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Endangered ‘Ua‘u Released Successfully

When it comes to successful wildlife rescue and rehabilitation, the old adage “it takes a village” rings true. An endangered ‘Ua‘u (Hawaiian Petrel) is back in the wild thanks to the rapid response and partnership of many, including Pulama Lana‘i, the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), multiple community members, Kohala Dental Center, Maui Save Our Seabirds, and the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center.

All photos courtesy of Hawai‘i Wildlife Center

The ‘Ua‘u was found injured on Lana‘i after a suspected structure collision. The bird was suffering from head trauma, an injury to its left eye, damage to the tip of its beak, and neurological issues. The rescuers coordinated with the Hawai‘i Wildlife Center, the bird was flown to Hawai‘i Island on April 19 and was then brought to the HWC wildlife hospital from the airport by Wheels for Wildlife transport volunteer, Paul McCollam. The extensive list of injuries led HWC to give the bird a guarded prognosis after it was evaluated by HWC Primary Care Veterinarian Dr. Juan Guerra. It was started on an aggressive course of treatment, including antibiotics, eye drops, nutritional support and hydration. HWC staff administered treatment three times a day every day and remained committed to the bird’s recovery.

“This case really highlights the importance of giving downed birds a chance to rehabilitate,” said Samantha Christie, HWC Wildlife Rehabilitation Manager. “This bird would have perished if not for the quick response on Lana‘i and the intensive care provided at HWC.”

The ‘Ua‘u continued its recovery, gaining strength and exhibiting more feisty natural behavior, and on May 1 it was placed on a conditioning pool for the first time. After watching the bird spend multiple days on the pool, HWC wildlife staff determined that the bird’s feathers were able to provide the necessary waterproofing and were encouraged to see the patient exhibiting normal behavior. All signs pointed towards release.

Before the bird was ready to be released, a few last details needed to be addressed. HWC wildlife rehabilitation staff performed a unique procedure using dental epoxy generously provided by Kohala Dental Center to repair the bird’s damaged beak. The day before release, the bird was banded by DOFAW staff with a band that was provided by Maui Save Our Seabirds and flown in the night before. Then she was ready for return to the wild.

Since seabirds naturally fly long distances, HWC was granted permission from USFWS and DOFAW to release the Lana‘i ‘Ua‘u on Hawai‘i Island. The release location, Kawaihae Harbor, was chosen based on the close proximity to the Center. Michael Huber, another HWC volunteer, carefully kayaked the ‘Ua‘u out of the harbor and the bird was released to favorable winds and calm seas. During its initial examination at the HWC wildlife hospital, HWC wildlife staff found a brood patch indicating that the bird was a breeding adult. HWC staff expects the bird to eventually navigate back home to Lana‘i to breed.

The Hawaiian Petrel, or ‘Ua‘u in Hawaiian, is an endangered species that feeds in in the open ocean. This large seabird is strictly pelagic and is only seen on land when nesting. (A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Hawai‘i. Jim Denny. University of Hawaii Press, 2010.)

2017 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists – Rep. Gabbard Launches “People’s Choice” Contest on Facebook

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today announced thirteen finalists in her Fifth Annual Kaha Kiʻi Second Congressional District Art Competition and launched a “People’s Choice” contest on the Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Facebook Page where the public can select their favorite pieces. A gallery of the finalists’ artwork is now on display in the halls of the Hawaiʻi State Capitol. Each spring, the congresswoman sponsors the event to recognize and encourage creativity across Hawai‘i as part of a nationwide high school art competition with other Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“I encourage everyone in the community to check out the art being showcased by these gifted students from across the state of Hawaiʻi—either see the pieces in person at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol, or take a look on my Facebook page. You will be impressed and inspired by their talent and creativity,” said Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.  “Our annual Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition is a great opportunity to recognize the creative abilities of Hawaii’s young adults and encourages them to further pursue their artistic talents. Congratulations to this year’s finalists, and mahalo to the educators and family members who have supported these students as they embrace their passion.”

The overall winner of the district-wide competition will be announced on May 13th in a ceremony at the Hawai‘i State Capitol. The first-place piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside winners from all other congressional districts. The second-place and third-place pieces will be hung in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s Washington, DC and Hawaiʻi offices (respectively) for one year. All winners will be awarded with a cash prize.

The entry with the most Likes, Loves, and Shares in the “People’s Choice” Contest on Facebook on Thursday, May 11th at 5:00 p.m. HST will be featured as the cover photo at the top of Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard’s official Facebook page, and the artist will win a cash prize.

The 2017 Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition Finalists are listed below, and their artwork is shown in the corresponding graphic from left to right, top to bottom:

  • Water Is Life – Standing Rock by Riley Herendeen, Grade 11, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • The Old Ways by Tori Wills, Grade 12, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Fozzie by Paxton Bender, Grade 12, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)
  • Wahine’Ume’Ume by Chais Pascua, Grade 12, Baldwin High (Maui)
  • Hula Skirts by Lacey Santos, Grade 12, Seabury Hall (Maui)
  • Stoked by Emma Sanchez, Grade 11, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Innocence by Sophia Kauffmann, Grade 11, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • Self Portrait by Lillian Pickering, Grade 12, Seabury Hall (Maui)
  • Surrounded by Ruby Ranoa, Grade 11, Kalaheo High (Oʻahu)
  • Looking Into the Future Through the Past by Hunter Weigle, Grade 12, Parker School (Hawaiʻi Island)
  • Girl in the Shadows by Sonja Angst, Grade 12, Molokaʻi High School
  • What’s Around by Daymien Rodrigues, Grade 9, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)
  • Submerged by Jackie Duliere, Grade 12, Leilehua High (Oʻahu)

Each spring, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sponsors the Kaha Kiʻi Congressional Art Competition as part of a nationwide high school arts competition. The Congressional Art Competition is open to all high school students in Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District. For more information, click here.

Big Island Dairy Fined for Fecal Pollution

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order to Big Island Dairy, LLC for the unlawful discharge of wastewater from the dairy’s Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations (CAFO), located in O’okala on Hawaii Island, to Kaohaoha Gulch.

Big Island Dairy Facebook picture

The DOH has ordered Big Island Dairy, LLC to immediately cease discharging wastewater to state waters, pay a penalty of $25,000 to the state, and take corrective actions to prevent future unlawful discharges from the dairy to state waters. Further, the dairy is required to apply to DOH for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit required under the Federal Clean Water Act, and State of Hawaii water pollution laws. Additional DOH oversight of other past and current dairy issues is continuing.

“Big Island Dairy will immediately cease illegal discharges and pay a penalty fee for violating environmental laws,” said Keith Kawaoka, DOH deputy director of Environmental Health. “Food production and environmental protection are not competing interests, and through this enforcement action and future permitting efforts, DOH will seek mutually beneficial results for the dairy, O’okala community, and greater State of Hawaii.”

On March 28-29, 2017, the DOH conducted an inspection of the dairy and Kaohaoha Gulch based on information provided by community leaders. During the inspection, DOH found clear evidence of an unlawful discharge of wastewater from the dairy’s field irrigation practices. The discharge was composed of animal wastewater, biosolids and dirt.

Requirement for an NPDES Permit Authorizing the Discharge to State waters

Under the federal Clean Water Act and state water pollution laws, a dairy with 700 or more mature milking cows which operates as a CAFO and discharges is required to obtain and comply with an NPDES permit. NPDES permits regulate the discharges from the dairy to state and federal waters by requiring implementation of pollution reducing practices and compliance reporting. Big Island Dairy has 30 days to submit an application for NPDES permit coverage to DOH.

Requirement for the Development and Implementation of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan

Big Island Dairy is ordered to develop or revise a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) that defines how the dairy treats, uses, and distributes its wastewater for crop production purposes. The CNMP must follow Federal guidelines and be approved of by the DOH before implementation. The CNMP will be an enforceable provision of the NPDES permit.

Surveys of State waters within Dairy Property

Big Island Dairy is required to conduct surveys and inspections of state waters located within the dairy property to identify all points of discharge from the dairy. The dairy must develop corrective action plans if the dairy finds any evidence of waste or wastewater within state waters due to dairy operations. DOH will review the final reports and conduct due diligence to authenticate conclusions made in the dairy’s report.

Big Island Dairy, LLC may contest the Notice of Violation and Order and has 20 days to request a hearing.

The Hawaii Department of Health’s Clean Water Branch protects the health of residents and visitors who enjoy Hawaii’s coastal and inland water resources. The Branch also protects and restores inland and coastal waters for marine life and wildlife. This is accomplished through statewide coastal water surveillance and watershed-based environmental management using a combination of permit issuance, water quality monitoring and investigation, water quality violation enforcement, polluted runoff control, and public education.

New Lava Flow Maps Released

This map shows recent changes to Kīlauea’s East Rift Zone lava flow field. The area of the active flow field as of April 10 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of May 3 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray. The yellow line is the trace of the active lava tube (dashed where uncertain).

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM). (Click to Enlarge)

This small-scale map shows Kīlauea’s active East Rift Zone lava flow field in relation to the southeastern part of the Island of Hawaiʻi. The area of the active flow field as of April 10 is shown in pink, while widening and advancement of the active flow as of May 3 is shown in red. Older Puʻu ʻŌʻō lava flows (1983–2016) are shown in gray.

The blue lines over the Puʻu ʻŌʻō flow field are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 2013 digital elevation model (DEM), while the blue lines on the rest of the map are steepest-descent paths calculated from a 1983 DEM (for calculation details, see http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1264/). Steepest-descent path analysis is based on the assumption that the DEM perfectly represents the earth’s surface. DEMs, however, are not perfect, so the blue lines on this map can be used to infer only approximate flow paths. The base map is a partly transparent 1:24,000-scale USGS digital topographic map draped over the 1983 10-m digital elevation model (DEM).

Hawaii House of Representatives Adjourns 2017 Legislative Session

The House of Representatives today adjourned the 2017 regular legislative session sine die.

The Legislature passed a total of 233 bills this session including measures to support for affordable housing and homelessness, reduce taxes low-income families, provide college tuition for qualifying students, support kupuna care, and fund new schools and heat abatement in classrooms.

The House today deferred action on SB1183 HD2 HD2 HCD2 to fund the City & County of Honolulu’s financially troubled rail project until the next session.

This session the House passed a State Budget that appropriates $14.1 billion in total operating funds for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. The budget includes $2.9 billion for critical capital improvement projects in every county across the state.

More than $30 million is designated in the budget for grants-in-aid for nonprofit organizations who reach out to the community with invaluable services.

To support our low-income families the House passed HB 209 which establishes a state earned income tax credit. This will help low-income workers to keep more of what they earn.

The House passed legislation to keep Hawaii property owners protected under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance. The bill saves more than 60,000 flood insurance policies totaling over $13.4 billion throughout the state at risk of being cancelled without this bill.

Another bill established the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Hawaii is the only state to offer this program.

The House funded the Hawaii Promise Program which will help qualified students with financial needs pay for in-state college tuition.

Two new schools, East Kapolei Middle School and Kihei High School on Maui, were also funded along with a new classroom building for over-crowded Campbell High School.

In response to the increasingly unmet need for rental housing, the House passed HB 1179 to provide incentives to rental housing developers by expanding the types of projects that can be exempt from general excise taxes, with the permission of the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation.

Lawmakers also voted to support the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation’s Downpayment Loan Program to relieve the increasing burden of housing prices on first-time home buyers, and added $25 million to the Rental Housing Revolving Fund and $25 million to the Dwelling Unit Revolving Fund to promote affordable rental housing.

On the environment, the House voted to expand strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement.

To fight the continuing threat of invasive species, bills were passed to monitor the Rose-ringed Parakeet on Kauai, to eliminate the Little Fire Ant, and continued funding for the battle against Rapid Ohia Death.

In agriculture, lawmakers acted quickly to prevent the Rat Lungworm Disease from spreading.  They passed HB 1475 to broaden commercial operations permitted on agricultural land and allow farmers’ markets and food hubs on ag land. This bill also allows on-farm sales of produce and value-added products, a critical source of additional income for small farms.

The House voted to maintain the hemp pilot program and allow applicants to apply for permits all year long. The counties will be required to recognize industrial hemp as an agricultural product, use or activity. Certain facility and transportation requirements will be eased up to make this industry more feasible and to become a thriving industry.

For homeless people the House funded outreach and health care services and earmarked $3 million for the Housing First program. Housing First is an approach to homelessness that provides rapid housing placement, followed by support services and has proven successful in helping people to improve their lives.

The House also voted to select Representative Scott Saiki as the new House Speaker following the resignation of Speaker Joe Souki.

“Rep. Souki has been a mentor and friend for many of us in the House. He taught us what it means to serve the people of Hawaii with honor, passion and pride,” said Speaker Saiki. “He has left his mark on the State and in these Halls that will never be erased.  I want to thank him for his service, for his words of wisdom and his guidance.”

Click on this link for all bills passed during the 2017 session.

Kamokuna Lava Delta Collapses Into Ocean

On May 3, Kīlauea Volcano’s Kamokuna lava delta, which had been growing since late March, collapsed.

This image shows the lava delta at 7:50 a.m. HST, a couple of hours before the collapse.

An HVO time-lapse camera captured the sequence of events in five-minute intervals.

Between 9:35 and 9:40 a.m., a large steam plume appeared in the middle of Kamokuna lava delta in the area of large cracks noted in our April 27 image.

Weak fountaining or spattering likely occurred initially, because new tephra is visible in the steaming area, but that activity ended by 9:40 a.m.

Images captured over the next 25 minutes show that the steam plume in the middle of the delta weakened, and the delta surface surrounding the steaming area subsided.

Within five minutes, between 9:55 and 10:00 a.m. HST, nearly the entire delta disappeared, collapsing into the sea.

In this image, captured at 10:05 a.m., the seawater is brown and turbulent. Large blocks of steaming rocks are visible on top of a narrow slice of the remaining delta (center). These rocks were likely washed ashore by a small, localized tsunami generated by the collapse. During the next few hours, small pieces of the remnant delta continued to flake off and disappear into the ocean.

The collapsed area cut back toward the sea cliff, past the largest crack on the delta.

This morning (May 4), the Kamokuna ocean entry was obscured by a thick steam plume at the base of the cliff.

Click images to enlarge

Sparse littoral bursts, occasionally visible through the plume, were the source of the floating, steaming lava fragments that can be seen in the ocean near the entry.

Hawaii Senate Adjourns 2017 Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate adjourned the 2017 regular session today taking action on a number of priority areas including homelessness, healthcare, education, and the environment.  These priorities align with the Senate’s commitment to the Legislative Program set forth at the start of the 2017 session.

Members of the Senate, along with their House counterparts, approved the allocation of about $40 million over the next two years on homeless programs, a top priority of the Legislative Program, including $500,000 each year for services for homeless individuals with serious and persistent mental health challenges; $800,000 for outreach and counseling services for chronically homeless individual families with severe substance use disorders and $300,000 each year for clean and sober housing for chronically homeless individuals.

Investing in our children, from preschool to college, reflects the Senate’s priority in education.  $90 million was allocated to address conditions for school facilities statewide. The Legislature passed SB423 which ensures that public school students will receive a school meal, even if the student’s meal fund account balance is zero. $1 million in general funds was appropriated in each fiscal year for the Early College High School Initiative.

Lawmakers passed measures to address our environment including funding to fight invasive species such as the Coffee Berry Borer and to provide support in the Rapid Ohia Death response.  They also passed SB559 which ensures statewide support for Hawai‘i’s green initiatives and measure the efforts being made to mitigate the effects of climate change throughout the state.

By passing HB607, Hawai‘i becomes the first state in the nation to pass legislation which authorizes a program to support those who provide care for the elderly.  In addressing a disease making headlines locally and nationally, $1 million was appropriated to address Rat Lungworm disease.

In his closing remarks, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Dist. 8 -Kaua’i, Ni’ihau) said despite trying and difficult times during the Session, he was grateful and proud of his colleagues and Senate staff for “working as professionals each and every day.”

“I’m pleased with the work done over the last 60 days,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe).  “There were certainly challenges throughout this session, particularly in the area of the budget, where tough choices had to be made.  However, my Senate colleagues always kept in mind the best interest of the people of Hawai‘i. I’m hopeful that what issues remain unresolved at the end of this session, we can work together to find solutions and move forward.”

On the stalemate over funding for the rail project, the Senate remains open to negotiate an agreement with the House to ensure adequate financing to complete the project, yet minimize the impact on the most vulnerable citizens of the community.

Under Senate Rules and Senate Resolution 96, during the interim, the membership of each Standing Committee can be appointed by the President subject to action by the Senate. Should there be changes to a Standing Committee, the new assignments will be announced.

To view all the bills passed in the 2017 Legislative Session, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes Against Republican Healthcare Bill

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the following statement after voting against the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill is opposed by the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association, the American Nurses Association, the National Disability Rights Network, the AFL-CIO, the National Farmers Union, the National Education Association, among others. The bill passed the House by a vote of 217-213 and now heads to the Senate for consideration.

“The bill that passed today is not a healthcare bill—it’s a big handout to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. This bill slashes $880 billion from Medicaid, strips away health benefits like maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and mental health services, expands a crippling age tax on our seniors, eliminates healthcare tax credits for over 7 million veterans, and breaks the bank for those with pre-existing conditions. While corporations rake in over $600 billion in tax breaks, many low-income Americans will see their coverage drop completely. This partisan bill was rushed through, resulting in corporate benefits on the backs of the people.

“We need real healthcare reform that brings down costs, increases access to quality care, and ensures basic health services are available to all Americans. As a cosponsor of H.R.676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, I’m working towards a system that will provide universal healthcare to all Americans—a standard met by nearly every other industrialized nation.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke against the American Health Care Act on the House floor and urged Congress to vote no.

Learn How to Divide Cattleya Orchids

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club demonstrates how to divide cattleya orchids during the May 10 meeting. Betty Matsuo, one of the club’s original members, will lead the presentation. Open to those interested in orchids, the meeting is 7 p.m. at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall. Bring a potluck dish to share. For info, phone 808-328-8375.

The Kona Daifukuji Orchid Club is West Hawai‘i’s oldest orchidaceae organization with a mission to learn and foster orchid culture and promote fellowship among orchid collectors. The club meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Daifukuji Soto Mission Hall on Hwy. 11 at mile marker 114, just north of Kainaliu. For information, visit www.facebook.com/orchidsinparadise.

Rep. Souki Resigns as Speaker of Hawaii House of Representatives

Representative Joseph M. Souki has resigned as Speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives effective immediately.

Souki was re-elected as Speaker of the House in January 2013. He previously served as Speaker from 1993 to 1999, and Speaker Emeritus from 2000 to 2013. He also served as Chair of the Committee on Finance, and most recently as Chair of the Committee on Transportation.

Souki, a Democrat, has served in the Hawaii State House since 1982. He represents the 8th district, Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku and Waikapu on the island of Maui where he was born and raised.

See attached letter from Rep. Souki to all House Members.

Hokulea Returning Home

Hawaii’s iconic voyaging canoe Hokulea will conclude its epic three-year sail around the globe and return home to the Hawaiian Islands in June 2017.  The mission of the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines was to weave a lei of hope around the world through sharing indigenous wisdom, groundbreaking conservation and preservation initiatives while learning from the past and from each other, creating global relationships, and discovering the wonders of the Island Earth.

On Saturday, June 17, Hokulea and its crew members will make their historic return to Hawaii at Oahu’s Magic Island after sailing more than 40,000 nautical miles since departing Oahu for the first deep sea leg of the voyage in May 2014. Hokulea will sail into Magic Island along with a fleet of about seven deep sea voyaging canoes from Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand.  The homecoming celebration, themed Lei Kaapuni Honua, meaning “A Lei Around The World,” honors the journey of connecting cultures and people around the world.

“It is the realization of decades of hard work and planning on behalf of the Polynesian Voyaging Society crew and our partners and friends around the world to embark on the final leg of Hokulea’s voyage and return home,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Watching Hokulea crest the waves of Oahu’s south shore as she returns home, much like the canoes of our ancestors, will be a once in a lifetime experience. We are overwhelmed with emotion at all we have accomplished during this historic voyage and we look forward to setting sail on the next chapter together.”

Hokulea’s homecoming will include a cultural welcoming ceremony followed by a grand celebration. To further engage the local community and continue the festivities, a series of additional homecoming events are planned during the week following the June 17 arrival. The Malama Honua Fair and Summit, a three-day summit, will highlight the voyaging, cultural, environmental, educational and health and well-being missions of the Worldwide Voyage by sharing malama honua “stories of hope” and voyage-inspired initiatives and activities with the public. The event’s inspirational speaker series will feature local and global speakers who have engaged with the Voyage including: Megan Smith, 3rd chief technology officer of the United States; Dieter Paulmann, founder of Okeanos Foundation for the Sea; and Ocean Elders Sylvia Earle, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and Don Walsh.

The mission of the Voyage has been to spread the message of Malama Honua (caring for Island Earth) by promoting environmental consciousness, fostering learning environments, bringing together island communities and growing a global movement toward a more sustainable world. The voyage has celebrated a resurgence of pride and respect for our native cultures and has created opportunities for people throughout the world to honor our shared heritage.

The Malama Honua sail plan included over 150 ports, 18 nations and eight of UNESCO’S Marine World Heritage sites, engaging local communities and practicing how to live sustainably. During the voyage, over 200 volunteer crew members have helped to sail the vessel and connect with more than 100,000 people throughout the world in communities across the South Pacific, Tasman Sea, Indian Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and the Caribbean Sea, including Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, Indonesia, Mauritius, South Africa, Brazil, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cuba, the East Coast of the United States, Canada, Panama, and the Galapagos Islands.

After returning to Hawaii in the fall of 2017, Hokulea and Hikianalia will sail around the Hawaiian Islands to reconnect with local communities and schools to share stories and lessons learned on the Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage.

Coast Guard Holding Public Meeting Regarding Changes to Kamokuna Lava Ocean Entry Safety Zone

The Coast Guard will host a public meeting regarding the Notice of Proposed Rule Making for the Kamokuna lava ocean entry safety zone at the East Hawaii County Building at 5 p.m., Monday.

Kamokuna Ocean Entrance

A Notice of Proposed Rule Making is public notice a federal agency intends to create, add, remove or change a rule or regulation. The Coast Guard encourages citizens to participate in the rulemaking process by reviewing the rulemaking docket and providing public comment via the Federal Register. Public comments ensure Coast Guard rules and regulations are in the best interest of all parties. The Coast Guard is holding this public meeting as part of the NPRM process to encourage public input regarding the possible permanence and scope of the safety zone in place at Kamokuna.

To view the NPRM in the Federal Register, go to http://www.regulations.gov, type USCG-2017-0234 in the “SEARCH” box and click “SEARCH.”  Click on Open Docket Folder on the line associated with this rule. The Coast Guard strongly prefers comments to be submitted electronically.  Electronic comments may be submitted via http://www.regulations.gov.  Click the “COMMENT NOW” box on the top right of Docket Folder. Written comments may also be submitted (e.g. postmarked) by the deadline, via mail to Commander (spw), U.S. Coast Guard Sector Honolulu, 433 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96850.

The comment period ends at 11:59 p.m. June 2, 2017.

  • WHO: Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Captain of the Port
  • WHAT: Hosts public meeting as part of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making to collect public input on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making process regarding the safety zone
  • WHERE: East Hawaii County Building (Hilo) Aupuni Center Conference Room located at 101 Pauahi Street #7, Hilo, HI, 96720
  • WHEN: 5 p.m., May 8, 2017. Media are asked to arrive no later than 4:30 p.m.

Media interested in attending are asked to RSVP no later than Monday at 12 p.m. by contacting the Coast Guard 14th District public affairs office at 808-341-9849.

Hawaii Firearm Permits and Registrations Increase in 2016

The Department of the Attorney General released its annual report today detailing statewide and county firearm registration statistics for calendar year 2016.

Click to view report

A total of 21,408 personal firearm permit applications were processed statewide during 2016, marking an 8.4% increase from the tally in 2015. Of the applications processed in 2016, 95.7% (20,488) were approved and resulted in issued permits; 2.8% (592) were approved but subsequently voided after the applicants failed to return for their permits within the specified time period; and 1.5% (328) were denied due to one or more disqualifying factors.

The 20,488 permits issued statewide in 2016 cover a total of 53,400 firearms registered during the year, resulting in a 14.1% increase from the tally of firearms registered throughout 2015. About half (26,616, or 49.8%) of the firearms registered during 2016 were imported from out-of-state, with the remainder accounted for by transfers of firearms that were previously registered in Hawaii.

Firearm registration activity increased dramatically over the course of the 17 years for which these data have been systematically compiled and reported. Statewide from 2000 through 2016, the annual number of statewide permit applications processed climbed 341.1%, the annual number of firearms registered soared 392.2%, and the annual number of firearms imported surged 368.2%. For 2016, Kauai County reported record high tallies for all three categories.

It is a misdemeanor in the State of Hawaii to provide falsified information on firearm permit applications, unless the falsified information pertains to criminal or mental health histories, in which case it is a felony offense. In 2016, falsified criminal or mental health information or both were provided in 60.1% (197) of the 328 denial cases; falsified information pertaining to anything other than criminal or mental health histories was provided in 1.5% (5) of the cases; and no falsified information was provided in 38.4% (126) of the cases.

Persons with documented mental health histories; those who within one year of their applications were medical marijuana patients; and those with documented alcohol and/or substance abuse treatment histories were, respectively, the top three types of applicants whose permit applications were denied in 2016.

Firearm Registrations in Hawaii, 2016 provides a range of additional statistics and analyses focused on firearm permits/licenses, registrations, and denials in the State of Hawaii and its four counties. The full report can be downloaded from the Department of the Attorney General’s Research and Statistics Branch web site at http://ag.hawaii.gov/cpja/rs.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Votes to Pass Bipartisan Funding Bill to Keep Government Open – Hawaii Gets…

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) released the statement below after voting to pass a bipartisan funding bill to keep the government open through September 2017:

“Today we voted to keep the government open, avoiding a disastrous government shutdown, while also including funding for many Hawaiʻi priorities that I fought for. It included funding for the East-West Center, Native Hawaiian housing, healthcare, and education programs, critical environmental protections, and clean energy initiatives. As North Korea continues to increase its nuclear and ballistic missile activity and capabilities, this bill increases funding for missile defense for Hawaiʻi to keep our communities protected. In addition, it includes provisions to allow COFA migrants to be treated at Army medical facilities in Hawaiʻi, and help ensure the federal government delivers on its promise to provide care to our COFA communities.

“In my recent tour of criminal justice facilities across Hawaiʻi, I saw firsthand how prison overcrowding has strained our resources and communities. This bill includes funding for initiatives to reduce recidivism like veteran treatment courts and the HOPE program that has had high success rates in Hawaiʻi. It also increases funding for key local law enforcement hiring, training, and community programs in Hawaiʻi and nationwide.

“As Hawaiʻi continues the process to open medical marijuana dispensaries, this bill included important language that specifies no federal funds may be used to stop states like Hawaiʻi from ‘implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.’

“From Flint, to Standing Rock, to Red Hill, it’s clear our water infrastructure nationwide is in dire need of investment and updates.  This bill invests in our clean water infrastructure, and includes funding for critical Hawaiʻi resources like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lāhainā Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed.

“Passing this bill with bipartisan support is a positive step, and shows what is possible when both parties come together to put the people of this country above partisan politics.”

Hawaiʻi will benefit from federal funding that includes:

  • $16.7 million for the East-West Center
  • $2 million for the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program
  • $14.4 million for the Native Hawaiian Health Care Systems program
  • $47.2 million for Native Hawaiian Education programs
  • $24.5 million for the Sea-based X-band (SBX) Radar at Pearl Harbor for the continued improvement of Hawaiʻi’s missile defense capabilities
  • $12 million for the Barking Sands Tactical Underwater Range (BARSTUR) on Kauaʻi
  • $3.194 million for agricultural education grants for Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Institutions
  • $222 million for the environmental restoration of formerly used defense sites, including the 117 sites in Hawaiʻi
  • $1.49 billion for community health centers nationwide, including 15 community health centers in Hawaiʻi
  • $6.5 million for the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program, which helps prevent pollution of groundwater in rural communities in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • $150 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which funds Hawaiʻi projects like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lahaina Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed
  • $617 million in Department of Justice grants that support law enforcement hiring, training, and community programs in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • $4 million to expand Project HOPE programs to reduce recidivism in new sites nationwide
  • $7 million for Veteran Treatment Courts in Hawaiʻi and nationwide
  • Includes language allowing for funds to be used for humanitarian assistance to COFA nations, and for patients from COFA nations to receive treatment at Army medical facilities in Hawaiʻi
  • The bill also specifies that no federal funds may be used with respect to any of a number of listed States, including Hawaiʻi, to “prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

EPA Requiring County of Hawaii to Close 7 Large Capacity Cesspools

In accordance with Section 1423(c)(3)(B) of the Safe Drinking Water Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 300h-2(c)(3)(B), notice is hereby given of a proposed agreement, set forth in a Proposed Administrative Order on Consent (“Proposed Consent Order”), between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 9 (“EPA”) and the County of Hawai‘i. The Proposed Consent Order requires the County of Hawai’i to correct certain alleged ongoing violations of the Act, as further described below. This notice invites the public to submit comments on the Proposed Consent Order.

Click to read docket

The Proposed Consent Order requires Respondent to close seven (7) large capacity cesspools (“LCCs”) that are currently being operated in violation of the ban codified at 40 C.F.R. § 144.88 on existing LCCs that took effect on April 5, 2005. Section V of the Proposed Consent Order provides an enforceable schedule for the County of Hawai’i to come into compliance with the ban, including closure of the LCCs and proper treatment for the wastewater streams currently being sent to the LCCs.

Complainant

Kathleen H. Johnson, Director, Enforcement Division, U.S. EPA, Region 9, 75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

Respondent

Mayor Harry Kim, County of Hawai‘i, East Hawai‘i Building, 25 Aupuni Street Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720

Facilities

Pahala and Na’alehu communities of Hawai‘i

Alleged Violations

EPA alleges that, since April 5, 2005, Respondent owned and/or operated two (2) LCCs in violation of the LCC ban located in the community of Pahala. EPA further alleges that, since at least April 30, 2010, Respondent owned and/or operated five (5) additional LCCs in violation of the LCC ban located in the communities of Pahala and Naalehu. The continued operation of these LCCs is an ongoing violation of 40 C.F.R. § 144.88 and the SDWA. The seven (7) LCCs at issue are more specifically defined as follows:

  • 2 large capacity cesspools serving approximately 109 private residences in the community of Pahala, Hawai‘i;
  • 3 large capacity cesspools serving approximately 163 private residences in the community of Na’alehu, Hawai‘i; and
  • 2 large capacity cesspools serving the Pahala Elderly Apartments.

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HDOT Cuts Energy Usage in Half at Hawaii, Maui, Oahu & Kauai Airports with Improved Lighting at Photovoltaic Systems

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) has entered the second phase of its Energy Savings Performance Contract with Johnson Controls (JCI) to provide high-efficiency lighting at 11 Hawaii airports and solar photovoltaic systems at Honolulu International Airport. The total guaranteed energy savings at Hawaii’s airports is more than $606 million over a 15-year period with the addition of Phase 2.

Phase 2 of the contract guarantees $65.5 million in energy savings through the replacement and retrofit of 47,747 existing florescent lamps to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps, the application of high-end trim to 8,256 LED fixtures (which customizes the light level for an area in order to prevent using more energy than is necessary), and the installation of 15,683 photovoltaic roof-mounted panels including parking lot canopy systems at the Honolulu International Airport capable of producing 5.3 Megawatts of power. Phase 1 and Phase 2 will install a total of over 98,000 light fixtures and over 24,400 photovoltaic panels for a total of nearly 8 megawatts of energy savings and power generation.

“This initiative’s unprecedented energy and cost savings confirms that going green is good for our local economy. The cost-effective investments are cutting energy demand and increasing efficiency, which contributes to the reduction of the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. This is an important part of reaching our long-term energy sustainability goals,” said Gov. David Ige.

“Installing photovoltaic to help meet the energy needs at the state’s largest airport makes sense,” said Ford Fuchigami, Hawaii Department of Transportation Director. “We are continuing to transform our transportation infrastructure to advance the state’s sustainability and energy efficiency goals.”

This initiative aligns with Gov. Ige’s Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative sustainability goals and makes a significant contribution to energy efficiency and economic value by further reducing energy usage at state airports by nearly 63 million kilowatt hours per year over the 15-year performance period. That energy savings is equivalent to powering 9,264 homes a year. Over the life of the project the energy saved could power more than 175,000 homes.

Construction to implement Phase 2 is scheduled to take place over the next 24 months and is financed by realized energy savings, not taxpayer money. The construction will not impact flight schedules or operations.

JCI is also working on Energy Savings Performance Contracts to improve efficiency for the highways and harbors divisions within HDOT. The total amount of guaranteed savings for airports, highways and harbors divisions projects is more than $776 million over the life of the contracts.

Hawaii’s commitment to sustainability is evident in recognition by the Energy Services Coalition (ESC) that the Department of Transportation, Airports Division, performance contract for nearly $209.8 million, is the largest single state contract for energy performance in the nation. ESC is a national nonprofit organization of experts working together to increase energy efficiency and building upgrades through energy performance contracting.

The Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism estimates that over the life of the contract, which ends in 2034, the economic impacts will be $27.3 million in tax revenues (in 2016 dollars), $186.6 million in income to households (in 2016 dollars), and 867 jobs generated or supported each year during the first two years of construction in Phase I with 257 jobs supported each year during Phase II construction and installation and an average of 63 jobs generated or supported each year during the performance period.

In addition, the contract supports Hawaii’s commitment to the Performance Contracting Accelerator Program, part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative.

Performance contracting implements energy and water efficiency projects using guaranteed energy savings to pay for the projects. State and county agencies face increasing energy costs and the need to replace or upgrade aging, inefficient, and obsolete energy and water consuming equipment. Capital improvement and operating budgets have been unable to keep up with the needed upgrades for energy and water efficiency. Performance contracting allows agencies to fund some of these needs and to install energy efficiency retrofits in a timely manner. Performance contracting retrofits can take less than one year to up to three years to install. Therefore, energy savings occur sooner than later. Capital improvement projects can take from six to 10 years, resulting missed opportunities for annual energy savings.

Auli’i Cravalho to Perform National Anthem at PBS’ Memorial Day Concert

Hawai‘i’s own Auli‘i Cravalho, star of Disney’s Moana, is scheduled to open this year’s National Memorial Day Concert on PBS with a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The concert will be broadcast from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Auli‘i Cravalho

PBS Hawai‘i will air the National Memorial Day Concert Sunday, May 28 at 7 pm, with an encore broadcast at 9 pm. It will also be live streamed online on Facebook Live and www.pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert and available as Video on Demand for a limited time only, May 28 to June 10.

Oscar nominee and Emmy and Tony-Award winner Laurence Fishburne will join Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna to host the 28th annual edition of the PBS broadcast, which regularly ranks among the public television network’s highest-rated programs.

For almost three decades, PBS has presented this night of remembrance dedicated to the country’s men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise, who has co-hosted the concert for the past eleven years, will present a 75th anniversary salute to the Doolittle Raiders, the aviators who changed the course of World War II in the Pacific.

The all-star line-up for the event includes: General Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); Renée Fleming; Vanessa Williams; Scotty McCreery; John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting; John Ortiz; Christopher Jackson; Ana Ortiz; Ronan Tynan; and Russell Watson, in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. Additional performers to be announced.

The program is a co-production of Michael Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA, Washington, D.C.  Executive Producer Michael Colbert has assembled an award-winning production team that features the top Hollywood talent behind some of television’s most prestigious entertainment awards shows including the Grammy Awards, Country Music Awards, Tony Awards, Saturday Night Live and more.

Hawaii House Bills Passed on Final Reading

On the eve of the close of the 2017 legislative session, the House today approved 194 bills that address a wide range of issues, including the state budget, affordable housing, homelessness, kupuna care, taxation, agriculture, invasive species, and the environment. 

The House also approved the State Budget which now goes to Governor David Ige for his signature.

HB100 HD1SD1 CD1, the State Budget appropriates $14.1 billion in total operating funds for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. The budget includes $2.9 billion for capital improvement projects (CIP) over the biennium which starts July 1.

The budget funds all state department’s programs and services; CIP includes renovations, repairs, and major maintenance to existing facilities and infrastructure; and grants in aid support worthy nonprofit organizations.

Major items include $77 million for a new East Kapolei Middle School and $63 million for a new Kihei High School; $1.8 million for the Hawaii Promise Program to help cover the unmet financial needs of community college students; and $23 million to acquire 500 acres of agriculture land in Central Oahu.

Among the bills passed to support our low-income families is HB209 HC1 SD1 CD1, which establishes a state earned income tax credit mirroring the federal earned income tax credit. This will help low-income workers to keep more of what they earn.

The bill permanently extends the higher rates of the refundable food/excise tax credit which makes it less costly for those in need to afford necessities like food. The bill balances the increase in tax credits by restoring a higher income tax rate on those making more than $300,000 per year.

Highlights of the measures passed today include:

AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

HB1179 HD2 SD2 CD1, allows the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation to exempt certain affordable rental housing projects from general excise tax and use tax costs.

HB83 HD1 SD2 CD1, requires the Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness, in conjunction with the Department of Human Services and Department of Land and Natural Resources to establish a working group to examine and develop recommendations to the establish safe zones for persons experiencing homelessness.

HB375 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates a $1 million matching fund for the Hawaii Tourism Authority, working in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association for projects to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas.

EDUCATION

HB916 HD1 SD2 CD1, makes an appropriation for the health care provider loan repayment program administered through the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

SB423 SD1 HD1 CD1, prohibits denying a student a meal for failure to pay within: (1) The first 21 days of the first semester of a school year while the student’s application for free or reduced lunch is being processed; or (2) seven days after the student’s meal fund account balance is zero or negative.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES

HB655 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to assist and provide supplemental funds to the National Wildlife Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research the adverse effects of the rose-ringed parakeet on Kauai and develop and begin implementation of a control plan to reduce the negative impacts.

HB606 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the counties, through their employees or authorized agents, to enter private property to control or eradicate invasive species and pests.

SB1240 SD2 HD1 CD1, requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources to submit proposed legislation with a definition of sustainable collection practices of near shore aquatic life, a process for determining limits on collection practices of near shore aquatic life, and any additional resources required by the department. Prohibits issuance of new aquarium permits. Prohibits transfer of current permits subject to certain provisions. Prohibits renewal of permits that have not been renewed for five or more years.

PUBLIC SAFETY

HB 459 HD1 SD1 CD1, in the event an application for a firearm is rejected because the applicant is prohibited from owning a firearm or subject to a restraining order, the police department is required to notify the court, prosecutor and director of public safety.

HB478 HD1 SD1 CD1, enables the expansion of successful inmate-operated farms at the Kulani (Hawaii Island) and Waiawa (Oahu) correctional facilities.  Provides $50,000 for hiring a farm manager and $50,000 for farming equipment at each facility.

HB845 HD2 SD2 CD1, requires the Department of Public Safety to offer inmates the opportunity to obtain identification information, such as Social Security cards and birth certificates, at least 90 days prior to their release on furlough. This will enable them to more easily apply for employment.  Allots $25,000 for costs.

HB1135 HD1 SD2 CD1, enables crime victims to more easily obtain court-ordered restitution from offenders by allowing judges to order the forfeiture of cash deposited for bail or bonds, or the withholding of state income tax refunds. The measure also makes permanent several Justice Reinvestment Act initiatives to reduce recidivism and promote public safety.

SB718 SD1 HD1 CD1, enacts the Community Court Outreach Project to help deal with nonviolent, non-felony offenders by sentencing them to community service or directing them to drug abuse or mental health programs.

SB655 SD2 HD1 CD1, allows news media access into emergency zones with approval of emergency management authorities.

HB1501 HD2 SD1 CD1, reclassifies drug paraphernalia possession and delivery offenses from felonies to violations subject to a fine of no more than $500.

HB1246 HD2SD2 CD1, authorizes electronic monitoring and surveillance of offenders in programs that offer alternatives to incarceration.

SB895 SD1 HD2 CD1, establishes the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands to the penal code. Amends the offense of criminal trespass in the second degree to apply to government agricultural property regardless of whether it is fenced, enclosed, or otherwise secure.

HB554 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes and establishes criteria for administrative orders to provide inpatient psychiatric treatment to an involuntarily committed patient over the patient’s objection. Requires Department of Health and Department of Public Safety to make recommendations for an administrative process applicable to persons subject to DPS jurisdiction.

HB306 HD2 SD2 CD1, authorizes the fitting of a continuous alcohol monitoring device on persons charged for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant if the person: (1) Is a repeat intoxicated driver; or (2) Is currently awaiting a pending criminal investigation or prosecution for one or more prior charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant or habitually operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant.

KUPUNA

HB1396 HD2 SD2 CD1, known as the “Kawamoto Bill,” authorizes the Department of Health, working in consultation with the Department of Human Services, to allow two private-pay individuals to be cared for in the same community care foster family home after consideration of specified relevant factor.

HB615 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds for the Healthy Aging Partnership Program to further the program’s important role in improving the health and well-being of Hawaii’s kupuna

HB607 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Executive Office on Aging to establish the Kupuna Caregivers Program to assist community members in obtaining care for elders while remaining in the workforce. Hawaii is the only state to offer this program.

HEALTH

HB213 HD1 SD1 CD1, permits an employee to take family leave in order to care for the employee’s sibling with a serious health condition.

HB561 HD2 SD1 CD1, known as “Finley’s Law,” this bill requires dentists who administer anesthesia or sedation to post contact information to verify licensure and authorization to administer anesthesia and sedation. Specifies requirements, including inspections, for written authorization or permit to administer anesthesia or sedation.

SB505 SD1 HD2 CD1, requires prescribing healthcare providers to adopt and maintain policies for informed consent to opioid therapy in circumstances that carry elevated risk of dependency. Establishes limits for concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Clarifies Board of Nursing authority to enforce compliance with Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

SB513 SD1 HD2 CD1, authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients regardless of a previous prescription, subject to specified education and procedural requirements. Enables pharmacists to be reimbursed for prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.

HB552 HD1 SD2 CD2, establishes the Affordable Health Insurance Working Group to plan for and mitigate adverse effects of the potential repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act by Congress.

SB501 SD1 HD2 CD1, requires all limited service pregnancy centers to disclose the availability of and enrollment information for reproductive health services.

HB1488 HD1 SD1 CD1, adds additional qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana patients and permits possession of additional plants. Amends requirements for and access to testing. Extends deadlines related to implementation of the dispensary system. Amends security, information tracking, and access requirements for licensed facilities. Clarifies DOH regulatory authority. Authorizes additional retail dispensing locations and plants for existing licensees. Requires DOH to report to Legislative Oversight Working Group.

AGRICULTURE

HB2 HD2 SD1 CD1, authorizes tiny homes of less than 500 square feet for farm workers in agricultural districts in a county with a population of more than 180,000 but less than 250,000. County councils may adopt ordinances for the oversight of tiny homes, as defined in this act.

HB453 HD1 SD1 CD1, 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, FDA regulations, and state food safety laws.

HB186 HD1 SD2 CD1, extends the subsidy offered to coffee farmers who purchase Beauveria bassiana products to combat the Coffee Berry Borer Beetle. This will support greater yields and a higher-quality, more valuable product.

HB1475 HD2 SD2 CD1, will broaden commercial operations permitted on agricultural land and allow farmers markets and food hubs on ag land. The bill will allow on-farm sales of produce and value-added products, a critical source of additional income for farmers.

SB773 SD2 HD1 CD1, amends the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program by restricting cultivation of industrial hemp under the pilot project to agricultural lands and requires counties to recognize it as an agricultural product, use, or activity. Allows license applications year-round.

TRANSPORTATION

HB727 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Department of Transportation to allow motorcycles and motor scooters on shoulder lanes, as determined by the department, in times of traffic congestion.

HB115 HD1 SD1 CD1, Requires each county with a population of more than 500,000 to take ownership and jurisdiction over all disputed roads under certain circumstances. Defines disputed roads.

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS

HB451 HD1 SD2 CD1, reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second. Requires Congressional approval.

ENERGY

HB957 HD1 SD2 CD1, authorizes the Department of Education to borrow moneys interest-free from the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Loan Program for heat abatement measures at public schools.

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

HB942 HD1 SD1 CD1, authorizes the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to commission an artist to design and build a monument to honor and commemorate Filipino veterans of World War II, with all costs to be expended from the Works of Art Special Fund.

HB1420 HD1 SD1 CD1, appropriates funds for burial grants for qualifying Filipino-American veterans to provide funeral and burial services and transportation of their remains to the Philippines.

OTHERS

HB1516 HD1 SD1 CD1, permits duly incorporated humane societies and duly incorporated societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals to petition for full custody of an impounded pet animal or equine animal prior to the filing of certain criminal charges against the owner or custodian of the animal. Allows a pet or equine animal to be destroyed by the petitioner prior to final disposition of certain criminal charges if the pet or equine animal is a danger to itself or others. Clarifies that an acquittal or dismissal in a criminal proceeding does not preclude civil proceedings under animal cruelty offenses.

SB119 SD1 HD1 CD1, establishes a cap of 8 percent on late rent payment fees, applicable to all new rental agreements and rental agreement renewals entered into on or after the effective date of this measure. Effective November 1, 2017.

SB369 SD1 HD1 CD1, prohibits associations of apartment owners, boards of directors, managing agents, resident managers, unit owners, and persons acting on behalf of associations or unit owners from retaliating against a unit owner, board member, managing agent, resident manager, or association employee who files a complaint; acts in furtherance of a complaint, report, or investigation of an alleged violation of the state’s condominium laws or a condominium’s governing documents; or exercises or attempts to exercise any right as a unit owner.

SB207 SD2 HD2 CD1, authorizes the expenditure of general funds for a one-time lump sum cash bonus severance benefit to affected Maui region hospital employees.

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

Coast Guard Medevacs Passenger Off Cruise Ship in Hawaii

A 66-year-old woman is in stable condition at Hilo Medical Center on Big Island after being medically evacuated by the Coast Guard, Tuesdy.

Wiki photo via Johan Fredriksson

“We are proud of all the crews involved, including that of the Emerald Princess, for their cooperation and work ensuring the passenger received appropriate care,” said Kelvin Morgan, operations unit controller at Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Air Station Barbers Point successfully conducted the hoist of the woman, reportedly suffering from abdominal trauma, at 12:30 p.m., and transported her to awaiting EMS at Hilo International Airport. She was then further transported to Hilo Medical Center.

Watchstanders at JRCC Honolulu received notification from the crew of passenger vessel Emerald Princess at 7:40 p.m., Monday. The vessel was 390 miles southeast of Big Island making 25 mph en route Hilo.

The watchstanders briefed the duty flight surgeon and agreed on a medevac. A Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules fixed-wing aircrew from Air Station Barbers Point launched to provide top cover and communications while the Emerald Princess transited toward the islands.

Once within range, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew launched from Air Station Barbers Point and successfully hoisted the patient 81 miles southeast of Oahu.

Weather on scene was reportedly winds of 12 mph with 6-foot seas.

Funding for Rail on Life Support – House and Senate Disagree on How to Pay for City’s Financially Troubled Project

The House of Representatives and the Senate could not agree today on amending Senate Bill 1183, the vehicle for funding the city’s financially troubled rail project.

Click to read bill

The House version of the rail funding bill takes the tax burden off Hawaii residents by increasing the Transient Accommodation Tax paid primarily by tourists. The proposal would provide nearly all of the money needed to complete the project, estimated to cost $8.1 billion, from Kapolei to Ala Moana.

The Senate also amended the bill, by extending the state’s 0.5 percent surcharge levied on Oahu’s general excise tax for an additional 10 years from 2027 until 2037.

“GET is one of the most regressive tax. It taxes the working poor and the elderly. It is our responsibility to stand up for those individuals,” said Representative Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa).

After consulting with members of the hotel industry, the House amended the bill to provide $1.7 billion for the rail project.

“We clearly support rail and the House plan provides more funding than any other conference draft we have seen,” said Representative Henry Aquino (Waipahu). “This is a responsible amendment that would provide funding in the quickest way possible.”

The House proposal for SB 1183 SD2 HD2 HCD2 includes:

Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT)

  • Increases TAT from 9.25 percent to 10.25 percent for 11 years through 2028
  • Prohibits the use of the TAT funds for rail operations and maintenance
  • Prohibits use of the TAT funds for HART administrative and operating costs
  • Maintains counties’ share of TAT revenue at $103 million per year (the share was scheduled to be reduced to $93 million beginning fiscal year (2017-2018)
  • Honolulu’s share of the TAT county subsidy (44.1 percent) will be solely directed toward funding rail
  • The scheduled 2018 reduction in the neighbor island county TAT subsidies will be eliminated and those counties will continue to receive their current TAT subsidy that is calculated as a percentage of $103 million through fiscal year 2027-2028:
  1. Oahu $45.4 million
  2. Maui $23.4 million
  3. Hawaii $19.1 million
  4. Kauai $14.9 million
  • These TAT amendments could generate $926.8 million over the 11-year period.

General Excise Tax (GET)

  • Extends the county surcharge on GET for an additional one year from 2027-2028
  • Continues the state’s reduced share of the administrative service fee (“skim”) at 1 percent in 2028
  • The reduction of the State’s skim to 1 percent generates $350 million from 2018-2028
  • These GET amendments generate $435.2 million in 2028.

New Start Education Special Fund

  • Reduces the annual allocation (for 11 years) for the New Start Education Special Fund from $50 million to $25 million, for a total of $275 million.

City Non-Rail Development

  • Prohibits a county from using public funds to reconstruct or redevelop an event venue (and associated infrastructure and appurtenances) that is within a Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) district or in a manner that requires HCDA approval, through December 31, 2028.