Friday, January 24, 2020

KEIKI CAUCUS TO UNVEIL 2020 LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE


WHO:             Co-Conveners Representative John Mizuno and Senator Karl Rhoads


WHAT:          News conference to unveil the Keiki Caucus' 2020 Legislative Package of bills and resolutions


WHEN:          Friday, January 24
                        Noon

                       
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Room 423


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –Representative John M. Mizuno and Senator Karl Rhoads, co-conveners of the Keiki Caucus, will introduce the groups package of bills and resolutions during a news conference at noon Jan. 24 in room 423 at the State Capitol.
Deborah Zysman, director of the Hawaii Children's Action Network, and other community advocates will speak at the event.

FOSSIL FUEL CARS TO BE BANNED FROM SALE IN 2030


State Representative Takashi Ohno proposes prohibiting purchase of new gas-run cars in efforts to meet Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative goals



Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –  State Representative Takashi Ohno (Nu‘uanu, Liliha, Pu‘unui, Alewa Heights) introduced a bill that would make this the last decade where solely gas powered cars will be sold in Hawai‘i. House Bill 2593 would allow the sale of only electric, hydrogen, or hybrid vehicles by car dealerships starting in 2030. Re-sale of gas-powered, used vehicles as well as purchase of large commercial vehicles or buses would still be allowed.
"Seeing young leaders take the lead to protect our planet inspired me to make a strong statement on how Hawai‘i can be a model of clean energy," said Ohno. "Future visitors to our state will see Hawai‘i's roads full of green cars and understand how deeply our community cares for the planet we all share."

Friday, January 17, 2020

HOUSE EDUCATION COMMITTEE TO HOLD INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING ON RATING HAWAIʻI'S EDUCATION SYSTEM


WHO:             Representative Justin H. Woodson, Chair, House Committee on Lower & Higher Education

WHAT:          Informational Briefing to discuss international competitiveness of Hawaiʻi's education system.

WHEN:          Tuesday, January 21, 2019
                        2 p.m.
                       
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Room 309

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Lower & Higher Education will hold an informational briefing to discuss international competitiveness of our education system in room 309 at 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the State Capitol.
Michelle Exstrom, the Education Group Director of National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) will examine the following topics:
  • Where Hawaiʻi's education system and scores compare to the rest of the country.
  • Where America's education system and scores compare to the rest of the world.

LEGISLATURE LAUNCHES ENVIRONMENTAL CAUCUS TO CONTINUE HAWAIʻI'S ROLE AS GLOBAL POLICY LEADER


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – To encourage legislative action on pressing environmental issues, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature has formed an Environmental Legislative Caucus. The inaugural meeting of the caucus was held on Tuesday, January 7, during which members discussed legislative priorities for the 2020 session. The caucus is co-chaired by Representative Nicole Lowen, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, and Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment.

"Hawaiʻi is a global leader on environmental, climate, and energy policy," said Rep. Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Hōlualoa), "but with the challenges we face today, we need to do more, faster. It's my hope that the creation of an Environmental Legislative Caucus will bring renewed focus and collaboration to the passage of needed environmental legislation."

Among the many environmental issues discussed by caucus members, climate change adaptation to sea level rise, resilience to natural disasters, forest and coral reef protection, and reducing the use of fossil fuels in the transportation and energy sectors were identified as issues to prioritize for legislative action this session. The caucus also recognized the need to address issues related to invasive species, drinking water safety, solid waste management, cesspools, and inclusion of environmental justice concerns in policymaking.

The caucus will build on legislation passed in recent years that has made Hawaiʻi a leader in environmental policy. It was the first state to pass a 100% clean energy goal and to ban the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Hawaiʻi was also the first place in the world to protect its reefs from harmful sunscreen chemicals. In recent years the legislature has passed dozens of bills to protect the environment, advance renewable energy, expand clean transportation, and address the challenges of climate change, including establishing the Hawaiʻi Climate Commission, implementing the State's first appliance efficiency standards, and mandating the replacement of polluting cesspools by 2050.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

JOINT ECONOMIC PACKAGE PROPOSES REAL BENEFITS FOR HAWAI‘I'S WORKING CLASS FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS

Historic effort brings House, Senate, Ige Administration and community leaders together for legislative package of bills to reduce income inequality

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – A joint House and Senate package of economic bills, strongly supported by the Ige Administration, is sharply focused on removing economic obstacles and improving the lives of Hawaiʻi's working-class. This historic collaboration was unveiled at the State Capitol today during a joint press conference.
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki said that the joint legislative bill package tackles the issues highlighted in the Aloha United Way sponsored report, "ALICE: A Study of Financial Hardship in Hawaii." The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) report describes the economic hardships facing many working individuals and families in Hawaiʻi. According to the report, after allocating monies to pay for expenses such as housing, child care, food, taxes, health care, and transportation, a family of four needs to earn roughly $77,000 a year simply to survive.

"What my colleagues and I are proposing today to address the high cost of living in Hawaiʻi will directly support individuals and families who are struggling the most to make ends meet," said Speaker Saiki. "Every dollar counts when you are trying to stretch each paycheck just to meet basic needs. By increasing wages and tax benefits, investing in child care, and creating more affordable housing units, the Legislature, together with public and private partners, is working to end the cycle of poverty."
This is the first joint House and Senate legislative bill package since 2004 and it has the backing of the Governor. 

JOINT ECONOMIC PACKAGE PROPOSES REAL BENEFITS FOR HAWAI‘I'S WORKING CLASS FAMILIES AND INDIVIDUALS

Historic effort brings Ige Administration, House, Senate, community leaders together for legislative package of bills to reduce income inequality, create path forward


WHO:             Governor David Y. Ige
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki
Senate President Ronald D. Kochi
Representatives Sylvia Luke, Tom Brower, Justin H. Woodson, Aaron Ling Johanson
Senators Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Stanley Chang, Brian T. Taniguchi, Michelle N. Kidani
Aloha United Way Chief Operating Officer Norm Baker
Hawai‘i Community Foundation CEO & President Micah Kane

WHAT:          Press conference to unveil joint House, Senate, Administration legislative package of bills to benefit Hawai‘i's working families

WHEN:          Tuesday, January 14
                        2 p.m.

WHERE:       Room 445
Hawai‘i State Capitol

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –In a historic collaboration, Governor David Y. Ige, House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi along with House and Senate and community leaders will unveil a joint package of economic bills today to benefit Hawai‘i's working families.
The bills focus on critical economic issues including affordable housing, child care, and reducing poverty to make life better for our residents.
We will live stream this event using Facebook Live at www.facebook.com/governordavidige

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

HOUSE, SENATE COMMITTEES TO HEAR UPDATE ON ENERGY EFFICIENCY


WHO:             Representative Nicole E. Lowen, Chair, House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection
Senator Glenn Wakai, Chair, Senate Committee on Energy, Economic Development and Tourism

WHAT:          Informational Briefing on Hawaii energy programs

WHEN:          Tuesday, January 14, 2020
                        10 a.m.
                       
WHERE:       Hawaiʻi State Capitol
                        Room 325


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection and the Senate Committee Energy, Economic Development and Tourism will hold an informational briefing to hear from the Hawaiʻi Energy program about their progress on energy efficiency measures in the state to achieve the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard of 4,300 gigawatt hours by 2030 at 10 a.m., January 14 in room 325 at the State Capitol.
Hawaiʻi Energy is the program under contract with the Public Utilities Commission to promote and incentivize energy efficiency measures in all counties except for Kauaʻi. They are funded by ratepayers through a fee on electric utility bills – the public benefits fee. Their services include consumer education and technical assistance, administering rebate programs, and working with residents, businesses and state agencies to reduce energy use.

Friday, January 3, 2020

LEGISLATURE ADVANCES EFFORTS TO HELP DISADVANTAGED PEOPLE WITH HAWAIʻI HOMELESSNESS SUMMIT 2020


WHO:             Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura, Chair, House Committee on Human Services & Homelessness
Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Chair, Senate Committee on Human Services

WHAT:          Informational Briefing on Hawaiʻi Homelessness Summit 2020

WHEN:          Tuesday, January 7, 2020
                        10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Hawaiʻi State Capitol
                        Room 329


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The Hawaiʻi State Legislature is advancing its efforts to end homelessness and will convene the Hawaiʻi Homelessness Summit 2020 on January 7 at the State Capitol.
Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura, Chair of the House Committee on Human Services & Homelessness, and Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Chair of the Senate Committee on Human Services, will lead the summit to evaluate the success of existing programs funded by the Legislature and to look ahead and embrace innovative solutions to homelessness.
Gov. David Ige issued an emergency proclamation for homelessness on December 14, 2018 and recently signed a seventh supplementary proclamation extending the emergency relief period to February 14, 2020.
In 2018, the Legislature allotted $30 million for six “Ohana Zones” on public lands, with three sites on O‘ahu and one site each on Hawaiʻi, Kauai and Maui. Each site must provide temporary housing along with social and health services that aim to transition homeless individuals to affordable housing.Gov. Ige began releasing funding for various Ohana Zone projects this past January.The Legislature has provided funding for housing first programs since 2012 and in 2017 provided funding for the rapid re-housing program, family assessment centers, and homeless outreach and civil legal services.
"Our ultimate goal is to eradicate homelessness, not just manage it," said Representative San Buenaventura. "Data has shown a significant decrease in homeless families and children over the past few years. Helping those struggling with a disabling condition such as serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability is especially challenging, but the Legislature is not giving up and we are listening to and working with providers to do everything we possibly can. We also want to ensure that the funding commitment made by the Legislature is being used efficiently and effectively."

Monday, December 16, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE NAKAMURA ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF STATE FUNDS FOR CT SCAN ROOM RENOVATION AT MAHELONA MEMORIAL HOSPITAL


$1.4 million project will improve health care options for Kaua‘i residents
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – State Representative Nadine K. Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa, Wailua) is pleased to announce that Gov. David Ige has released $1.4 million in General Obligation Bonds to be used for improvements at the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, CT Scan Room.

This project will provide design and construction funds for much needed renovations of the CT scan room.
“I want to thank the Governor for releasing these funds which will greatly benefit our residents,” said Rep. Nakamura. “Access to health care and important technology are key to living healthy, long lives. This critical project can now begin as soon as possible.”
Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi (Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau) said the project is important for better medical care on Kaua‘i.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

HEALTH COMMITTEES TO HEAR TESTIMONY ON DRUG TAKE BACK AND DISPOSAL PROGRAMS TO FIGHT THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC


WHO:             Representative John Mizuno, Chair, House Committee on Health
Senator Rosalyn Baker, Chair, Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health


WHAT:          Informational Briefing to review Hawaiʻi’s policy on safe drug take back and disposal programs to fight the opioid epidemic


WHEN:          Thursday, November 21, 2019
                        10 a.m.

                       
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Room 309


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Health and the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee will hold an informational briefing policy on the prescription drug take back program and the efficiency of onsite destruction of opioids in room 309 at 10 a.m. Nov. 21 at the State Capitol.
HB1272 which was signed into law on July 2, 2019 as Act 183 allows for the safe prescription drug take back and disposal program being utilized by CVS Long's and 17 of their pharmacies statewide.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency: 200 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose; 2,000 Americans suffer an overdose every day; and from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

JUDICIARY COMMITTEES TO HEAR UPDATES ON STATEWIDE VOTING BY MAIL PROCESS


WHO:             Representative Chris Lee, Chair, House Committee on Judiciary
Senator Karl Rhoads, Chair, Senate Committee Judiciary

WHAT:          Informational Briefing on the statewide voting by mail process

WHEN:          Wednesday, November 13, 2019
                        2 p.m.
                       
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Room 016

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hold a joint informational briefing on the statewide voting by mail process at 2 p.m. Nov. 13 in room 016 at the State Capitol.
The purpose of this briefing is to update the status of the implementation of voting by mail pursuant to Act 136, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019.  Act 136 requires that all elections in the State be conducted by mail commencing with the 2020 election cycle.
Speakers include:
  • Scott Nago, Chief Election Officer, State of Hawai‘i;
  • Jon Henricks, County Clerk, County of Hawai‘i;
  • Josiah Nishita, County Clerk, County of Maui;
  • Jade Fountain-Tanigawa, County Clerk, County of Kaua‘i; and
  • Glen Takahashi, City Clerk, City & County of Honolulu.

Friday, November 1, 2019

My Turn: Energy code shows proactive plan against climate change




Recent news coverage of the county council’s work on amending the building code, and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), seems to be missing the point. Specifically, the point that the higher efficiency standards required by the code for new construction will save homeowners, businesses, and taxpayers more than $1 billion in energy costs over the next few decades.
Yes, the codes need small adjustments to be customized for each county’s unique considerations— which is why the counties are given an ample two-year window to make amendments. Yes, in cooler areas and higher elevations, the tropical code should remain an option. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the new code, overall, protects consumers; ensures comfortable, healthy and cost-effective homes; facilitates compatibility with new technology; and cuts carbon emissions to boot.
We should be wary of anyone who tries to frame this long-overdue building code update as a tradeoff between affordable housing and environmental objectives, and focuses narrowly on cost increases on the construction side while selectively ignoring the positive impacts and the significant net cost reductions over the lifecycle of a home or building.
There has been a lot of pushback from the construction industry about these codes, which went into effect unamended after the county failed to take any action inside of their two-year window.
But, responsible builders and architects will agree that we should not cut one-time construction costs at the expense of health, comfort, safety, and financial savings for homeowners over the long-term.
This past summer was the hottest on record and we are beginning to experience the impacts of climate change in real time: heat and humidity are worsening, cooling trade winds are less frequent, and the zone in which passive cooling measures are enough to keep homes comfortable is shrinking. The demand for air conditioning is soaring and will continue to grow.

REPRESENTATIVE MIZUNO ASKS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE NEW YORK CITY POLICY OF SENDING HOMELESS PEOPLE TO HAWAIʻI


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representative John M. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi) has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr asking that his agency investigate New York City's policy of sending homeless citizens to other states across our nation.
In his letter, Mizuno says an investigation is needed following the New York Post's front page article of October 26, 2019 titled "NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawaii and other states without telling receiving pols."
The article alleges that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Special One-Time Assistance Program" (SOTA) has since its inception in August 2017 exported 12,482 homeless individuals to 32 states.
"The SOTA program to my knowledge fails to comply with ensuring the safety, well-being, and continued support which is needed for a homeless individual or family being displaced. The SOTA program is a recipe for disaster and inhumane to the homeless being exported out of New York," Mizuno said in his letter.

Monday, October 28, 2019

WOMEN'S LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS OPENS LACTATION ROOM FOR MOTHERS ATTENDING PUBLIC HEARINGS AT THE STATE CAPITOL


Room will provide privacy, comfort for mothers to nurse babies, express milk


Women's Legislative Caucus members celebrate the blessing and opening of the new Lactation Room at the State Capitol. (From left) Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Rep. Lauren Matsumoto, Sen. Laura H. Thielen, Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Sen. Sharon Y. Moriwaki, Rep. Lisa Kitagawa, and Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura.

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The Women's Legislative Caucus (WLC) today held a blessing and opening ceremony for the first Lactation Room at the State Capitol. The room, located on the second floor, will provide a comfortable, private space for mothers to nurse their babies and express milk. 

The space is comfortably furnished with a table, chair, posters and a rug provided by the House and Senate Clerks offices for the project.
"In the past, mothers who came to the Capitol to talk to lawmakers, attend hearings, or testify did not have a private, hygienic place to use a breast pump," said Representative Linda Ichiyama, Women's Legislative Caucus Co-Convener. "This new room for mothers and families removes a barrier to open participation in government. I'm grateful it all came together before the start of the next legislative session."
"We have wanted to make this room available for a couple years and needed to find the right space," said Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Co-Convener of the WLC. "The Lactation Room will allow mothers who are breastfeeding to feel safe and comfortable when they visit the Capitol."
Leʻa Minton, Board President of Breastfeeding Hawaiʻi, said the lactation room is critical for allowing mothers to take part in the legislative process.
"Lactation rooms are opening in government building across the country," Minton said. "Mothers have the right to breastfeed or express milk and still take part in the legislative process. We want to thank the Women's Legislative Caucus for making this happen."

Friday, October 18, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE KITAGAWA, HOUSE LEADERSHIP INVITE KĀNEʻOHE, KAHALUʻU, WAIĀHOLE RESIDENTS TO LAWMAKERS LISTEN COMMUNITY MEETING


WHO:             Representative Lisa Kitagawa
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and House Leadership

WHAT:          Lawmakers Listen, community meeting

WHEN:          Tuesday, October 22
                        6:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria
45-259 Waikalua Road, Kāneʻohe


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The public is invited to join Representative Lisa Kitagawa (Kāneʻohe, Kahaluʻu, Waiāhole) and members of the House of Representatives Leadership team for an open discussion about the upcoming Legislative session and important community topics including education, environmental, homelessness, and family issues on October 22 at Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria.
Members of the community are invited to share their questions and concerns directly with Rep. Kitagawa, Speaker of the House Scott K. Saiki, Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa, and Labor & Public Employment Committee Chair Aaron Ling Johanson.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEES TO HOLD BRIEFING ON YOUTH VAPING EPIDEMIC


WHO:             Representative Roy M. Takumi, Chair, House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Chair, Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health


WHAT:          Informational Briefing seeking solutions to end the youth vaping epidemic


WHEN:          Thursday, October 17
                        10 a.m.

                       
WHERE:       Hawaiʻi State Capitol
                        Room 309


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee will hold an informational briefing on the youth vaping epidemic at 10 a.m. Thursday, October 17 in room 309 at the State Capitol.

Youth vaping is a serious public health issue and recently there has been a dramatic increase in use of electronic smoking devices by Hawaiʻi's youth. Only 4.7 percent of Hawaiʻi adults report use of electronic smoking devices as compared to 26 percent of our public high school students with numbers up to 34 percent for the neighbor islands. The national vaping average is 13 percent.
Overall, U.S. youth vaping surged 78 percent in just one year between 2017 and 2018.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE MIZUNO, CVS PHARMACY ANNOUNCE THE INSTALLATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG DISPOSAL UNITS AT 17 LONGS DRUGS STORES


Effort to help stop prescription drug diversion and misuse, save lives
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
State Representative John Mizuno, Chair the House Health Committee, talked about the need to address the diversion and misuse of unwanted or unneeded prescription medications including opioids in Hawaiʻi at the Kamehameha Long Drugs CVS Pharmacy last week.


Mizuno, author of HB1272 which was signed into law on July 2 as Act 183, said the bill allows for the safe disposal of prescription drugs at drug disposal units now being utilized by CVS Longs at 17 of their pharmacies statewide.
"According to statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, 200 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and 2,000 Americans suffer an overdose every day," said Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Lower Kalihi). "From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose. We have an opioid crisis."
The drug disposal units are an effort to combat the opioid epidemic and support healthcare providers and health systems, partner with law enforcement, and encourage consumers to make safe choices about opioids and the devastation that comes with their misuse.
"We need to make sure that prescription drugs that are no longer needed by the patients they were meant for are disposed of properly and don't fall into the wrong hands," said Mizuno. "I want to thank CVS Longs for supporting this endeavor and program in Hawaiʻi."

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE PERRUSO, HOUSE LEADERSHIP INVITE WAHIAWĀ, WHITMORE VILLAGE, LAUNANI VALLEY RESIDENTS TO LAWMAKERS LISTEN COMMUNITY MEETING


WHO:             Representative Amy A. Perruso
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and House Leadership

WHAT:          Lawmakers Listen, community meeting

WHEN:          Tuesday, October 8
                        6 p.m.

WHERE:       Dot's Wahiawā
130 Mango St.


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The public is invited to join Repretentive Amy A. Perruso (Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley) and members of the House of Representatives Leadership team for an open discussion about the upcoming Legislative session and important community issues including education, family issues, and homelessness on October 8 at Dot's in Wahiawā.
Members of the community are invited to share their questions and concerns directly with Rep. Perruso, Speaker of the House Scott K. Saiki, Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, and Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa.