Wednesday, July 5, 2017

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO KEEP FEDERAL FLOOD PROTECTION

Bill saves Hawaii homeowners from losing billions of dollars in federal flood insurance coverage.
Photo: Office of the Governor
A crucial bill, shepherded through the Legislature by Mililani representative Ryan Yamane (Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele), to keep Hawaii protected under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was signed by Governor David Ige during a public signing ceremony at the State Capitol.

Last year NFIP officials informed the state that it did not comply with federal flood insurance regulations and faced suspension from the program. Yamane, chair of the House Water and Land committee, led the proactive and collaborative effort by the state, the four counties, Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IX, Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Association of Realtors, and Hawaii’s insurers, banks, and builders, to restore Hawaii’s eligibility in the program by introducing House Bill 1418 SD1.

Yamane thanked the Governor for signing this important piece of legislation saying, “For many of our residents their homes are the biggest single investment they own. Hawaii homeowners can trust that their federal flood insurance will remain in place to protect them from future flood disasters.”

In the last 35 years that Hawaii has been participating in the program, FEMA paid out 4,600 claims totaling over $87 million. Currently, there are over 60,000 flood insurance policies totaling over $13.4 billion throughout the state, which would have been cancelled without the bill.

Watch video of signing.

Monday, June 19, 2017

LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TARGET SPECIAL SESSION ON RAIL FOR JULY OR AUGUST


Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Kauai, Niihau) and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kakaako, Kaheka, Downtown) sent a joint letter to the Executive Director of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) advising the FTA of the Legislature’s commitment to convene a special session in July or August.

Although no specific dates have been set for the special session and no rail funding mechanism has been agreed upon, Speaker Saiki and President Kouchi said that, "after working with members of our federal delegation, it was deemed necessary and prudent to assure the FTA that the Legislature recognizes and understands the requirements under the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) between the City and County of Honolulu and the FTA."


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES JOIN GOV. IGE, SENATE, COUNTY COLLEAGUES TO SUPPORT ENVIRONMENAL ISSUES



New laws support goals of Paris climate accord



Several Hawaii House representatives joined their colleagues from the Senate, State Administration and all four Counties today to support Gov. David Ige signing two environmental bills into law.

HB 1578, which establishes the Carbon Farming Task Force, and SB 559, which aligns Hawaii with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris climate accord, are now law.

Following President Donald J. Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement last week, Hawaii is now the first state to enact laws to officially support the agreement.

“With today's bill signings, Hawaii is all in - joining the world's leaders, cities across the nation, businesses and individuals in combatting climate change threats, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leading the way towards a more sustainable future,” said House Vice Speaker Rep. Della A. Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “The House believes that developing stronger renewable energy and sustainable farming policies is not only the right thing to do, it will also help create jobs and develop clean industries that are critical to the future of our island home.”

Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) was one of the introducers of House Bill 1578 and said the bill establishes a process for local farmers to receive carbon credit dollars for agricultural practices that sequester carbon dioxide.

“It's important to commit to addressing climate change, but it's even more important that we actually take meaningful action,” said Lee, Chair of the Energy & Environmental Protection Committee. “These bills ensure local industries continue to reduce emissions and empower local farmers for sequestering carbon.”

More photos at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm2cofNz 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

STATEMENT BY REP. CHRIS LEE ON PRESIDENT TRUMP’S WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT


 “The President's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement harms our island state most of all. Local progress replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has already saved Hawaii a third of a billion dollars and reduced carbon emissions,” said Representative Chris Lee (D-51, Kailua, Waimanalo), chair of the House Energy & Environmental Protection Committee. “However, undermining action addressing climate change elsewhere means accelerating global warming and sea level rise that will more quickly erode our beaches, endanger coastal communities, diminish our fresh water supply, and expose our families to stronger and more frequent hurricanes at great cost to our people and way of life in the islands. 

“We are currently working together with elected leaders in nearly a dozen other states such as California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and Minnesota to implement climate action plans that replace fossil fuels with renewable energy despite the President's shortsighted decision.” 

At the close of the 2017 legislative session Hawaii also passed House Concurrent Resolution 113 calling on all states and the federal government to take action and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, as well as House Bill 1578, which establishes a process for local farmers to receive carbon credit dollars for agricultural practices that sequester carbon dioxide, and Senate Bill 599, which doubles down on Hawaii's commitment to coordinate state and county efforts to address climate change.