Hawaii State Legislature Will Reconvene 2020 Session Monday

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki today announced that the Hawaiʻi State Senate and the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives will reconvene the 2020 legislative session on Monday, May 11.

The session will focus on stabilizing the state budget and budget-related bills in anticipation of a $1 billion shortfall in state revenues. The Senate will also consider the nomination of board members and commissioners that have been nominated by Governor David Ige. The session is expected to last at least six legislative days.

“We are reconvening the session because the immediate priority is to stabilize the state budget so that we can avoid drastic cuts and furloughs,” said Speaker Saiki.

Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi said the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance committees will look closely at ways to make up for the expected $1 billion shortfall in state revenues.

“Clearly, in the area of visitor arrivals basically down to zero, G.E.T. activity has stopped as well, along with income tax filings deferred to July 20, so some of the most significant impacts have come from these income generators,” said President Kouchi. “While it’s possible that we can do the session in six days to take care of the budgetary process, we might need nine or 10 days overall to finish up business, so we will work in concert with the House through this process.”

The Legislature will operate within the confines of the Governor’s statewide shutdown that still remains in effect. The State Capitol will be closed to the general public, although the public will have an opportunity to submit written testimony and to observe all proceedings through livestream. 

Legislators and legislative staff will be allowed into the Capitol through a single entrance where everyone will be under a temperature check. Masks must be worn in all public spaces, all workspaces will be thoroughly cleaned, and physical distancing rules will be mandatory. Other safety measures are in the process of being finalized.

“We are implementing all appropriate safety measures to protect the health and safety of the public, staff and legislators,” Speaker Saiki said. 

The Senate Ways and Means Committee and the House Finance Committee will hold separate hearings in the State Capitol auditorium. Instructions for the submission of written testimony will be provided when they are finalized.

All committee hearings and House and Senate floor sessions will be televised on Olelo Community Television and live-streamed at https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/broadcasts.aspx.

The Senate will maintain physical distancing and incorporate virtual technology to allow some Senators to remain on the neighbor islands during their sessions. 

The House Chamber will not institute remote voting for members as they all have indicated they will be physically present on Oahu for proceedings.

The Legislature has been in recess since March 17 when one lawmaker tested positive for the coronavirus.

For more information, go to https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/

Changes in Hawaii House Leadership

After much consideration, Speaker Scott K. Saiki today accepted the resignation of Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, Kohala) as House Majority Leader. Evans offered her resignation as Majority Leader during the legislative special session held in August of this year.

Saiki has appointed Hawaii Island Rep. Mark M. Nakashima (Hamakua, Hilo), to Vice Speaker of the House. He replaces Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa) who has been named House Majority Leader.

Rep. Evans will assume Nakashima’s chairmanship of the Economic Development & Business Committee.

With Nakashima’s appointment and with Kauai Rep. Dee Morikawa as Majority Floor Leader, neighbor island representatives continue to occupy two of the top four positions in House leadership.

Big Island Workshops on the Legislature – Make Your Voice Heard

You can add your voice at the State Capitol! Tell legislators what you want them to focus on when Regular Session begins in January and be ready to offer your testimony when things get rolling. To help, the Legislature’s Public Access Room (PAR) is offering “Your Voice,” a free 1- hour workshop at numerous locations on the Big Island.

Topics include understanding the legislative process, deadlines, and power dynamics, as well as tips on effective lobbying, testifying, and communicating with Senators and Representatives. “How-To” guides, informational handouts, and other resources will be available.

“Your Voice” – Free One-hour Workshops:

  • Mon Sept 11 6:00 p.m. Kailua-Kona – West Hawai’i Civic Center Community Hale; 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway
  • Tue Sept 12 6:00 p.m. Waimea- Thelma Parker Memorial Library; 67-1209 Mamalahoa Highway
  • Wed Sept 13 5:30 p.m. Hilo Public Library; 300 Waianuenue Ave.
  • Thu Sept 14 5:30 p.m. Pahoa Community Center; Kauhale Street

For additional information, or to ask about additional workshops during this visit, contact PAR ─ 808/587-0478 or par@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Standing Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for 29th Legislature

The Hawai‘i State Senate today confirmed the Senate Standing Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs for the 29th Legislature.

capital“These committee assignments reflect the best use of the broad experience and expertise our Senators bring to this legislative body,” said Senate President, Ronald D. Kouchi.  “We’re looking forward to a synergetic and productive session.”

Senate Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are as follows:

Senate Leadership

  • President: Sen. Ronald D. Kouchi
  • Vice President: Sen. Michelle N. Kidani
  • Majority Leader: Sen. J. Kalani English
  • Majority Caucus Leader: Sen. Brickwood Galuteria
  • Majority Floor Leader: Sen. Will Espero
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz
  • Assistant Majority Whip: Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi

Agriculture and Environment (AEN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Mike Gabbard
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Gil Riviere

Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health (CPH)

  • Chair:  Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara

Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology (ETT)

  • Chair:  Sen. Glenn Wakai
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi

Education (EDU)

  • Chair: Sen. Michelle N. Kidani
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele

Government Operations (GVO)

  • Chair: Sen. Donna Mercado Kim
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Russell E. Ruderman

Hawaiian Affairs (HWN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Maile S.L. Shimabukuro
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Brickwood Galuteria

Higher Education (HRE)

  • Chair:  Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Michelle N. Kidani

Housing (HOU)

  • Chair:  Sen. Will Espero
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Breene Harimoto

Human Services (HMS)

  • Chair:  Sen. Josh Green
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Stanley Chang

International Affairs and the Arts (IAA)

  • Chair:  Sen. Brian T. Taniguchi
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. J. Kalani English

Judiciary and Labor (JDL)

  • Chair:  Sen. Gilbert S.C. Keith-Agaran
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Karl Rhoads

Public Safety, Intergovernmental, and Military Affairs (PSM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Clarence K. Nishihara
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Glenn Wakai

Transportation and Energy (TRE)

  • Chair:  Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz

Water and Land (WTL)

  • Chair:  Sen. Karl Rhoads
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Mike Gabbard

Ways and Means (WAM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Jill N. Tokuda
  • Vice Chair: Sen. Donovan M. Dela Cruz

Hawaii Bills to Address Homelessness, Housing, Health, Good Governance Head for Final Vote

State lawmakers have passed a number of important measures ahead of tonight’s final decking deadline that align with the Senate Majority’s Legislative Priorities outlined at the start of the 2016 Legislative Session.


Approved by members of the Senate and House conference committees include bills that address housing and homelessness such as SB2561 SD2 HD1 which establishes a goal of developing or vesting the development of at least 22,500 affordable rental housing units ready for occupancy between 01/01/17 and 12/31/26 and SB2559 SD1 HD1 which addresses homelessness by making available emergency and transitional shelter space and appropriates general funds to improve homeless shelter space.

Measures addressing health include SB2083 SD1 HD1 which prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle in which a minor is present.

Other Legislative priorities in which lawmakers approved bills:

Mālama ‘Ohana (Providing for our Families)

SB2557 SD2 HD1 expands the concussion educational program established under Act 197, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, and incorporates additional concussion protocol program requirements. Appropriates funds to develop and implement the concussion monitoring and education program for school athletics and youth athletic activities, administer concussion testing to high school student athletes, and implement a concussion awareness program for Hawaii public school students aged 11 to 13.

SB2315 SD2 HD2 which exempts from jury duty a woman who is breastfeeding or expressing breast milk for a period of two years from the birth of the child.

SB2476 SD2 HD2 CD1 enhances early intervention language services for children who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

Mālama Honua (Nurturing the Earth)

SB2647 SD1 HD2 which prohibits the sale, offer to sell, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter of any part or product from various animal and marine species.

SB2659 SD2 HD1 establishes an industrial hemp pilot program to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of its seed in Hawaii through limited activities by licensee-agents of the Board of Agriculture for purposes of agricultural or academic research.

Mālama Kaiaulu (Sustaining our Communities)

SB2566 SD1 HD1 CD1 transfers excess moneys from the rental assistance revolving fund to the rental housing revolving fund.

SB3077 SD1 HD1 which designates the Office of Planning as the lead state agency for transit-oriented development coordination.

SB3109 SD1 HD1 CD1 supports and appropriates funds for the manufacturing development program with the High Technology Development Corporation.

SB2618 SD1 HD2 requires the Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of establishing an interisland and intra-island ferry system.

Mālama Aupuni (Good Governance)

SB2954 SD2 HD1 which authorizes county police departments to enroll firearms applicants and individuals who are registering their firearms into a criminal record monitoring service used to alert police when an owner of a firearm is arrested for a criminal offense anywhere in the country.

SB2512 SD1 HD2 increases penalties for animal desertion, except where the animal is released as part of a game management program.

These bills will be forwarded to the full Senate for Final Reading or have passed Final Reading and have been enrolled to the Governor.

A list of all the Senate bills that have passed the Legislature or been decked for Final Reading is on the Hawaii State Legislative website.

The 2016 Hawai‘i Senate Majority Legislative Program can be viewed on the Hawai‘i Senate Majority website.

Hawaii State Senate Reorganizes Committees – Big Island Senators Elected to Key Positions

The Hawai‘i State Senate today announced a new line up of committees and committee chairs as part of its recent reorganization.


“This new alignment is consistent with our policy of making the best use of our members’ skills and interests,” said Senate President, Sen. Ronald Kouchi (Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau). “We believe these assignments will make us more effective as a body moving forward.”

The following are the new committee assignments:

Consumer Protection (CPN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Rosalyn Baker
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Michelle Kidani

Economic Development and Technology (EDT)

  • Chair: Sen. Glenn Wakai
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Sam Slom

Education (EDU)

  • Chair:  Sen. Michelle Kidani
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Breene Harimoto

Hawaiian Affairs (HWN)

  • Chair:  Sen. Maile Shimabukuro
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. J. Kalani English

Higher Education and the Arts (HEA)

  • Chair:  Sen. Brian Taniguchi
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Gilbert Kahele

Housing (HSG)

  • Chair:  Sen. Breene Harimoto
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Brickwood Galuteria

Judiciary and Labor (JDL)

  • Chair:  Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Maile Shimabukuro

Public Safety, Government Operations and Military Affairs (PSM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Clarence Nishihara
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Will Espero

Tourism (TSI)

  • Chair:  Sen. Gilbert Kahele
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. J. Kalani English

Transportation and Energy (TRE)

  • Chair:  Sen. Lorraine Inouye
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Mike Gabbard

Water, Land and Agriculture (WLA)

  • Chair:  Sen. Mike Gabbard
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Clarence Nishihara

Ways and Means (WAM)

  • Chair:  Sen. Jill Tokuda
  • Vice Chair:  Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

In addition, Senate Leadership has assigned Sen. Laura Thielen the chair of the Committee on Health and the Environment (HEV) and Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland the chair and Sen. Donna Mercado Kim as Vice Chair of the Committee on Human Services (HMS). These assignments are awaiting confirmation.  Sen. Rosalyn Baker has been confirmed as Vice Chair of HEV.

The new confirmed committee assignments will take effect immediately.

As the Senate reorganizes, members of Senate leadership will not act as committee chairs. This division of duties allows the Senate to more broadly balance and distribute power within this chamber and better respond to the needs of our state. Senate leadership will be as follows:

  • Senate President: Sen. Ronald Kouchi
  • Senate Vice President: Sen. Will Espero
  • Majority Leader: Sen. J. Kalani English
  • Majority Floor Leader: Sen. Josh Green
  • Majority Caucus Leader: Sen. Brickwood Galuteria
  • Majority Whip: Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

House Passes Nearly 150 Measures on Final Crossover

Includes bills on marijuana dispensaries, turtle bay, voting by mail, sexual assault, human trafficking and transportation network companies

The state House of Representatives passed today nearly 150 Senate measures dealing with education, housing and homelessness, health, seniors, agriculture, invasive species and the environment, public safety and improving the quality of life for Hawaii residents.  


Among the most significant bills passed by the House were SB1028 that attempts to harmonize the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with those of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care; SB1291 that establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; SB284 that sets up a funding mechanism for the purchase of the Turtle Bay conservation easement; SB287 that mandates and establishes a timetable for voting by mail for all Hawaii elections; SB1280 that requires the PUC to regulate transportation network companies such as Uber; SB387 that creates an affirmative consent task force on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking at the University of Hawaii; and SB265 that makes sex trafficking a Class A felony.

The majority of the bills, along with the nearly 140 House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

Other notable Senate measures passed by the House included:


SB64, SD3, HD1, relating to the Preschool Open Doors Program.  Makes appropriations for positions and the continued implementation of the Preschool Open Doors Program and for subsidies for the program.

SB822, SD1, HD2, relating to education and student hours.  Clarifies the implementation schedule and calculation method for minimum number of days and student hours required for Department of Education schools in each school year. Applies the requirement for a 180 day, 1,080 hour school year to all school years beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.

SB1345, HD2, relating to multi-track schools.  Requires the Department of Education to develop a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools and report to the Legislature regarding the plan and any proposed legislation. Requires the DOE to give priority to overpopulated schools in making its annual capital improvement budget request to the Director of Finance.

SB854, SD2, HD2, relating to public school lands.  Requires public school lands that are leased to benefit public educational purposes rather than simply to be used for public purposes. Authorizes the Department of Education to enter into leaseback agreements.

SB374, SD2, HD2, relating to UH/DOE dual credit education programs.  Renames the “Running Start Program” as the “Dual Credit Program.”  Broadens participation to include public and home-schooled ninth and tenth graders.  Replaces a standardized test with an assessment.  Repeals tuition and fees requirement.  Requires that all additional qualifications be uniform across all campuses. Appropriates moneys to the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii for positions.


SB273, SD2, HD2, relating to identification cards for the homeless.  Requires the examiner of drivers to accept a sworn statement from a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, correctional institution staff, a medical or health professional, or a verification letter from a homeless service provider as documentary evidence of a homeless person’s address; requires the Director of Transportation’s rules to direct the examiner of drivers to waive all fees for homeless individuals; and establishes a working group to enable homeless individuals in the State to obtain necessary documentary evidence.


SB964, SD2, HD1, relating to aging.  Appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  Requires appointment of an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator no later than July 1, 2017.  Appropriates funds for the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, and an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.


SB1028, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector.  Attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act by implementing federal requirements for provider network adequacy through requiring that insurer contracts with federally-qualified health centers.  Authorizes other means of generating revenue through provision of benefits administration services.

SB1338, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector.  Authorizes large group insurance coverage under the Connector.  Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, ends authorization to renew or issue transitional renewal policies.  Requires notice to group health plans that offer continuation of coverage about options for affordable coverage under the Connector, in addition to the requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

SB1228, SD2, HD3 establishes a process for special innovative procurement and generates a framework for public-private partnership in Hawaii.  Appropriates funds for a temporary position to assist the Procurement Policy Board.  Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to procure services to develop a master plan for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

SB1117, SD2, HD1, relating to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.  Makes an emergency appropriation to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

SB682, SD2, HD1, relating to medical marijuana.  Establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers.  Specifies that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period.  Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations or rules that prohibit the use of land for licensed dispensaries and production centers.

SB1291, SD2, HD2, relating to medical marijuana.  Prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, employers, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.

SB1095, SD1, HD1, relating to health insurance.  Defines the term “habilitative services” to be included in health care services, including but not limited to physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, applied behavior analysis, medical equipment, orthotics, and prosthetics, that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

SB791, SD1, HD2, relating to autism spectrum disorders.  Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

SB1036, SD2, HD1, relating to substance abuse treatment.  Establishes within the Department of Health a working group to address publicly-funded substance abuse treatment services.  Appropriates funds.

SB768, SD1, HD1, relating to in vitro fertilization insurance coverage.  Provides in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by making available to them expanded treatment options, ensuring adequate and affordable health care services.

SB1032, SD2, HD2, relating to tobacco products.  Expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include tobacco-free products containing nicotine that are intended for human consumption. Increases the license fee for wholesalers or dealers of cigarettes or tobacco products.  Increases the retail tobacco permit fee for retailers engaged in the retail sale of cigarettes and tobacco products.

SB1030, SD1, HD2, relating to health.  Increases the minimum age for the sale or possession of a tobacco product in a public place, and the sale or furnishing of a tobacco product, from 18 to 21.  Defines “tobacco products” to include electronic smoking devices.


SB387, SD2, HD3, relating to affirmative consent.  Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

SB1146, SD1, HD1 requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to submit to the Legislature a program performance report for each fiscal quarter showing a comparison of actual revenues and expenditures versus budgeted revenues and expenditures.  Extends the University of Hawaii’s authority for independent fiscal management and oversight for one additional year.

SB325, SD1, HD2 makes comprehensive omnibus changes affecting the University of Hawaii System. Appropriates funds.


SB265, SD1, HD1, relating to sex trafficking.  Replaces the term “promoting prostitution” with the term “sex trafficking,” a Class A felony.  Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the Department of the Attorney General’s statewide witness program.

SB1211, SD1, HD1, relating to the Major Disaster Fund.  Intends to increase the expenditure ceiling on Major Disaster Fund moneys.  Requires the Adjutant General to report any allotment of fund moneys or any expenditure of Fund moneys to the Legislature within one month of the allotment or expenditure.

SB871, SD1, HD3, relating to highway safety.  Authorizes the director of transportation to establish reciprocal licensing privileges to any person eighteen years of age or older who holds a license from another jurisdiction, under certain conditions.  Authorizes the examiner of drivers to waive the demonstration of the ability to operate a motor vehicle for individuals with licenses from other jurisdictions who receive reciprocal licensing privileges.

SB979, SD2, HD1, relating to youth.  Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program until June 30, 2021.  Establishes the Safe Places for Youth Program Coordinator position.  Allows youth in crisis who are at least 14 but under 18 years of age to consent to accept services in the Pilot Program under certain circumstances.  Appropriates funds.


SB284, SD2, HD2, relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax and Turtle Bay.  Allocates monies      to the Turtle Bay conservation easement special fund.  Authorizes B&F to issue reimbursable general obligation bonds and to use the proceeds to acquire a conservation easement in Turtle Bay, Oahu.  Requires B&F to transfer the conservation easement to DLNR.  Allocates monies to B&F to reimburse to the state general fund the debt service on the reimbursement general obligation bonds and ongoing expenses related to the bonds.  Requires the Office of Planning to investigate acquiring lands owned by Dole Food Company, Inc.

SB1260, HD1, relating to recycling.  Mandates the recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor to the Department of Health regarding advance disposal fee glass containers and glass recycling. Requires the Department of Health to report on its implementation of the recommendations to the Legislature.

SB359, SD1, HD1, relating to the environmental response energy and food security tax.  Removes the revenue distribution from the barrel tax to the environmental response revolving fund beginning July 1, 2015.  Removes the sunset of the various funds related to the barrel tax.  Appropriates funds.


SB1059, SD2, HD2, relating to invasive species.  Mandates the Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to perform specified tasks to address the spread of invasive species, particularly between islands.  Mandates the Department of Agriculture to establish a little fire ant pesticide treatment coupon pilot project and site map. Appropriates funds.

SB1060, SD2, HD1, allows for agricultural loans to be administered for livestock biosecurity projects to assist the livestock industry by establishing a low-interest biosecurity loan program within the Department of Agriculture for construction, improvements, purchase of equipment and other costs related to biosecurity projects.

SB376, SD2, HD1 establishes the Hawaii Farm to School Program and an unspecified number of Farm to School Coordinator positions.

SB512, SD2, HD1, relating to agriculture.  Establishes the Hawaii One Plan Steering Committee to provide Hawaii farmers access to the Hawaii One Plan, an online interface to develop and obtain conservation plans that are necessary to seek Federal Farm Bill funding and comply with county grading and grubbing ordinances.  Appropriates funds.

SB382, SD2, HD2, establishes within the Livestock Revitalization Program a grant program for Qualified Feed Developers.  Appropriates funds for the grant program, reimbursements to Qualified Producers for feed cost, and a survey of local feed ingredient sources.  Appropriates funds for the Future Farmers of America Program.


SB1122, HD1, relating to wage and hour law.  Increases the amount of guaranteed monthly compensation required to exempt an individual from minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements under the Hawaii Wage and Hour Law.


SB555, SD1, HD1, relating to tax credits.  Increases the refundable food/excise tax credit.  Repeals credit for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $30,000 or above.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.


SB1280, SD2, HD2, relating to transportation network companies.  Requires the public utilities commission to regulate transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers.  Requires drivers to register as business entities with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Establishes insurance requirements and qualifications for persons who operate or serve as drivers for transportation network companies.

SB1001, SD2, HD1, relating to manufacturing.  Establishes a temporary, nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who incur certain expenses for manufacturing products in Hawaii.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.  Sunsets Jan. 1, 2023.

SB519, SD2, HD3, relating to vacation rentals.  Extends Act 326, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, for one year and requires the Department of Taxation to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the implementation of the law.  Authorizes DOTAX to enforce civil penalties for operators and plan managers who fail to display the certificate of registration and registration ID numbers for transient accommodations.  Authorizes fines to be deposited into the Tax Administration Special Fund.  Amends the definition of “transient accommodations.”

SB892, SD2, HD3, relating to omnibus Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.  Makes various appropriations for the Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.


SB717, SD2, HD1, relating to ethanol. Adds two individuals from the biotech and biofuel industries to the Petroleum Advisory Council.  Requires the Petroleum Advisory Council to study the effects that repealing the requirement that gasoline sold in the state for use in motor vehicles be composed of ten percent ethanol would have on Hawaii.

SB1050, SD2, HD3, relating to energy.  Requires electric utilities to file proposed community-based renewable energy tariffs with the public utilities commission by Oct. 1, 2015. Authorizes ratepayer participation in eligible community-based renewable energy projects.

SB1316, SD2, HD2, relating to electric vehicles.  Establishes a working group to examine the issues regarding requests to the board of directors of an association of apartment owners, condominium association, cooperative housing corporation, or planned community association regarding the installation of electric vehicle charging systems.

SB1047, SD1, HD1, relating to waste to energy.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Pelatron Q, LLC, with the development of waste-to-energy power plants in Hawaii.

SB349, SD2, HD2, relating to renewable energy tax credits.  Establishes a renewable fuels production tax credit and repeals the ethanol facility tax credit.  Allows qualifying taxpayers to claim an income tax credit for qualifying renewable fuel.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.

SB1214, HD1, relating to the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Maui Electric Company, Limited, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.  Requires electric utilities to unbundle customer rates and charges to be eligible to receive financing assistance through SPRBs. 


SB464, SD1, HD2, relating to consumer protection.  Requires disclosure in a form that may be retained by a consumer of terms, conditions, and cancellation procedures for automatic and continuous service offer contracts.  Requires a means for cancelling a contract prior to the expiration of a free trial period.

SB737, SD1, HD2, relating to check cashing.  Creates standards, including authorization for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules, for check cashing businesses, including requirements for registration, surety, recordkeeping, examinations, and confidentiality.  Sets new penalties for check cashing businesses that violate the established standards.


SB181, SD1, HD1, relating to veterans.  Allows the Department of Education to continue awarding (until June 30, 2020) high school diplomas to qualified veterans who did not receive a high school diploma as a result of compulsory induction into active service in the Armed Services of the United States or any person whose high school education was interrupted due to wartime practices such as internment during World War II.

SB559, SD2, HD2, relating to the military.  Establishes and funds a Military Affairs Advisor position and an Assistant Military Affairs Advisor position in the Office of the Governor, with the Military Affairs Advisor reporting directly to the Governor.


SB286, SD2, HD1, relating to the Office of the State Inspector General.  Establishes the Office of the State Inspector General, to be headed by the State Inspector General, to investigate complaints alleging fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption by a state agency or quasi-public agency, or by the officers or employees of a state agency or quasi-public agency.  Appropriates funds.

SB140, HD2, relating to government records.  Requires agencies to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of all government records under its control that are required to be made available for public inspection under Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act.

SB996, SD2, HD2, relating to ethics.  Appropriates funds to the State Ethics Commission to design and develop a system that allows filers to electronically file required statements and reports with the State Ethics Commission.

SB475, SD1, HD2, relating to open government.  Allows the electronic mailing of meeting notices; requires the posting of the notice on the state or appropriate county’s electronic calendar; and clarifies potential posting disputes.  Adds emergency meetings to the public meeting notice requirements.

SB652, SD1, HD2, relating to public agency meetings.  Requires a public agency board to report any discussion or final action taken during an executive meeting; provided that such disclosure is not inconsistent with the purpose of convening the executive meeting, but giving the board discretion to maintain confidentiality.


SB287, SD2, HD2, Beginning with the primary election in 2016, requires the office of elections to implement election by mail in a county with a population of fewer than 100,000.  Beginning with the 2018 primary election, implement election by mail in each county with a population of fewer than 500,000.  Thereafter, election by mail is required for all elections.  Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

SB654, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign contributions.  Reduces from less than $500 to less than $100, the aggregate contribution amount a candidate may receive from ten or more anonymous persons at the same political function.

SB452, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign spending.  Requires that supplemental campaign spending reports be filed annually on January 31.

SB364, SD2, HD1, relating to elections. Establishes a process for the recounting of ballots cast in a contest. Authorizes that contests for cause challenging a contest result may also be based upon unlawful activity or force majeure.


SB254, SD1, HD1, relating to the state’s CIP operating and deferred maintenance costs.  Requires information on the estimated operational costs of proposed capital improvement projects and deferred maintenance costs of state-owned buildings, facilities, and other improvements to be summarized in the multi-year program and financial plan and supplemental budget, as applicable.


SB1177, SD1, HD1, appropriates funds to establish four full-time equivalent positions with the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to address the findings contained in Auditor’s Report No. 14-11, “Audit of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.”


SB868, SD1, HD2, relating to liquor commissions.  Requires county liquor commissions to prescribe regulations on dancing in establishments licensed to serve alcohol through the adoption or amendment of administrative rules.

Hawaii Senate and House to Meet in Special Procedures

The Senate and the House have agreed to meet in special procedures for certain 2014 Regular Session Committees on Conference.


WHO: Joint Senate-House Conference Committees

They include:

WHEN: MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2014, 4 P.M.,

WHERE: Conference Room 329, State Capitol, 415 South Beretania Street

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.

Abercrombie and plan

“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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


“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.


“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..


“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.


“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.


“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.


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


“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.


Senator Russell Ruderman


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.


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.