Friday, August 31, 2007
Principals of the newly established Neuroscience Institute of the Pacific will be at the State Capitol on Tuesday to unveil their Hawaii plans to the Legislature. The work of the Institute is to enhance the level of neurology clinical care for patients with multiple sclerosis, dementias, and other neurological conditions, and to provide access to clinical research trials to the people of Hawaii. Dr. James Pierce, M.D., will serve as the Institute's Medical Director and is currently a practicing neurologist at Queens Medical Center. Dr. Daniel Bandari, M.D., also a neurologist, will be the Co-Medical Director.
Where & When: State Capitol, Room 329 - Tuesday, Sept. 4th at 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Photo: South Carolina Rep. Robert Williams and I with kids from the Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School.
Alan Rosenthal is Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at Rutgers. He is a nationally recognized expert and published author on the subject of legislative ethics. Currently, he is working with the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Center on Congress at Indiana University, and the Center for Civic Education on the development and communication throughout the states of a new public perspective on representative democracy. His most recent published work is entitled, "Heavy Lifting: The Job of the American Legislature" published by CQ Press in 2004.
Jack Maskell has worked with Congress on issues about ethics, censure, and the recent ethics bill which was sent to President Bush.
For further information, call 586-8475 - the office of Rep. Kirk Caldwell, Majority Leader, who chairs the task force.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The Women's Legislative Network of NCSL includes all women state legislators by virtue of their election to office. There are currently 1,733 women serving in state legislatures across the country. The Network's mission is to promote the participation, empowerment, and leadership of women legislators through:
· Sponsoring forums and workshops on topics of interest to women legislators,
· Hosting events for women legislators at NCSL meetings, and
· Partnering with other organizations to provide resources and services.
"It is a real privilege for me to serve on the board of the Women's Legislative Network," said Lee. "I look forward to working with women legislative leaders throughout the country and the world as together we face the challenges of an ever-changing global economy and society."
The Executive Board of the Women's Legislative Network is made up of a president, president-elect, vice-president, past president, eight regional members and two at-large members.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
"The distinction was based on laws from a majority of other states. The issue is about providing additional 1st amendment protections for freedom of press. Thus, there must be some measure of "press." Bloggers, without any prior journalism or media experience, still enjoy first amendment free speech rights, just not the same legal protections as a "journalist." Also, there are established standards for journalism ethics, but to my knowledge, none exist for blogging, so those conducting themselves within those ethical standards, should enjoy their full freedom of press rights."
Monday, August 27, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Former House Communications Director, Joel Kennedy, who now resides in North Kohala, caught up with the House Finance Committee on their visit to the Mo'okini Heiau.
Above, Momi Lum briefs the committee outside the entrance to the heiau.
Inside the heiau, the group practices the ritual of ho'okupu or gift offering.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Hawaii's law, HB1246 , makes copper theft a class C felony and requires scrap sellers to disclose where and from whom they obtained the metal. Alabama bans the sale of scrap copper over $100, while Washington makes it a misdemeanor for any scrap dealer to do business with those who have been convicted of theft or illegal drug usage. The 20 states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Virginia. The problem of copper cable theft is so serious in Las Vegas that telecom carrier Embarq Corp, a spin-off of Sprint Nextel, is offering $5000 for information leading to the arrest of anyone trying to steal their copper cables. So far this year, the company has spent $400,000 in Las Vegas repairing severed cable lines.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
House Finance members continue their Big Island visit on Wednesday, including a stop at Hamakua Energy Partners, a 63-megawatt combined cycle plant consisting of two General Electric combustion gas turbines and a steam turbine. It is one of the few U.S. plants burning naphtha, a light petroleum product, as its primary fuel. The plant was built on the former site of the Hamakua Sugar Mill in Haina. It sells power to the Hawaii Electric Light Co., with the capacity to meet the energy needs of almost one-third of the Big Island. In April 2007, Hamakua Energy Partners was cited by the U.S. EPA for possible violation of permit requirements under the Clean Air Act. The company has pledged to work with the EPA to resolve any issues.
Monday, August 20, 2007
The House Finance Committee will conduct a site visit on the Big Island, August 21-24, 2007, to tour various locations that have received state funding or may require funding for the future. Committee members will also discuss issues pertinent to Big Island residents with county and community leaders. Site visit highlights include:
Tuesday, August 21st
Kona International Airport to receive Department of Transportation updates
Mookini Heiau to tour heiau and discuss earthquake damage
Kona Community Hospital to tour facility and discuss health-related issues
Wednesday, August 22nd
Natural Energy Lab of Hawaii to discuss on-going operations and future expansion with NELHA tenants and management
Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant to meet with area farmers
North Hawaii Education Center to meet with educators and farmers
Hamakua Energy Partners to tour energy facility
Hamakua Springs County Farm to tour farm and discuss sustainability, ag tourism and alternative energy
Thursday, August 23rd
Rainbow Falls Connection Kitchen to tour kitchen and meet with Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council
UH Hilo to tour campus and discuss programs
Hawaii Community College and Manono Campus, Hilo
Hilo Courthouse to view status of construction
Pacific Aquaculture Resource Center to tour facility and discuss aquaculture industry
Friday, August 24th
Keaau Middle School to discuss school renovations, discuss Big Island specific education needs including infrastructure and programs
Meeting with Mayor Kim
Members of the council include Neil Bellinger (appointed by Speaker Calvin Say), Karl Fujii (appointed by UH alumni association), James Koshiba (appointed by Senate President Colleen Hanabusa), Thomas Ramsey (appointed by UH All Campus Council of Faculty Senate Chairs), Ginger Takeshita (appointed by the UH Student Caucus), and Roy Takeyama (appointed by the UH Association of Emeritus Regents). Takeyama serves as chair, Fujii as vice-chair. Governor Lingle's nominee, Chatt Wright, resigned from the committee citing scheduling conflicts.
The Hawaii Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a hearing today at the State Capitol Auditorium starting at 1 p.m. Here is testimony scheduled to be provided from State Rep. Marcus Oshiro:
My name is Marcus Oshiro. I am a Japanese-American citizen, sansei, and my ancestors came from Okinawa, Japan. I am also a member of the Hawaii State Legislature, a body of 76 individuals elected by the people of the state of Hawaii. I am writing to express my support for S. 310/H.R. 505, The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007, introduced by the Members of the Hawai’i Congressional Delegation, and to ask that you support passage of S. 310/H.R. 505.
The Hawaii State Legislature has passed resolutions supporting Native Hawaiians and their right to form a representative government every year for the past several years. Passage of these resolutions was unanimous in the State House of the Representatives.
Our support has crossed party lines and is widespread among our constituencies. Every credible public opinion poll since 2003 has consistently shown an overwhelming majority of residents in Hawaii support federal recognition for Native Hawaiians as a process of reconciliation.
It is also the right thing to do.
S. 310/H.R. 505 or the “Akaka Bill” provides that process, and the Hawaii State Legislature remains committed to support the efforts of Native Hawaiians to achieve self-determination. More than 560 American Indian and Alaska Native groups are recognized, and the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act extends the special legal and political relationship to Native Hawaiians. This legislation is consistent with the U.S. Constitution, more than 150 Federal measures enacted since 1910, and the Hawai‘i State Constitution.
For these reasons, I ask that you honor the wishes of the people of Hawaii, as expressed through their elected representatives, by supporting the Akaka Bill and the efforts of Native Hawaiians to seek federal recognition and protect the culture and resources that are critical to all of our social, economic, cultural, and spiritual well-being.
Thank you for the opportunity to share these comments.
Friday, August 17, 2007
Photo: Honolulu Star Bulletin, August 19, 2006
Hawaii songwriter Harry Owens even wrote a statehood song:
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
In addition to taro farms, the joint committees will visit the closed set of "Tropic Thunder" to discuss film industry tax credits, coqui frog infestation at Lawai, Hawaiian Mahogany biomass project, and Kilohana Plantation Railway as an example of agritourism.
The Health/Human Services and Housing committees are on Kauai to visit Wilcox Hospital and the Kauai County Housing Agency today, and Mahelona Hospital on Thursday as Mahelona celebrates its 90th Anniversary of service to the people of Kauai.
Policy makers and political observers will be sure to make a note of it for next session. The ERS fund has been eyed as a source for venture capital. SB1365 encourages the ERS board to invest in Hawaii venture capital and to report to the legislature on an amount that might be prudent to invest without jeopardizing retirement funds.
On a broader level, what impact does this have, if any, on the state's ability to comply with GASB reporting of unfunded health and retirement fund liability? It's a complex issue, and we'll be using the blog to try to demystify this and other legislative issues going forward.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
The Kuroda is officially in action. The logistics support vessel, LSV-7, was christened four years ago and named after World War II veteran, Staff Sgt. Robert T. Kuroda. Kuroda is the brother of former state senator Joe Kuroda and the uncle of Kevin Kuroda, the House Sergeant-at-Arms.
The ship was under construction in Mississippi when it was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. After re-construction it arrived safely in the islands last year, and is now officially in the Army's service at Pearl Harbor.
Photo: The 2003 launch of the Kuroda in Mississippi. Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Ironically, Kuroda was denied a job at Pearl Harbor because of his Japanese ancestry, so he decided to enlist in the Army. Robert Kuroda was a member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Medal of Honor recipient. He died in Bruyeres, France while leading his combat team in battle.
Photo: Staff Sgt. Robert T. Kuroda, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Thursday, August 9, 2007
The Kauai Garden Island published a story today announcing that the case of murder and identity theft victim John Elwin will be featured on Dateline NBC this coming Monday night. The story received national attention last fall on America's Most Wanted. Henry Calucag, aka Hank Jacinto, was found guilty of fraud, forgery and identity theft in June '07 and is now behind bars awaiting sentencing on August 29. He and John Elwin took a trip to the Philippines in 2006, where Calucag stole property from Elwin valued at over $245,000. Elwin was later found shot to death.
30.92 Hillary Clinton
25.72 John Edwards
20.23 Barack Obama
10.40 Bill Richardson
6.65 Joe Biden
2.60 Chris Dodd
2.02 Dennis Kucinich
1.17 Al Gore (write-in)
35.85 Mitt Romney
22.63 Fred Thompson
15.62 Rudy Giuliani
8.18 Mike Huckabee
8.18 John McCain
3.14 Ron Paul
2.52 Sam Brownback
1.26 Tommy Thompson
1.26 Newt Gingrich (write-in)
.63 Duncan Hunter
.63 Tom Tancredo
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Not to worry. According to House sources, Hawaii ranks #1 in citizen longevity, lowest depression level (tied with New Jersey), access to healthcare, and most disciplined flossers. When the question was asked how one would go about measuring dental floss discipline, another source answered...
...by oral exams.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
When the topic exploded in 2006 as a privacy issue, telecommunications companies balked at cooperating with the federal government, and Hawaiian Telcom indicated that they had not been contacted by the NSA to participate in the program. Now, it appears that the companies can be ordered to cooperate by the attorney general or the director of national intelligence (although it also appears likely that this section of the law will be challenged in court.)
The Hawaii legislature passed SB965 in 2006 to update the state's electronic surveillance law, and several resolutions were introduced (but went nowhere) calling for an investigation into warrantless wiretapping. Hawaii has a large population with family and business contacts overseas. They should be made more aware of this new law.
Photo: Rep. Faye Hanohano. Credit: Hunter Bishop
Friday, August 3, 2007
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
What has Hawaii done to help? There were several measures introduced in 2007 to recognize the extreme atrocities being done to human life in Darfur. HB34, introduced by Rep. Roy Takumi, was the measure that passed into law. It prohibits the Employees' Retirement System from acquiring any securities of companies that have active business operations with Sudan. HR22, introduced by Rep. Rida Cabanilla, makes recommendations to the UN Security Council and others on the conflict.