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Deadline to Apply for State Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Extended

The Judicial Council has extended the deadline to apply for vacancies on the Hawai`i State Ethics Commission and the Campaign Spending Commission.  The new application deadline is Friday, March 31, 2017. Applicants must be U.S. citizens, residents of the State of Hawai`i, and may not hold any other public office.

Applicants from all islands may apply.  Travel expenses incurred by neighbor island members to attend meetings on O`ahu will be reimbursed.

The Ethics Commission addresses ethical issues involving legislators, registered lobbyists, and state employees (with the exception of judges, who are governed by the Commission on Judicial Conduct).  The five commission members are responsible for investigating complaints, providing advisory opinions, and enforcing decisions issued by the Commission.  The Hawai`i State Constitution prohibits members of the Ethics Commission from taking an active part in political management or political campaigns.

The primary duty of the five members of the Campaign Spending Commission is to supervise campaign contributions and expenditures.  Campaign Spending Commissioners are prohibited from participating in political campaigns or contributing to candidates or political committees.

Interested persons should submit an application, a resume, and three letters of recommendation (attesting to the applicant’s character and integrity) postmarked by March 31, 2017 to:  Judicial Council, Hawai`i Supreme Court, 417 S. King Street, Second Floor, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813-2902.

An application form is available on the Judiciary website or can be obtained from the Communications and Community Relations Office, Room 212, Ali`iolani Hale, 417 South King Street, Honolulu, Hawai`i 96813 or by calling the Judicial Council at 539-4702.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Statement Against Trump’s Refugee Ban

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement in response to President Trump’s announcement of a newly revised travel ban:

“True to our history and values as a nation, we have served as a place of refuge to the most vulnerable in the world. We should not be putting in place a blanket ban of refugees, especially when we have actively been fueling the counterproductive regime change wars that have caused them to flee their homes. These people would much rather stay in their homes and live in peace. That’s why we must address the cause of this refugee crisis and end the destructive U.S. policy of counterproductive regime-change wars, as we’ve seen most recently in Iraq, Libya, and now in Syria.”

39th Annual Golf Tournament Supports Brantley Center

The Brantley Center, a services provider for people with disabilities, will host its 39th Annual Golf Tournament at Waikoloa Village Golf Course on Sunday, April 23, 2017. The tournament starts at 8 a.m. with a shotgun start, two-person best ball modified format. Entry fees are $125 per player for golf, lunch and prizes, including a chance to win $10,000 for hole-in-one.

39th Annual Golf Tournament supports the Brantley Center’s work with people with disabilities. PHOTO: Courtesy The Brantley Center

Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr., the Waikoloa Village Golf Course opened in 1972 and is known to be enough for the serious golfer, and a fun experience for beginners as well. The 6,971-yard, par 72 layout includes wide, forgiving landing areas, and well-bunkered and undulating greens with picturesque ocean and mountain views.

Brantley Center, founded in 1964 by Sergeant Gilbert Brantley, a former National Guard Advisor, provides adult day programs for clients with physical, emotional or mental disabilities. In a safe and supportive environment, men and women from North Hilo, Hāmākua and Kohala receive independent life skills and employment training, vocational rehabilitation, and help transitioning into the regular job market. Work opportunity is also available for some clients through the Center’s business services, such as aquaponic lettuce, auto detailing, janitorial, lawn and landscaping services.

A 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization administered by a volunteer Board of Directors, Brantley Center depends on government funding and grants from charitable organizations such as Hawaii Island United Way. The golf tournament and other fundraisers throughout the year fill a critical gap in budgetary need.

Golfers and non-golfers are invited to contribute to the benefit golf tournament, and various sponsorship levels are available. Organizers also welcome silent auction items, gift certificates and other donations at all price levels, to generate enthusiasm and give everyone a chance to participate.

For more information, please contact Golf Tournament Chairman Roland Kaneshiro, 987-7712, or call the Brantley Center, 775-7245.

Hawaiian Airlines Joins Global Climate Change Monitoring Effort

Hawaiian Airlines has become the first U.S. carrier to join an international scientific project that enlists commercial airlines in the research of climate change and air quality worldwide. Hawaiian partnered with the In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System (IAGOS) venture by recently equipping one Airbus A330-200 aircraft with an atmospheric monitoring tool that will collect valuable data throughout the airline’s far-reaching network covering the Pacific, Asia and North America.

Hawaiian’s A330 aircraft, bearing registration N384HA, arrived at Honolulu International Airport over the weekend after spending weeks in Brisbane, Australia, where technicians installed IAGOS instruments under its cockpit that will be attached to probes in the front-left fuselage. The probes will autonomously perform atmospheric air samples from take-off to landing and record key high-altitude greenhouse gas measurements. They will also retrieve information about icing conditions that may be useful in aircraft safety studies. The system is expected to be operational around April following FAA certification.

“We are honored to lend our support to IAGOS and help assess the health of our atmosphere and measure climate change,” said Captain Ken Rewick, Hawaiian’s vice president of flight operations.

“We are excited to see Hawaiian Airlines becoming a partner in IAGOS. Instrumenting commercial airliners is a cutting-edge approach and cost-effective for obtaining large amounts of high quality data about our atmosphere,” said James Butler, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Monitoring Division, and chairman of the IAGOS Science Advisory Board. “Scientists around the world will increasingly use data from IAGOS flights to help improve weather forecasts, climate models, and our overall understanding of the Earth system. This is a great step forward for science.”

Scientists expect Hawaiian’s system to produce valuable metrics thanks to the carrier’s unique central Pacific location and network of non-stop flights extending from Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa, and Tahiti in the South Pacific, to China, South Korea, Japan and the United States (including 10 western U.S. gateways and New York) in the North Pacific. According to IAGOS, commercial aircraft are uniquely positioned to collect highly relevant observations on a scale and in numbers impossible to achieve via dedicated research aircraft or satellites. All information will be transmitted after each flight to the IAGOS data center in France and shared with the scientific community within a few weeks.

Based in Brussels, the European-funded IAGOS is a not-for-profit association whose members include leading research organizations, universities and weather services from Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The program observes atmospheric data to better understand transcontinental pollution and validate air quality and climate models. Its information is used by about 200 universities or institutes in Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, India and China.

Hawaiian’s participation in IAGOS aligns with the carrier’s ongoing commitment to reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. Hawaiian is investing in fuel efficient aircraft by adding 18 new A321neos to its fleet starting later this year. Last year, the airline also conducted two demonstration flights to Honolulu from Brisbane and Auckland using a series of gate-to-gate environmental best practices outlined by the Asia and Pacific Initiative to Reduce Emissions (ASPIRE).

For more information, please visit IAGOS at iagos.org.

Wanted: Saloon Girls, Cowboys, Soup Cooks and Line Dancers for Honoka’a Western Week

Honoka‘a Western Week is coming around the bend May 21-29, 2017. The fun kicks off with the 2nd Annual Farm Festival at Hāmākua Harvest, and continues through the week, wrapping up with Friday night’s Paniolo Parade and Block Party, and the 61st Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo over the weekend.

PHOTOS: Sarah Anderson for Honoka’a Western Week

The Western Week committee is now recruiting participants for all scheduled activities (see below) and urges the community to support the colorful celebration of Hāmākua’s paniolo heritage and unique cultural blend.

PHOTOS: Sarah Anderson for Honoka’a Western Week

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:
Subject to change.

May 20. Deadline to enter Saloon Girl and Cowboys Got Talent Contests. For information and applications, call Michelle Hartman, 775-9777.

All week, May 21-29. Celebrate Honokaʻa Western Week with Honokaʻa Business Association. Everyone is invited to dress up western-style, visit Honoka‘a town merchants, and enjoy different paniolo-themed activities every night.

Sunday, May 21. 2nd Annual Farm Festival at Hāmākua Harvest, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. All-day entertainment, dozens of vendors and food booths, educational presentations, silent auction, keiki activities and more. Located at the intersection of Māmāne Street and Highway 19 in
Honoka‘a. No charge for admission.

Monday, May 22. Stick horse creation at Hāmākua Youth Center, 3-5 p.m.

Tuesday, May 23. Portuguese Bean Soup and Sweetbread Contest at NHERC Pavilion, 5-8 p.m. Hosted by Gramma’s Kitchen.

Wednesday, May 24. Line Dancing at Honoka‘a People’s Theatre, 6-9 p.m.

Thursday, May 25. Historic Honoka‘a Town Talk Story at Honoka‘a Library, 4 p.m., featuring Ross Stephenson, author of “Honoka’a Town,” and led by HWW Sheriff Larry Ignacio.
Also Thursday, a “Rowdy Rodeo” at The Landing restaurant.

Friday, May 26.
4 p.m., Paniolo Parade down Māmāne Street, with mounted and marching units, pā‘ū riders, gleaming vintage cars and more.
5 p.m., Stick Horse races
6 p.m., Saloon Girls and Cowboys Got Talent Contest
7-10 p.m., Great music and dancing in the Streets. Plus, a free “Keiki Corral” for the kids from 5-7 p.m., with carnival-style games, silent auction and more. Vendors interested in booth space for the Block Party may email westernweekhonokaa@gmail.com, or download forms from the website.

Sunday-Monday, May 28-29. 61st Annual Hawai‘i Saddle Club Scholarship Rodeo.  For more information, contact hawaiisaddleclub@ymail.com.

Honoka‘a Western Week is a volunteer-driven project supported by the Honoka‘a Business Association, the Hāmākua Farm Bureau, Councilwoman Valerie Poindexter, Steinlager, and others. Checks payable to “Honokaʻa Business Association” can be sent to P.O. Box 474, Honokaʻa HI 96727, attention: Honoka‘a Western Week. For more information, follow Honoka‘a Western Week on Facebook or visit www.honokaawesternweek.org.

Sponsors Sought for Summer Food Service Program to Provide Meals for Children During Summer Break

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is seeking sponsor organizations on all islands to help provide children in low-income communities with reduced-price meals during the summer months.  The SFSP provides nutritious meals that help children to learn, play and grow during the summer break when many schools are not in session.

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors. Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger. Photo Credit: Department of Education

Schools, public agencies, and private nonprofit organizations may apply to be SFSP sponsors.  Sponsoring organizations receive reimbursements for serving healthy meals and snacks at approved sites to children and teenagers, 18 years and younger.  Sponsors are encouraged to provide educational or recreational activities.

In 2016, a daily average of 12,829 children, 18 years and younger, participated in Summer Meals Programs. This average increased by 1,125 children per day from the previous year. Photo Credit: Department of Education

“Summer food service programs are vital to many of our keiki who normally rely on school meals for most of their daily intake,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi.  “Well-rounded, nutritious meals are a priority for children who need regular fuel for learning, physical activities and growth.”

In 2016, a daily average of 12,829 children, 18 years and younger, participated in Summer Meals Programs.  This average increased by 1,125 children per day from the previous year.  SFSP sites are often located at nonprofit organizations, preschools, churches, parks and housing facilities and the Hawaii State Department of Education’s Seamless Summer Option provides meals at select school locations.

The Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs (HCNP) will conduct workshops for new and returning sponsors on Maui, Hawaii, Kauai and Oahu from March 14 to 24.  Personnel responsible for administering the SFSP will be required to attend.

For more information about SFSP, contact Jennifer Dang at Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs at 587-3600.

Continue reading

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker Cruising The Big Island

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has been making his way around the Island of Hawaii the last few days. Many people believe that Booker is being groomed to become the next Democratic Presidential Candidate.  A couple weeks ago he was seen with Hawaii Senator Kaiali’i Kahele who some feel would make a great governor of Hawaii:

Captured from Senator Kahele’s Facebook page.

Booker is pretty close with Hawaii’s own Senator Mazie Hirono and the other night a fundraiser was held here on the Big Island of Hawaii for the New Jersey Senator where folks got to meet with Senator Booker.

Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Agent Abbas Hassan, Senator Cory Booker and Bobby Chang Co-Owner of KC Hawaii

Pahoa Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event Tomorrow

Bring your own automotive fluids, chemicals and poisons and other hazardous household wastes to the Pāhoa Recycling & Transfer Station collection area on March 5th, 2017. Business, farm, non-profit or government agency waste are NOT allowed. Electronic waste (e-waste) is also NOT allowed.

There will not be a concurrent collection at this event for reusable latex paints. Take your reusable latex paints to the Kea‘au Recycling & Reuse Center at the Kea‘au Recycling & Transfer Station year-round.

Customers should pack their items in spill-proof containers and be careful when transporting them to the event. When at the event please remain in your vehicle in line until authorized personnel come to unload your vehicle. For your safety and the safety of those around you please do not walk your hazardous materials over to the authorized personnel in the restricted area, this precaution is to prevent spillage, accidents and ensure fairness to those already waiting in line. Mahalo for your kōkua.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication (including language interpreting) or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in this event should contact Chris at 961-8554 as soon as possible, but no later February 17, 2017.

For full details on what materials are and are not accepted please visit our Household Hazardous Waste page.

Hōkūleʻa Arrives at Rapa Nui (AKA Easter Island)

Crewmembers aboard Hōkūleʻa have arrived to Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, a journey that’s expected to take about two and a half weeks.

“Rapa Nui signifies a major cultural return for Polynesian navigation and our Worldwide Voyage as we re-enter the Polynesian triangle, the birthplace of our wayfinding heritage,” said master navigator Nainoa Thompson.

The crew will stay on the island for approximately a week before sailing on to French Polynesia.

After voyaging approximately 1,900 nautical miles over six days, Leg 28 crewmembers landed in Rapa Nui and we were greeted by long time friends and family that have been close to Hōkūleʻa for decades. Because Captain Archie Kalepa needed to depart the evening crewmembers arrived, the group expedited a visit to Tongariki, where 15 Moai stand guard to the east.

The arrival to Rapa Nui was suddenly made real as the crew stood in the shadow of these wonders that have been witnesses to the incredible changes that this place has seen. Crewmembers are using this time for quiet reflection after finishing the epic voyage from the Galapagos.

Legislative “Crossover” Update From Senator Kai Kahele

Aloha!

We are a third of the way through the 2017 Legislative Session and just six days out from First Crossover. Now that the Senate Committees on Ways and Means; Judiciary and Labor; and Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health have completed their deliberations, bills that are still alive will make their way to third reading next week Tuesday, March 7, 2017. Thanks to you, many of our priority bills are still alive:

If these bills are approved next week, they’ll crossover to the State House for further deliberations by our colleagues. In turn, House approved bills will crossover for further deliberation by the Senate. As we move forward, be sure to stay tuned for our weekly updates.

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Hawaii Senate Confirms DHS Director, Appeals Court and First Circuit Court Judges

The Hawai‘i State Senate today gave their consent on Governor Ige’s nominees to the Department of Human Services, Intermediate Court of Appeals Court, and three Judges to the First Circuit Court – O‘ahu.

In a unanimous decision, Senators confirmed Pankaj Bhanot as the Director of the Department of Human Services (DHS). Bhanot received a BA in political science and a law degree from the University of Delhi.  He graduated in 1991 with an LL.M. degree from Cornell University, School of Law.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

His career in human and social services began in August 1998 as the Family Development Director with the Kaua‘i Economic Opportunity.  Bhanot went on the serve as a program specialist with the state DHS Employment and Child Care Program Office of the Benefit, Employment and Support Services Division and the Employment and Child Care Program Administrator.  He most recently served as DHS Deputy Director before being appointed to lead the department.

The Senate also voted to consent to Derrick H.M. Chan as an Associate Judge to the Intermediate Court of Appeals. Chan was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in August 2000.  Prior to this, he was the First Deputy Prosecutor for the County of Kaua‘i. He also served as an attorney for the Hawai‘i Carpenters Union, as Deputy Public Defender for the state, law clerk to Judge Wilfred Watanabe, and Deputy Attorney General for the state. Chan is a 1985 graduate of California Western School of Law. Chan will fill the vacancy created by the retirement in December 2016 of former Associate Judge Daniel R. Foley.

“Throughout his tenure, Judge Chan has cemented a reputation for diligence, hard work and integrity, as well as decisiveness, courage, and street smarts which allows him to “cut to the chase,’” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (Dist. 5- Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului), chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.  “With Judge Chan’s background, character, quiet passion, and even-keeled demeanor, he will be a very good addition to Hawai‘i’s appellate courts.”

Senators gave their unanimous consent to Catherine H. Remigio to the First Circuit Court.  Remigio most recently served as Family Court judge after being appointed in 2011.  Prior to that, she served in the Judiciary as a Per Diem District Court Judge and Circuit Court Grand Jury Counsel.  Remigio has also practiced law in several private firms, including as a partner at Bryant & Remigio, LLC.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

She served as a deputy public defender for the State of Hawai‘i and as a law clerk to Judges Thomas K. Kaulukukui, Jr. and Eden Elizabeth Hifo in the First Circuit Court.  Remigio is a Kamehameha Schools graduate and received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and earned her juris doctorate at the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1992.  Remigio replaces former Circuit Judge Steven S. Alm who retired in August 2016.

“Thoughtful, considerate, smart and well-prepared is how others have described Judge Remigio,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran. “Judge Remigio’s strong background and character, steady demeanor, and determination promise that she will be a solid addition to the First Circuit Court,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran.

The State Senate also unanimously approved the appointment of Keith K. Hiraoka to the First Circuit Court.  Hiraoka has practiced law for the last 34 years, focusing on insurance coverage and defense. He has tried cases before juries, judges and arbitrators, participated in many mediations and briefed and argued appeals before the Hawai‘i Supreme Court, the Intermediate Court of Appeals and the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

Hiraoka is a graduate of the University Hawai‘i at Mānoa and earned his juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law in 1983.  Hiraoka fills the vacancy created by the retirement in June 2016 of former Circuit Judge Karen S.S. Ahn.

“Mr. Hiraoka’s background, character, professionalism, and demeanor promise that he will be a very good addition to the circuit court, the busiest circuit in Hawai‘i’s legal system,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran.

The State Senate unanimously voted to consent to Todd Eddins joining the First Circuit Court. Eddins graduated from the College of William & Mary and the William S. Richardson School of Law, where he was the executive editor of the University of Hawai‘i Law Review.  He served as a law clerk to Justice Yoshimi Hayashi of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court. Eddins worked as a trial lawyer at the Office of the Public Defender for more than ten years. In private practice he has concentrated on complex civil, criminal, and appellate litigation. Eddins fills the vacancy created by the retirement of former Circuit Judge Richard K. Perkins in June 2016.

Photo courtesy: Senate Communications

“Mr. Eddins brings to the bench nearly 25 years of experience from the criminal bar and as a trial lawyer, where he has distinguished himself as one of the top defense lawyers in our state,” said Sen. Keith-Agaran. “Clearly, he has the background, character and demeanor to be a very good addition to the first Circuit Court.”

The term of office for the judgeships is for ten years.

Commentary: Mayor Harry Kim… I Wasn’t Being Overly Vexatious

Dear Mayor Harry Kim,

I received your response to my letter dated February 8th, 2017 regarding the Department of Public Works directive issued against me. I have a very good memory of what happened over the past two months since you began your term. Most of my inquiries went through the DPW public affairs officer, but I did e-mail the highway and traffic division heads about highway and traffic signal issues. Both individuals have repeatedly told me how appreciative they’re of my efforts. In addition, I e-mailed Ben Ishii about an issue with the Mamalahoa Highway Bypass.

Click to read newspaper article

The only other communications involved e-mailing Frank DeMarco and Allan Simeon. I e-mailed Frank twice; once with a list of of eight projects I’d like to see happen in North Kona, the other was a letter to the editor I submitted regarding Highway 11 issues (This was the same day he issued that directive against me). I also tried to get in touch with Allan Simeon regarding Ane K. Highway Phase III since I didn’t get a favorable response from Frank DeMarco.

This is why I called up Roy Takemoto, your executive assistant. I expressed my desire to help your administration to get roadway projects completed, along with my desire to get Ane K. Highway Phase III started. The latter is why I also e-mailed the county planning director since the Kona CDP Action Committee had omitted this project from a list of desired North Kona CIP projects.

As you can see I wasn’t being overly vexatious with my inquiries with DPW, so it was really hurtful what you said in that newspaper article. I felt like the bus ran over me several times after reading what you said. Its like your administration doesn’t want feedback from community, especially from me.

I’ve developed a strong rapport with several public works employees over the years. As a result of this directive, I can’t talk to them any further. They were equally shocked this directive was issued against me, especially in light of my positive track record. As it stands now, all my inquiries have to go through the DPW public affairs officer going forward.

The offer I made to Roy Takemoto to assist your administration with various highway projects in North Kona still stands, despite the events of the past month. I want to work with your administration to make these projects a reality.

Sincerely,

Aaron Stene

Call for Entries: 47th Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Seeks Signature Art

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival, Hawaii’s oldest food festival, announces its Call for Art Entries for the official image of the 2017 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival. Local artists are invited to submit original Kona coffee art in all art forms including fine art, graphic design and photography. Artwork should reflect the Festival’s mission to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique nearly 200-year coffee heritage.

The winning design will become the official image of the 2017 Kona Coffee Cultural Festival and will be featured on all official Festival merchandise including the Festival button, event poster and retail merchandise. The winning design will also be featured on the Festival’s magazine cover, website and other promotional materials.

Artists of traditional media including oil, acrylic, tempera, watercolor, illustrations as well as computer graphics and photographers are invited to participate. Artists are encouraged to be inspired by Kona’s nearly 200-year coffee heritage. Typography should not be included within the art. There is no entry fee to participate and the competition is open to all Hawaii Island residents 18 and older.

Ownership of entry copyright: By submitting artwork into this contest, the winning artist agrees to assign all ownership rights and copyright of the art to the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival for the 2017 Festival.

Artwork submissions are due by Friday, April 14, 2017 and should be delivered to Malia Bolton at the Kona Coffee & Tea Company located at 74-5588 Palani Rd, or entries can be submitted electronically via email to maliabolton@gmail.com. Be sure to include “Festival Submission” in the subject line with electronic entries.

Hawaii House Sends 137 Bills to Senate

The Hawaii House or Representatives today passed 137 bills including measures relating to helping homeless people, fighting invasive species, protecting health care and flood insurance coverage, and reducing the blood quantum requirement in the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

HB83 HD1 Homelessness: Allows the Department of Human Services to establish puuhonua safe zones where homeless persons may reside.

HB453 HD1 Agriculture Grant: Requires the Department of Agriculture to provide grants to farmers to assist them in paying for the costs of compliance with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and state food safety laws.

HB527 HD1 Homelessness: Appropriates funds to purchase, staff, and operate two mobile clinics to serve the homeless population.

HB552 HD1 Health Insurance: Ensures that benefits of the Affordable Care Act are preserved under state law in the case of repeal of the ACA by Congress.

HB1418 Flood Insurance: Amends the county exemptions from building permit and building code requirements to ensure that Hawaii’s communities are not suspended from participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

HB1339 HD1 Invasive Species: Restructures the Hawaii Invasive Species Council as the Hawaii Invasive Species Authority to coordinate implementation of the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan and related duties.

HB904 HD1 Invasive Species: Establishes the invasive species rapid response special fund within DLNR. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures.

HB1300 HD1 Coral Reefs: Requires UH Environmental Center to conduct ongoing studies of the environmental impacts of sewage spills on affected coral reefs.

HB450 HD1 Coral Reefs: Requires UH to conduct a study on the effects of sunscreen on Hawaii’s coral reefs and report to the Legislature. Appropriates funds.

HB451 HD1 Blood Quantum: Reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second.

Other bills that passed third reading by the House today include measures that relate to identification for prisoners, heat abatement in our public schools, biosecurity in agriculture, vehicle tax, and pesticides.

HB386 HD1 Environment: Appropriates funds for the two-year extension of the Post-Bypass Beach Monitoring Program of the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor Sand Bypass Operation at Waimea, Kauai.

HB844 HD1 At-Risk Youth: Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a two-year Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program in partnership with private organizations to coordinate a network that youth can access for safety and where youth can obtain advice, guidance, programs, and services.

HB845 HD2 Prisoner ID: Requires the Department of Public Safety in collaboration with county and state agencies and, upon request of the inmate, to issue civil identification cards to inmates and to assist inmate in obtaining the inmate’s birth certificate, social security card, and other relevant identification necessary for successful reentry into society.

HB848 HD2 Microgrids: Exempt microgrids that promote and serve public higher education institutions from regulation as a public utility by the Public Utilities Commission.

HB889 HD1 Pesticides: Increases the pesticide licensing fee and requires annual renewal of the license.

HB916 HD1 Loan Repayment: Makes an appropriation for the health care professionals loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

HB957 HD1 Heat Abatement: Authorizes the Department of Education and Budget and Finance to borrow moneys from the Hawaii green infrastructure loan program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

HB1244 HD1 Cesspool Tax Credit: Amends the cesspool upgrade, conversion, or connection income tax credit to make it assignable and refundable, applicable to more cesspools, and applicable through 12/31/2022.

HB1325 HD1 Biosecurity: Requires the Department of Agriculture to establish parameters and construction requirements for biosecurity facilities that provide for and ensure the safety of agricultural and food commodities.

HB1378 HD1 Access Road: Requires the Department of Transportation to develop plans for the construction of secondary access roads for the Waianae district of leeward Oahu. Appropriates funds.

HB1587 HD1 Vehicle Tax: Replaces the state vehicle weight tax with a tax based on the assessed value of a vehicle.

Today marks the first decking deadline in the legislative process, when all measures must pass out of its final committee to be considered for a vote by the full House or Senate.  Each chamber has until next Thursday, March 9, to vote on all remaining measures that have made it out of their respective committees.

Following next Thursday’s crossover deadline, the House will focus its attention on HB100 relating to the state budget, which must be passed out of the committee on Finance by March 13 and voted on by the full body by March 15.

A complete list of bills passed by the House to date is available on the Capitol website at: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2017&report=deadline&active=true&rpt_type=firstCross&measuretype=HB&title=House%20Bills%20Crossed%20Over%20to%20the%20Senate

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Roadway & Parking Lot Striping Work Begins Monday

Visitors and tour operators to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park are advised that a project to re-stripe roadways and parking lots at Kīlauea Visitor Center and Nāhuku (Thurston Lava Tube) begins Monday, March 6 and will cause traffic delays up to 15 minutes.

Thurston Lava Tube

Work begins Monday at the Kīlauea Visitor Center’s (KVC) parking lot. When the KVC striping is complete, the project at Nāhuku will begin. Work should be complete by early May.

An NPS report shows that 1,832,660 visitors to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in 2015 spent $151,246,200 in communities near the park. That spending supported 1,834 jobs on island, and had a cumulative benefit to the local community of $189,391,100.

Hilo Community Economic Meeting Open to the Public

On Wednesday, March 8 a coalition of individuals and organizations focused on improving the East Hawaii economy will hold a community meeting to discuss legislative efforts that will guide in the revitalization of Hilo and Banyan Drive.  We have invited the entire East Hawaii caucus to join us, it is a Recess day for the Legislature so this gives them the best chance during session to visit with us.

The coalition includes Kanoelehua Industrial Association (KIAA), Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Hawaii (JCCIH) and Hawaii Island Economic Development Board (HIEDB).

The public is invited to attend and hear from coalition representatives and area legislators on the various, proposed economic development measures that have been introduced this legislative session (see full list below). The measures are aimed at providing much-needed tools and mechanisms to attract investment and foster partnerships that will help revitalize the local economy while promoting a healthy environment where East Hawaii families can thrive.

  • When:  Wednesday, March 8, 2017
  • Time: 5:00pm to 6:30pm
  • Location: Grand Naniloa Hotel

The coalition thanks the hard working East Hawaii Caucus that introduced the bills:

Representative Mark Nakashima
Representative Richard Onishi
Representative Joy San Buenaventura
Representative Christopher Todd
Senator Lorraine Inouye
Senator Kaialii Kahele
Senator Russell Ruderman

List of 2017 29th Legislature bills promoting East Hawaii’s economic interests introduced by members of the East Hawaii caucus:

  • HB 575 / SB 274 – Authorizes the Board of Land and Natural Resources to extend state land leases when the lessee makes qualifying substantial improvements to leased public lands. Download HB 575, SB 274.

Current Status-HB575 has passed WAL and FIN amended and will crossover

  • HB 1310 / SB 1184 – Establishes the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District, Planning Committee, and Revolving Fund. Download HB 1310, SB 1184. 

Current Status- HB1310 has passed TOU/WAL, and FIN and will crossover

  • HB 1469 / SB 1185 – Establishes procedures for designating public land redevelopment districts, planning committees (including powers and duties), district redevelopment plans, and designated revolving funds. Modifies public land lease restrictions. Download HB 1469, SB 1185.

Current Status- HB1469 has passed TOU/WAL, and FIN amended and will crossover

  • HB 1479 / SB 1292 – Establishes the Hilo community economic district and places it under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Community Development Authority. Establishes a revolving economic development fund and designates a percentage to be transferred to the special land and development fund under the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Download HB 1479, SB 1292.

Current Status-Both bills have passed through committees and will crossover SB1292 has been amended

‘Alalā Reintroduction Project Planning Further Releases After Recent Challenges – Birds Likely Killed By Hawaiian Hawk

Next Release Group to Receive Additional Predator-Aversion Training

Reintroduction efforts for the ʻAlalā, the native Hawaiian crow, began in December of last year with the release of five ʻAlalā into a Hawai‘i Island State Natural Area Reserve. Sadly, three birds did not survive, and the remaining two were brought back into captivity.

Members of The ‘Alalā Project say that the reintroduction of captive-raised birds without the benefit of experienced ‘Alalā already in the wild is very challenging. Biologists around the world say releases like this are usually marked with fits and starts, and that reintroduction success is not usually seen before multiple releases. Nēnē, the native Hawaiian goose, once had a population of only 30 birds and was part of a captive breeding program. “The recovery of Nēnē took over five decades of conservation actions to achieve, and while there are now over 3,000 birds in the wild, Nēnē populations still require active management to persist,” said Joey Mello, Hawai’i Branch DOFAW Wildlife Program Manager (East Hawai’i).

Despite the temporary setback, preparations are underway for the release of the next group of ‘Alalā. Nine birds are now in a flight aviary that was constructed in the State’s Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve; three more birds will be moved there soon. All of these birds are healthy and are checked and fed daily. Project team members closely observe their foraging skills, behaviors, and social interactions. The ‘Alalā Project anticipates the release of these 12 birds later this year.

Necropsies on the three ‘Alalā released last December indicate that none of the crows died due to disease exposure. Necropsy (autopsy for animals) results indicate that two of the birds were likely killed by another endangered bird, the ‘Io or native Hawaiian hawk. ‘Io are known to prey upon other birds – such is the circle of life in the wild. The third bird appears to have died from natural circumstances that led to poor physical condition.

Prior to any release, candidate birds undergo extensive training and conditioning to best ensure their long-term survival in the forest. This includes predator aversion training. The project team has consulted with world-renown predator aversion training specialists and is now focusing on making improvements to that training to give the released ‘Alalā a better chance of avoiding ‘Io.

The three ‘Alalā that died were named ‘Ike, Kau’ikauikalani, and Pewa. The necropsies were conducted by the San Diego Zoo Global (SDZG), which operates Hawaiʻi bird conservation centers on Hawai‘i Island and on Maui. The ‘Alalā were offspring of birds brought into captivity over a decade ago, around the time that the last remaining bird went extinct in the wild in 2002.

The ‘Alalā Project is comprised of more than a half dozen state and federal agencies, non-government agencies, and private landowners, that collectively and successfully have hatched more than 200 ‘Alalā at the SDZG bird conservation centers. The ‘Alalā Project is just one of many projects across the state committed to native species conservation. Together, these efforts protect and preserve the incredible and unique biodiversity of our islands.

Attorney General Chin Joins 39 Other State Attorneys General in Lawsuit Over Inflated Drug Prices

Attorney General Doug Chin today announced that Hawaii joined 39 states yesterday in a federal antitrust lawsuit over inflated drug prices. The lawsuit alleges that six generic drug-makers entered into illegal conspiracies to unreasonably restrain trade, artificially inflate prices and reduce competition in the United States for two generic drugs: doxycycline hyclate delayed release (an antibiotic) and glyburide (a diabetes medication).

Yesterday’s federal court filing amends a lawsuit initially filed in December 2016. The December 2016 complaint alleged violations of federal antitrust law and included 19 plaintiff states. The amended complaint increases from 20 to 40 the number of plaintiff states in the lawsuit. It also alleges violations of state antitrust laws and state consumer protection laws. The defendants include Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Connecticut is leading the multistate group of plaintiff states, consisting of Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

In July 2014, Connecticut began to investigate the reasons behind suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. According to the complaint, the investigation, which is still ongoing as to a number of additional generic drugs, generic drug companies and key executives, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release and glyburide.

The amended complaint further alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The complaint alleges that the anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – continues to cause significant harm to the country’s healthcare system.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. A redacted copy of the amended complaint is attached.

Hawaiian Airlines Welcomes Public High School Students to Inaugural Ka Ho‘okele Mentorship Program

Hawaiian Airlines is opening its doors to public high school students in a new mentorship program that provides hands-on learning about all aspects of the airline industry.

The carrier’s Ka Ho‘okele “The Navigator” Explorers Program, developed with the Aloha Council Boy Scouts, features more than 20 Hawaiian Airlines employees from diverse sectors of the company who volunteer to mentor high school students in aviation careers.

In a recent visit to Hawaiian Airlines’ maintenance facility, public high school students practiced sheet metal skills as part of the carrier’s Ka Ho’okeele mentorship program.

Earlier this week, the inaugural class of 19 students from nine O‘ahu public high schools, including Castle, Farrington, Kailua, Kalāheo, Kalani, Kapolei, Mililani, Moanalua, and Pearl City, took part in their first afterschool tour of Hawaiian’s maintenance operations. Students were given a safety briefing, practiced sheet metal skills such as cutting, bending and fitting, studied aircraft electronic systems and observed quality control checks.

“Ka Ho‘okele provides youngsters in our community a window into the multiple facets of the airline business, introduces them to a large array of skills and showcases exciting career options available for them to pursue,” said Debbie Nakanelua-Richards, Hawaiian’s director of community relations.

“Aloha Council, Boy Scouts of America is proud to partner with Hawaiian Airlines in providing a high-quality career-oriented Explorers program. The students will gain invaluable career skills through the mentoring provided by Hawaiian Airlines,” said Jeff Sulzbach, scout executive and CEO of Aloha Council.

Participants will spend the next 10 weeks immersed in Hawaiian’s operations as employees share their expertise in areas ranging from cargo to flight and airport operations, among many other fields. Throughout the program, the group will also be introduced to Hawaiian’s culture of Ho‘okipa (Hawaiian hospitality), learn about educational requirements to achieve successful aviation careers, and practice key job skills such as interviewing, presentation and teamwork.

Prior to an exam and graduation in May, the class will participate in a weekend community service activity alongside Hawaiian’s Team Kōkua volunteers.

The Ka Ho‘okele program is the latest addition to the airline’s growing education outreach efforts in the community. Over the past several years, Hawaiian has conducted popular Keiki Tours for preschool and elementary students at Honolulu International Airport and it recently launched a mechanic apprenticeship program with the Honolulu Community College’s Aeronautics Maintenance and Technology program and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union. Last year, the Hawaiian Airlines Foundation donated $50,000 to Maryknoll School’s new high school Mx Scholar Program for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) & Aerospace.

For more details about the Ka Ho‘okele program, please visit https://scoutingevent.com/104-ExProgramHawaiianAirlines.

Hawaii Department of Human Services Adopts Safe Sleep Rules

The Department of Human Services has adopted safe sleep provisions into its administrative rules, further strengthening its responsibility to keep infants safe in regulated child care settings. These amendments codify the department’s decade-long commitment to ensuring all licensed and registered child care providers follow safe sleep best practices. The rule went into effect on Friday, February 24, 2017.

“This department is committed to the health and safety of Hawai‘i’s children. These rules embody our commitment by making explicit our department’s practice of requiring licensed and registered child care providers to use safe sleep best practices. We believe these rules are the natural evolution of our dedication to safe sleep practices in licensing child care providers,” said DHS Director Pankaj Bhanot.

This act of codifying DHS practices responds to community concerns and reinforces that the department values safe sleep practices in all child care settings.

DHS has prioritized safe sleep practices since 2005 when the department began including them as part of the child care licensing protocol. The national Safe Sleep campaign began targeting child care settings just a few years prior.

DHS licenses various child care settings, including family care homes, group child care centers and homes, before- and after-school programs, and infant and toddler child care centers. The department’s Child Care Licensing staff conduct initial, annual and biennial monitoring visits at each home and facility to ensure providers are compliant with laws, regulations and best practices. Since 2005, licensing workers have educated providers about the importance of safe sleep practices and verified their compliance.

These protocols contributed to zero child fatalities in licensed and registered child care settings in 2016.

You can access the rules (17-891.1 and 17-895) here on our website. More information about the Department of Human Services is available at humanservices.hawaii.gov.