Senator Kahele’s 2011 Legislative Recap

Media Release:

Hawai’i State Senator Gilbert Kahele (District 2 Ka’u, Puna, Hilo) recently completed his first legislative session along with six other freshman Senators in this years 26th Hawai’i State Legislature. Appointed by Governor Neil Abercrombie on January 10th 2011 to fill the seat vacated by former Senator Russell Kokubun, Kahele accomplished a number of items that will benefit the residents of Senate District 2 as well as residents throughout the State. Please see those accomplishments below.

Capitol Improvement Projects for Senate District 2 Secured by Senator Kahele in this years fiscal budget (HB200) *Pending Release by Governor Abercrombie

Total: $12,118,000.00

Ka’u Irrigation System Upgrade – $2 Million

  • Improvements to the existing irrigation system in Ka’u to provide water to farmers

Kea‘au Middle School – $2.5 Million

  • Design, construction, and equipment for a new classroom building

Pahoa Elementary School – $1 Million

  • Plans, design and construction of a new cafeteria

Waiakeawaena Elementary – $450K (Worked in tandem with Rep. Clift Tsuji)

  • Construction for additional parking

Volcano School of Arts and Sciences – $618K

  • Plans and design to relocate VSAS to Keakealani

State Highway 11 & Kulani Road Intersection – $2.8 Million

  • Construction for left turn lane and drainage improvement

Kupulau Road Extension – $2.75 Million

  • Plans, design, and construction to reduce congestion of traffic on Komohana Street

Capitol Improvement Projects for Senate District 2 that were released by Governor Abercrombie during the 26th Legislative session

Pahoa High and Intermediate – $13,471

  • ADA Transition Plan improvements
  • Softball Field
  • Part of a project with a total cost of $440,871

Kea‘au Middle School- $2 Million

  • To be shared with Kohala High and Waimea High
  • Help with compliance to ADA guidelines

Various DOE Schools in Senate District 2

(Retrofit of existing buildings to increase hurricane protection)

  • Ka‘u High and Pahala Elementary – $40K
  • Install hardware for doors and install stainless steel screens on glass panels
  • Install hardware for doors and install laminate on mullen windows for library and classrooms
  • Keonepoko Elementary – $35K
  • Harden vents and install hardware for doors
  • Pahoa High and Intermediate – $245K
  • Install hardware for doors and install stainless steel screens on wooden louvers

Legislative Bills Introduced and Passed by Senator Kahele

SB 1154 Relating to Historic Preservation
• This measure will ensure the South Kona wilderness area, rich with cultural, biological, and
historical significance, remains in perpetuity for the future generations of Hawai‘i’s people.
• This measure provides a mechanism to address both the community’s interests in utilizing the
area for recreational purposes and protecting the vast amounts of archaeological sites, native
plants, and native animals that exist in the preserve.

SB 285 Relating to Health
*Worked in tandem with Rep. Bob Herkes
• The 2nd Senatorial district consists of some of the most remote and rural areas in Hawai‘i.
• Improving access to quality health care for the residents of our state’s rural areas
demonstrates our commitment to eliminating barriers they may face in securing their medical
needs.
• Allows for mobile health care vehicles to be operated by a qualified provider out in the far
reaching rural communities where patients may not have the ability or physical capabilities to
drive to the major hospitals in Kona or Hilo due to a chronic condition.

SB 283 Relating to Sustainability
*Worked in tandem with the Hawai’i 2050 Sustainability Task Force
• This measure updates the Hawai‘i State Plan (State Plan), codified in HRS 226, by
incorporating the important collaborative work of the Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Task
Force. The purpose of the Hawai’i State Plan is to provide a guide for the future long-range
development of our State. It identifies priorities and objectives for policy makers to render
informed decisions that are consistent with the preferred direction outlined in the State Plan.
• When the 1978 Legislature first adopted the State Plan, they did so with the intention that it
would not remain “a static document.” Although it provides significant policy directives that
affect Hawai‘i’s long-range planning for a variety of significant subject matter areas, many of
the objectives are outdated or no longer feasible.
• Given Hawai‘i’s growing population and the subsequent increased demands placed on our
limited natural and financial resources, an up to date long-range plan is absolutely critical.
• The work of the 2050 Task Force provided significant opportunity for public participation to
compose the State’s first long-range plan in over 30 years, providing the much needed update
to the policy objectives and priorities outlined in HRS 226. This is truly the people’s plan.
Hawaii 2050 Website Link: www.hawaii2050.org/

SB 281 – Relating to the Animal Industry
• A bill that would allow Department of Agriculture (DOA) to lease out lands currently
occupied by the unused quarantine facilities (Halawa Quarantine Facility)
• Would have the benefit of making DOA less reliant on state general funds.
• More capital generation that can be put forward to further address the need areas within DOA

SB 1153 – Relating to Agricultural Loans
• Increases loan limits and decreases loan rates for new farmer loans
• Will help reduce the over 85% of food that Hawaii currently imports by encouraging the
growth of the local farming industry.
• Easier access to capital will help spark interest in farming as a viable career path and help
beginning farmers overcome the initial economic barrier to begin farming.

SB 1342 – Relating to Parking for the Disabled
• This bill addressed a concern brought to me from the disabled community. There have been
instances when, due to the adjustments made to a car, that the occupant cannot hang their
disabled placard from the rear view mirror. This had resulted in some unfortunate
circumstances when the individual was given an illegal parking ticket.
• This legislation would enable such an individual to display the placard on the dashboard
without fear of receiving a ticket.

Other legislative bills of significance that were strongly supported and passed by Senator Kahele
SB 23 – Relating to Native Hawaiians
• This bill establishes within the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Aha Kiole
advisory council, who’s purpose is to advise the Chairman of the DLNR and the Legislature
on issues relating to land and natural resource management through the Aha Moku system.

SB 1520 – Relating to Government (Native Hawaiian Recognition Act)
• This bill moves forward an issue that has languished for many, many years, the recognition
of the Native Hawaiian people as the only indigenous, aboriginal maoli people of Hawai’i.
This legislation seeks to serve as a settlement of any issues or claims impacting Native
Hawaiian people under State, Federal or International law. It also authorizes the appointment
of a Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, which will be funded and tasked to prepare and
maintain a list of qualified Native Hawaiians.

SB 1530 – Relating to Public Lands
• This bill authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources Board to extend leases of
public lands for hotel or resort use approval of a proposed development agreement to make
substantial improvements to the existing improvements such as in Hilo’s Banyan Drive
district.

HB 331 – Relating to Public Lands
• This bill authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources to extend the fixed rental
period or term of certain leases; provided that the aggregate of the initial term and any
extension granted does not exceed sixty-five years. This bill affects many lessees in Hilo’s
Kanoelehua business district otherwise known as the “Industrial Area”.

Senator Kahele’s Legislative Recap

On May 5, 2011, the Hawai`i State Legislature adjourned the 2011 Legislative Session.

As a freshman senator, I can look back with satisfaction and a real sense of accomplishment for
what we did. The state faced an unprecedented deficit of over $1 billion, but by working with the
House of Representatives and listening to the voices of our constituents, we were able to reach
an agreement and a balanced budget.

I’m happy to report that I was able to successfully sponsor a number of bills that, barring a veto
from the Governor, will become law. Respecting the rights of the disabled, supporting
agricultural initiatives, increasing availability of healthcare for rural communities, and updating
the Hawai’i State Plan on sustainability were the general themes of bills that I helped to
shepherd through this session.

Additionally, despite the difficult financial straits that the state was facing, as a member of the
Ways and Means Committee, I was able to oversee the passing of a budget that saw over $12
million in CIP projects that would directly benefit our district.

Among these projects included funding for the improvement of classrooms and facilities,
improvements to core road infrastructure, and renovating outdated irrigation systems to bring
much needed water to the farmers and ranchers in the Ka’u district.

I am proud of what we have accomplished given the difficult situation that we faced. I realize
that there is more to be done and look forward to the challenges ahead. Let’s work together and
make sure we are all paddling towards “A New Day in Hawai`i”.

Hau’oli Ka Mana’o,
Senator Gilbert Kahele

For more information, contact Kai Kahele, Deputy Campaign Manager, (808)-783-4069

One Response

  1. Thanks for the legislative recap. Senator Kahele has accomplished a lot. It is important for citizens to be aware of what their senators and congressmen are getting done.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I do this to keep the spammers away * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.