Monday, June 2, 2008

Reps in the News

Ignition Interlock: In The Honolulu Advertiser, Rep. Sharon Har describes her 2007 traffic accident in which she was hit by a drunken driver, and how the incident was the inspiration for this year's ignition interlock legislation, HB3377. The bill awaits Governor's signature.

Commenting on the cost, $65-$75 per month, to have the device installed and maintained in your car...

"Taxpayers shouldn't pay for the interlocks," Har said. "The indigent fund would help pay for itself. It's worked well in other states that do the same thing. If it's $3 a day to have an ignition interlock in your vehicle, that's about the price of a beer. And if you're drinking and driving, you can afford that."

School Closures: Also in The Honolulu Advertiser, Rep. Roy Takumi defends HB2972, a bill which creates a commission to recommend public school closures or consolidation.

It makes sense to consolidate schools in light of shifting populations and the high costs of facility repair and maintenance, said state Rep. Roy Takumi, who introduced the bill. "Here you have the Department of Education, whose enrollment has gone from 182,000 eight years ago to 171,000 this year — a drop in enrollment of 10,000 or so students — and yet the number of schools has expanded," said Takumi.

DOE officials oppose the measure and want the Governor to veto it, citing that there is an existing process to deal with school closures and that the new legislation infringes upon their authority. But...

Lawmakers say that while education officials have had the authority to close or consolidate schools, they've failed do so, even when some schools' enrollments have dipped dramatically over the years.

VOG Committee. The Hawaii Tribune Herald lead editorial Sunday commends the Legislature for forming a committee to study the impacts of VOG on the community. The House Speaker formed the committee and has asked Rep. Bob Herkes to be chairman.

Herkes raised that sobering issue last week when he spoke with this newspaper."I'm not trying to be alarmist," he told the Tribune-Herald, "but at what point do you tell people ... they need to move? We've moved people out of the tsunami inundation zone. If this goes on for decades, we may have to look at this as a long-term policy."

Dave Shapiro's blog today is mostly about ConCon, but ends with a short commentary on Rep. Tommy Waters:

Bowing out. Sorry to see that Waimanalo Rep. Tommy Waters won’t seek re-election after three terms to devote himself to raising his family and earning a living.
Waters was Judiciary chairman in the last Legislature, a post that tends to handle a lot of high-profile controversial issues and has eaten up more than one chairman. He got the job at a relatively inexperienced stage of his legislative career and sometimes seemed in a bit over his head.
But he appeared honest and real in his dealings, always saying what was on his mind. It would have been interesting to see how he grew into the job.

More on GIA's - The Honolulu Star-Bulletin today carried a story about the Hawaii Cord Blood Bank, and while the story doesn't mention it, the organization is one of the non-profits waiting release of their 2007 grant-in-aid funds. The Cord Blood Bank request is $100,000.

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