Wednesday, May 11, 2016

HOUSE ADJOURNS 2016 REGULAR SESSION




Passes measures for Maui Memorial employees, highway fund,
absentee voters and broadband on final day

The House of Representatives last week adjourned the 2016 regular legislative session.

Click on this link for all bills passed during the 2016 session.

During the session, the House approved major funding for affordable housing and homelessness, air conditioning and heat abatement for 1,000 classroom statewide, the largest ever disbursement to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, help for displaced Maui sugar workers and significant pay down of the state’s unfunded liabilities.

In January, I asked you to use the momentum created from our last session to keep us and Hawaii moving forward.  During this session, you did just that with hard work and perseverance,” according to House Speaker Joseph M. Souki (Kahakuloa, Waihee, Waiehu, Puuohala, Wailuku, Waikapu) in written remarks to state representatives. 

You helped shape a budget that is fiscally prudent, forward looking, and addresses the state’s priorities on the homeless and affordable housing, our classrooms and education, our public hospitals and healthcare, our prisons and public safety, and Hawaiian Home lands and our host culture.”

Souki thanked House members for providing $100 million for air conditioning in public school classrooms, $650,000 to retrain and support displaced Maui sugar plantation workers, $2.5 million to sustain Wahiawa General Hospital, $150 million to replenish the state’s Rainy Day fund, and $81.9 to pay down unfunded liabilities (owed toward the state retirees’ post-employment benefits).   

You also put us on a path toward building affordable housing units on state owned parcels along our future rail system,” Souki wrote.  This effort offers great potential for not just home building but community building. 

“An essential part of community building is to make that community sustainable for the long term.  That’s why it was important for us to protect prime agriculture land between Wahiawa and Waialua and invest $31.5 million to purchase those lands from Dole Food Co.”

Finally, Souki thanked the representatives for providing funding to support Maui workers and their families affected by the closure of Hawaii Commercial and Sugar Company, as well as for working out a compromise measure dealing with the issue of water rights among competing interests on Maui.

“It is never an easy task to deal with competing interests and priorities,” Souki wrote.  “Each priority seems so obvious in isolation.  But the devil is never in a single priority, but always in the prioritization process itself.

“It’s easy enough to throw your hands up and call them no-win situations.  But our job is to provide leadership and make the difficult decisions.  In doing so, you may not win any popularity contest.  But you will have earned the respect and appreciation from those who see the big picture, and understand your position and your responsibility to all the people of Hawaii.”

Closing remarks of Speaker Souki

CLOSING REMARKS
2016 LEGISLATIVE SESSION
JOSEPH M. SOUKI
SPEAKER
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE
MAY 5, 2016


Fellow representatives,

in January, I asked you to use the momentum created from our last session to keep us and Hawaii moving forward.

During this session, you did just that with hard work and perseverance.

You helped shape a budget that is fiscally prudent, forward looking, and addresses the state’s priorities on:

·         the homeless and affordable housing,
·         our classrooms and education,
·         our public hospitals and healthcare,
·         our prisons and public safety, and
·         Hawaiian Home lands and our host culture.
  
You provided assistance for the homeless that will allow the city, the state and the many private agencies to continue their coordinated approach to helping these individuals. 

At the same time, you provided for more affordable homes and rentals that will help us short circuit homelessness in the future—providing $36.6 million for the rental housing revolving fund and $25 million for the dwelling unit revolving fund. 

You also put us on a path toward building affordable Housing units on state owned parcels along our future rail system.  This effort offers great potential for not just home building but community building.

an essential part of community building is to make that community sustainable for the long term.  that’s why it was important for us to protect prime agriculture land between wahiawa and waialua and invest $31.5 million to purchase those lands from dole food co. 

As we look to open state regulated dispensaries, you helped fine tune the ground rules to ensure we provide safe and reliable access to medical marijuana for those who require it for health reasons.  

You took action that will allow us to complete the groundbreaking private-public partnership with Maui’s hospitals, which could provide a formula for other facilities in our statewide public hospital system.

and you listened to the health concerns of the people of central oahu and provided $2.5 million to assist wahiawa general hospital.

you also provided $160.5 million to help rebuild the hawaii state hospital for the mentally ill.

Because of your actions this session, the DOE has $100 million to aggressively move on heat abatement for our classrooms, making it easier for teachers to teach and students to learn. 

you also made it easier for teachers and others to accompany students on field trips that enrich their educational experience.

You helped our kupuna by passing a measure that ensures their health and safety in care facilities throughout the state.

and You passed a bill that will help family members care for their seniors after they come home from the hospital. 

More importantly, it will provide the kind of medical training for caregivers that is so essential to keep our kupuna healthy.

In addition, you provided help for MAUI workers and their families affected by the closure of Hawaii Commercial and Sugar Company.

ON ANOTHER VALLEY ISLE MATTER, you helped sort out a fair way of dealing with the highly emotional issue of water rights among competing interests on MAUI.

It is never an easy task to deal with competing interests and priorities.  each priority seems so obvious in isolation. 

but The devil is never in a single priority, but ALWAYS in the prioritization process itself.

It’s easy enough to throw your hands up and call them no-win situations.  But our job is to provide leadership and make the difficult decisions. 

In doing so, you may not win any popularity contest. 

But you will have earned the respect and appreciation from those who see the big picture, and understand your position and your responsibility to all the PEOPLE OF HAWAII.

And for that reason, let me add my own personal thanks to each of you for doing your job in workmanlike fashion—every day of this 2016 session.  Well done!

Thank you and aloha.