Friday, December 30, 2011

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Happy early New Year from the House Majority Communications Staff!

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Whatever it may, we wish you a safe and wonderful holiday weekend with family and friends. We will see you in 2012, and look forward to sharing another Legislative Session with you all.

And just for kicks, enjoy the music!

Laws effective January 1, 2012

Hawaii's civil unions law is one of ten measures that will take effect  January 1, 2012.  Nine of the measures are from Legislative Session 2011 and one is from Legislative Session 2009. You can view lists of these laws with descriptions and other detailed information compiled by the Legislative Reference Bureau by clicking here and here. (Mahalo to LRB staff!) 

Justice for all

Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald

The Hawai‘i Access to Justice Commission will host a series of community briefings in 2012 to discuss equal access to justice in Hawai‘i. What does "equal access to justice" mean?  Many people in our state are unable to afford representation in civil legal matters - such as housing, family, domestic violence, and consumer. Many people just don't know where to go for information about their legal rights. The Commission’s primary purpose is to increase access to information, representation, and essentially justice in these legal matters for low- and moderate-income residents of Hawai`i. Its goal is to create a balance that provides all people the opportunity to seek justice.

Associate Judge Daniel R. Foley
The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 6-8 p.m. at The Parish of St. Clement, 1515 Wilder Avenue, with special guest presenters Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald and Associate Judge and Commission Chair Daniel R. Foley. A mini-legal fair will also be held with legal service providers available to share more information about their specific services.

Future dates include May 9, 2012, Windward Oahu, and November 14, 2012, Leeward/ Waianae Coast, locations and times to be determined. Info: (808) 586-9425

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Finance Tours: DAGS

Members of the House Finance Committee recently visited the the Office of Information Management and Technology (OIMT) and the Hawaii State Record Center. The entire day was spent learning about the department and a few of its divisions. In a previous post, we shared photos taken and information learned during a tour of the Kalanimoku building to view the solar panels installed on its roof.

Following that visit, lawmakers toured the OIMT, located in the basement of the Kalanimoku building, with Chief Information Officer Sanjeev "Sonny" Bhagowalia. He later presented a powerpoint to explain the divisions plans for transforming its resources and management practices. You can view reports and assessments here. Later, the group headed to the State Records Center, facility that stores inactive non-permanent paper records and security copies of microfilms and microfiche.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Luau

Normally my before Christmas weekend blog post is on a topic related to the House of Representatives or some type of legislation or political issue that is in the news at the time. However, this year, I feel like we could all just use some great music and a reminder of how lucky we are to live in Hawaii. With that said, I give to you my favorite Christmas song through a YouTube video. Keiki Aya gives us a beautiful rendition of "Christmas Luau."  Enjoy! Be safe this holiday weekend, and Mele Kalikimaka from the House Majority Communications team. Aloha!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Communications Assistant Wanted

The House Majority Communications Office is looking to hire a Communications Assistant for the 2012 Legislative Session.  This is a paid, temporary, full-time position from January to May.

We're excited about expanding our team for the session.  This is a great opportunity for someone who possesses good writing and computer skills, is adept at digital photography and social media, and who also has a passion for public affairs.  

Interested in working with us?  Send your resume, cover and brief (preferably one-page) writing sample via email to Assistant Communications Director, Thelma Dreyer at

We'll be reviewing the resumes and interviewing qualified candidates during the first week of January.  Ideally, I'd like to have someone on board before Opening Day, January 18th.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Da Night Bafo' Christmas"

Speaker Calvin Say hosted the annual House Christmas lunch yesterday, where members and staff, Democrat and Republican, come together to share Hawaiian luau. At this event, the members serve lunch and perform for the employees.  Rep. Bob Herkes (below) brought down the "House" with a rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas, local style:

"Da Night Bafo' Christmas"

Was da night bafo' Christmas, and all ova' da place,
Not even da geckos was showin' dere face.

Da stockings was hangin' on top da TV
(Cause no mo' fireplace in Hawai'i.)

Da kids stay all crashed, my old man too.
Dey leave all da work fo' you-know-who.

So me, I stay pickin' up all dea toys,
When - boom! - outside get only big noise!

I run to da window, I open 'em up.
I stick out my head and I yell, "Eh! Whassup?!"

And den, I no can ba-lieve what I seen!
Was so unreal, you know what I mean?

Dis fat haole guy get his reindeers in my yard!
And reindeer not housebroken, you know, as' why hard!

But, nemmind, dis Christmas.  So, I cut 'em some slack.
Plus, had uku pile presents pokin' outta his sack!

So, I wait till he pau tie up his reindeer.
Den I yell out da window, "Huui! Brah, ova hea!"

An' I tell 'em first ting, when I open da door,
"Eh, hemo your shoes!  You going dirty my floor!"

He take off his boots, he tell, "You know who I am?"
I go, "Ho! From da smell, must be Mr. Toe Jam!"

He make mempachi eyes and he go, "Ho, ho, ho!"
By now, I stay thinking dis guy kinda slow!"

He look like my Tutu, but little less weight.
And his beard stay so white, mo' white than shark bait!

He stay all in red, specially his nose,
And get reindeer spit on top his nice clothes!

But him he no care; he just smile at me,
And he start fo' put presents unda-neat da tree.

I tell 'em, "Eh, brah, no need make li' dat.
And watch were you step!  You going ma-ke da cat!

Den, out from his bag, he pull one brand new computah,
Choke video games, and one motorized scootah!

He try for fill up da Christmas socks too,
But had so much pukas, all da stuff went fall troo!

When he pau, I tell 'em, "Eh Santa, try wait!
I get plenny leftovahs, I go make you one plate!"

But, he nevah like hang, he had so much fo' do.
Gotta make all dem small kids' wishes come true.

So I wave 'em goodbye, and I flash 'em da shaka,
And I tell 'em, "Mele Kalikimaka!"

When he hear dat, he stop...and I tellin' you true.
He go, "Garans, ball-barans! Merry Christmas to you!"

Monday, December 19, 2011

2012 Session Calendar from the Public Access Room

2012 Session Calendar

Waianae Town Hall Meeting on Olelo

Photo: Kaupuni Park, Waianae Valley Homestead project. Office of Rep. Jo Jordan

Rep. Jo Jordan's recent Waianae Town Hall meeting, held on December 7th, will air on Olelo this week and next..  If you were unable to attend in person, catch the latest on the following dates/times:

*TONIGHT, Monday December 19th at 8:00 p.m.on VIEW Channel 54

*Wednesday, December 28th at 10:30 p.m. on FOCUS Channel 49

*Thursday, December 29th at 4:00 p.m. on FOCUS Channel 49

*Saturday, December 31st at 3:00 p.m. on VIEW Channel 54

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rep. Ryan Yamane, Health Chair - Next on Jordan's Journal

Rep. Ryan Yamane, Chair of the House Health Committee will be Rep. Jo Jordan's guest on the next episode of "Jordan's Journal".

The show airs on Olelo, Channel 54, Monday, December 19th at 1:00 p.m. and repeats on December 26th at 1:00 p.m.

Rep. Yamane represents District 37 - Waipio Gentry, Mililani.  In addition to being Health Chair, Rep. Yamane is Vice Chair of the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee.  He has a background in social work and he obtained Master's degrees in both Social Work and Business.  He has been in office for 7 years and was elected for the first time in the 2004 election.

The legislators go into some detail on how bills are considered for hearing and the time constraints they face.  They also discuss new ways through which constituents can participate in the legislative process without having to physically come down to the state capitol.

The issues that come through the Health Committee affect almost everyone in the state. The range includes hospitals, health insurance, health epidemics, food safety, vector control, There is a certain amount of overlap with the Committee on Human Services, such as the area of medicaid.

Specific to the Waianae coast, Rep. Jordan's district, the Health Chair talks about the importance of community centers such as the Waianae Comprehensive Center.  It is one of the few in the state that has a emergency room to service the residents due to the fact that Waianae is in a relatively isolated area with a single road for egress and ingress.

Rep. Yamane can be reached by email at and by phone at 586-6150.  Rep. Jordan can be reached by email at and by phone at 586-8460.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finance Tours: Kalanimoku Building Solar Power

I recently tagged along with members of the House Finance Committee during various tours of state sites on Oahu, including DAGS facilities, the Information and Communications Services Division, Aloha Stadium, Hawaii Film Studio, and Kuhio Park Terrace. I'll do a blog post on each site visit over the next week.

The site visits allow lawmakers to see firsthand the projects and initiatives funded (or not funded) by the state budget, and to meet and talk with departmental personnel and officials about what has been done, what needs to be done, and what the legislature can expect next session in funding requests.

On the morning of the first day I met with lawmakers and DAGS personnel at the Kalanimoku building where we were given a tour of the photovoltaic panels on the building rooftop. The installation of the 1,005 solar photovoltaic panels was completed in July 2011 as part of the State’s efforts to lead by example and lower Hawaii’s dependency on foreign oil. This project is part of the State’s Clean Energy Initiative.

An energy kiosk has been installed in the entry lobby of the building where the public can view a display of “real-time” and “historical energy usage” and snapshots of “carbon footprint data” demonstrating the PV system performance.


The project is part of the $33.9 million Energy Savings Performance Contracting (ESPC) project awarded by DAGS in 2009 to improve the energy efficiency for 10 office buildings, located in the downtown State Capital District, with high annual utility bills. The other buildings are the State Capitol, Kalanimoku, Ke‘elikolani, Kekauluohi (State Archives), Kekaunaoa, Keoni Ana, Kinau Hale, Queen Lili‘uokalani, No. 1 Capitol District, and Leiopapa-a-Kamehameha.

Construction started in August 2010 and the PV system has been producing power since January 2011.

The project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the $2.9 million solar installation is an educational / demonstration project reviewed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

$70-80,0000 dollars energy savings per year.

200kW (AC) of photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity produces approximately 296,849 kilowatt hours (kWh) in its first year, the equivalent of powering 40 residences in Hawai’i for one year.

Over 20 years the 200 kW of PV solar capacity will produce an estimated 5,377, 911 kWh, the equivalent of powering 726 residences in Hawai’i for one year.
Rooftop mounting is provided by a fully ballasted PV panel mounting system with no roof penetrations to anchor PV panels.

In one full year of production, 200 kW (AC) of PV solar power offsets 506, 689 ;bs of carbon dioxide equivalents. This is the equivalent of taking 83 cars off the road for one year.
The House Finance Committee is headed by chair Marcus Oshiro and co-chair Marilyn Lee. Members includeReps Chris Lee, Derek S.K. Kawakami , Pono Chong, Dee Morikawa, Isaac W. Choy, James Kunane Tokioka, Ty Cullen, Kyle T. Yamashita, Sharon E. Har, Barbara C. Marumoto, Mark J. Hashem, Gil Riviere, Linda Ichiyama, Gene Ward, and Jo Jordan.

Ignition Interlock Stats

 Hawaii's ignition interlock law, introduced by Rep. Sharon Har, is about to hit the one year anniversary.  How did it do?

The statistics are impressive, and even MADD officials are surprised it has been so successful.  Here is the KHON2 report.

Since the law started on January 1st of this year, the law has prevented drunk drivers with a blood alcohol level over .08 on 466 occasions.

983 drivers have had the ignition interlock device installed in their cars.  

Of those arrested for DUI, about 15% have participated in the program.  Compared to national statistics, that is a very good rate.

Rep. Har says she plans to introduce legislation in 2012 to improve the law.  Currently, the law allows only first time DUI offenders to participate.  Har wants to broaden participation to repeat offenders.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Greater Heights

Rep. Marilyn Lee and Jim Crisafulli on the Kukui Connection set

He is a familiar face at the State Capitol, usually jolly, and always passionate about his favorite subject: space. Jim Crisafulli is the director of the Office of Aerospace Development, and he is Rep. Marilyn Lee's guest on the next episode of "Kukui Connection".

Jim is also the executive director of the Pacific International Space Alliance, or PISA, but this one is "leaning in the right direction," says Jim.

The show airs on Sunday, December 18th, 4:00 p.m. on Olelo Channel 54. It repeats, same time/same station, on Christmas Day, Dec. 25th and New Year's Day, Jan. 1, 2012.

Jim started his star trek with Hawaii state government by joining the Office of Space Industry in the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism in 1988. At that time, the focus was primarily starting a potential space port on the southern point of the Big Island. That office was closed in 1995. Jim then served as DBEDT's Science and Technology Director until the legislature created the Office of Aerospace Industry in 2007.

In his current position, Jim leads Hawaii's efforts to develop an aerospace industry in Hawaii; NASA has recognized the state as having great potential for future aerospace endeavors. NASA and Hawaii signed an agreement for space collaboration in 2010 to work on areas related to aerospace.

The first collaboration has been a project related to small satellite research in the islands. They also recently completed an international conference on the Big Island which focused on the future development of an lunar research park.

An annex to the agreement was recently signed to develop terrestrial analog facilities on the Big Island, leveraging the island's lunar-like and mars-like terrain, in order to develop and prepare for future missions into space.

Exactly, why is Hawaii a great place for aerospace development?

*We have certain terrains that are very similar to the moon and Mars. In fact, we have the most similar terrain to the moon than anyplace else in the world, and this terrain can be used to simulate conditions.
*Being near the equator, we are an advantageous site from which to launch payloads into equatorial orbit.

Here are some related links that will help give you a big picture of Hawaii's space-related activity.

HCR123 Recognizing Aerospace as a strategic and timely growth industry. The resolution outlines the history and future potential of aerospace in Hawaii.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Easy to Be Green

Every year, we eagerly await the appearance of the House of Representatives Christmas Tree. There is always a creative theme based on the year's most pressing issues, and this year the theme is "It Can Be Easy to Be Green".

The tree is up and was finalized today. Here it is!

Notice that the ornaments reflect many of the energy-saving, cost-cutting efforts that House members and staff have adopted this year.

There are also a few strings of lights that are solar-powered. The battery cells are on the tree as ornaments themselves. Click on the photo to zoom in, or better yet, come see the tree for yourself. It's located outside of the Chief Clerk's Office, Chamber Level, Hawaii State Capitol.

Cheers to the elves in the House Office of the Chief Clerk for, once again, putting up an amazing tree for all of us to enjoy. Santa is making a note of the fact that Neal was responsible for getting the perfect tree, and that Denise and Tammy came up with the theme and decorations.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rep. Choy's Prevailing Winds Dec 2011

Prevailing Winds Vol 3 Issue 11 - December 2011

Rep. Marcus Oshiro in Israel for Project Interchange

State Representative Marcus Oshiro, the House Finance Chair, is currently in Israel participating in Project Interchange, a bi-partisan educational institute of AJC - American Jewish Committee. Attendees are primarily House and Senate leaders from across the country. The trip includes meetings with senior Israeli, Palestinian and Israeli Arab leaders.

The group is traveling to areas across Israel, including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Northern Border, the Dead Sea, and Sderot. They will attend sessions on economic development and absorption and integration of immigrant and minority communities, and how high tech initiatives foster effective co-existence between Arabs and Jews.

Read the full press release below:
Project Interchange State Elected Officials Release

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Rep. Jordan's Winter 2011 Newsletter

Rep. Jordan Winter Newsletter 2011

"We the Powerful" heads to the Big Island

2011 Flyer Big Island Workshops

Monday, December 5, 2011

HMSO helps Santa at Family Programs Hawaii holiday event

Front Row: Santa, Alison Kim
Back Row: Alicia Duffin, Steven Lum, Brandon Masuoka, CJ Leong, Kendra Oishi, Roy Nihei, Elsielyn Singson, Jason Young and Melanie Black

This past Saturday, December 3rd, 2011, the elves at the House Majority Staff Office volunteered their time to make the holiday season brighter for the children who are part of Family Programs Hawaii (FPH). Along with Santa and many others, FPH puts on the annual event to bring foster children and their families together at Christmastime for a holiday meal, gifts, rides and entertainment. About 2,000 foster children were in attendance at the Neal Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

FPH is a social service agency in Hawaii that helps about 4,000 children and their families in the child welfare system. They provide services designed to help prevent children from needing to go into foster care, and they assist those transitioning out of foster care.

The HMSO team volunteered to do beverage service. (I wonder if they knew it was just juice and water when they signed up for that?) They also helped with the clean-up.

Mahalo Team HMSO for thinking of others less fortunate during the holidays, and for helping to keep the Aloha Spirit alive at this special time of year!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Speaker appoints three key positions

Speaker of the House Calvin K.Y. Say announced today he appointed C.J. Leong as the House of Representatives Chief Clerk, replacing Patricia Mau-Shimizu upon her retirement.

House Chief Clerk: Leong has served in the House for over 25 years. Most recently, she was the Director of the House Majority Staff Office. Prior to that, she served for 16 years as the Assistant Chief Clerk and nine years with the House Finance Committee. She has a degree in Business Management from the University of Maryland and is a U.S. Army veteran.

House Majority Staff Office: Speaker Say also announced the appointment of Joan Yamaguchi as the new Director and Rebecca L. Anderson as the Assistant Director of the House Majority Staff Office.

Joan Yamaguchi is an attorney who has worked at the legislature for over 10 years in various capacities. Prior to her appointment as Director, she served as the Assistant Director at the House Majority Staff Office. She also worked for the Hawaii Insurance Commissioner, and as Chief Legal Counsel for and Administrative Director of the Public Utilities Commission. Yamaguchi has a law degree from Southern Methodist University.

Rebecca Anderson joined the House Majority Staff Office this past year after serving in the Senate Majority Research Office for several years. Prior to working at the legislature, Anderson focused on the areas of nonprofit management and issue advocacy in both Hawaii and Texas. In Hawaii, she worked with homeless clients at the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, and managed activities at the federally-fund Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Homeless Holistic Legal Services Program. She holds a law degree from the William S. Richardson School of Law and a bachelor's degree from Rhodes College.

The three appointments are effective December 1, 2011.

Manoa Town Meeting Scheduled for December

Legislative Community Meeting Flyer 12-15-11