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Hawaii Senate Announces New Chairs and Reorganization – Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele New Majority Whip

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi announced several new committee chairs and an addition to Senate leadership as part of the Senate’s recent reorganization.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele was named the new Majority Whip today.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz will be the new Ways and Means committee chair with Senator Gil Keith-Agaran serving as the Ways and Means committee vice chair.

The current Senate committee on Judiciary and Labor will be divided into two committees with Senator Brian T. Taniguchi chairing the Judiciary committee and Senator Jill N. Tokuda chairing the Labor committee.

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele is the new Majority Whip.

These new positions are effective at the close of business on May 12, 2017.

Hilo Legislative Update

Hawai‘i lawmakers passed the State’s two-year biennium budget on Tuesday along with numerous House and Senate bills that now move to Governor David Ige for his signature. The budget includes more than $70 million in capital improvement project funds for the Hilo area.

The approved budget includes $4.5 million for improvements to Hilo and Keawe Health Centers, as well as $2 million for the creation of a telehealth unit for Hilo Medical Center.

“The telehealth services at Hilo Hospital was a top priority of the Hilo Hospital Foundation in order to increase the level of health care services to residents of Hawaii Island. These budget items as well as the creation of a new line item for the Hawaii Island Family Residency Program will help to insure that we are able to better address the medical needs of our residents into the future,” said Representative Mark M. Nakashima.

State funds are earmarked for both the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and Hilo International Airport.

“The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo will receive $3 million to provide air conditioning for the Hale ‘Alahonua student dormitory building. The budget also includes $19.2 million for renovations and improvements to the Hilo International Airport, as well as $2.6 million for noise-reduction efforts for nearby communities,” said Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele.

Waiakeawāena Elementary will receive $2.5 million for either renovations of their existing cafeteria or the construction of a new facility and $13 million will go toward replacing the single lane 4 Mile Creek Bridge at the intersection of Kilauea Avenue and Haihai Street.

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

“The rejuvenation of the Kulani Correctional Facilities agriculture programs will be greatly enhanced with the addition of a full-time farm manager and funding for the purchase of equipment and supplies. This will allow inmates to participate in a broader range of technical skills and trades in horticulture. Along with the $13 million in funding for the 4-mile bridge, $2 million in funds were also secured for motor vehicle deceleration and acceleration lanes to increase the traffic safety to the Panaewa stretch at the Mamaki and Lama Street intersections,” said Representative Richard Onishi.

Hilo High School will receive $2.4 million to assist with renovations of their school auditorium building, as well as $1.25 million toward a much-needed upgrade to the school’s track and field facilities. Across the street, Hilo Intermediate School will benefit from a $950,000 appropriation for renovations of the school’s boys’ and girls’ locker rooms.

“We are very grateful for the funding we received for East Hawaii schools. On a personal level, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of our legislative team and I’m looking forward to continuing our work together,” said Representative Chris Todd.

Legislative “Crossover” Update From Senator Kai Kahele

Aloha!

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

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

Me ka ha’aha’a,
Kaiali’i Kahele

Kaiali’i “Kai” Kahele to be Sworn in to Office Tomorrow During Regular Senate Session

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald will administer the Oath of Office to Kaiali‘i Kahele at the opening of the Senate Regular Session on Wed., Feb. 17, 2016. 

Kai Kahele ProfileKahele was appointed to represent Senate District 1, which comprises the greater Hilo area.

  • WHO:  Kaiali‘i Kahele, Senate District 1 appointee
  • WHAT:  Administration of Oath of Office
  • WHERE:  Senate Chambers      
  • WHEN:  Wednesday, February 17, 2016 at 11:30 a.m.

Hawaii State Senate Statement of Appointment of Kaiali’i Kahale

The Hawai‘i State Senate leadership welcomes the appointment of Kaiali‘i Kahele to the District 1 Senate seat.

Senate Chamber

“I congratulate Kai on his appointment to the Senate,” said Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English. “I know he has the best interests of the community at heart, and we will work with him to ensure his transition to the Senate is quick and seamless. I know Kai was well-trained by his father to handle the work of the Senate.”

“We welcome Kai to the Senate,” said Senate President, Ronald D. Kouchi. “I know he holds many of the strong convictions and commitment to community service as that of his father. I look forward to working with Kai in his new role as Senator for the first district.”

“I appreciate the work the staff of the late Senator Kahele has been doing to serve the constituents of District 1 during this time and I know they will be important in continuing to provide support for Kai as we move forward this Session,” said Sen. Kouchi.

Once the oath of office is administered, Kai Kahele will serve on the following Senate committees:  Higher Education and the Arts (HEA), Education (EDU), Judiciary and Labor (JDL), and Tourism and International Affairs (TSI).