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Hawaii State Legislators Honor Fallen Service Members

Hawaii state legislators gathered at the capitol here March 27 to present the Hawaii Medal of Honor to 19 families of Hawaii-born or -based service members who were killed in combat over the past year.

Left to right: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Neal, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, pose for a photo during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Neal accepted the medal on behalf of his friend and colleague Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas S. Johnson. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Left to right: Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Justin Neal, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, pose for a photo during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Neal accepted the medal on behalf of his friend and colleague Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicholas S. Johnson. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

“We do this, a public ceremony, because we wish to express in more than just a symbolic way what it is we regard as most fundamental to recognition of what it takes to enable us to be a free people,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie said at the ceremony. “Why are we in such a solemn regard? It’s because we understand that in ceremonies such as this we are engaged in a public expression in what constitutes our fundamental values.”

The families of ten soldiers and nine Marines were presented the medal, which has been given at the Hawaii state capitol since House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005 was passed. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.”

Jennifer Riddick looks on as her daughter wipes away tears during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor presentation ceremony held at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Jennifer and her daughter received the HMOH in honor of fallen Marine Corps Master Sgt. Travis W. Riddick who was killed in action after a helicopter accident in Afghanistan. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Jennifer Riddick looks on as her daughter wipes away tears during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor presentation ceremony held at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. Jennifer and her daughter received the HMOH in honor of fallen Marine Corps Master Sgt. Travis W. Riddick who was killed in action after a helicopter accident in Afghanistan. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Prior to presenting the medal to the family members, Hawaii National Guard Adjutant General Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong expressed his gratitude to the family members and fellow service members in attendance.

“There is no honor higher that our state can bestow upon a member of our armed forces than the Hawaii Medal of Honor,” Wong said. “This is not an honor we bestow with joy, but rather we do so with heavy hearts and solemn resolve.

“Collectively, as a state, we have made it our mission to express our deepest appreciation to these brave men and women,” he continued. “We resolve to ensure the families of our service members shall always be a part of our Hawaiian Ohana, and that the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones will always be remembered.”  In Hawaiian culture Ohana means family, and Wong’s usage of the word connotes extended family.

Among those honored at the ceremony were six Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay, who were killed in action in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. As each of the fallen were mentioned, a family member or friend received the medal and a certificate in addition to the appreciation of the state of Hawaii, whether they grew up here or were stationed here.

Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe families of 10 soldiers and nine Marines received the Hawaii State Medal of Honor (pictured) during a ceremony at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. The passage of Hawaii House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005, established the medal. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.” DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Click photo for screen-resolution image The families of 10 soldiers and nine Marines received the Hawaii State Medal of Honor (pictured) during a ceremony at the state capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. The passage of Hawaii House Bill 8, designated as Act 21, Session Laws of Hawaii of 2005, established the medal. According to the bill’s language, “The purpose of this Act is to provide for a Hawaii Medal of Honor that would help express the deep appreciation and gratitude of the People of Hawaii to the loved ones of members of the military who sacrificed their lives in defense of our nation and its freedoms.” DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Hawaii state legislature Rep. K. Mark Takai, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans, Military and International Affairs, stressed the significance of this program.

“In 2005, when we first passed this legislation, I just don’t think we understood how important this was going to be, not only to the families, but more importantly to the people of Hawaii,” said Takai, who also serves as a commissioned officer in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

Takai also highlighted the significant role the U.S. military plays in Hawaii.

“The military has been such an important part of our history,” he said. “Even pre-dating the start of World War II, the military has played a pivotal role in our state’s history. We are a unique state because of everybody coming together, including the military families, so we pay particular attention to our military.”

Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, provides remarks during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

Air Force Maj. Gen. Darryll D.M. Wong, adjutant general of the Hawaii National Guard, provides remarks during the Hawaii State Medal of Honor ceremony held at the capitol in Honolulu, March 27, 2013. This year 19 fallen service members posthumously received the HMOH from the Hawaii State Senate and House of Representatives. DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth

This is the eighth year that the Hawaii state legislature has honored people with Hawaii ties that died in wars overseas.

 

Comprehensive Sex Education Bill to be Heard at Hawaii Legislature

Comprehensive Sex Education Bill to be Heard
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WHAT: The Committee on Education will be hearing HB399, which would incorporate comprehensive sex education into Hawaii’s public school curriculum.

WHEN:  Wednesday, February 13, 2013, 2:00 P.M.

WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol, Room 309

WHY:  According to a 2010 study, Hawaii ranks #17 in the nation in teen pregnancy rates. These pregnancies, which cost the state $22 million annually, can be reduced with a comprehensive sex education program.

WHO:  Committee on Education Chair Roy Takumi, Vice Chair Takashi Ohno, and members Reps. Henry Aquino, Isaac Choy, Faye Hanohano, Linda Ichiyama, Mark Nakashima, K. Mark Takai, Lauren Cheape, and Richard Fale will hear the bill.  “We are currently spending $22 million a year on unplanned teen pregnancies,” said the Bill’s introducer, Vice Speaker John Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi). “While the amount of taxpayer dollars that goes towards dealing with these pregnancies is staggering, it is dwarfed by the societal cost of not being able to provide these children with stable family foundations. Comprehensive sex education will equip our young people with the knowledge and tools necessary to be conscious of their decisions when it comes to sex.”

 

Hearing Scheduled for PLDC Bills

Hearing Scheduled for PLDC Bills

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WHAT: The Committees on Water & Land (WAL) and Finance (FIN) will be hearing 6 bills relating to the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) and will be joined by the Committee on Education (EDU) to hear a bill relating to public school redevelopment. Decision making will follow.

WHEN:  Saturday, February 9, 2013, 9:00 A.M.

WHERE:  Hawaii State Capitol Auditorium

WHY:  The public has voiced serious concerns with the PLDC and the Legislature has taken swift action in hearing these bills, which represent a variety of options to comprehensively address the issue.

WHO:  WAL Chair Cindy Evans, Vice Chair Nicole E. Lowen, FIN Chair Sylvia Luke and Vice Chairs Scott Y. Nishimoto and Aaron Ling Johanson will be joined by members from their respective committees to hear the bills.

The hearing will be broadcast live on Olelo, Channel 54.

The notice posted below contains the bills on Saturday’s agenda as well as links to submit online testimony.

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2013/hearingnotices/HEARING_WAL-EDN-FIN_02-09-13_.HTM

 

Decision Making on GMO and Local Agriculture Bills

Decision Making on GMO and Local Agriculture Bills

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WHAT:  The Committee on Agriculture will be deciding on four bills relating to GMOs and growing our local agriculture industry, which were previously heard on February 4, 2013.

  • HB174- GMO Labeling
  • HB97- Requires a permit to introduce or develop a new GMO
  • HB747- Exempts the slaughter and processing of poultry and livestock from GET
  • HB96- Exempts the first $50,000 of income for family farms and cooperatives

WHEN:  Thursday, February 7, 2013,     8:30 A.M.

WHERE:  Hawaii State Capitol Conference Room 312

WHY:  The Constitution of Hawaii mandates that the State “shall conserve and protect agricultural lands, promote diversified agriculture, increase agricultural self-sufficiency and assure the availability of agriculturally suitable lands.” These goals are also highlighted as a major priority in the Governor’s “New Day” plan. The Legislature aims to do its part to move Hawaii forward this Session.

WHO: Chair Jessica Wooley, Vice Chair Richard H.K. Onishi, Reps. Tom Brower, Romy Cachola, Isaac Choy, Takashi Ohno, Gregg Takayama, James Kunane Tokioka, Clift Tsuji, Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, and Gene Ward comprise the Committee.

 

Hawaii House of Representatives to Open Chamber for Public Visits

The House of Representatives announced today that beginning Monday, February 4st the House Chamber will be open Mon – Fri for Hawaii State Capitol visitors and guests to tour the gallery area. Access to the Chamber will be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including the hours that the House is normally in session.

Hawaii House Chamber

There will not be an official tour, however visitors to the Chamber will have access to look around, take pictures, and will be given a brochure explaining the history and symbolism of the Chamber architecture and design. The House Sergeant-at-Arms expects about 100 visitors to the Chamber daily.

“The House Chamber is quite stunning with warm earth tones, a large copper and brass chandelier representing the sun and a magnificent tapestry above the Speaker’s rostrum” said Speaker of the House Joseph Souki. “Previously the chamber was open only during floor session and times would vary depending on the agenda. Now, given the expanded and set hours, more visitors will have the opportunity to sit on koa benches and experience the beauty of our Chamber.”

For more information, call the House of Representative’s Sergeant-at-Arms Office at (808) 586-6500.

 

 

Legislative Massage Day at the Hawaii State Capitol

Must be nice to be a Hawaii State Representative or Senator at times!

Recently there was a “Massage Day” so to speak at the capitol.  The event was the 17th Annual Legislative Massage Awareness Day at the Capitol.

Representative Mizuno gets a massage from Jamie at the State Capitol

At least the money raised on this day went to a good cause… the Hawaii Food Bank.

4th Annual Art at the Capitol on First Friday in March

The Legislature and the Executive Offices are opening its doors for an evening of art, culture and history during downtown Honolulu’s First Friday in March.

View over 460 works of public art, purchased through the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, showcased in state lawmakers’ offices. Talk story with your state lawmakers and take a historical tour of the Capitol. Mingle with artists and enjoy chamber music provided by student quartets.

For more information call (808) 586-6460 or email artatthecapitol@gmail.com.

  • When:  First Friday, March 2, 2012  5 – 7 p.m.
  • Where: Hawaii State Capitol 415 South Beretania Street  Honolulu, HI 96813
  • Admission: FREE

GMO Labeling Rally at the Hawaii State Capitol

There will be a GMO Labeling Rally at The Hawaii State Capitol on Tuesday, February 21st, from 12:00pm – 5:30pm.

Schedule for the Rally:

  • 12pm Blessing Ceremony for Haloa the Taro Ki’I on the Capitol
  • 12:30 – 2:30 rally, music 6 speakers, free salad and snacks
  • 2:30 – 4:30 lobby legislators
  • 5pm Closing

[youtube=http://youtu.be/lWSrak3ohrg]

First Public Electric Vehicle Charger at the State Capitol Introduced Today

Media Release:

Governor Neil Abercrombie today unveiled the first electric vehicle charger at the State Capitol, located in the building’s underground parking garage. The charging station, which accepts major credit cards and requires no membership, is available to all electric vehicle owners and is the first of many charging stations to be installed across the state as part of the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s (DBEDT) EV Ready Program.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/CwhjiTZMNts]

At the State Capitol, it will cost EV drivers $2 an hour to charge, with a maximum of four hours. Charging times vary depending on the range of the car, but generally an hour of charging provides about 15 miles of range.

“Our vision for the future is that it becomes more common and accessible for people to drive electric vehicles,” Governor Abercrombie said. “The first public charging station for electric vehicles is a step toward a clean energy future, and every single step is important.”

Hawaii Electric Vehicle Charge Station

Electric Vehicle Charge Station

Through this program, the state is supporting the transformation of Hawaii’s transportation sector to be less dependent on petroleum and becoming electric vehicle friendly by installing approximately five charging stations at State owned buildings downtown and adding a small fleet of electric vehicles to the State motor pool. In June, the State received its first electric vehicles, two Nissan all-electric Leafs. The Hawaii State Energy Office and state motor pool currently have the vehicles.

Honolulu-based Volta Industries installed the Eaton Corporation charger equipped with a credit-card-swipe system, at the State Capitol. The charger is a Level 2, 240-volt station, using the industry-standard J1772 connector, which is compatible with all new electric cars currently in production. The cost of the charger unit and installation was approximately $8,000.

In 2009, $4 million of the State Energy Program’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding was allocated to the Transportation Energy Diversification EV Ready Program. DBEDT provided $475,500 of federal ARRA stimulus funds to the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) Automotive Management Division to assist Hawaii State governments comply with statutory requirements for electric vehicle parking and to lead by example through the purchase of advanced technology vehicles such as electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and electric vehicle supply equipment (EV charging stations).

“Hawaii is charging ahead and making charging stations more accessible to people choosing to drive electric vehicles. We are committed to a smaller carbon footprint, 70 percent clean energy by 2030 and opportunities help protect our environment,” said Bruce Coppa, Director, State Department of Accounting and General Services.

The Capitol station, located in the State Capitol underground parking garage, is accessible via Miller Street off of Punchbowl Street, is open to the public during operating hours; 4:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday thru Friday; 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Saturdays; closed on Sundays.

“Hawaii drivers now have a convenient charging facility downtown. Thanks to our success in securing federal funding, this is the first of an entire network of charging stations we plan to install throughout the state, as we build an infrastructure that will maintain Hawaii’s leadership in electric vehicles and entice more manufacturers to Hawaii,” said Richard Lim, Director, State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.

DBEDT’s EV Ready Grant Program has awarded $2.6 million in federal stimulus funds to six organizations to accelerate Hawaii’s adoption of electric vehicles and related charging equipment. Another $1.4 million in federal stimulus money was allocated to the EV Ready Rebate Program, which allows rebates of up to $4,500 toward the purchase of new electric vehicles. Rebates of up to $500 are also available for the purchase and installation of new electric vehicle chargers in homes or business sites. Rebate forms are available on DBEDT’s Energy office electric vehicle website, electricvehicle.hawaii.gov.

In addition to the State EV rebates, Federal tax incentives of up to $7,500 are also available for highway-capable vehicles (the Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle credit, which applies to at least 200,000 units per auto manufacturer before it phases out) and up to $1,000 for individual buyers and up to $30,000 for businesses installing EV charger stations.

The State of Hawai’i’s economic enterprise is to pursue energy independence by building a clean energy economy and reaching 70 percent clean energy by 2030. The DBEDT State Energy Office’s mission is to act as a catalyst for efficiency measures, renewable energy resources, transportation initiatives, green jobs, and investments in Hawaii’s economy.

For more information, visit hawaii.gov/dbedt/energy and electricvehicle.hawaii.gov.