Council of Asian Pacific Americans, Society for Women Engineers, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, and the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center support the STEM Opportunities Act.

“When we reduce barriers that deter women and other underrepresented minorities from pursuing careers in STEM fields, American businesses get a leg up on the rest of the world. The STEM Opportunities Act will open doors for a more diverse science community, and in so doing help spur innovation and increase our global competitiveness,” said Lisa Maatz, Vice President of Government Relations at American Association of University Women. “Any serious attempt to modernize our science workforce and our nation’s science priorities is incomplete without this measure.

“In Hawaii, high-paying STEM jobs are boosting our island economy,” said Leslie Wilkins, Vice President, of the Maui Economic Development Board and Director of the Women in Technology Project. “To grow the education to workforce pipeline needed to keep up with STEM job demand, our Women in Technology initiative continues to engage girls and women who are under-represented in technology fields. WIT’s hands-on STEM curriculum, training, mentoring and internship programs have had a significant impact statewide but still need ongoing support.  Mahalo to Senator Hirono for introducing the STEM Opportunities Act, a comprehensive bill that could strengthen our efforts, as well as others throughout Hawaii and the nation.”

“Investing in STEM is an investment in our nation’s future, and it is imperative that women and people of color are represented and empowered to succeed in these fields. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) are underrepresented in STEM leadership roles, and despite stereotypes, some AAPI subgroups are underrepresented in STEM overall. Disaggregated data on AAPIs at institutions of higher education and federal science agencies will highlight the need for more investment in AAPIs in STEM fields, and this legislation would benefit all women and people of color in STEM. Senator Hirono has been a strong advocate for STEM inclusion, and we also thank her for her ongoing leadership on behalf of AAPI communities in all areas,” said National Council of Asian Pacific Americans National Director Christopher Kang.

“Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) enthusiastically supports the STEM Opportunities Act of 2016 and applauds its sponsors for their efforts.  Improving data collection, research and sharing best practices across federal science agencies and institutions of higher education to address systemic factors impeding the inclusion of underrepresented groups in STEM fields are all key elements in the Nation’s interest.  The PAESMEM awards are particularly essential in bringing all groups into STEM; SACNAS was a PAESMEM recipient in 2004 and 20 of SACNAS’ members have received PAESMEM awards.   In order to keep our nation competitive in science and engineering, such legislation as this Act is essential. As classical Clayton Christensen ‘disruptive thinking’ implies, helping the unserved and underserved—women and underrepresented minorities in STEM in this case—enables the greatest movement forward. SACNAS has over 6,000 paid members and serves a larger constituency of over 18,000—over half of whom are females—with particular emphasis on minorities underrepresented in STEM,” said Robert E. Barnhill, Ph.D, Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science Vice President, Science Policy & Strategic Initiatives.

“SEARAC commends Senator Hirono’s proposed STEM Opportunities Act for taking a thoughtful, comprehensive approach to strengthening and diversifying the STEM workforce through grants for evidence-based efforts, the creation of a federal inter-agency group to create policies that include a more diverse STEM workforce, and the collection of data to examine progress towards increasing STEM opportunities for underrepresented groups.  SEARAC is especially pleased that the STEM Opportunities Act collects disaggregated data for AAPI students — which will illuminate the disparities in access and participation to STEM opportunities within the AAPI community,” said Quyen Dinh, Executive Director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

Hawaii County Council Candidate Madeline Greene Hosting “Wing-Ding Bash” Fundraiser

Madeline (“Auntie Madie”) Greene, long-time Puna resident and business owner, will officially kick off her campaign for Hawaii County Council, District 4, at the “Wing-Ding Bash”, a fundraising event to be held at the Nanawale Estates Community Center, on April 23, 2016, from 5p.m. – 8p.m.   The event is open to the public, and will include sushi, poke, and salad bars, as well as chicken wings served with a variety of island sauces – $20 – all you can eat!

Madie Greene in Van

Auntie Madie’s run for Council continues a long-standing family commitment to public service, which began when her great grandfather, John Kepookapukamohoalii Punini, served as the first Sheriff of Puna.

Her own volunteer work in Puna includes:

  • Past President, Vice-President and Treasurer of Mainstreet Pahoa Association;
  • President of Nanawale Community AssociaM
  • Member of Pahoa Regional Town Center Plan Steering Committee, the Drug Coalition, and Puna Watch, and a founding member of the Pahoa Schools Booster Club;
  • Honorary Kupuna for the Men of Pa’a.
  • In 2009, she was selected for the Hawaii County Women’s Hall of Fame;
  • In 2010, she received the Hawaii County Achievement Award.

Issues Auntie Madie looks forward to tackling on behalf of District 4 citizens include mass transit, GMO food labeling (you have a right to know!), geothermal risks, homelessness, emergency evacuation route(s), road improvements and linkage in lower Puna, and jobs.

Come to Nanawale and meet your candidate for Puna. Tell her what is most important to you. Enjoy the food!

Wing DingsFrom Pahoa take Hwy 132 towards Kapoho at the stoplight, South 1 mile to Nanawale Blvd, Turn left and go 1 mile to the 4-way stop, take a right and you are there.

Final Numbers Show Bernie Sanders Dominated Hawaii

33,716 ballots were cast today in Hawai‘i’s Presidential Preference Poll.

Hawaii Bernie

Unofficial Candidate totals are below:

Bernie Sanders            23,530 Ballots             70%

Hillary Clinton            10,125 Ballots             30%

Rocky De La Fuente          12 Ballots               0%

Martin O’Malley                  6 Ballots               0%

Uncommitted                     43 Ballots               0%

Based on those totals, 17 delegates were awarded to Sanders and 8 to Clinton.  Here are the totals by Congressional District and county.

Delegates (% of Vote)             Delegates (% of Vote)

Congressional District 1         3 Clinton (38%)          /           5 Sanders (62%)

Congressional District 2         2 Clinton (25%)          /           6 Sanders (75%)

At-Large Delegates                 2 Clinton                     /           4 Sanders

Pledge PLEO                         1 Clinton                     /           2 Sanders

 

“Today’s turnout is a real testament to the hard work and commitment of the Sanders and Clinton campaigns and the engagement of Hawai‘i Democrats in the presidential process,” said State Party Chair Stephanie Ohigashi.  “We saw turnout today reminiscent of 2008 when Hawai‘i Democrats broke all records in the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” Ohigashi said.

“I would like to thank all of the volunteers who worked so hard to make to make today successful.  From Pahala to Kaumakani the Democratic Party volunteers and the Presidential campaign representatives demonstrated the very best of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i.”

The official results will be certified by the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i State Central Committee within 20 days.

 

Hawaii Democratic Party Selects Bernie Sanders

The 2016 Hawaii Democratic Caucus results are in and Bernie Sanders has won the State of Hawaii.

Hawaii Bernie

Total ballots cast: 32,096.

Representing 88% of all precincts.

22,661 ballots were cast for Bernie Sanders, representing 71% of the partial results.

9,377 ballots were cast for Hillary Rodham Clinton, representing 29% of the partial results.

Rocky De La Fuente had 12 votes, Martin O’Malley had 6, and 40 were uncommitted. All counting for 0%.

The tabulating is continuing for the remaining 12%. These precincts are all on Oahu

Hawaii House of Reps Forwards More Bills to Senate

The House passed today more than 180 bills including measures to implement a heat abatement program in Hawaii’s public schools and to fund construction and relocation of Oahu and Maui prisons.

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House Passes Bills that Provide For Cooling Classrooms and Funding of Oahu and Maui Prisons.

To date, the House has sent over 350 bills to the Senate for its consideration, including measures that allow teachers to accept “gifted” support when traveling with students and that block pre-approval from HMSA for certain medical services.

HB 2569 HD2 authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and the use of funds from the Green Infrastructure Loan Program to implement cooling measures in public school classrooms, and requires the Department of Education to expedite the cooling of all public school classrooms.  The bill also requires the school system to produce as much renewable energy as it consumes by 2035.

The DOE currently spends approximately $62 million a year on electricity, gas and water services.  By installing more efficient lighting, natural ventilation and integrating innovative renewable technologies, such as solar panels and batteries to help power schools, the state could reduce electricity costs and improve student performance.

Another school-related measure passed by the House, HB1713 HD2, would exempt school employees traveling with students from the State Ethics Code rules relating to gifts, gift reporting and conflicts of interest if certain conditions are met.

Last year, the State Ethics Commission ruled that teachers could no longer accept “free travel” to accompany students on field trips across the state and to the mainland.  The bill allows teachers serving as a chaperone on non-publicly funded trips to accept gifted support.

HB2388 HD3 clarifies the governor’s authority to negotiate for the construction of correctional facilities and aligns environmental impact statement and assessment requirements as generally applicable requirements.  The bill appropriates funds for a new Oahu Community Correctional Center and relocating Maui Community Correctional Center.  It also requires a feasibility report on development of Oahu Community Correctional Center land.

House lawmakers also approved HB2740 HD1, which prohibits insurers from requiring pre-authorization of medical treatment or services that cause undue delay in a patient’s receipt of such treatment or service.  The bill specifies that insurers, not health care providers, are liable for civil damages for any injury to a patient because of undue delay.

The bill is in reaction to a new rule by the Hawaii Medical Service Association to use third parties on the mainland to approve diagnostic imaging exams in an effort to reduce unnecessary costs.  Doctors say delaying critical tests and could have harmful consequences for patients.

Other bills passing third reading by the full House today include measures that provide for housing, gun control, voting rights and fighting crime.

Higher Education

HB2240 HD2, establishes a green special fund within UH to reduce energy consumption and costs.  Requires the University of Hawaii to submit annual report to Legislature.

HB539 HD2 requires that the UH-Manoa Athletics Department have a separate program ID in the State Budget Act and requires that funds be transferred to the UH-Manoa Athletic Department for scholarship expenses.  The bill prohibits allocation of general funds to the UH-Manoa Athletic Department except for Title IX compliance and requires that UH-Manoa men’s teams collectively be fiscally self-sufficient.

HB1613 HD1 grants tuition waivers to students at community colleges who meet certain criteria. It initiates the waiver program as a pilot program in a county with a population of less than 100,000.

Housing and Homelessness

HB2293 HD1 enables the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation to create mixed-use developments in partnership with state and county departments and agencies.

HB2166 HD1 expands the low income-household renter’s income tax credit based on adjusted gross income, filing status and the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.

HB2647 HD2 establishes a Work for a Day Pilot Program to be administered by the City and County of Honolulu that provides homeless individuals with work opportunities.

Tourism

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

HB1847 HD2 establishes the Sports and Entertainment Authority to coordinate and develop an entertainment and sports industry in the state, including oversight of the stadium and attracting local, national and international events, as well as developing state-of-the-art facilities for the benefit of professional, amateur and youth athletes.  It also establishes the Sports and Entertainment Authority Special Fund and allocates a portion of transient accommodations tax revenues to the Special Fund.  The bill repeals the Stadium Authority and transfers jurisdiction over stadiums and related facilities and the Kapolei Recreational Sports Complex to the Sports and Entertainment Authority.

HB2563 HD2 appropriates funds for the restoration of a continuous beach and multi-use infrastructure for public access along the Waikiki waterfront.

Energy

HB1851 HD1 Requires at least one of the three members of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to be a resident of a county other than Honolulu and receive per diem compensation.  It also allows commissioners to participate in PUC public hearings via teleconference and videoconference.

HB2085 HD2 aims to reduce and ultimately eliminate Hawaii’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for electrical generation and ground transportation by 2045.

HB212 HD2 establishes a nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who purchase and install battery backup systems for solar energy systems.

HB2567 HD1 establishes “substantial net benefit” as the Public Utilities Commission’s standard for a transfer or assignment of an electric utility and specifies certain guidelines to address when examining whether a substantial net benefit exists.

Voting rights

To increase voter participation, HB1652 HD1 requires an affidavit on application for voter registration to be included with applications for driver’s licenses or civil identification cards and prevents the processing of an application for a driver’s license or civil identification card until the voter affidavit is completed or declined.

HB1654 HD1 allows a permanent absentee voter to receive ballots at an alternate address for elections within an election cycle and clarifies that certain conditions that normally lead to a termination of permanent absentee voter status do not apply if the voter resides in an absentee voter only area.  It also allows a voter to receive an absentee ballot by electronic transmission if the voter requires such a ballot within five days of an election, or when the voter would not otherwise be able to return their properly issued ballot by the close of polls.

Environmental Protection

Bills passed relating to the Navy’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility fuel tanks include HB2646 HD2, which creates a permanent fuel tank advisory committee to study, monitor and address fuel tank leak issues; and HB2165 HD2, which makes appropriations to the Department of Health to hire employees and consultants to install monitor wells, to monitor compliance with the Administrative Order on Consent, and to evaluate and remediate environmental damage from fuel leaks.

HB2517 HD2 adds county-certified cesspools within 200 feet of an existing sewer system to the definition of “qualified cesspool” for the purposes of determining eligibility for an upgrade, conversion or connection income tax credit.

HB1749 HD1 amends the goals of the Hawaii water plan to include the 100 per cent utilization of reclaimed water in all state and county facilities.

HB2200 HD2 authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson to transfer public land trust funds to the Kahoolawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund.  Authorizes the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to expend public land trust funds for purposes consistent with those of the Kahoolawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund.

Agriculture

HB2501 HD2 allows for a holdover disposition of water rights previously authorized, pending approval for a lease renewal.

HB2657 HD2 provides reimbursements to Molokai farmers and ranchers for mandated food safety compliance audits and other related costs and appropriates moneys to the Maui Office of Economic Development to review and approve applications for the loan program.

Public Safety

HB2188 HD2 authorizes Hawaii Correctional Industries to sell products and services on the open market to the general public.

HB1902 HD2 replaces the offense of promoting prostitution in the first degree with sex trafficking to be classified as a violent crime.  It makes sex trafficking a class A felony and a strict liability offense if a minor is the victim of sex trafficking.  The bill expands the Department of the Attorney General’s Statewide Witness Program to include sex trafficking, provides victims with access to criminal injury compensation, and amends laws relating to civil liability for cases of coercion into prostitution.

HB1907 HD2 establishes the Sexual Assault Kit Tracking Program in the Honolulu Police Department, including requirements for submission of kits for testing, reporting information to state and federal DNA databases, obtaining consent prior to testing, and admissibility of evidence in judicial proceedings.  It also requires reporting on program implementation and kit testing backlog.

HB1580 HD1 appropriates funds for grants to maintain and expand the Weed and Seed Strategy, which is a collaborative crime fighting effort to reclaim, restore and rebuild communities.

HB1516 HD1 clarifies that the Internet Crimes Against Children fee is to be assessed against every defendant who is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony regardless of the nature of the offense.

Gun Control

HB2629 HD2 authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

HB2632 HD2 requires firearms owners who have been disqualified from owning a firearm and ammunition due to mental illness, including emergency hospitalization, to immediately surrender their firearms and ammunition to the chief of police.

HB1813 HD1 temporarily prohibits a person listed in the federal Terrorist Screening Database from owning, possessing, or controlling a firearm or ammunition and requires surrender or disposal of firearms and ammunition.

HB626 HD1 prohibits the actual physical possession of any firearm while consuming alcohol outside of the home, a temporary residence, or place of sojourn.  Establishes violation as a petty misdemeanor.

Veterans

HB2490 HD2 would exempt certain disabled veterans from county motor vehicle taxes and the state annual vehicle registration fee.

Labor and Employment

HB2606 HD2 establishes a retirement benefit incentive for public employees, otherwise eligible to retire, whose positions are subject to layoff due to the consolidation or abolition of functions, or the privatization of the functions of the position as a result of Act 103 (2015).  Sunsets on June 30, 2017.

HB2446 HD2 authorizes public employees facing position abolishment, reduction-in-force, or workforce restructuring to opt to receive either voluntary severance benefits or a special retirement benefit in lieu of exercising any reduction-in-force rights.

HB2122 HD2 increases maximum potential unemployment benefits for employees separated from service from 26 to 39 times the individual’s weekly benefit amount commencing on or after March 7, 2016. Requires terminated or laid off Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company workers to complete a training or retraining program to receive the maximum potential benefits.

Animal protection

HB1592 HD1 prohibits certain restraints and tethers that endanger or deny sustenance to dogs.

HB 2245 HD1 establishes the penalties for animal desertion as a petty misdemeanor and a fine of $1,000, but if the animal suffers death or injury, the fine increases to $2,000.

HB2502 HD2 prohibits the trafficking of protected animal species, with limited exceptions.

Other issues

HD2080 HD2 includes fuel cell electric vehicles in the definition of electric vehicles for purposes of parking exemptions, HOV lane use, registration, and required parking spaces in places of public accommodation.  Grants procurement priority for fuel cell electric vehicles for state and county vehicle purchases.

HB1736 HD1 renames the Kona International Airport as the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport.

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

HB1753 HD3 requires the annual registration of mopeds and the Director of Finance to issue moped number plates.  The bill stipulates a registration fee for a moped of $50.

HB2008 HD2 prohibits the state from hiring persons for more than two 89-day terms in a fully general-funded position per lifetime of the person but provides for limited exceptions.

The first “crossover” deadline is March 10 for non-budget bills to pass third reading in each chamber.  If successful, House bills are sent to the Senate and Senate bills are sent to the House for further consideration.

A complete list of bills passed by the House to date this biennium is available on the Capitol website at:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2016&report=deadline&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

Hawaii Senate Forwards More Than 260 Bills to House

Members of the Hawai‘i State Senate today passed 265 bills on Third Reading and sent them to the House for its consideration.

Capital

Measures crossing over to House include bills to address homelessness, invasive species, elections by mail, equal pay

Many of the measures that are crossing over to the House are bills that align with the 2016 Legislative Program the Senate Majority had established as priorities before session began.

“These bills reflect the work Senators have done to listen to and address the concerns of our constituents.  We’re hopeful that the House will agree that these bills will help to improve our island state,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English.

The Senate passed a number of measures that strategically address housing and homelessness, one of the major issues of the Legislative Program. Recognizing homelessness as a multi-faceted dilemma, the Senate passed bills that target the problem from various angles including SB2559, SD1 which creates minimum requirements for shelters based on discussions with advocates and increases the capacity of the Department of Human Services to provide oversight and support and SB 2561, SD1 which establishes a goal for state government to develop at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units for occupancy. SB2560, SD2 appropriates funds to provide treatment and care for homeless individuals with persistent mental health challenges

In another initiative of the Legislative Program, to sustain our communities, SB2938, SD2 was passed which increases the state fuel tax as a means to pay for road repairs and match federal funds.

“In considering SB2938, we looked at the totality of broad based tax increase proposals before us and understanding the burden each bear on our people, decided to move only this targeted measure forward,” explained Sen. Jill Tokuda, Chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee. “There are no favorable tax increases out there, but funds are needed to match federal funds to maintain heavily used roadways statewide, address emergency situations like what we’ve seen in Kaaawa, as well as for daily operations like the Freeway Safety Patrol and various multi-use contraflow lanes.”

Understanding the regressivity of the state’s tax system and the impact any increase will have on the state’s most vulnerable taxpayers, the Senate passed SB2454 SD1 that eliminates or reduces the tax burden on those in the lowest income brackets of the state, roughly accounting for 10 percent of our total population.

Measures that address our environment, another Legislative Program initiative, also passed Third Reading, including SB2799, SD2 that restructures the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council into a new entity to address the effort to protect Hawai‘i against environmentally harmful species and SB2773, SD1 which addresses efforts to achieve the state’s sustainability goals.

To support the Legislative Program initiative of good governance, SB2496, SD1 establishes an elections by mail system beginning with the primary election in 2018 for counties with a population of fewer than 100,000 and beginning with the 2020 primary election for all other counties. This follows the trend towards mail-in voting that has increased in Hawai‘i.

SB2313, SD2 addresses gender discrimination and prohibits an employer from paying wages at a rate less than a rate pays to employees of the opposite sex for substantially similar work and working conditions, with certain exceptions.

The “crossover” deadline is March 10 for non-budget bills to pass Third Reading and move to the other chamber.

Other bills that passed Third Reading today and are headed for crossover include:

SB2395, SD1 which enhances access to care via telehealth and will improve the quality of health care in the State by using available technology to enhance access to insured health care, especially among rural and underserved populations.

SB2085, SD2 addresses the needs of Hawai‘i’s kūpuna by appropriating funds for fiscal year 2016-2017 for the Kūpuna Care Program, Aging and Disability Resource Center, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, Healthy Aging Partnership Program, Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator, and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.

SB2688, SD2 prohibits, beginning January 1, 2017, the sale or offering for sale of certain e-liquid containers for electronic smoking devices unless the container is child-resistant and if the container is for an e-liquid product containing nicotine, is labeled with warning language.  This measure also establishes e‑liquid packaging standards that will help to protect young children from inadvertent exposure to the contents of e-liquid cartridges and also inform consumers whether an e-liquid product contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance.

SB2232, SD2 establishes the Erin’s Law Task Force to review policies, programs, and curricula for educating public school students about sexual abuse prevention, and to make recommendations for a program to educate all public school students in grades pre-kindergarten through twelve on sexual abuse prevention through age appropriate curricula.  Requires the Department of Education to implement the Task Force’s recommendations in the 2017-2018 school year, if possible.

SB2425, SD2 exempts extracurricular service, including planning and chaperoning educational trips, from certain provisions of the state Ethics Code.  Allows teachers to receive complementary airfare and accommodations when they travel with students on educational trips to provide support and chaperone services.

SB3070, SD1 ensures greater transparency and efficiency and provide equal opportunity for those seeking grants-in-aid from the Legislature by establishing legislative policies, subject to legislative discretion and funding availability, to make appropriations for grants during the Regular Session of each odd-numbered year for the ensuing fiscal biennium.  In addition, this measure requires that the Legislature not appropriate funds for more than one grant for each grant recipient during a fiscal biennium and places a low priority on requests to fund the general and administrative expenses of a grant applicant.

SB3073, SD2 establishes and appropriates funds for a school of aviation at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical science and allows the appropriation to be expended once the University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents establish the school of aviation.

SB2231 establishes the Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health (R.E.A.C.H.) program in the Office of Youth Services to provide a standardized framework and funding for after-school programs in public middle and intermediate schools.  Authorizes the Office of Youth Services to establish R.E.A.C.H. program requirements and participation fees or other charges to be assessed to each participant for the cost of administering and operating the R.E.A.C.H. program.

SB2411, SD2 provides guidelines and requirements for the use of body-worn and vehicle cameras by law enforcement officers and gives officers an increased ability to gather evidence for use in court and makes investigations of alleged officer misconduct more fair and transparent.

A complete list of bills passed by the Senate to date is available at www.capitol.hawaii.gov

 

Jen Ruggles Files for Hawaii County Council District 5

On Monday, March 7th at 2:15pm Mountain View local Jen Ruggles filed papers to run for Hawai’i County Council District 5 covering the areas of Glenwood, Kea’au, Pahoa, Opihikao, and Kalapana.

Jen Ruggles

Jen Ruggles

“I am honored to have the opportunity to be of service to the district where I was born and raised. Our district is under served and underrepresented. I know our struggles, and I know our potential.

University of Hawai’i Professor Dr. Noelie Rodriguez says, “I’ve known Jen for over 20 years, her father was also a student of mine and helped me establish the Earth Day Fair. In my 45 years of teaching Jen Ruggles has been my best student.  I fully support her candidacy.”

Jen was the main organizer of Hilo organization Global HOPE for 5 years. In that time she organized over 50 free events open to the public. An intern for Voter Owned Hawai’i, Ruggles also helped enact Hawaii’s first clean elections program. “Making a positive impact has influenced every decision in my life,” says Ruggles. Ruggles is most recently known for her work on Kaua’i where she helped organize the largest march in Kaua’i history to pass the “Right to Know” bill, bill 2491. The bill enacted protections for schools against pesticide spray that was sending children and teachers to the hospital.

Jen has lived at her Mountain View aina since birth. She graduated Kea’au High School in 2006 and is currently pursuing her second college degree at UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics.

Ruggles was Hawai’i State Senator Russell Ruderman’s Event Coordinator in his successful bid for office in 2012.  “Jen is one of the brightest people I have ever worked with,” Ruderman said.

For more information about Jen and the campaign visit: www.JenRuggles.com

Former County Council Candidate Edwards Hunt Responds to Voter Fraud Allegation

Former Hawaii County Council Candidate Tiffany Edwards Hunt went before a grand jury yesterday and according to her Twitter feed she says “I was denied the opportunity to testify before a grand jury today, to address these false voter fraud allegations.  I am innocent”.

Tiff Tweet 1She then went on to comment on the way the Prosecuting Attorneys Office is handling her case:
Tiff Tweet2Then ends her twitter rant with a “… bright side…”  tweet:
Tiff Tweet3I can say that if she read the Hawaii Tribune… she would know already who filed the allegations against her… as that has been made public.  I can tell you that my name won’t be showing up in any of those papers… despite what some folks may think.

Senator Kai Kahele Responds to Question of His Residency

I just spoke to Senator Kaiali’i Kahele and his office has sent me the following press release regarding a question of his residency:
Senator Kai Kahele Legislature Profile

In response to a recent inquiry regarding his residency, Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele (Dist. 1 – Hilo), offers this statement:

“I live in the First Senatorial District – Hilo. In 2012, I moved to Hilo and have resided in Hilo continuously from that time. At that time, my parents and I agreed to take out a mortgage to remodel their house to allow me and my family to live there. Since 2012, I have continuously had the residence in Hilo as my primary residence and have used that residence for all purposes, including voter registration.

The question has been raised regarding the agreement I entered into in 2011 with my Aunt, Sally Kahikinaokala Dacalio, and the Department of Land and Natural Resources for a property in Miloli’i.

In 2011, I was approached by extended family with a request to assume my Aunt’s lease for the property in question. My Aunt was in poor health and her family was afraid that the lease would be lost by our family. Under those circumstances, I agreed to pay off my Aunt’s mortgage and assume the lease with DLNR. The matter was handled informally without legal advisors. Since I became aware of the terms of the lease, I have contacted DLNR for the purpose of addressing the situation. I am hopeful and confident that I will be able to resolve this matter with DLNR in the near future.”

Hawaii (Big Island) Democratic Dance and Rally Information

With voters soon to vote on candidates from the U.S. Presidency down to the smallest precinct official, Hawaii County Democrats are stepping up to help inform Puna’s citizens of their choices. St. House Districts 3 and 4, which includes all of lower and upper Puna, invite the public to a Dist. 3 & 4 Fundraising Rally and Dance Party on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Democratic Party of Hawaii

Russ Ruderman’s Terrapin Station are the headline performers. The event, which is free to the public, will be held from 6-10 PM at the Eagles Club off Hwy. 130 in Kea’au, according to HCDP Dist. 3 Chair Mike Klungness and Dist. 4 Chair Philip Matlage.

Democratic Party candidates running for any office for which Dist. 3 and 4 residents can vote will have tables set up outside the building to talk to voters and get their names out to the public. Elections this year include races for mayor and county council, state senate and representative, U.S. House and U.S. President. OHA at-large candidates have also been invited.

Another goal of the rally is to help Puna Democrats get to know their fellow precinct neighbors. Matlage and Klungness are encouraging people to run for precinct offices and sign up as state delegates at the March 26 Presidential Preference Poll and Caucus meetings. Funds raised at the event are to help send Puna delegates to the State Democratic Party Convention in Waikiki over the Memorial Day weekend.

The public is invited to bring a potluck pupu or dessert dish to share, questions for the candidates and their dancing shoes. The Eagles Club will maintain the no-host bar (outside liquor not allowed). A fun time should be had by all!!!

For more information, contact Klungness at 968-6789, Matlage at 430-0835, or Frankie Stapleton at 965-8945.

Former HPD Sergeant and Detective Files Nomination Papers for Hawaii County Council

Grace Castillo, a 30-year veteran and retired Sergeant and Detective of the Hawai’i Police Department (HPD), has decided to toss her hat into the ring and file her nomination forms to represent the residents of Hawai’i County’s 3rd Council District (Keaukaha, Pana’ewa, Waiākea, Waiākea Houselots, Waiākea Uka, Kea’au).

Grace Castillo announces her run for Hawaii County Council

Grace Castillo announces her run for Hawaii County Council

After being approached by friends and family members to run, Castillo said, “I felt that this would be a great opportunity for me to continue to help and serve the people of Hilo, at a time where it is needed the most”.

In light of recent police events Castillo said, “I believe we need to re-connect with the youth and individuals of today and help guide them in the right direction. We all need to work together as a community. I want to help make Hilo a safe and favorable place to live and do business”.

During her time at HPD, Castillo served as; Patrol Officer, Safety Officer, Community Relations Officer, DARE Officer, Criminal Investigation & Juvenile Aide Sections Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Cellblock Sergeant and 2 years as a Reserve Officer. Castillo is a 1977 graduate of Hilo High School and is currently a Law Enforcement Officer Supervisor with Securitas at the Hilo Airport.

The daughter of the late William Sr., and Sosima Castillo, along with siblings April, William Jr., Aaron, Darryl, Belinda and Ethan. Castillo’s father William Castillo Sr., was a retired Lieutenant of HPD. Her brother Darryl Castillo is currently a Patrol Officer in Hilo. Castillo a single parent has three children and two grandchildren. Her son Nicholas Gega, III is the U.S. Air Force Recruiter for the Islands of Hawai’i and Maui, daughter Nolene Gega is a veteran of the Hawai’i Air National Guard and son William Black is currently a U.S. Airforce Firefighter.

Castillo’s entire professional career has been dedicated to public service by protecting our friends, neighbors and families on the front line every single day. This has prepared her to take her knowledge, integrity and expertise to run for elected office and hopefully represent the very people she protected for half of her life, on the County Council.

The Primary Election is on Saturday, August 13, 2016. You can learn more about Grace Castillo and her campaign by visiting www.facebook.com/hiloneedsgrace.

Hawaii Governor Ige Appoints Kaiali‘i Kahele to Late Father’s Seat in State Senate

Gov. David Ige has appointed Kaiali‘i (Kai) Kahele to his late father’s state Senate seat. Sen. Gil Kahele represented Senate district one which encompasses the greater Hilo area, when he died on Jan. 26, 2016.

Kai Kahele Profile“Kai has extensive community support and is committed to completing the work of his father. He has a broad vision for the future of this district and for all of Hawai‘i Island that will serve his constituents well,” said Gov. Ige.

“I thank the high-quality candidates who were willing to serve and the Senate district one Nominating Committee for working so quickly to get the names to me,” he said.

“My father led by example, and community service was part of my life for as long as I can remember. I am honored to carry on his legislative initiatives. In addition, I intend to focus on job creation by strengthening workforce opportunities and small business in Hilo and the state, and I will continue to be a strong advocate for Hawai‘i Community College and UH-Hilo,” Kahele said.

Kahele lives in Hilo where he is a Major in the Hawai‘i Air National Guard and a combat veteran C-17 instructor pilot. He has been honored many times for his military service. In 2005 he was awarded a National Defense Service Medal and a USAF Air Medal for combat missions flown in Afghanistan. Most recently Kahele received the Guard Officer of the Year award at Hickam Air Force Base (Feb. 2016).

He is also a pilot with Hawaiian Airlines, a UH-Hilo adjunct faculty member and the executive director of the nonprofit Pa‘a Pono Miloli‘i. In 2015, Kai was a crew member on the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s canoe Hikianalia.

Kahele is a graduate of Hilo High School and UH-Manoa where he earned a B.A. in education while playing on the UH-Manoa Men’s Volleyball team as an outside hitter. He was named Most Inspirational Player in 1997.

Kahele will take office once the state senate qualifies him and administers the oath of office.

Hawaii County Democrats Select Nominees to Replace Late Sen. Gilbert Kahele

This morning at Keaukaha Elementary School cafe, Hawaii County Democrats met to select three nominees for the late Sen. Gilbert Kahele’s seat on the Hawaii Senate.

Democratic Meeting

Last night, House Rep. Richard Onishi was disqualified for running which lead to Margarita “Day Day” Hopkins, Donald Ikeda, Kaialii “Kai” Kahele, Shannon Matson, Kaloa Robinson, and Dolly Strazar being the remaining contenders for office.

Each candidate had their chance to address the folks that would be selecting the nominees and the public and media that was in attendance.  The candidates then went into a “Speed Dating” type of format where questions were asked of them.

When all was said and done, the Democratic Party nominated the late senators son Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele along with Dolly Strazar and Kaloa Robinson as the three that would be passed on to Hawaii Governor David Ige to then nominate one of them to the position.

Hawaii House of Representative Richard Onishi Disqualified From Running for Late Senator Kahele’s Senate Seat

Hawaii House Representative Richard Onishi (D-3) has been disqualified from running for late Senator Gilbert Kahele’s Senate Seat according to the Hawaii County Democratic Party.

Richard Onishi

According to the Chair for House District 2, Micah Alamedia, Onishi submitted 11 names on his “Statement of Candidacy” to run for the vacant seat, however, only 3 of those names were registered democratic members.

Candidates needed to have at least 5 members sign the Statement of Candidacy that were in good standing with the Democratic Party.

Each candidate did have the opportunity to verify that each of the folks that signed on the Statement of Candidacy were in good standing, however it appears that Rep. Onishi did not double check the signatures against the registered voters list.

The Hawaii Island Democratic Party will be meeting tomorrow at Keaukaha Elementary School at 10:00 am where members of the party will hold a vote and then select 3 nominees to be sent on to Governor Ige.  Governor Ige will then decide which of the three will replace the late Senators spot in office.

The following folks are still in contention, Margarita “Day Day” Hopkins, Donald Ikeda, Kaialii “Kai” Kahele, Shannon Matson, Kaloa Robinson, and Dolly Strazar. Representative Onishi will remain in office as a House Representative and no penalty will be held for not having 5 confirmed signatures.

Hawaii Island Democratic Party Releases List of Candidates Applying to Fill Late Senator Gilbert Kahele’s Seat

The Hawaii County Democratic party released the following list of folks that have submitted formal “Statements of Candidacy” to fulfill the late Senator Gilbert Kahele’s remainder of term in office:

Sen Kahele Candidates
According to Ballotpedia the following process is taken to select a vacancy in the Hawaii’s Legislature:

If there is a vacancy in the Hawaii Legislature, the governor is responsible for appointing a replacement. For all vacancies, the governor must appoint a replacement within 60 days after the vacancy happens. The candidate is selected from a list of three prospective candidates submitted by the political party that last held the vacant seat. The party has thirty days after the vacancy to submit a list of prospective candidates. If the person leaving the seat is an independent (no party affiliation), the governor must select a resident from the vacant district that is not a member of any political party

My understanding is that this Saturday February 13th, the Big Island Democratic Party will select three (update) of the above candidates listed and send then those names to Governor Ige for him to decide who he will nominate to be in office.

While all of the above candidates are fairly well known, I personally believe that the Big Island Democratic Party should select our late Senators son, Kaiali`i Kahele, to the position as he knows most how his father would have wanted to vote on things in the Legislature.

Sen. Gilbert Kahele’s Son (Kaiali’i Kahele) Files Papers to Finish Out Senate Term

Last night at the Hilo Civic Auditorium, hundreds of folks paid their respect to the late Senator Gilbert Kahele.

Kai Kahele embraced by Malia Paul, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz at his father's Celebration of Life.

Kai Kahele embraced by Malia Paul, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Brian Schatz at his father’s Celebration of Life.

21 State Senators flew to the Big Island for the Celebration of Life, as well as current Hawaii State Governor Ige and former Governor Neil Abercrombie.  Former Hawaii County Mayor Dante Carpenter, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and current Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi all gave great tributes to the late Senator.

This evening I have learned that the beloved Senator’s own son, Kaiali’i Kahele has filed a “Statement of Candidacy” to fill the mid-term vacancy left by his fathers passing:
Kai Kahele Announcement

I myself think he would be a great replacement and hope that he is selected by the Democratic party to continue on with the things his father was working on.

“Kai” Kahele told me His (Sen. Gilbert Kahele) priorities are my priorities, Banyan Drive, UH-Hilo Aviation, Lanakila Housing, Covered Playgrounds at Haʻaheo and Waiakea Elementary schools amongst others. I am looking forward to spirited conversation on Saturday with the other candidates and sharing my vision, dreams and hopes for our Hilo community and our island.”

Senate Bill to Acquire Land at Kapua Bay Slated for Full Senate Vote – One of Three Bills Introduced by Late Sen. Kahele

Senate Bill 3071, which calls for the state to purchase land at Kapua in South Kona on Hawai‘i Island, is poised for a final vote by the full Senate this week.  

Kapua Bay

The bill proposes that the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), in consultation with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), engage in negotiations to acquire certain lands located at Kapua.  The proposed acquisition comprises four parcels that cover over 7,780 acres of land within the Agricultural and Conservation State Land Use Districts. It includes two parcels that are adjacent to the Manukā Natural Area Reserve. Funds would be appropriated to conduct an environmental study of the makai lands and the DLNR would be directed to attempt to reach an agreement for acquisition of the lands by December 31, 2016. 

SB3071 is one of three bills that the late State Senator Gil Kahele signed hours before his death on January 26.  The measure was particularly important to the late Senator, who grew up in the area and wanted to ensure the site was protected from development and preserved for future generations.

The bill passed second reading on February 5, 2016 and is scheduled for third reading before the full Senate on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.