Wednesday, August 22, 2018


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Offices at the Hawaiʻi State Legislature will be closed on Thursday, August 23, and Friday, August 24 due to the heavy impact anticipated from Hurricane Lane.
The decision by House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi is consistent with the Governor's order to grant administrative leave for non-essential employees statewide.

Additionally, since it is not known what the extent of the hurricane's impact will be the next few days, House employees should call the Speaker's office (586-6100), the Chief Clerk's office (586-6400) or the Sergeant-at-Arms office (586-6500) on Sunday evening after 7 p.m.  There will be a recorded message advising House employees if offices will be open on Monday, August 27.

Unless they are informed otherwise, Senate employees should assume that all offices will be open for business on Monday, August 27.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


Los Angeles —House Speaker Scott K. Saiki has been elected vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization serving the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and legislative staff. Saiki took office on Thursday, Aug. 2, at NCSL's Legislative Summit in Los Angeles.
The Hawaiʻi speaker will serve one year as vice president, ascend to president-elect the following year, and then become president at the Legislative Summit in 2020. NCSL leadership alternates between parties every year.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as vice president and look forward to working with my colleagues from around the country,” said Saiki. “NCSL has afforded legislators and staff an unrivaled opportunity to learn from the experiences of other states, exchange ideas and come up with policy solutions that can help propel our respective states and, ultimately, our entire nation forward. I also look forward to working with our Washington office to ensure federal policies are in line with state priorities.” 
Hawai’i State Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi said Saiki is a great choice for the leadership position.
"Speaker Saiki has been very active in the NCSL and knows how the organization works," Kouchi said. "His strong planning, communication and leadership skills will be a great benefit to NCSL and will attest to the proficiency of Hawai’i's State Legislature."
Saiki has served as the speaker of the Hawai‘i House of Representatives since May 2017. He had previously served as majority leader. He has also been an active member of NCSL and served on the Task Force on State and Local Taxation as well as the NCSL Executive Committee.
Saiki was born in Honolulu. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and his J.D. from the University of Hawai‘i's William S. Richardson School of Law. 

Senator Toi Hutchinson of Illinois became the 46th president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) at the annual Legislative Summit in Los Angeles. Hutchinson, a Democrat, succeeds Republican Senator Deb Peters of South Dakota.

Other officers elected were:
  • Wisconsin Speaker Robin Vos (R), president-elect. Under his leadership, the Legislature has approved one of the largest tax cuts in Wisconsin history and became the 25th right-to-work state in our country. He is also proud of the bipartisan work in the Assembly where more than 90 percent of the bills passed receive bipartisan support. His speaker's task forces have developed important legislation on topics including mental health, rural schools, Alzheimer's and dementia, urban education and youth workforce readiness.
  • Jon Heining of Texas’s Legislative Council, staff chair. Heining has worked for the Texas Legislature in a variety of positions since 2003, first as a bill analyst and attorney to the lieutenant governor and since 2006, with the Texas Legislative Council. He is currently responsible for drafting legislation, addressing personnel issues, reviewing analyses of legislation, drafting contracts, providing advice regarding ethics and open records law, answering press calls and assisting with certain parliamentary issues, just to name a few. He has been on the Legislative Staff Coordinating Committee (LSCC) for five years, and has chaired numerous other LSCC subcommittees. He has also served on the NCSL Executive Committee since 2014.
  • Martha Wigton, Georgia House Budget and Research Office director, staff vice-chair. Wigton has worked for the Georgia General Assembly since 1991, first in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office as executive assistant for policy and budget and later as chief of staff. Since 2011 she has served as director of the House Budget and Research Office where she provides policy and fiscal analysis to 180 members as well as furnishes the professional staff for all 38 legislative standing committees. Wigton has been an active member of NCSL since 2011, having served on numerous NCSL committees. Most recently she has served on the NCSL Executive Committee.

Since 1975, NCSL has served as the bipartisan organization serving the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Hawaiʻi is first state to ban harmful chemical chlorpyrifos

Residents rally at the State Capitol to ban dangerous pesticides.

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –One of the major accomplishments of the 2018 Legislative session was the passing of Senate Bill 3095 SD1 HD1 CD1 which restricts pesticide use near schools, prohibits the use of the dangerous pesticides chlorpyrifos, and requires transparency and disclosure for the use of restricted-use pesticides in large quantities.
Governor David Ige is scheduled to sign the bill into law with several lawmakers attending in support.
House Majority Floor Leader, Representative Dee Morikawa (Niʻihau, Lehua, Kōloa, Waimea), said the bill is a common-sense solution for protecting our children and families from possible negative effects from chemical pesticides and the need for agricultural businesses to use some pesticides on their farms.
"Lawmakers made history by passing the first measure in the nation to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos and to restrict the use of certain pesticides within 100 feet of schools," said Morikawa. "In Hawai‘i, children and families come first and this law says that we truly mean it."
Residents across the state have rallied in opposition to the use of dangerous pesticide, especially near schools. Exposure to pesticides can lead to developmental problems in children, and exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos has sent people to the hospital here in Hawai‘i.
Representative Richard P. Creagan said the pesticide chlorpyrifos has already been banned by many other nations but has not been prohibited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
"Becoming the first state to ban chlorpyrifos to protect public health sends a message to our residents that we will protect them and to other states that they need to step up and protect their residents," said Agriculture Committee Chair Creagan (Naʻālehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona). "We cannot stand by and do nothing when the lives of our children are at risk."
Representative Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo) said it is critical for residents to know where and when pesticides are being used.
"Without basic information about where and when dangerous pesticides are being sprayed into the air there is no way to confirm which chemicals are causing the illnesses and developmental problems in our communities. For more than a decade pesticide companies have fought against being required to disclose where and when their chemicals are being sprayed, but this bill ensures reporting of restricted pesticide use so any impacts can be determined." said Lee.
The law will:
1. Place a prohibition on use of pesticides within 100 feet of a school during instructional hours. "School" is defined as any public or private kindergarten, elementary, or secondary school, excluding home schools and "normal hours" are from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
2. Totally ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos effective Jan 1, 2019. The Department of Agriculture is authorized to issue exemptions through Dec. 31, 2022 to allow agricultural businesses time to adjust to the ban.
3. Provide a $300,000 appropriation from Pesticides Revolving Fund to effectuate the measure, including expenses for staffing, education, and outreach.
4. Provide a $300,000 appropriation from general revenues to develop a pesticide drift monitoring study to evaluate pesticide drift at three schools within the state.
5. Require commercial agricultural entities to regularly report their pesticide use.