Common set of academic standards needed
If you were to develop an educational system from scratch, more than likely one of the key components would be a common set of academic standards so that every student and teacher would know what is expected to be learned and taught. Unfortunately, in the U.S. this is not the case. We have a hodgepodge of varying standards among states that differ widely in focus, rigor and coherence. For example, the journal Education Next used 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress data to empirically evaluate each state's proficiency standards. Only five states, including Hawaii, received an "A" rating for their standards.
Given that we are a highly mobile society and that globalization is an increasing trend, it's critical that as a nation we adopt a common set of high academic standards that are shared across states to ensure that all of America's students have the tools they need to succeed.
Talk about having common standards is nothing new.
In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower called for "national standards" in education. More than 50 years later, we are finally on the verge of taking action. Spearheaded by a number of organizations, including the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association, the Common Core State Standard Initiative (CCSSI) establishes a single, clear set of K-12 mathematics and English language arts standards. Forty-eight states, including Hawaii, have signed on to share and voluntarily adopt the standards.
Why is this effort so important? Simply put, the U.S. is losing its competitive and educational edge.
Fifteen years ago, the U.S. led the world in college graduation rates; by 2006, it had dropped to 14th. While we have stagnated and fallen behind, countries such as Singapore, China, Finland and Brazil have aggressively moved to create knowledge-fueled innovation economies by investing in quality education.
Over the past 25 years, South Korea went from less than a quarter of its citizens finishing high school to more than 95 percent today. In 2003, Germany launched an ambitious education initiative including starting 10,000 all-day schools and investing an additional $4.6 billion in education. This is the equivalent of the U.S. investing more than $15 billion compared to the $4.35 billion available for the much-ballyhooed Race to the Top competitive grants.
But it's not even the name-brand countries that are surpassing the U.S. On international benchmark tests such as the Programme for International Student Assessment, countries such as the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Iceland outperform our students.
Recently, our state Board of Education officially adopted CCSSI, and as more states do so, we will have consistent high-quality academic benchmarks for all students, regardless of where they live. It's about time. After all, it shouldn't matter if a student enters first grade in one state and graduates in another.
That said, it's important to keep in mind H.L. Mencken's observation, "For every complex problem there is one solution which is simple, neat and wrong." It would be a mistake to conclude that common core standards will magically improve student achievement. It is just one component of a broader system that must also include assessments that measure performance, curriculum materials that are coherent and aligned, and professional development for teachers and principals. Fortunately, this can be done in a far more efficient and effective manner when states work together.
By doing so, our students, no matter where they live, stand a far better chance to achieve their hopes and dreams. Isn't this what schools should be all about?
State Rep. Roy Takumi (D-Pearl City) chairs the House Education Committee.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Rep. Mizuno introduced Gregory Reese, a 39-year-old man who became homeless after two job offers fell through upon arriving to Hawaii. He wants to return to Seattle where his father lives, but has no money to purchase a ticket. He's been on Oahu for about a month. Rep. Mizuno donated $100 of his own money towards the purchase of a one-way ticket for Reese.
In these excerpts from the press conference, Rep. Cabanilla talks about the return-to-home program she proposed in previous sessions and how it could save the state lots of money, and Rep. Mizuno explains Reese's situation and how he and others like him could benefit from a return-to-home program similar to that of New York City.
The effort is being led by the Waiakea High School Robotics Club and the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, two groups that have provided many opportunities for science students and teachers in the field of robotics and technology.
Art Kimura, Education Specialist at the Hawaii Space Grant Consortium, said this event is being held to jumpstart the conversation on how the Big Island can benefit from micro mechanisms. The event will allow community leaders to talk to industry experts and learn about the advantages and possibilities of a micro mechanisms and robotics industry rooting from the islands.
"The exciting thing about this endeavor is the idea that the Big Island could become a center for the development of micro mechanisms research and development and a micro-robotics industry in the pacific," Kimura said.
Because of this tournament, Hawaii students will now have the opportunity to compete without paying high costs to fly elsewhere for the same experience.
The goal of the conference is to stimulate high technology education and assist in the creation of a technically capable workforce by developing the infrastructure and skill sets necessary to support high technology robotics based activities.
"Once this is in place,” said Rep. Nakashima, a supporter of the effort, “the next step will be identifying the real world potential and application for this growing technology as we invite new industries to the Big Island to take advantage of our newly skilled work force.”
A public event featuring an origami presentation and bipedal robot demonstration will be held on Saturday, July 17, 2010, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center.
• Origami presentation by Hidenori Ishihara, a robotics professor from Kagawa University.
• Bipedal robot demonstration by Risa Saito, a Japanese high school student who won the bipedal competition in the 2009 Micro Robot Contest at Nagoya University, and Hideaki Matsutani, a Japanese technical education teacher who conducts bipedal workshops in Nagoya for middle school students.
Seating for this event is first come, first served.
Monday, June 28, 2010
The public is encouraged to bring the following items: scrap metal, refrigerators, freezer, air conditioners, newspaper, cardboard, cans, incandescent light bulbs (exchange: 2 CFLs per person), green waste, batteries (all types), cooking, telephone books/ magazines, eyeglasses/ hearing aids, used clothing and household items, cellular phones, printer cartridges, computers/ e-waste (unlimited), canned good.
Please do not bring tires, paints, hazardous fluids, microwave ovens, televisions, gas tanks, or motor oil.
Where: Kahaluu Regional Park
47-200 Waihe'e Road
When: Saturday, July 24, 2010
8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Why: The monthly recycling drive was created to provide residents with an easy way to get rid of recyclable waste while raising money for community groups.
Call Rep. Jessica Wooley at 808-586-8540 for more information.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Rep. Hermina Morita will be a guest on Rep. Marilyn Lee's public affairs show "Kukui Connection" on Sunday June 27, 4:00 p.m., Oceanic Cable - Olelo, channel 54. The show repeats on July 11, July 25, and August 1.
Debbie Shimizu and Katie Reardon of the Hawaii Democratic Women's Caucus will be Rep. Lee's guests on July 4, repeating on July 18, and August 8.
Governor Lingle today signed into law HB2061 which establishes a process by which family court can resolve matters related to custody and visitation for active duty service members of the U.S. Armed Forces, Armed Forces Reserves, and National Guard when deployed.
At issue is the military-readiness of parents who are faced with child custody and visitation matters when deployed, and also the well-being of the affected children. The measure provides for the court a legal process to address custody and visitation matters.
“This new law reflects the changing needs of our military families, and I’m pleased we are now able to have a positive impact on the children of active members of the armed forces,” said Rep. Cindy Evans, who introduced the bill.
Some of the provisions include:
· Allowing an already deployed parent to participate in a custody hearing through electronic means such as telephone, video conference, or other means that the court deems reliable.
· Clarifying that deployment shall not be the sole factor in determining custody and that awarding custody shall be in relation to all factors.
· Requirements related to visitation and contact.
· Delegation of the deployed parent’s contact rights.
The new law goes into effect on August 1, 2010.
“Proper sanitation in public areas is critical to the health and safety of our population,” said Rep. Ryan Yamane, Chair of the House Committee on Health. “I’m pleased that the Governor signed this bill into law since it will allow the Department of Health to hire needed sanitation and vector control inspectors and to provide greater support to Hawaii businesses which have an impact on public health.”
The sanitation branch is charged with implementing programs related to:
· Food protection
· The regulation of barber shops, beauty parlors, massage parlors, tattoo shops,
mortuaries, public swimming pools, and public laundries;
· The inspection of tenement houses, lodging houses, and boarding houses;
· The licensing of tattoo artists and embalmers; and
· Enforcing the sanitation requirements for hospitals and medical facilities.
“Even before the infamous video of the rats in certain food vendor areas, I’ve been concerned that the number of sanitation inspectors is woefully low for the number of food establishments in Hawaii,” said Rep. Marcus Oshiro, the introducer of the bill. “It’s irresponsible to create that kind of health risk for the general public. This new law sets up a special fund that allows the sanitation branch, which brings in much of the fees through their activities, to use the money for sanitation purposes and not just for environmental health. It’s a good bill that will greatly benefit the public.”
The video from Disappeared News:
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I had a good laugh today when I read The Thicket's post on various malapropisms from politicians across time and space. Entitled "A Box of Pandoras and Other Political Malapropisms", the title was inspired by a story about former New Mexico Governor Bruce King, a cigar smoker no doubt, who once said of a certain legislative proposal: "That will open up a whole box of Pandoras."
"Let's do this in one foul sweep."--Texas House Speaker Wayne Clayton
"I want to thank each and every one of you for having extinguished yourselves this session."--Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis.
"There's a lot of uncertainty that's not clear in my mind."--Texas House Speaker Gib Lewis
"All doctors have to take the hypocrisy oath."
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Governor Lingle today signed into law HB1948, a bill that requires the Department of Taxation to provide refunds to taxpayers in a timely manner. The legislation, now Act 171, states that the department must provide refunds within 90 days from the date the tax return is filed, or the due date of the tax return, whichever is later.
“One of the main benefits is that the state must pay interest to the taxpayer if the return is not paid within the required time frame,” said Rep. Pono Chong, the introducer of the bill. “The legislature was concerned that using the refunds as a way to balance the budget was merely delaying our fiscal responsibility. In addition, I think most taxpayers understand that the overpayment to the government is their money and they expect a return in a reasonable period.
The bill also requires that all general revenues collected from an increase of any general excise or use tax be used first to pay tax refunds delayed from fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The law goes into effect on July 1, 2010.
Please contact the Office of Representative Jessica Wooley at 808-586-8540.
When: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Where: Hau’ula Elementary School Cafeteria
Governor Lingle today signed into law a bill that will help to fight invasive species by strengthening Hawaii’s agricultural inspection and biosecurity laws. SB2523, now Act 173, does the following:
• Exempts aggregate bulk freight, cement bulk freight, coal bulk freight and liquid bulk freight from the pest inspection, quarantine and eradication service fee. Imposes fines for failure to pay, bill or remit in a timely manner the same fee.
• Expands the purposes for expenditure from the pest inspection, quarantine and eradiation fund.
• Requires the deposit of fees and fines relating to agricultural inspections into the fund.
• Repeals the permit revolving fund and microorganism import certification revolving fund and transfers moneys into the pest inspection, quarantine and eradiation fund.
“SB2523 was one of the most important bills for the agriculture industry in the 2010 legislative session,” said Rep. Clift Tsuji, Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture. “This new law gives the Department of Agriculture greater resources to focus on agriculture inspection and biosecurity. The legislature is greatly concerned about the impact of invasive species on agriculture and our natural environment.”
The other critical piece of legislation for agriculture and invasive species is HB1684, signed into law as Act 128 in May. That bill established fines and penalties for the intentional spreading or introducing of invasive species.
“Invasive species harms not only our environment, but our economy, our health and the lifestyle of Hawaii’s people,” said Rep. Tsuji. “We felt greater fines and penalties are warranted given the serious impact to the state.”
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Speaker Calvin Say and House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro yesterday met with reporters to talk about the governor's list of potential vetoes. She has until July 6 to make a decision on 39 bills being considered for veto. The list includes legislation regarding civil unions, the board of education, tax caps and more. You can see the entire list and the governor's explanation for potential veto here.
Monday, June 21, 2010
The Governor used four critieria to place a bill on the list. They are:
1. Poor public policy
3. Harms the state's economic recovery
4. More time needed for consideration
HB415 HD2 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC SAFETY.
Veto Explanation: Directs the auditor to conduct an expensive and unnecessary audit of the Department of Public Safety’s contracts with mainland prisons and the Honolulu federal detention center.
HB444 HD1 SD1 RELATING TO CIVIL UNIONS.
Veto Explanation: Extends the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of spouses in a marriage to partners in a civil union.
HB865 HD1 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION.
Veto Explanation: Establishes an unfunded mandate on the State Department of Transportation by setting up a working group to perform a feasibility study on transferring state highway maintenance functions to Maui County without providing resources or allowing adequate time for the study.
HB921 HD1 SD2 RELATING TO PUBLIC LANDS.
Veto Explanation: Complicates the transfer of 999-year homestead leases, bypassing existing statutes that provide for the determination of successorship.
HB1015 HD1 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO OBLIGATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HAWAIIAN HOME LANDS TRUST FUND.
Veto Explanation: Violates the Hawaii State Constitution by embracing more subjects than its title allows and creates ambiguities in the law by amending various provisions relating to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
HB1212 HD1 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO INFORMATION PRACTICES.
Veto Explanation: Disallows the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs from disclosing pending complaints against a business or professional to the detriment of consumers who need the information for informed decision-making.
HB1665 HD1 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO HAWAIIAN FISHPONDS.
Veto Explanation: Prohibits the sale or transfer of government-owned Hawaiian fish ponds, which inadvertently results in the Department of Transportation caring for fish ponds that were intended to be made available to other organizations after being acquired as part of the Kalanianaole Highway widening project.
HB1907 HD1 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO TAXATION.
Veto Explanation: Adversely impacts Hawaii taxpayers and businesses by capping state income tax itemized deductions and making the capital goods excise tax credit nonrefundable for businesses until January 1, 2016, contrary to sound economic policy.
HB2083 HD1 SD2 RELATING TO MILK LABELING.
Veto Explanation: Requires milk beverages to be labeled with the date of pasteurization or the date of packaging without clearly defining what is considered pasteurized milk and which pasteurization date should be used; also takes Hawaii out of compliance with the National Conference of Interstate Milk Shipper's Pasteurized Milk Regulations.
HB2133 HD1 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO PROCUREMENT.
Veto Explanation: Inappropriately requires the State Procurement Office to authorize reseller agreements in multi-state contracting agreements, and narrowly defines "local reseller."
HB2152 HD1 SD1 RELATING TO BUILDING DESIGN FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES. Veto Explanation: Increases the cost of planning and designing housing, public buildings, and other construction by allowing the Disability and Communication Access Board (DCAB) to charge a significant fee for the review of American Disabilities Act compliance, duplicating compliance reviews already done by professional architects and engineers.
HB2239 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO THE DEPOSIT BEVERAGE CONTAINER PROGRAM. Veto Explanation: Increases the cost of dietary supplements and impacts consumers purchasing healthy beverages by repealing the exemption such supplements currently have from the expensive and ineffective Hawaii Deposit Beverage Container Recycling Program.
HB2283 HD2 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO PUBLIC PROCUREMENT.
Veto Explanation: Subjects public employees and private entities to criminal sanctions under vague and non-specific principles of procurement ethics.
HB2289 HD2 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO GIFT CERTIFICATES.
Veto Explanation: Establishes fees on the issuance of gift certificates, reversing previous statutes that prohibited such fees.
HB2318 HD2 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO THE HOMELESS.
Veto Explanation: Requires the Hawaii Public Housing Authority to establish programs and services without clearly defining the eligible population or providing a sustainable, long-term source of funding.
HB2377 HD3 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO EDUCATION.
Veto Explanation: Amends the Board of Education composition and member selection process in a manner that may not ensure the Board will be composed of members who reflect the best interests of the public and who understand the role of setting public education policies.
HB2441 HD2 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO PROCUREMENT.
Veto Explanation: Creates unrealistic deadlines for the Department of Transportation and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to award public contracts on bid proposals, and encourages inappropriate relationships by specifying that gifts made to the State shall not constitute or require a procurement contract.
HB2497 SD1 CD1 RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF SPECIAL PURPOSE REVENUE BONDS.
Veto Explanation: Authorizes the issuance of up to $40,000,000 in Special Purpose Revenue Bonds to Carbon Bio-Engineers despite possible patent ownership and licensing issues associated with this firm.
HB2583 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO IMPOUNDED VESSELS.
Veto Explanation: Violates the Hawaii State Constitution by embracing more subjects than its title allows by adding provisions outside of the scope of impounded vessels.
HB2644 HD2 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO SOLID WASTE.
Veto Explanation: Increases the cost of waste disposal by expanding the current solid waste disposal fee to include solid waste disposed out-of-State.
HB2708 HD1 SD1 RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION.
Veto Explanation: Unnecessarily requires the Department of Transportation to establish administrative rules regarding the public involvement process, even though public involvement policies have already been adopted by the Department.
HB2774 HD2 SD2 CD1 RELATING TO HUMAN SERVICES.
Veto Explanation: Decreases the effectiveness of the Hawaii Premium Plus Program to create jobs by prohibiting the Department of Human Services from expending more than $5 million on the program within a nine-month period starting May 1, 2010.
SB1105 SD2 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS AND PROCEDURES.
Veto Explanation: Burdens state agencies with the task of preparing for hearings and briefings that are duplicative and waste state resources.
SB2001 SD1 HD1 RELATING TO TAXATION.
Veto Explanation: Extends the Tax Credit for Research Activities by one year at the expense of the High Technology Business Investment Tax Credit and Technology Infrastructure Tax Credit, which must be repealed early on May 1, 2010 instead of December 31, 2010, reversing the State's commitments to job creating businesses and their investors.
SB2020 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO REAL PROPERTY.
Veto Explanation: Extends Act 189, Session Laws of Hawaii 2009, which changes the process for renegotiating the amount of rent during the term of an existing commercial or industrial lease, despite litigation that has deemed the Act unconstitutional.
SB2045 SD1 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO CRIME.
Veto Explanation: Proposes the establishment of class A and B sexual human trafficking offenses to prohibit conduct that is already prohibited under Hawaii law, and does not clearly define the prohibited conduct in a way that can be enforced and prosecuted in court.
SB2165 SD1 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO PRIVATE GUARDS.
Veto Explanation: Establishes registration and licensure requirements for security guards and individuals acting in a guard capacity that may not be appropriate for all guards in the industry.
SB2324 SD2 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS.
Veto Explanation: Violates the intent of Unemployment Insurance benefits by unfairly allowing certain partially unemployed individuals attached to a regular employer to continue receiving unemployment benefits even if they voluntarily quit their secondary part-time employment.
SB2434 SD1 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO SALARIES.
Veto Explanation: Allows hefty salary increases, including bonuses, for certain education staff including the Superintendent and Complex Area Superintendents, that could provide up to a maximum compensation of $250,000 per year without statutorily specific performance obligations.
SB2473 SD1 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO HOUSING.
Veto Explanation: Allows an unlimited number of grandchildren of elderly housing project residents to reside with seniors under certain situations even though elderly housing projects have limited space and are not designed to accommodate children.
SB2491 SD2 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO TELEMEDICINE.
Veto Explanation: Jeopardizes Federal funding for certain Medicaid services by allowing health plans under Medicaid or QUEST programs to deliver telehealth services in rural counties by mobile medical van without the approval of the Federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services or oversight by the Department of Human Services.
SB2534 SD2 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO BAIL.
Veto Explanation: Adversely impacts state and county law enforcement agencies by requiring them to divert limited resources to accept bail on weekends and holidays when the courts are closed, without the proper training, facilities or staffing.
SB2547 SD1 HD1 RELATING TO SMALL BOAT HARBORS.
Veto Explanation: Favors a specific landowner and certain tour operators by requiring the Department of Land and Natural Resources to regulate commercial boat operators bringing visitors onto "quasi-public" property despite the Department lacking necessary resources to do so.
SB2566 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO MEDICAL AND REHABILITATION BENEFITS.
Veto Explanation: Increases workers' compensation costs and the potential for conflicts of interest by allowing doctors to perform one-time diagnostic consultations at medical facilities in which they have a financial interest, without verification from the insurer or employer that the consultation is necessary.
SB2610 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO CONVEYANCE TAX.
Veto Explanation: Forces the Department of Taxation to reprioritize the scanning of its own tax documents and payment vouchers by requiring the Department to provide free digital images of property conveyance certificates to county real property assessment divisions by a specific time.
SB2849 SD2 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO THE HAWAII EMPLOYER-UNION HEALTH BENEFITS TRUST FUND.
Veto Explanation: Irresponsibly exempts from the state budget allotment process $478,025,239 in general fund appropriations to the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund for fiscal year 2011.
SB2883 SD1 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES.
Veto Explanation: Legislates a collective bargaining matter that may be preempted by the federal Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 by making it unlawful for employers to fire, demote, or withhold pay from an employee using accrued sick leave.
SB2919 SD1 HD1 CD1 RELATING TO THE HAWAII STATE HOSPITAL.
Veto Explanation: Improperly transfers the responsibility for security at the Hawaii State Hospital from the Department of Health to the Department of Public Safety.
SB2951 SD2 HD2 CD1 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE.
Veto Explanation: Discourages the use of public land for valid and necessary public purposes by providing unprecedented compensation to agricultural lessees of public land when such leases are withdrawn by the Department of Land and Natural Resources for public uses.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
WHAT: Staff members from the Council of State Governments (CSG) are coming to Hawaii to provide information on the Common Core State Standards Initiative; Hawaii is one of 48 states that agreed to join in this initiative. The meeting, a policy roundtable, will focus on what the common core state standards will mean for Hawaii from both an academic and a fiscal perspective. The event is made possible through the educational support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
WHEN: Friday, June 18, 2010 - 12 noon to 4:00 p.m.
WHERE: Hawaii State Capitol, Room 329
WHO: Leaders from the business, union, community and educational sectors have been invited to attend. The discussion will center around what happens in Hawaii before and after the adoption of the common core standards.
The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.
Common Core State Standards Initiative website here.
Rep. Karen Awana has been involved with “Hot Rods for a Cause” for several years. It's a group formed to help prevent domestic violence, and they will hold their annual event next month featuring a Car Show, Swap Meet and rides in conjunction with informational booths promoting education and awareness of the domestic violence issue. Proceeds will go to the Domestic Violence Action Center.
WHEN: Sunday, July 11, 2010
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
WHERE: Kalaeloa Airport between Hangars 110 and 111
Members of various car and motorcycle clubs around Oahu, some of whom have family members injured or killed in domestic violence incidents, have joined together to raise money for domestic violence awareness.
The event, which draws thousands, will feature a Car Show with entries from all car clubs with custom cars, trucks, and bikes. There will be food, music, rides, and swap meet vendors.
“My involvement with this event started through a request to help find a location, but it quickly grew into a cause that will help to save lives,” said Rep. Karen Awana. “So many families in my district are impacted by domestic violence, and this is one way that we can get people to realize how important it is to stop the violence that starts in our own homes.”
For more information, contact:
Office of Rep. Karen Awana
Hot Rods for a Cause: Cal Domen
808-696-0033 or 282-2443
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Residents have frequently raised concerns about the therapeutic group homes for troubled teenagers over the years. Two boys, who were residents of a Hale Kipa home in lower Manoa, allegedly beat and killed a taxi driver on May, 1.
City and State lawmakers and representatives of state agencies will be at the meeting to hear resident concerns and complaints and respond to any questions.
Monday, June 28, 2010
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Manoa Elementary School Cafeteria
3155 Manoa Road
Honolulu, Hi 96822
For more information, please contact the Office of Representative Isaac Choy at 586-8475.
*Click on links above for related news articles.
Monday, June 14, 2010
“Hawaii has the highest percentage of alcohol-related fatalities in the United States. This new law sends a message that drunk driving will no longer be tolerated, even in those cases where no innocent bystanders are harmed.
We must all accept individual responsibility by drinking responsibly and urging others to do the same. The ignition interlock program will help us in the state of Hawaii by creating a cultural, systemic change in the often cavalier way we perceive drinking and driving. The program not only addresses the immediate issue of getting drunk drivers off our roads, but will assist the state in determining whether an individual has an alcohol abuse problem and should be forced into treatment.
I introduced legislation on this issue after I was hit head-on by a drunk driver. I was fortunate to survive my accident, but thousands of lives are senselessly cut short every year. I strongly believe that this bill will make a significant difference and save lives.”
HISTORY AND BACKGROUND
· An ignition interlock is a breathalyzer device that will be required to be installed to the ignition of the vehicle of a driver once arrested for drunk driving. In order to start his or her vehicle, the driver must blow into the device, and if the driver is over the legal blood alcohol content limit, the car will not start. A small camera ensures that the offender does not tamper with the device or have someone else blow into it.
· In 2008, Rep. Har introduced legislation (HB2377) on the ignition interlock device after she was hit head-on by a drunk driver; it was enacted as Act 171.
· Act 171 provided the basic framework for an ignition interlock system in Hawaii and created a task force to address the implementation and administration of the program.
· In 2009, the legislature passed HB981, which incorporated the recommendations of the task force; that bill was enacted as Act 88.
· SB2897 makes final changes that will allow ignition interlock to go into effect on January 1, 2011.
· Among other provisions, SB2897 makes refusal to take a breathalyzer test a misdemeanor. It also requires the installation of an ignition interlock device on any vehicle operated by the offender.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 16, 2010, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: UH Hilo UCB 127 (Ho’oulu Terrace)
WHO: House Finance Chair Rep. Marcus Oshiro will be joined by Rep. Jerry Chang, Rep. Clift Tsuji, Rep. Faye Hanohano, and Rep. Robert Herkes.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This past Tuesday, all eyes were on some hotly contested primaries, but there was also a decision by the United States Supreme Court that may have an impact on publicly funded campaigns across the country, Hawaii included. The Supreme Court temporarily blocked Arizona from distributing matching campaign funds to publicly funded candidates. Here's a link to the CBS News story.
"Notwithstanding the complexities in the law discussed above, the Commission is recommending removal of the equalizing fund provisions based upon In re McComish v. Brewer, No. 2:08-cv 1550, Order (Aug. 29,2008). The Court, therein, determined that Arizona's equalizing fund provision "violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution." A copy of the Order is attached to our testimony. The Commission submits that the Legislature should take proactive
action, rather than passively await possible litigation involving equalizing funds."
Here is their full testimony.
The bill which sought to postpone the pilot program passed the House but stalled in the Senate.
At this time, the pilot program for Hawaii County Council races is going forward, but the future of the program is uncertain until the U.S. Supreme Court takes further action.
The House of Representatives Finance Committee will make a presentation to the Hilo community on the 2010 state budget bill and how they resolved a $1.2 billion shortfall. Information will also be provided on major capital improvement projects for East Hawaii.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
UH Hilo UCB 127 (Ho’oulu Terrace)
House Finance Chair Rep. Marcus Oshiro will be joined by Rep. Jerry Chang, Rep. Clift Tsuji, Rep. Faye Hanohano, and Rep. Robert Herkes.
You can view a pie chart and corresponding tables for more information on how the budget was balanced HERE.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The Judiciary provided the following statistics:
*During the same time period, the ICA terminated 1,613 appeals, and the Supreme Court terminated all 171 of the appeals it had retained.
*By the end of FY 2009, approximately 20 percent fewer appeals were pending in the appellate courts and the median age of cases disposed in FY 2009 was five months less than in FY 2006.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Speaker Calvin Say has appointed members to serve on an investigative committee; the purpose of the committee will be to investigate the County of Hawaii's Department of Water Supply on their handling of the Ocean View-Kahuku water system project. They are:
Hawaii beekeepers have been battling varroa mites and hive beetles for the past few years, jeopardizing the bee and honey industry statewide. In addition, bee pollination is critical for certain types of pollination-based crops.
Photo: Honolulu Advertiser. Inspectors shake out Christmas trees for pests.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Photo of Juan Navarro: Honolulu Star-Bulletin courtesy of Sandra Navarro
1. In May 2009, Juan Navarro, a construction worker, was killed by the collapse of a Hawaiian Cement tower at Campbell Industrial Park. Numerous questions have been raised over the department’s investigation by the Hawaii Occupational Safety and Health Division. News story on accident here. Union asks Legislature to follow up here.
2. Due to the current economic downturn, the state’s unemployment insurance fund was considered in jeopardy of depletion without the aid of federal assistance funds. The Department has decided to forego its efforts to obtain the federal funds. Lawmakers will ask why the decision was made and what is the status of the unemployment fund.
WHEN: Monday, June 7, 2010 – 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: State Capitol, Conference Room 329
Thursday, June 3, 2010
WHAT: The House Committees on Housing and Human Services will conduct a site visit to the Leeward Coast to meet with the homeless on the beach. The meeting will be coordinated by Pastor George Noble of the People of Promise Church
WHEN: Friday, June 4, 2010 - 10:30 a.m.
WHERE: Kea’au Beach Park – Waianae
WHY: The visit allows lawmakers to see firsthand the plight of the homeless residents and to talk with them directly about viable solutions. The committee chairs, Rep. Rida Cabanilla (Housing) and Rep. John Mizuno (Human Services) are working with community organizations to meet with local homeless residents to efficiently address their plight. They will also discuss the “chronic homeless” and Housing First Pilot Program at the site visit.
“It’s important to have our lawmakers come out and actually see the living conditions, and to hear directly from the homeless on what works or doesn’t work,” said Pastor Noble.
“This is a complex issue, and it will remain so unless lawmakers get out of their offices and see what’s happening on the street,” said Rep. Cabanilla. “This is a way to reach out and personally work with the homeless community on solutions that are viable for them.”
“We held an informational briefing on Wednesday and I was shocked to discover the sheer number of homeless we are dealing with, as well as the percentage of homeless that are from outside Hawaii,” said Rep. Mizuno. “Our services are being drained and we need to turn this around, in a humane way.”
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
“For more than a decade, concerned community members have been painfully aware of the abuses happening along our shorelines,” said Rep. Morita. “Adjacent property owners have been planting and cultivating salt tolerant plants to block lateral shoreline access or pushing the vegetation closer to the sea to manipulate the shoreline certification process.”
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
WHAT: The House Committee on Housing and the Committee on Human Services will hold a joint informational briefing to review concerns about the arrivals of homeless people to Hawaii and the subsequent strain on the state’s services for the homeless.
In relation to the overall homeless issue, the committees will discuss the Housing First pilot program, passed during the 2010 legislative session, and the difficulty of the Department of Human Services Welfare Branch in prosecuting public housing fraud.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 2, 2010 - 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: State Capitol – Conference Room 329
WHO: The following organizations have been invited to participate:
State Department of Human Services
Hawaii Public Housing Authority
Rental Housing and Low Income Housing programs
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Institute for Human Services
Waikiki Health Center
University of Hawaii’s Center on the Family
DHS Welfare Fraud Branch
The Chair of Housing is Rep. Rida Cabanilla (District 42- Waipahu, Honouliuli, West Loch, Ewa) and the Chair of Human Services is Rep. John Mizuno (District 30 - Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Fort Shafter.)
Rep. Jessica Wooley meets tomorrow, Wednesday, June 2,2010 with the community to discuss the Task Force report on the possible closure of Ka'a'awa Elementary. The meeing will be held at the Ka'a'awa School cafeteria at 6:30 p.m.
In January 2009, the Department of Education created a task force to study the possible closure of Ka'a'awa Elementary. If closed, students would go to Waiahole Elementary or Hau'ula Elementary. The task force report was published on April 30, 2010. A copy of the report can be found here.
Rep. Mark Nakashima met with the community this past Monday evening on the possible closure of Kohala Elementary. A story in West Hawaii Today is here. According to the article, the consolidation task force report indicated that the closure was unwarranted and didn't make financial or academic sense. However, the Department of Education appears to be going forward with the closure despite the report. The report summary can be found here.