Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Rep. Robert Fukuda

As a mark of respect for the late former state Rep. Robert Kiyoshi Fukuda, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered that the National Flag and Hawaii State Flag shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, the day of his memorial service.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Fukuda worked as a Japa­nese language interpreter/translator for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service during World War II. For this service, he was awarded along with 6,000 Japa­nese-Americans the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

While deputy attorney general of the Territory of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959, he also served as the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. In 1959, Fukuda was elected to the House of Representatives of the first Hawaii State Legislature and served for three years. Later, he served as U.S. attorney for the state from 1969 to 1973 and went on to manage the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hawaii and Guam from 1982 to 1986.

Fukuda died on July 12 at age 91.

“Robert led a life dedicated to helping others,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “From his service during World War II to his role in Hawaii’s transition from territory to state, Robert took it upon himself to lift others up and succeed as the State of Hawaii took shape. He set a standard for me and for all of us in public service who followed him.”

 

Governor Signs Statewide Ocean Resources Management Plan for Effective Cross-Agency Resource Management

Fostering collaboration across government agencies, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed the 2013 Hawaii Ocean Resources Management Plan, which brings county, state and federal partners together to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of Hawaii’s ocean and coastal resources for current and future generations.

“It is essential that government agencies at all levels work together to address Hawaii’s resource challenges,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “Our lives are intertwined with the natural resources of these islands, from the local economy to our island way of life. This plan provides a clear roadmap for achieving a necessary balance between use and preservation.”

Gov. Abercrombie signs the plan into action

Gov. Abercrombie signs the plan into action

The plan was developed with the participation of county, state and federal agencies responsible for ocean and coastal resources. It identifies 11 management priorities for the next five years and pathways for achieving goals. The priorities are based on community outreach conducted in all four counties through public meetings, oral and written submissions, and social media. 

Tracking the success of the plan will be coordinated with the state Office of Information Management and Technology to take advantage of the state’s data.hawaii.gov portal.

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“The 11 management priorities address resource management challenges that can only be achieved through a statewide, coordinated effort among various government and community partners,” said Jesse Souki, director of the state Office of Planning. “It addresses some of the greatest challenges of our time, including the impacts of climate change and balancing economic, cultural and environmental considerations to ensure sustainable stewardship of our resources.”

The Office of Planning is responsible for coordinating the periodic update of the plan pursuant to Hawaii Revised Statutes sections 205A-62 and 225M-2(b)(6). The project leverages federal funding through the Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program. To learn more about the plan and download a copy, visit planning.hawaii.gov or call the Office of Planning at (808) 587-2846.

 

Governor Abercrombie Sends Notice of Intent to Veto 9 Bills

After reviewing 293 measures passed by the 2013 Hawaii State Legislature, Gov. Neil Abercrombie today notified legislators of his intent to veto nine bills.

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As required by the State of Hawaii Constitution, the Governor must provide 10 working days’ notice for any measures that he may veto by July 9, 2013.  As such, these bills are still under consideration and further review.

“I greatly respect the legislative process and the work of individual legislators in forming public policy,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “This past session resulted in meaningful measures that will ultimately benefit the people of Hawaii. However, there may be difficulty in implementing some of these bills as they are currently written, and there are other measures that require further consideration.”

The following bills are on the Governor’s intent-to-veto notice:

  • HB763 (Relating to the State Building Code)
  • SB1265 (Relating to Contracts)
  • HB619 (Relating to Feral Birds)
  • HB988 (Relating to Native Wildlife)
  • HB424 (Relating to Timeshare Conveyances)
  • HB654 (Relating to Nursing)
  • HB1130 (Relating to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation)
  • SB3 (Relating to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs)
  • SB68 (Relating to Sentencing)

Most of these bills are potentially objectionable because of concerns, raised by state departments or agencies, reflected in testimonies provided during the hearing process. The purpose of the notice is to allow sufficient time for the Governor to give additional consideration, have further discussions and inquiries, and conduct deeper analysis before he makes his final decision.

In addition, the Governor notified the Legislature of his plan to line-item veto SB909 (Relating to Making Appropriations for Collective Bargaining Cost Items). Specifically, the Governor will use his line-item authority to veto the funding of the bill associated with the rejected Bargaining Unit 13 settlement offer.

To date, Gov. Abercrombie has signed more than 172 measures into law. The Governor continues to review legislative bills that he must either veto or sign into law by July 9, 2013, or allow them to become law without his signature.

 

2013 Hawaii Legislature Adjourns

The 27th Hawaii State Legislature ended today with members from the House and the Senate joining in the singing of Hawaii Aloha.

End of the Legislature. Photo by Micah Almeida

End of the Legislature. Photo by Micah Alameda

Before gaveling the session closed, House Speaker Joseph M. Souki acknowledged the work of everyone involved in the legislative process and summarized the session’s accomplishments. He said the approach this session was to focus on the State’s long term needs such as reducing long term fiscal liabilities, replenishing reserve funds, promoting economic development, education, sustainability and improving the quality of life for all residents.

The full text of his closing remarks are below:

We have come to the end of the 2013 Regular Session.  To the Leadership Team, the Chairs, Vice Chairs, and each and every member of the House, because of your unwavering commitment to do your best for the people of Hawaii, this was a productive session.

Thank you all, for working together and for doing a wonderful job.

I would like to especially thank the Majority Leader Scott Saiki and Finance Chair Sylvia Luke for your tremendous contributions and tireless efforts in moving us forward to this day.

To our Minority Leader Aaron Johanson and the Minority Caucus, thank you for bringing your ideas and perspective to the table to help us craft legislation for all of Hawaii’s people.  Thank you.

We began this session cautiously optimistic.  Our economy was on the rise, tourism was strong, and unemployment was down.  We needed to invest in programs and projects, and make strong investments in Hawaii’s future.

Economic Development:

We committed to the strengthening of our number one industry by making significant investment in the future of tourism.

We made permanent the current TAT rate and increased funding to aggressively market our visitor industry as we compete with other travel destinations.

We also kept the current level of support to the counties giving them fiscal continuity.

We passed a tax credit measure aimed at encouraging the presence of the film industry which returns a significant amount of revenue to the state.

Funding for capital improvement projects for state infrastructure will jumpstart economic growth on all islands.

Education:

To invest in our Keiki, we are funding the expansion of the Open Doors Program to provide day care opportunities for preschool aged children.

And to help provide funds for repair, maintenance, and additional classrooms and school facilities for our growing population, we have passed the 21st Century Schools bill to look at responsible partnerships to generate much needed revenue for our public schools.  But this will all be done with community and county input, and compliance with state and county requirements.

Now, on the question of early education – preschool – the public will have the chance to voice their opinion through a Constitutional Amendment on whether public funds should be used by private early childhood education programs.

Quality of Life:

In this session, we have also reaffirmed our commitment to our kupuna, the homeless, a sustainable and clean environment, and the local farming and feed industry.  We are taking care of needs today, and investing in our future.

Fiscal Responsibility:

During the past economic crisis, we had to borrow from the state’s Rainy Day Fund and the Hurricane Relief Fund.  We made a promise that when the economy improved we would return that money.

Well, not only are we keeping that promise, we are providing additional money to recapitalize those funds.  And we have taken a big step in addressing the unfunded liability of our public workers.

And finally, we listened to the resounding voice of the people and moved quickly to repeal the Public Land and Development Corporation – PLDC.

Acknowledgements:

Speaker Emeritus Say, I thank you for your years of leadership, fiscal restraint, and know how.  You and your Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro laid the foundation for much of what was achieved this year.

I would like to thank Senate President Donna Kim, her leadership team, the Senate Chairs and members who worked with us and collaborated as we worked to craft legislation for the people of Hawaii.

To the permanent and session staff of the House, thank you for professionalism and tireless efforts in supporting the work of the House.

I am deeply grateful to all of you.  It is an honor to serve as your Speaker, and I look forward to working together next session to serve the people of this State.

Thank you and God bless.

 

 

Hawaii Legislature Unanimously Passes State Budget

The Hawaii State Legislature today voted unanimously in both the House and Senate to approve the state budget for the upcoming FY2013-2015 biennium.

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HB200 CD1 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Executive Branch for the biennium fiscal years FY2013-2014 and FY2014-2015.

For FY2013-2014, the bill offers $6 billion in general funds and $11.8 billion in all other means of financing.  For FY2014-2015, it appropriates $6.1 billion in general funds and $12 billion in all additional financing means. It also provides over $3 billion in funding for capital improvement projects (CIP) and $30 million Grants-In-Aid for non-profit organizations.

House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa) acknowledged that the fiscal outlook is looking positive but reiterated the importance of financial prudency, “our economy is recovering and while we have the money, it is now time to take a measured approach towards our State’s financial plan. This means passing a budget that takes care of our current needs, while also taking care of our financial obligations and reinvests in our future,” said Luke. “In this budget, we kept our promise to recapitalize the Hurricane Relief Fund and Rainy Day Funds and we have taken significant steps towards reducing our unfunded liabilities.”

The financial plan includes an addition of $160 million into the Hurricane Relief Fund and $50 million into the Rainy Day Fund. Most importantly, it includes appropriations of $217 million in the next biennium to begin payments towards the State’s unfunded liability and will continue to allocate funds every year ending in an allocation of $500 million in FY2019.

“We used the projected surplus to strengthen economic drivers to ensure increased revenue returns.  To help the construction industry, the budget bill authorizes more than $1.3 billion in general obligation bond authorization for capital improvement projects statewide.  Additionally, to support our number one industry our financial plan includes an $11 million increase to the Hawaii Tourism Authority to strengthen the marketing of Hawaii as a visitor destination.  We also appropriated $6 million to assist our growing high technology industry in investment start ups and tax credits for research and development,” said Luke.

Other funding highlights include:

 Agriculture (AGR)

·         Added $750,000 in general funds for the New Farmer Loan Program in FY14.  This funding will enhance opportunities for new farmers to grow and expand, while also supporting the State in becoming more food self-sufficient.

·         Added 10 positions and nearly $1.2 million over the biennium to the Plant, Pest, and Disease Control division to support the Apiary program on Maui, Kauai, and Kona, and various other programs aimed at protecting local agriculture from invasive species, as well as the Hawaii Queen Bee industry.

Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC)

·         Added 2 temporary positions and over $300,000 in special funds each year for the Mortgage Foreclosure Dispute Resolution Program, which handles disputes between owner-occupants and lenders.

·         Added $190,000 in special and trust funds over the biennium to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for public service campaigns aimed at educating consumers on a broad spectrum of consumer issues, including the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors.

Economic Development and Business (EDB )

·         Provided 3.69 temporary positions and $3 million in special funds over the biennium for the Hawaii State Energy Office Strategic Plan Programs to develop alternative energy resource related projects.

·         Added $800,000 over the biennium to the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems Program (PISCES). This supports the PISCES center on Hawaii Island to build an aerospace research and development park in cooperation with NASA and other international organizations, to be able to test aerospace robotics on a similar terrain.

·         Added $1.5 million in general funds over the biennium for the Hawaii Invasive Species Council in Forestry Resource Management and Development Division of DLNR. This restores funding to support invasive species control, bringing general funding closer to historical levels.

Education (EDN)

·         Added $12.9 million in general funds for the Weighted Student Formula. This funding will go directly to classrooms to support educational activities for students, teachers and principals.

·         Added $8.2 million in general funds in FY14 for a pilot program relating to Common Core Instructional Materials. This is the DOE’s initiative to give every child from grades 3-12 either a tablet or laptop to enhance their educational experience.

·         Added $1 million in general funds in FY14 for Common Core Standards Assessment in Hawaiian. This funding creates a Hawaiian language Common Core Standards test for 350 third and fourth grade students enrolled in 14 immersion schools.

·         Added $700,000 in FY14 in general funds for library books and materials. Includes funding for both physical books and e-books. Libraries have not received general funding for materials for 4 years.

Energy and Environmental Protection (EEP)

·         Added 13 temporary positions to Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for Watershed Management to continue management of watershed projects.

·         Added 8 positions and $1.3 million for quality management and monitoring of environmental resources. These positions support programs for watershed and surface water quality monitoring, water reuse, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution control, federal and state clean water regulations, solid waste permitting and monitoring.

Higher Education (HED)

·         Added nearly $1.2 Million over the biennium for The Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence at the John A. Burns School of Medicine.

·         Added 10 positions and $3 million in general funds in each year of the biennium to support activities and growth at the University of Hawaii at West Oahu campus.

·         Added 9 positions and $3 million in general funds over the biennium for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Initiatives. This program enhances the professional development of middle school teachers in STEM subject matter areas.

Health (HLT)

·         Added $1.4 million general funds each year for Aging and Disability Resource Centers.

·         Added 1 position and $95,000 in the Children and Youth Services section to re-establish the Violence Prevention Coordinator position, which is responsible for statewide Domestic Violence program planning.

Human Services (HUS)

·         Added $3.1 million for various social service programs including those to expand voluntary foster care to 21, increasing the clothing allowance for foster children, and developing Neighborhood drop-in Centers on Kauai.

·         Added $750,000 in general funds in FY14 to expand the Housing First program to the Leeward coast of Oahu. This helps transition chronically homeless into affordable housing situations.

·         Added 5 Counselors and nearly $875,000 over the biennium for the Office of Veterans Services.

Public Safety (PSD) & Judiciary (JUD)

·         Added $327,000 in general funds over the biennium for the Automated Fingerprint Identification system maintenance. The system is used by the Honolulu Police Department and State Sheriffs in the field to check a suspect’s criminal history. This also includes facial recognition software which allows field officers to also check a suspect’s criminal records through photographs.

·         Added 94 positions for the re-opening of the Kulani Facility on Hawaii Island, as part of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative to bring prisoners home.

·         Added 10 Positions and $850,000 in general funds over each year of the biennium for additional security at courthouses statewide. These deputy sheriffs would provide additional security to courthouses on Oahu, Hawaii Island, and Maui.

Transportation (TRN)

·         Added $161,886,000 in special funds over the biennium to highways division for special repairs and maintenance of roads statewide.

·         Added 33 positions and over $2.3 million in special funds over each year of the biennium for additional janitorial support. Positions include: 32 janitors for Honolulu International Airport and 1 janitor supervisor for Kona International Airport, who will be tasked with improving the first and last impressions and overall experience of visitors by improving the quality of services and facilities at State airports.

Also approved today were the budgets for the Judiciary Branch and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

HB197 appropriates funds for operating and capital improvement costs of the Judicial Branch for the next biennium. The bill offers in general funding $145 million for FY2013-FY2014 and $144 million for FY2014-FY2015.

HB222 appropriates $3.1 million in FY2014 and $2.7 million in FY2015 in operating funds for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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.

 

Hawaii House Moves Hundreds of Bills Over to Senate

Among the measures that passed their final vote in the House are several bills that are focused on sustainability, improving the environment, revitalizing our economy and improving the quality of life for Hawaii’s citizens.

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“As we hit the half way point of this legislative session the House of Representatives is committed to exploring avenues that provide for less dependence on outside sources for food and energy and provide for the protection of our environment for future generations,” said House Speaker Joe Souki.

  • HB858 HD1 RELATING TO THE HI GROWTH INITIATIVE Appropriates funds to the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation for the HI Growth Initiative, an investment program to develop an ecosystem to support high-growth entrepreneurial companies in the State. Part of the Governor’s New Day Plan, the bill hopes to reinvigorate state efforts to fuel an innovation economy and advance research innovation and commercialization.
  • HB1419 HD2 RELATING TO THE PACIFIC INTERNATIONAL SPACE CENTER FOR EXPLORATION SYSTEMS Appropriates funds to support the development and expansion of Hawaii’s aerospace and related industries to Hawaii. The funding will capitalize upon Hawaii Island’s lunar-like terrain to build aerospace technology research and development park industries. Supplemental funding will be provided to help attract aerospace technology and corporations that will create new high paying technology-related jobs.
  • HB497 HD3 RELATING TO RENEWABLE ENERGY Amends the tax credit for renewable energy technologies to encourage development in solar and wind energy technologies while reducing the revenue impact to the state by ramping down the percentage of the credits over the next five years.
  • HB338 HD2 RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE REVENUE BONDS TO ASSIST A SEAWATER AIR CONDITIONING PROJECT IN WAIKIKI Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds for Kaiuli Energy LLC for the planning, design, and construction of its seawater air conditioning district cooling system to serve Waikiki and nearby areas on the island of Oahu.
  • HB70 HD2 RELATING TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Deletes the repeal of the High Technology Innovation Corporation that would have taken effect on June 30, 2013. The High Technology Innovation Corporation (HTIC) was created by the Hawaii State Legislature as a 501(c)(3) public not-for-profit corporate body, to facilitate the growth and development of the commercial high technology industry in Hawaii.
  • HB1188 HD1 RELATING TO THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY POVERTY REDUCTION TASK FORCE Establishes the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force to assess state policies and practices that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction and to develop a plan to expand economic opportunities in Hawaii to reduce, by at least 50 percent by 2021, the number of Hawaii residents living in poverty.
  • HB96 HD2 RELATING TO FARMS Creates an income tax exemption for family farms, family farm communities, and family farm cooperatives.
  • HB1263 HD2 RELATING TO IRRIGATION Appropriates funds and authorizes the Director of Finance to issue general obligation bonds to finance improvements to various irrigation systems.
  • HB1264 HD2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURAL LOANS Expands the Department of Agriculture Agricultural Loan Program to provide loans for infrastructure, infrastructure improvements, the implementation of new farming techniques, and biosecurity projects.
  • HB487 HD2 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE Expands the livestock feed subsidy to include feed for certain goats, sheep, lambs, fish and crustaceans.
  • HB799 HD3 RELATING TO CREATIVE MEDIA DEVELOPMENT Establishes a Workforce Development Training Program that provides wage reimbursement for on-the-job training by entities who receive a Motion Picture, Digital Media, Television, and Film Production Tax Credit. Deletes internet-only distribution exclusion for advertising; clarifies definitions of qualified production costs; and extends the sunset date of the tax credit.  Appropriates funds for the Training Program.
  • HB111 HD2 RELATING TO SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE BUILDING CODE Authorizes the use of certain land, subject to county approval and oversight, for research, development, and testing of sustainable agriculture, development, waste management, and resource management through planned community use. This Act will create a doorway through the current limitations of traditional codes to support the development of more sustainable methods of living, allowing greater implementation of county and state sustainable living policies.
  • HB174 HD2 RELATING TO FOOD LABELING Imposes labeling requirements and import restrictions on imported genetically engineered produce.  Authorizes labeling of non-genetically engineered food and creates a private right of action to enjoin violations.
  • HB486 HD1 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE Appropriates funds for implementation and operation of the Future Farmers of America and 4-H programs to educate and support youth in agriculture careers as administered by the University of Hawaii, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.
  • HB505 HD2 RELATING TO GREENWAYS Appropriates funds for the Office of Planning to contract for up to two years with a consultant to develop a plan for the establishment and implementation of a statewide greenways system which includes trails, greenways, bike routes, parks, and other projects.
  • HB508 HD2 RELATING TO THE PROCUREMENT CODE Amends the Hawaii public procurement code to create exemptions for state agencies to procure locally produced agricultural commodities to promote food sustainability and self-sufficiency.
  • HB710 HD1 RELATING TO FISHPONDS Requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Department of Health, and Office of Planning to streamline the permitting process and facilitate the restoration of Hawaiian fishponds. Also requires DLNR to submit a report of findings and recommendations.
  • HB734 HD1 RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF TARO LANDS Amends public lands classifications to add taro lands as a fourth class of agricultural lands to improve protections for taro lands. The bill will require the retention of supporting structures for taro fields and add growth of all traditional Hawaiian crops to agricultural planning objectives.
  • HB749 HD2 RELATING TO WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT Appropriates funds to establish the Hawaii Agriculture Workforce Advisory Board to promote economically competitive activities that increase Hawaii’s agricultural self-sufficiency, attractiveness, and opportunities for an agricultural workforce and livelihood.
  • HB856 HD2 RELATING TO GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE Establishes a regulatory financing structure that authorizes the Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to provide low-cost loans for green infrastructure equipment to achieve measurable cost savings and achieve Hawaii’s clean energy goals.
  • HB1330 HD1 RELATING TO THE DIVISION OF CONSERVATION AND RESOURCES ENFORCEMENT Restores funding cuts taken over the last four years to the Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement, Department of Land and Natural Resources. The budget cut has reduced or eliminated non-essential services and limited work hours for officers and the restoration of funding will allow for renewed protection of the state’s natural resources.
  • HB1483 HD2 RELATING TO THE HAWAII HEALTH SYSTEMS CORPORTATION Establishes a task force to study, among other things, the feasibility of allowing the operations of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation regional systems and their facilities to transition into public-private partnership status.
  • HB1028 HD2 RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT Raises the minimum wage to $9.00 incrementally over the next years. Provides unemployment insurance relief for businesses.
  • HB1132 HD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL INTERESTS STATEMENTS Requires a legislator to file a disclosure of financial interests statement with the State Ethics Commission between January 1 and January 31 annually.
  • HB865 HD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC SCHOOL REDEVELOPMENT Establishes a framework for the Department of Education to facilitate public-private partnerships to develop or redevelop public school lands in order to generate income to improve public school facilities so that our children can learn in twenty-first century schools.
  • HB7 HD2 RELATING TO THE ELDERLY Creates the Hawaii Kupuna Trust Fund, comprising public and private funding, to strengthen care for the elderly and vulnerable populations by the awarding of grants.
  • HB276 HD2 RELATING TO THE SENIOR RESIDENCE AT PIIKOI, OAHU Authorizes the Director of Finance to issue general obligation bonds for the construction of the Senior Residence at Piikoi, an affordable senior rental housing project on Oahu.
  • HB196 HD1 RELATING TO VETERANS TREATMENT COURT Appropriates funds for positions to support a Veterans Treatment Court in the First Circuit that can better respond to the unique needs of veterans entering the criminal justice system with mental illness and substance abuse issues arising from their service to our country.
  • HB158 HD3 RELATING TO TUITION ASSISTANCE Broadens the scope of tuition assistance to Hawaii National Guard members working toward a degree on any campus of the University of Hawaii system with priority given under specified conditions.
  • HB411 HD2 RELATING TO HOSPITAL EMERGENCY COMPASSIONATE CARE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT VICTIMS Adds new provisions to Hawaii law to ensure that female sexual assault victims are provided with medically and factually accurate and unbiased information about and access to emergency contraception when receiving emergency medical care at Hawaii’s hospitals.
  • HB245 HD1 RELATING TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE Prohibits landlords from terminating the tenancy of a tenant based solely on the tenant’s status as a victim of domestic abuse with certain exceptions and provides protection for the landlord against civil claims that might arise out of the landlord’s compliance with the law.
  • HB535 HD2 RELATING TO HOMELESS PROGRAMS Authorizes the designation of temporary nighttime parking lots in each county to provide safe overnight parking for homeless individuals who live and sleep in their motor vehicles and who would otherwise park overnight on public or private roads or property.
  • HB198 HD2 RELATING TO ABSENTEE VOTING Requires the absentee ballot for a voter requesting permanent absentee status to be mailed to the mailing address contained on the voter’s most recently completed affidavit on application for voter registration, unless the voter submits a temporary mailing authorization in writing for the absentee ballot to be temporarily mailed to a different address.
  • HB321 HD1 RELATING TO ELECTIONS Provides a process for voter registration on election day at polling places to encourage greater voter participation.
  • HB114 HD3 RELATING TO HIGHER EDUCATION Requires the Administrator of the State Procurement Office, rather than the University of Hawaii President, to serve as Chief Procurement Officer for the University of Hawaii for construction contracts and professional services related to construction contracts. Establishes an Independent Audit Committee within the Board of Regents of the University of Hawaii.
  • HB980 HD2 RELATING TO HIGHWAY SAFETY Creates a statute that prohibits the use of mobile electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle in the State and establishes penalties. Having a State law that uniformly covers all the counties also makes Hawaii eligible for Federal funding.
  • HB873 HD2 RELATING TO THE YOUNG ADULT VOLUNTARY FOSTER CARE ACT Supports Hawaii’s youth in foster care by establishing the Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Program that will extend foster care services to provide care and supervision of eligible foster youth until their twenty-first birthday.
  • HB1298 HD1 RELATING TO TAXATION Provides a nonrefundable income tax credit at fifty per cent of qualified wages for the first six months for a taxpayer who hires a developmentally, intellectually, or physically disabled individual.

 

Senator Ruderman’s Legislative Goals for 2013

Aloha! TODAY was the last day of bill introduction here at the Hawaii State Legislature and I’d like to share my goals for the 2013 legislative session, as well as the bill’s I’ve introduced.

Senator Russell Ruderman

Senator Russell Ruderman

I’ll be working hard for you in the State Senate to bring infrastructure dollars to our district, boost rural economic development and assist our small farmers, expand access to higher education opportunities, support sensible, low-cost and low-impact renewable energy development, and protect Hawaii’s precious near-shore coral reefs.  In addition to co-sponsoring many measures from other Senators, I’ve introduced the following bills.

INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING FOR THE DISTRICT

“Fuel tax revenues for private road maintenance” (SB382) would permit the County of Hawai‘i to appropriate a portion of fuel tax revenue funds for the maintenance of subdivision roads that are used by the public. This would benefit everyone using these roads, in particular those who are currently “double-hit” with community association dues in addition to the tax at the pump.

“2013 Capital Improvement Projects.” (SB377) My appropriation wish list for the district includes funding requests for road improvements for Hwy 130, the Puna Community Medical Center, Pohoiki Park Swim Area, albizia control, and a new elementary school for Hawaiian Paradise Park..

RENEWABLE ENERGY: SENSIBLE, LOW-COST, LOW-IMPACT

“Utility interconnection & grid saturation cap” (SB366) would remove barriers to PV by requiring the utility – not homeowners – to pay for any interconnection study for 10kW or smaller systems to hook up to the grid.

“Virtual net-metering” (SB379) is a proposal to allow renters or property owners to purchase solar electricity at an offsite location and receive credit to their meter and utility bill for the renewable energy produced at the remote location. This would expand access to solar power and extend this opportunity to those who currently can’t take advantage of it.

­ “Solar loan guarantee program & revolving fund” (SB368) would allow homeowners to secure a loan guarantee from the State for loans made for solar energy devices, including PV and solar water heating. This would make solar investments available to lower- and middle- income households, lowering their energy costs.

“Biodiesel-Blended Fuel” (SB372) will require increasing levels of biodiesel in all on-road diesel sold in Hawai’i starting from a B5 blend in 2015 to a B20 blend in 2025. Unlike ethanol, biodiesel is being produced in Hawai’i and these blended rates do not harm engines.

“Repeal of Act 97 – Geothermal Development” (SB371). Act 97 passed in 2012 as a way to fast-track geothermal development in Hawai’i.  It stripped the Counties of land use control and opened all lands in the State to geothermal development. Repealing Act 97 will return control to the county and community, and strengthen home rule.

“Fracking Prohibition” (SB375) would ban any hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Hawai’i until proper oversight and permitting are established. Fracking can inject harmful chemicals into the earth and has been linked to earthquakes, groundwater pollution, and other impacts.

EXPANDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

“UH-Hilo Learning Center Needs Assessment” (SB380) would provide a needs assessment conducted by the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management at UHH for a higher education learning center in Puna.  This effort will advance development of agricultural production and processing businesses in the district and support entrepreneurs and new job creation in Puna and Ka`u.

“Charter School Funding” (SB362) would create a uniform formula and parity for funding of charter school facilities. This bill would direct the board of education, DOE and the charter school commission to develop the formula.

BOOSTING RURAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & SUPPORTING SMALL FARMERS

“Family Farm Income Tax Break” (SB363) would give an income tax exemption on the first $50,000 in annual income to individuals earning their primary income from farming.

“Legalizing Raw Milk” (SB364) would allow retailers, distributors and producers to sell whole, unpasteurized milk, subject to rules by the Department of Agriculture to protect against food-borne illness.

“Direct Farm to Consumer Food Sales” and “Home-based Food Production and Sales” (SB373 and SB367) would exempt producers of unprocessed Hawai‘i grown agricultural products from Department of Health rules when selling directly to the consumer, and allow home based baking businesses to sell food items directly to consumers provided certain conditions are met.

“Sustainable Living Research” (SB361) is a proposal that would allow innovative practices, designs and technologies for community development, natural resource conservation, soil improvement, building practices, food, timber, water and energy production, material conservation and onsite waste management. These innovations are often pioneered by alternative communities.

“Tax on Seed Exports” (SB365) would eliminate the exemption to the GET tax currently extended to GMO seed export crops grown in Hawai’i and valued at over $225,000,000 of gross income a year.

“Protection of Agriculture Products against Invasive Species” (SB370) requires a permit from the Department of Agriculture to import, introduce, or develop any new species of genetically engineered organism. The department would conduct a public hearing to determine whether to grant a permit.

MĀLAMA I KA ‘ĀINA, MĀLAMA I KE KAI

“Aquarium Fish Collection Ban” (SB374) would prohibit the taking of reef fish for sale for aquarium purposes.

GOOD GOVERNMENT

“Public Election Funding Pilot Program; Amendments”(SB381) This bill adjusts Big Island’s public funding pilot project based on voter feedback. It changes the funding formula for County Council races to the average amount of money spent by winning candidates in the last two election cycles across all county district races, resulting in equal funds for all districts.

“Neighbor Island Video Testimony” (SB369) would require both chambers of the legislature to implement rules to permit residents to present testimony through audiovisual technology. This year, a project is being piloted in the Senate Education and Technology Committees.

I encourage you to get involved by following legislation and providing testimony on these and other bills by:

1.     Registering at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/register.aspx

2.     Subscribing to hearing notices you are interested in

3.     Providing testimony

Please feel free to contact me by phone, email, or mail to voice your concerns about District 2 (Puna-Ka’u) and state-wide legislation.

Mahalo!

Senator Russell Ruderman

senruderman@capitol.hawaii.gov

Toll free: (808) 974-4000 ext. 6-6890

(808) 586-6890

State Capitol

415 S Beretania St., Room 217

Honolulu HI 96813

House Speaker–Elect Joe Souki Announces Leadership Team and Committee Chairs for the 27th Legislature

Supported by the House of Representatives, Speaker-elect Joe Souki (District 8 – Wailuku, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Waikapu) announced leadership positions and chair and vice-chair positions for the 2013 session, which opens January 16.

capital

Vice-Speaker – Representative John Mizuno

Majority Leader – Representative Scott Saiki

Majority Floor – Representative Karen Awana

Majority Whip – Representative Romy Cachola

Majority Whip – Representative Ken Ito

Majority Whip – Representative Sharon Har

Speaker Emeritus– Representative Calvin Say

Committee on Finance

Chair, Representative Sylvia Luke (District 25 – Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa)

Vice-Chair, Representative Scott Nishimoto (District 21 – Kapahulu, McCully, Moiliili)

Vice-Chair, Representative Aaron Johanson (District 31 – Moanalua, Red Hill, Foster Village, Aiea, Fort Shafter, Moanalua Gardens, Aliamanu, Lower Pearlridge)

Committee on Judiciary

Chair, Representative Karl Rhoads (District 29 –Kalihi, Palama, Iwilei, Chinatown)

Vice-Chair, Representative Sharon Har (District 42 – Kapolei, Makakilo)

Committee on Consumer Protection & Commerce

Chair, Representative Angus McKelvey (District 10 – West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei)

Vice-Chair, Representative Derek Kawakami (District 14 – Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa, Wailua)

Committee on Legislative Management

Chair, Representative Scott Nishimoto (District 21 – Kapahulu, McCully, Moiliili

Vice-Chair, Representative John Mizuno (District 28 –Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi)

Committee on Education

Chair, Representative Roy Takumi (District 35 – Pearl City, Manana, Waipio)

Vice-Chair, Representative Takashi Ohno (District 27 – Nuuanu, Liliha, Pauoa, Alewa Heights)

Committee on Higher Education

Chair, Representative Isaac Choy (District 23 – Manoa, Punahou, University, Moiliili

Vice-Chair, Representative Linda Ichiyama (District 32 – Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, Aliamanu)

Committee on Water and Land

Chair, Representative Cindy Evans (District 7 – North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala)

Vice-Chair, Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6 – Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau)

Committee on Ocean Management & Hawaiian Affairs

Chair, Representative Faye Hanohano (District 4- Puna)

Vice-Chair, Representative Ty Cullen (District 39, Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo, West Loch)

Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection

Chair, Representative Chris Lee (District 51 – Kailua, Waimanalo)

Vice-Chair, Representative Cynthia Thielen (District 50 – Kailua, Kaneohe Bay)

Committee on Transportation

Chair, Representative Ryan Yamane (District 37 – Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele)

Vice-Chair, Representative Linda Ichiyama (District 32 – Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, Aliamanu)

Committee on Labor

Chair, Representative Mark Nakashima (District 1 – Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo)

Vice-Chair, Representative Mark Hashem (District 18 – Hahaione, Kuliouou, Niu Valley, Aina Haina, Waialae, Kahala)

Committee on Public Safety

Chair, Representative Henry Aquino (District 38 – Waipahu)

Vice-Chair, Representative Kaniela Ing (District 11 – Kihei, Wailea, Makena)

Committee on Health

Chair, Representative Della Au Belatti (District 24 – Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa)

Vice-Chair, Representative Dee Morikawa (District 16 – Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea)

Committee on Human Services

Chair, Representative Mele Carroll (District 13 – Haiku, Hana, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kahoolawe, Molokini, Lanai, Moloka’i, Molokini)

Vice-Chair, Representative Bertrand Kobayashi (District 19 – Waialae Kahala, Diamond Head, Kaimuki, Kapahulu)

Committee on Housing

Chair, Representative Rida Cabanilla (District 41- Ewa Villages, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ocean Pointe, West Loch)

Vice-Chair, “New Maui Rep” District 9 Representative (District 9 – Kahului, Puunene, Old Sand Hills, Maui Lani)

Committee on Tourism

Chair, Representative Tom Brower (District 22 – Waikiki, Ala Moana)

Vice-Chair, Representative Romy Cachola (District 30 – Sand Island, Mokauea, Kapalama, Kalihi Kai)

Committee on Economic Development & Business Affairs

Chair, Representative Clift Tsuji (District 2- Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea)

Vice-Chair, Representative Gene Ward (District 17 – Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley

Committee on Agriculture

Chair, Representative Jessica Wooley (District 48 – Kaneohe, Heeia, Ahuimanu, Kahaluu, Haiku Valley, Mokuoloe)

Vice-Chair, Representative Richard H.K. Onishi (District 3 – Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano)

Committee on Military and Veterans Affair, International Affairs & Culture and the Arts

Chair, Representative K. Mark Takai (District 33- Aiea)

Vice-Chair, Representative Ken Ito (District 49 – Kaneohe, Maunawili, Olomana)

Governor Abercrombie Asked PLDC Board to Temporarily Defer Action on Pending Rules

Governor Neil Abercrombie today asked the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC) Board of Directors to temporarily defer action on pending rules while public concerns about the agency are fully considered and addressed. Additionally, the Governor directed the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), to which the PLDC is administratively attached, to facilitate meetings with stakeholders.

“I have asked the PLDC board to postpone any meeting dates and adoptive actions until those concerns are fully taken into consideration,” said Governor Abercrombie. “I do not want the potential for the PLDC to accomplish public good to be lost because of a failure to account for reservations about either the process or the outcome. I have asked DLNR Chairperson William Aila to meet with stakeholders to address the PLDC’s administrative rules and the rule-making process before moving forward.”

The meetings conducted by Chair Aila will be done with full accountability and transparency, and with the understanding that if public concerns cannot be adequately addressed, then a legislative process may be appropriate.

“We will do our best to alleviate public concerns; however, the PLDC is the creation of the Legislature and lawmakers will ultimately be the ones to decide its future,” said Governor Abercrombie.

Established in 2011 by the Hawaii State Legislature, the PLDC’s purpose is to create and facilitate partnerships between state and county agencies, businesses, non-profits, and community groups to improve Hawaii’s communities, create jobs and expand public benefit through stewardship and responsible use of land resources.

Currently, the PLDC is completing a public review process, mandated by law, to formulate its administrative rules. Last summer, the PLDC conducted statewide public hearings on draft rules and encountered concerns from the public and community groups that followed the initial passage of the law.

The PLDC staff worked with legislative proponents to complete a strategic plan to better define its scope, dispel myths and facilitate continued review of its draft rules. The PLDC has also proposed amendments to its draft rules based on public input and held an additional public hearing on Nov. 13 to provide further opportunity for public comment.

“It is the responsibility of PLDC staff to follow through with the public commentary process, and personal attacks which have characterized some of the testimony are, in my opinion, misdirected and unproductive,” added Governor Abercrombie. “We’ve heard the concerns and now need to focus on productive dialogue with stakeholders before proceeding.

“The PLDC has the potential to support new schools, recreational facilities and operations by using public lands for public purposes that otherwise may not have had sufficient funding. We will continue to work closely with the Legislature and all interested parties involved to do what is best for the people of Hawaii.”

To view a “frequently asked questions” webpage about the PLDC, visit this link.

Hawaii House Approves Bill That Could Threaten Kamehameha Schools’ Rights to Use and Disposition of its Lands

Aloha mai kākou,

This message is to let you know about a bill currently in the Hawai’i State Legislature that has the potential to seriously threaten Kamehameha Schools’ right to determine the future use and disposition of its lands. The bill, House Bill 1829, House Draft 2 (HB1829 HD2), has been approved in the state House of Representatives and has now crossed over to the state Senate for consideration.

If passed, HB1829 HD2 would hurt Kamehameha’s ability to generate income from its commercial and industrial properties — land that provides substantial, direct support to Kamehameha’s educational programs, initiatives and services.

Over time, the bill would give lessees a portion of the land’s value without fair compensation to Kamehameha Schools. This, in turn, would diminish the economic value of the land to Kamehameha Schools and create pressure on the trust to sell despite its long-held practice and desire to exercise its right to self-determination over the use and disposition of its lands.

In addition, HB1829 HD2 would, at the expense of private landowners, impose state government regulation in a process currently guided by free market conditions.

We ask for your attention in this matter. If HB1829 HD2 is scheduled for a hearing in the next few days, we will update you on its status. Stay tuned!

Mahalo nui for your consideration of this issue and for your continued support of Kamehameha Schools’ mission and purpose.

Get a Lawmaker to Pass a Law for You… Big Island Informational Sessions

Between December 12 and December 17, the Public Access Room (the “PAR”) will conduct a series of free neighborhood workshops entitled, “We the Powerful!”  These 1½-hour meetings are designed to demystify the State lawmaking process, and will demonstrate ways that people can speak out at the legislature without ever having to leave home.  All are welcome.  No registration or prior experience is required.

The PAR, a division of the State of Hawaii’s non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau, is the public’s office at the State Capitol and has long been devoted to assisting residents as they engage in State legislative government. There is never a fee for services.

PAR’s workshops are designed to be useful to both newcomers and veterans of the legislative process.  Covered topics will include an overview of the Legislature’s newly-redesigned website, understanding the legislative process, delivering effective testimony, and making sense of the calendar and deadlines.  Renewed inspiration to be part of the solution will be the overriding theme.

The schedule of PAR’s December presentations is as follows:

  • Monday, December 12th – 6:00 p.m.  Mountain View Public Library
  • Tuesday, December 13th – 5:00 p.m.  Hilo Public Library
  • Wednesday, December 14th – 5:30 p.m. Waimea Thelma Parker Library Conference Room
  • Thursday, December 15th – 6:00 p.m. Naalehu School Cafeteria
  • Saturday, December 17th, 12:00 noon Kailua-Kona Civic Center’s Liquor Control Conference Room

For additional information, or to arrange for individual tutorials or group workshops, residents are invited to contact the Public Access Room toll free from the Big Island at 974 4000 ext.7-0478 or via email at par@capitol.hawaii.gov. Please contact PAR directly to make arrangements if special assistance or services such as sign language interpreters are needed.

County Receives $17.9 Million for Kau Emergency Shelter and Gymnasium

Seal of Hawaii County, Hawaii

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The County of Hawaii has received $17.9 million of State funding for the Ka‘ū Emergency Shelter and Gymnasium. “We are very pleased the Governor has released these funds, as the health and safety of all residents is our number one priority,” said Councilmember Brittany Smart.

The district of Ka‘ū is over 900 square miles in area with a population over 6,500, but is lacking adequate shelter space in times of natural disasters. This project will help ensure residents are protected during emergencies. In addition, this facility will promote community resilience and aid in the post-disaster recovery process.

Councilmember Brittany Smart would like to extend special thanks to Governor Neil Abercrombie, State Representative Bob Herkes, and former Councilmember Guy Enriques for their collaborative hard work to procure the funding for this much needed project. Additional mahalos to State Senator Gil Kahele, the Hawaii State Legislature, Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi and his staff, and the Hawaii County Council for their much needed and valued support.

Big Island Teacher Recognized at the Capitol for Work with Cultural-Based Learning Program

Bonnie Pua Case, a teacher at Waimea Middle School, was honored today with a certificate of recognition from the Hawaii State Legislature at the Outstanding Advocates for Children and Youth Awards Luncheon.

As part of Hawaii’s Children and Youth Month, the Hawaii Outstanding Advocate for Children and Youth Award was established by the Hawaii State Legislature to recognize the superb commitment and efforts demonstrated by organizations and individuals that protect and promote Hawaii’s youth. Thirteen individuals and organizations were honored this year.

Case was nominated by Rep. Cindy Evans for her notable achievements and work at Waimea Middle School. She has served the school as a classroom teacher, the Student Services Coordinator and, most recently, the ‘Ike Hawaii Resource Teacher.

The ‘Ike Hawaii cultural learning program plays an integral and essential part in guiding the school’s objectives in Hawaiian-focused cultural curriculum, projects, practices and perspectives.

“Pua has been an inspiration at Waimea Middle School,” said Rep. Evans. “She is committed to the ‘Ike Hawaii cultural learning program that strives toward connecting culture to curriculum and tying tradition to technology. We are very proud of her achievements and dedication and commitment to educating Hawaii’s youth.”

As a mentor and kupuna, Case strives to inspire each child to understand and love their culture and land (aina). She encourages children to have a sense of pride and respect for their Hawaiian heritage through storytelling and hula workshops, and the teaching of chants, history and geography. In addition, with the ‘Ike Hawaii Mala’ai school garden workshops, Case has provided a hands-on experience for students to learn the importance of working and cultivating the aina to maintain a sustainable community while collaborating with others in the community. The program is designed to connect students to cultural lifestyles and resource practitioners in the community.

The program focuses on the theme of “Sense of Place, Sense of Identity,” which was selected to nurture connection to the places, traditions, history and heritage that surround the student’s everyday life. A sample semester of events for 7th graders would include: introduction to Hawaiian language; lessons on traditions, culture and lifestyle of Kamehameha; site visits to the PIKO Gallery for Social Studies lessons; pa’u lesson and horse lei-making service project for Aloha Festivals Parade; and a hands-on lesson on making cordage as was done in the Pacific and Hawaii as shown in their textbooks. These are just a few of the many lessons with the “make it real” component of the ‘Ike program initiative.

Bill Designates September 11th as Patriot Day in Hawaii

In 2009 HB 274 was passed by the Hawaii State Legislature as Act 14. The measure was authored by State Representative John Mizuno, Chairman of the Human Services Committee, designing September 11th as “Patriot Day” in Hawaii to honor the victims of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and in rural Pennsylvania.

2011 Hawaii Patriot Day
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, was one of the deadliest and most damaging in the history of the United States. The destruction was enormous, the World Trade Center’s towers devastated by the two hijacked airplanes, the Pentagon partially destroyed by a third hijacked plane, a fourth plane crashed in rural Pennsylvania, and more than 3,000 people killed.

Rep. Mizuno explains that the purpose of the measure is to honor those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, and to acknowledge the bravery and heroism of those individuals who assisted in rescue efforts following the attacks. The measure is also to remind us to remain committed and united in defending our state and nation against terrorism.

“By designing September 11th as ‘Patriot Day’ we shall provide a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who perished on September 11, 2001, and also the vigilance that is needed to combat terrorism. I wanted to recognize and honor the victims and true heroism that was shown in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. The brave acts of the police officers, firefighters, emergency personnel, and ordinary citizens, truly define our citizens.” Stated Rep. Mizuno.

On May 1, 2011, President Obama announced that Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda and the terrorist network behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States was killed in Pakistan.

“We will never forget our people we lost on that fateful day and as we approach the 10th anniversary of the attacks we continue to move steadfast against terrorism and united in support of our country,” said Rep. Mizuno.

Town Hall Meeting and Legislative Update Next Tuesday

WHAT: The community is invited to attend a town hall meeting and legislative update hosted by state Representatives Mark Nakashima (District 1 – North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo); Jerry Chang (District 2 – South Hilo, Waiakea Kai, Kaumana, Keaukaha); Clift Tsuji (District 3 – South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown); and Bob Herkes (District 5 – Puna, Ka’u, South Kona, North Kona.)

House Finance Chair, Rep. Marcus Oshiro, will also be in attendance to discuss the state budget bill, closing the budget deficit, and how this will impact the public.

WHEN: Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: University of Hawaii at Hilo – UCB 127 (Ho’oulu Terrace)

WHY: District representatives will report and take questions on the key bills passed by the 2011 Legislature including the state budget, capital improvements, mortgage foreclosures and updates on Big Island issues.

Capitol Protester Found Not Guilty… The Video of the Protest

“On April 29, 2010, activists Mitch Kahle and Kevin Hughes were assaulted by Ben Villaflor, the Senate Sergeant-At-Arms, and State Sheriff’s Deputies, for objecting to unconstitutional Christian prayers used to begin each session of the Hawaii State Legislature. Hughes was injured in the attack and was taken to the hospital for x-rays and treatment. Kahle was arrested and prosecuted, but was ultimately vindicated when Judge Leslie Hayashi found Kahle “NOT GUILTY” and ruled that: “The Senate’s [Christian] prayers violate the constitutional separation of church and state.”

(Arrest begins at 1:30)

RELATED: Capitol protestor found not guilty Hawaii News Now – Nov 25, 2010

Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church