Friday, April 27, 2012

Words to Live By From Rep. Mele Carroll

The House opens each session with an invocation. The honor of delivering the invocation is shared by House members on an alphabetical rotation. Yesterday's invocation came from Rep. Mele Carroll and is worth sharing.

You may not be aware, but Rep. Carroll is a cancer survivor. In fact, she battled and overcame the disease that claims so many lives just last year.

Her invocation came from the perspective of a person whose life was nearly cut short and was full of the wisdom that all of us can use to enhance the quality of our own lives and the lives of those around us.

After completing her address, Rep. Carroll asked everyone in the House Chamber to hug at least two other people. Republicans and Democrats, friends and foes took a moment to embrace and come together.

Please read Rep. Carroll's invocation and ask yourself one question: What are you going to do to make this world a better place today?
Carroll Invocation

‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i

It's not every day that a piece of legislation has deep personal significance to lawmakers, benefits the people of Hawaii, and provides a service the state needs. Senate Bill 2110, which established 'Ulu'ulu: The Henry Ku'ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai'i, does all of the above. Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law this afternoon.

The archive honors former United States Senate Sergeant at Arms, Henry Giugni. Mr. Giugni, who passed away in 2005, was the first person of color and the first person of Polynesian ancestry to hold the position.

Funded by the United States Department of Education through a congressionally-directed grant, the archive is dedicated to the care of film, videotape, and audiovisual materials, as well as the preservation of Hawaii’s rich moving image tradition.

The ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i will be located at the University of Hawaii, West Oahu, and will include an online archive of recently preserved and digitized materials as well as an English and Hawaiian language website.

The signing of the bill was an intimate affair involving Henry Giugni's daughter, Rep. Heather Giugni, and old friend, Governor Neil Abercrombie. The legislation is not only significant for the Giugni family, it also means a great deal to the State of Hawaii and to the film industry, where Rep. Giugni has spent most of her professional life. 

Prior to signing SB2110 into law, the Governor reflected on the lasting impact Henry Giugni has had on the state as well as the necessity of establishing an archive to preserve Hawaii's film and audiovisual treasures for future generations. Dedicating the state moving image archive to Henry Ku'ualoha Giugni is a fitting memorial to a man and to a family that has given so much to the State of Hawaii. 

Aloha Final Decking Night 2012

Rep. Tom Brower submitted this photo of House Members in their CSG West aloha shirts.  Tonight is Final Decking, and this was taken while the House and Senate are working to close the budget and deck the last bills of the 2012 legislative session.

Finance Committee Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

Earlier today, the House Committee on Finance presented an over-sized check of 47,300 cents to the Hawaii Foodbank. The nearly fifty-thousand pennies came from representatives who participated in the fundraiser that charged 50 cents for each question asked during committee hearings. Non-finance committee members who asked questions during hearings could also participate, but they were required to pay an additional $5 sitting fee.

Rep. Gene Ward took the top spot, asking 122 questions during hearings for a total of 6100 cents. Rep. Sharon Har came in second place with a donation of 4300 cents. Speaker Calvin Say, who does not sit on the committee, still managed to give a respectable 1450 cents.

The Committee on Finance's creative side was displayed early this session in their FINe Art competition at Art at the Capitol. The same artistic genius came out in the design of the check to the Foodbank. The logos (and interest rates) for all of the financial institutions that the state holds accounts in were displayed on the background of the check. The attention to detail even made its way to the account number -located in the lower left-hand corner- which is Chair Oshiro's office number.

This was a fun and creative way to support a great cause in the Hawaii Foodbank. We're looking forward to seeing what FIN has in store for us next session!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hawaii Preparatory Academy Wins Green Ribbon

Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela, Big Island was named one of seventy-eight Green Ribbon Schools by the U.S. Department of Education. This was the first year that the Department issued the award, which honors schools that exercise a comprehensive "green" approach in reducing environmental impact, provide a thorough environmental education including sustainability concepts necessary for the growing global economy of the 21st century, and promote health. Ewa Makai Middle School was the only other school in Hawaii to receive a Green Ribbon.

The jewel of Hawaii Prep's green initiative is its Energy Lab Building. The Energy Lab was the only building in the state to receive Platinum-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Schools 2.0 certification, which is the highest rating a building can receive.

The Energy Lab features sensors that monitor and control energy and water use, CO2 levels, artificial lighting, and natural airflow. The building also uses an innovative radiant cooling system that cools warm spaces during the day with water that is chilled with colder nighttime air. All of the energy for the lab comes from a 24-kilowatt photovoltaic system mounted on its roof.

"Hawaii Prep understands the demand for expertise to support the growing "green economy" and the production of energy," said Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, South Kohala). "I applaud the school for investing in our children and our future by providing a classroom building which displays sustainability, innovation and technology."

The Energy Lab, which opened in January, has already been awarded the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honolulu Award of Excellence, AIA Honolulu Jack C. Lipman Members' Choice Award, AIA New England Honor Award, AIA New Hampshire Excellence in Sustainable Design and Development Award, Boston Society of Architects Honor Award, Learning by Design Grand Prize, and the Merit Award for Integrated Design/Integrated Development.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Waianae Coast Flood Mitigation Meeting Broadcast Dates

On March 28, Rep. Jo Jordan (Waianae, Makaha, Makua) held a Waianae Legislative Town Meeting on Flood Mitigation. This interactive informational briefing was a follow-up to an initial meeting held on September 29, 2011. 

Representatives from various government agencies briefed attendees on the results of community cleanup efforts, the impact of the March 2012 storms, and the common sources of flooding.  They also spoke on the near-term (to be completed within 1 year), mid-term (to be completed in 1-5 years), and long-term (to be completed in more than 5 years) flood mitigation projects.

Lawmakers shared information about pending capital improvement projects, such as the Puhawai Road Drainage Improvements.  Rep. Jordan requested and secured  about $2 million in general obligation bond funds - $150,000 for planning, $350,000 for design and $1.5 million for construction. Rep. Jordan, Rep. Karen Awana, and Sen. Maile Shimabukuro informed the audience on a number of bills relating to flood mitigation that will benefit Leeward Oahu if passed.

The meeting may be viewed online at Rep. Jordan's Vimeo account, or on Olelo on the following dates and times:

                                          Monday              04/23/2012        8:00 PM           VIEWS 54
                                          Tuesday             04/24/2012        8:00 AM           FOCUS 49
                                          Friday                04/27/2012        1:30 PM            FOCUS 49
                                          Sunday              04/29/2012        10:00 AM          VIEWS 54                                  

17th Annual Massage Awareness Day at the Capitol

Today was the 17th Annual Massage Awareness Day at the Capitol. The highly anticipated yearly event is hosted by Rep. John Mizuno and Sen. Josh Green in partnership with the American Massage Therapists Association (AMTA) and proceeds benefit the Hawaii Food Bank.

"I've been proud to help put on this great event for the last 4 years," said Rep. Mizuno. "Legislative Massage Awareness Day not only introduces lawmakers and the general public to the benefits of massage, it also helps a really great cause in the Hawaii Food Bank. This year we raised nearly $1,000 to go towards feeding members of the community and we hope to break that mark next year!"

Waianae High School's Searider Productions Earns Distinction

Waianae High School's Searider Productions program has been named an Apple Distinguished Program for its use of Macs, MacBooks, iPads, and Apple software. Through the implementation of Apple technology, students have been provided with innovative and highly interactive learning opportunities that focus on mastering contemporary digital media and computer technologies. Students are able to explore areas such as video production, internet journalism & social media, graphic arts & design, 2D & 3D computer modeling, and interactive media creation & design. 

The Apple Distinguished Program designation is reserved for programs that are recognized centers of educational excellence and leadership. The selection of Waianae High School's Searider Productions highlights its successes in enhancing and extending teaching and learning with thoughtful, innovative implementations of technology.

A key organizational principle is the integration of real-world work assignments into the learning experience and formal curriculum. Students have had the opportunity to work on projects for private, public, and non-profit organizations. Students have also entered various digital media contests and have been recognized locally and nationally for their work.

Although the Searider Productions program is constantly growing and incorporating new and innovative approaches to stay current, it always remains true to its roots and its ultimate goal of preparing students for success in school, work, and life. Through the implementation of innovative Apple technologies, students are able to showcase their digital media skills and are better prepared for higher education, employment and entrepreneurship in digital media-related industries.

Rep. Jo Jordan (Waianae, Makaha, Makua) recently spoke with Candy Suiso, Executive Director of Searider Productions, on an episode of Jordan's Journal. The episode may be viewed below and on Rep. Jordan's Vimeo account.

Honoka‘a Jazz Band Performs at the Capitol

Hailing from the Big Island's Hamakua Coast, the Honoka‘a Jazz Band is in the middle of its Big City Tour of Oahu. The tour, which coincides with National Jazz Appreciation Month, made a stop at the Capitol this morning. As a special surprise, jazz aficionado, Governor Neil Abercrombie issued a proclamation declaring April 20th, 2012 as Honoka‘a Jazz Band Day!

Gary Washburn, school music director, created the Honoka‘a Jazz Band in 1988 and changes the musical repertoire annually to reflect the evolving personality of the band as students graduate. The band has earned distinction as one of the preeminent school musical programs in the nation. In 2010, Honoka‘a's music program beat out more than 22,000 other schools to be awarded one of the top 138 music programs in the United States. Last year, the band received the coveted Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award and Gary Washburn received the National Society of High School Scholars' Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award. This year, the band performed at the Ilikai Hotel in Honolulu for the Edison Learning Convention and will be featured in the June edition of Hana Hou Magazine.

Big Island Lawmakers Reps. Cindy Evans, Mark Nakashima, and Sen. Malama Solomon enjoying the show

“With all of the emphasis on math and science, it is crucial to always remember that it is music and the arts that provide us with inspiration,” said Rep. Nakashima, (District 1 - North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo).

“Music, drama and the arts provide our students with the opportunity to exercise their creativity, act on their inspiration, and imagine the possibilities,” he added. “Teachers like Mr. Washburn provide students with the venue to explore this realm and to contribute profoundly to our quality of life.”

Governor Abercrombie providing lead vocals
This year's repertoire includes music going back to the 1940s as well as contemporary hits. You can hear the band's take on music by Christina Aguilera, Brazil 66, Ruth Brown, Michael Buble, Aretha Franklin, Etta James, Maceo Parker, Paul Simon, and a special Cuban song, "Mis Dos Pequenas." 

The remaining stops on the Honoka‘a Jazz Band's Big City Tour are listed below.

A Night of Jazz at the Arcadia
Friday, April 20, 2012 from 7-8p.m.
1434 Punahou Street
(808) 983-1808

YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the Bishop Museum
Saturday, April 21, 2012
9:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. Event Time
FREE Admission for Kama'aina and Military with ID.
Out-of-state guests and those who wish to enter Bishop Museum 
after 2:00 pm will be charged the normal entry fee.
(808) 946-0292

Twilight Jazz at Helumoa
Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki
Saturday, April 21, 2012
7p.m. Honoka’a Jazz Band
8p.m. Kit Ebersbach Combo with Starr Kalāhiki
FREE and Open to the Public

Earth Day Beach Cleanup and Celebration
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Makapu'u Meadows at Sea Life Park
9:30a.m.-12p.m. Cleanup 9:30a.m. – 12p.m.
12-5p.m. Celebration
12-1p.m. Honoka’a Jazz Band Performs
Contact: Lindsey Kesel, 303-952-0452

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Slow it down

State Representative Joey Manahan has organized a traffic awareness Hot Spots event at Kalakaua Middle School and will be joined by students, teachers, administrators, law enforcement, lawmakers, and Farmers Insurance employees armed with handmade signs and banners to remind drivers to slow down and drive safely near busy streets and crossing areas by the school. The Hot Spot event will take place on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at Kalakaua Middle School from 7:00 – 8:00 a.m.

Kalakaua Middle School is located in the Kalihi-Palama area near Dillingham Boulevard and Puuhale Road on 821 Kalihi Street. Many of their students cross these busy main thoroughfares for morning commuters every day. Over the years several pedestrian accidents have occurred near the school or in front of it.

“Safe driving should always be a priority for our communities, and we should continue to encourage, educate, and remind people of the dangers of speeding and reckless driving,” said Rep. Joey Manahan (District 29 - Sand Island, Mokauea, Kalihi Kai, Kapalama). “Increased accidents and fatalities due to speeding, and the overall issue of pedestrian safety are of great concern to us all and should be treated as a community effort.”

“Our most treasured assets are people, especially our keiki and kupuna,” added Manahan. “The participation of students and community members sends the message that the issue of speeding, safe driving, and pedestrian safety is a neighborhood priority. Farmers Insurance’s Hot Spots program is a great way to get the entire community involved.”

The Hot Spots Traffic Safety Program is a Farmers Insurance-sponsored program that allows community members, law enforcement, and schools to join together to respond to public safety concerns. The program has been around since 2002.

Informational Briefing on Marine Debris from 2011 Japan Tsunami

This afternoon, a panel of representatives from various federal government agencies briefed lawmakers and the general public on the potential impact of marine debris from the 2011 Japan Tsunami on the Hawaiian Islands.

Presenters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, Navy Region Hawaii, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service briefed the audience on the latest science-based information on Japan tsunami marine debris and discussed their role in this issue.

According to the experts, the debris is likely to be highly dispersed, not radioactive, and may not be much more than normal volume.

The event was held in the Capitol Auditorium and put on by Rep. Ken Ito's office with help from Senator Daniel Inouye. A copy of the presentation may be viewed below.

Tsunami Debris Presentation

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

First Annual Capitol Talent Show

The Mysterious Madame Moshiro stealing the show and our hearts.
Yesterday evening, lawmakers from the House and the Senate squared off in the first annual Capitol Talent Show to benefit the Hawaii Food Bank. The House team included Reps. Tom Brower, Cindy Evans, Faye Hanohano, Ken Ito, John Mizuno, Dee Morikawa, and Marcus Oshiro. Senators Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria, Josh Green, Pohai Ryan, and Malama Solomon represented the other chamber of our state legislature.

Governor Abercrombie (Rep. Mizuno) discussing the merits of single use bags
The contest was neck and neck until the Mysterious Madame Moshiro (House Finance Chair, Marcus Oshiro) electrified the room with 'her' rendition of "I Will Survive." 3M's sultry performance captured her the award for best individual performance and led the House team to its first Koa Cup team title.

Reps. Ken Ito and Cindy Evans wowed the crowd with their swing dancing
The bar has been set pretty high (or low) for next year's contest, where the House will try to keep the Cup. At the end of the day, $1,391 was raised for the Hawaii Food Bank and a lot of fun was had by all!    

Monday, April 16, 2012

Kukui Connection: Kata Issari

On this week's episode of Kukui Connection, Rep. Marilyn Lee welcomes Kata Issari, Hawaii Regional Director of the Joyful Heart Foundation.

The Foundation was created by Mariska Hargitay, of the television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, in 2004. Joyful Heart's mission is to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse and shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

Rather than only address the trauma itself, Joyful Heart places its focus on holistic healing and the overall wellness of survivors. This progressive approach continues to services designed to help staff cope with the stress and trauma that comes with dealing with such sensitive issues on a daily basis.

Ms. Issari notes that Joyful Heart works with other organizations in dealing with the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. Collaborating with other entities, rather than working independently, results in the highest level of service for clients.

To learn more about the Joyful Heart Foundation, please visit

The episode can be seen on Olelo Channel 54 on the following dates and times:

Friday, April 20 at 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 22 at 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 29 at 4:00 p.m.

Friday, April 13, 2012

2nd Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner

MC Rep. Awana delivering the opening remarks.
Last night, the House Committee on International Affairs, in cooperation with Governor Neil Abercrombie and the Pacifica Institute, hosted the 2nd Annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner at Washington Place. These gatherings are organized to facilitate positive interactions between cultural and religious leaders, scholars, activists, artists, and elected officials.

Attendees joining hands for a pule before dinner.
The Pacifica Institute, established in 2003 as a nonprofit organization by a group of Turkish-Americans, designs and executes projects covering social welfare, education, poverty, and conflict resolution issues. Pacifica Institute works to build positive connections between communities in order to achieve mutual understanding and commitment for cross-cultural awareness and the good of society.

Governor Abercrombie was given a beautiful Turkish calligraphy from the Pacifica Institute.
"Events like these create a positive environment for the dialogue necessary to achieve a genuine understanding and cooperation between people from different backgrounds and cultures," said Rep. Karen Awana, Chair of the House Committee on International Affairs. "Hawaii's melting pot makes us an ideal location to gather for these occasions." 

Rep. Awana receiving a token of appreciation for making the event possible.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Honoka'a Jazz Band’s “Big City Tour," Capitol performance

In honor of National Jazz Appreciation Month, the Honoka’a Jazz Band from the Big Island has scheduled its annual “Big City Tour” of Oahu with several performances and appearances from April 19-22.

One of the young group’s first free performances will be at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda. After opening remarks from Representative Mark Nakashima and Senator Malama Solomon, the band will go on at 10 a.m.

On Sat., April 21, the 30-member band will perform at the Bishop Museum as part of the YMCA Healthy Kids Day. Later that day, they will open the Twilight Jazz at Helumoa Concert in The Royal Grove at the Royal Hawaiian Center at 7 p.m. Joining the line-up will be The Kit Ebersbach Combo and Starr Kalahiki, performing at 8 p.m.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band was organized in 1988 by school musical director Gary Washburn. Since then, after almost 25 years of annual repertoire changes to accommodate the “personality” of the band as students graduate, the youth jazz band still remains the pride and joy of Honoka‘a High. In 2010, the music program at Honoka'a High School was selected by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) as one of 138 schools in the United States with an outstanding music program and commitment to music education. They are also the recipients of the prestigious 2011 Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award. Gary Washburn, the band director, recently received the 2011 Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award from the National Society of High School Scholars. In 2012, the band performed for the Edison Learning Convention in the Ilikai Hotel in Honolulu and will be featured in the June edition of the “Hana Hou” Magazine. (history and biography of the band attached)

This year the band shows off a repertoire from a variety of music spanning from the 1940s to present including the music of Paul Simon, Michael Buble, Etta James, Ruth Brown, Brazil 66, Christina Aguilera, Maceo Parker, Aretha Franklin, as well as a special Cuban song “Mis Dos Pequenas”.

“With all of the emphasis on math and science, it is crucial to always remember that it is music and the arts that provide us with inspiration,” said Rep. Nakashima, (District 1 - North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo).

“Music, drama and the arts provide our students with the opportunity to exercise their creativity, act on their inspiration, and imagine the possibilities,” he added. “Teachers like Mr. Washburn provide students with the venue to explore this realm and to contribute profoundly to our quality of life.”

“I strongly encourage everyone to take time out of their busy schedules and listen to the music produced by these very talented youths,” said Senator Malama Solomon, (District 1 - Waimea, Hamakua, North Hilo, Rural South Hilo, Hilo). “Under the direction of their band director Gary Washburn, these students have demonstrated how music education has benefitted them to be successful in school and in life.”

Honoka’a Jazz Band 2012 Big City Tour April 19-22
Celebrating National Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz at the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial
And a Special Observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day
Thursday, April 19, 2012 from noon-1p.m.
For Admission Information Contact:
Ms. Bobi Baclaan, Education & Events Coordinator
(808) 455-1600 ext. 247

Jazz at Ala Moana Center Stage
Thursday, April 19, 2012 from 7-7:45p.m.
Free and open to the public

Interview with Howard Dicus
Hawaii News Now at 7:15a.m.

State Celebration of National Jazz Appreciation Month
Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda
Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10a.m.
FREE and open to public
(808) 586-6680

A Night of Jazz at the Arcadia
Friday, April 20, 2012 from 7-8p.m.
1434 Punahou Street
(808) 983-1808

YMCA Healthy Kids Day at the Bishop Museum
Saturday, April 21, 2012
9:00a.m. to 2:00p.m. Event Time
9:00 a.m. Honok’a’a Jazz Band Performance

FREE Admission for Kama'aina and Military with ID.
Out-of-state guests and guests who wish to enter Bishop Museum
after 2:00 pm will be charged the normal entry fee.
(808) 946-0292
Healthy Kids Day is a family event that encourages parents and their children to come out and and have fun while learning about being healthy. There are activities, games and prizes for the whole 'ohana!

While at Bishop Museum, check out Sesame Street Presents: The Body which offers an engaging, free-flowing learning experience set in the fun, familiar and reassuring world of Sesame Street. The loveable Sesame Street Muppets anchor an exciting collection of hands-on, interactive and multimedia experiences that allow children to explore the human body and how to keep it healthy. Each exhibit area has multiple activities to provide age appropriate and exciting learning opportunities for children at a variety of developmental levels.

*Don't forget to bring a canned-good to support the Hawaii Foodbank; the Hawaii Foodbank's Annual Food Drive is happening on the same day.

Twilight Jazz at Helumoa
Get Your GROVE on!
Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki
Saturday, April 21, 2012
7p.m. Honoka’a Jazz Band
8p.m. Kit Ebersbach Combo with Starr Kalāhiki
FREE and Open to the Public

Earth Day Beach Cleanup and Celebration
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Makapu'u Meadows at Sea Life Park
9:30a.m.-12p.m. Cleanup 9:30a.m. – 12p.m.
12-5p.m. Celebration
12-1p.m. Honoka’a Jazz Band Performs
Contact: Lindsey Kesel, 303-952-0452

In celebration of Earth Day and to commemorate Sustainable Coastlines 1-year anniversary, the nonprofit organization is hosting a morning beach cleanup followed by an environmentally-focused fair and concert at Sea Life Park from noon to 5 pm. Cleanup volunteers get $5 entry into the fair and free lunch. The general public is also welcome to attend for $15 adult admission and $10 for keiki.

2012 Hawaii National Guard Legislative Day

Yesterday, Reps. Henry Aquino and Ty Cullen, Chair and Vice Chair of the House Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs, hosted Hawaii National Guard Legislative Day at the Capitol. Representatives from several Hawaii Army National Guard and Air National Guard units were present to inform lawmakers and the general public about what they do.

Rep. Yamane checking out a UAV in front of the Capitol
"Hawaii National Guard Legislative Day provides us with an understanding of the capabilities of our state's military and, I have to admit, it's pretty incredible," said Chair Aquino. "Soldiers and Airmen from the Hawai'i National Guard are operating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), conducting mobile forensic chemical and biological analysis, transporting equipment and personnel across the globe, and so much more."

Rep. Cullen with CPT Kim and SFC Yuen of the Hawaii marksmanship team
The event was an unbridled success, allowing the Hawaii National Guard to showcase its diverse war fighting capacity. Lawmakers and the general public left informed, impressed, and thankful to have these men and women doing what they do to defend us all. Mission accomplished! Photos from the event can be viewed here

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A New Day and a Debt Paid

Today lawmakers joined Governor Neil Abercrombie, Senator Daniel Akaka, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) trustees, and other state leaders for a bill signing ceremony enacting into law SB 2783, Relating to the Public Trust Lands, which resolves a long-standing dispute between the state and OHA over ceded-lands.

The law conveys certain parcels of Kakaako Makai lands from the state to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The conveyance of these properties fulfills the constitutional obligation to native Hawaiians and resolves all disputes and controversies relating to the portion of income and proceeds from the public land trust lands owed to OHA for the period between November 7, 1978 and June 30, 2012.


"Settling this longstanding issue was a top priority for me and for my Administration. This agreement that is now law, took a lot of hard work and collaboration. I appreciate all those who took the time to make this right, including the Legislature for making sure that all sides were heard." -- Gov. Neil Abercrombie (KITV)

 Chairwoman Machado, Speaker Say, Rep. Carroll
"The Board of Trustees is grateful to the Governor for his leadership in making this settlement a reality. We would also like to thank the Legislature for making this a priority and the Native Hawaiian Community and its leaders for their support of the bill." -- OHA Board of Trustees Chairwoman Colette Machado(KITV)

"The Kakaako community also deserves a lot of credit for its stewardship over this area. We are committed to making sure the land is used in a responsible way that will benefit the entire community. We will balance cultural and environmental considerations with the need to support programs that benefit the Native Hawaiian community." -- OHA Board of Trustees Chairwoman Colette Machado(KITV)

“A debt paid." -- OHA Board of Trustees Chairwoman Colette Machado (Civil Beat)

KAUA'I: Boys & Girls Club Youths of the Year

Lawmakers honored two youths from Kauai for their commitment and dedication to the Boys & Girls Club of Kaua‘i and being named 2012 Youth of the Year at their respective clubs during a special floor session presentation Thursday, April 5, 2012.

Joseph Camelo, 17, is a senior at Kaua‘i High School and has been a member of the Boys & Girls Club of Kaua‘i – Lihue Club for seven years. He has demonstrated leadership qualities as a dedicated Leader in Training (L.I.T.), a volunteer as a coach for flag football leagues, and a mentor at Wilcox Elementary School afterschool programs.

Tosha Taylor, 16, is a senior at Kapa‘a High School and has been an active member of the Boys & Girls Club of Kaua‘i – Kapa‘a Club for six years. She has served as a positive role model for younger members by maintaining extraordinary character, leadership, dedication, and a positive attitude throughout the years. She is the current President of the L.I.T. program, and assists with afterschool homework sessions as well as drug, alcohol, and tobacco resistance programs.

"We acknowledge and congratulate the Boys & Girls Club for all of their hard work and accomplishments over the years," said Rep. James Kunane Tokioka (District 15 – Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Portion of Old Koloa Town, Omao). “With young leaders like Joseph and Tosha, it's obvious that the future of our community is in good hands."

“It is an honor and a privilege to be able to highlight the achievements of our youth,” Rep. Derek S. K. Kawakami (District 14 – Hanalei, Anahola, Kealia, Kapaa, Waipouli) added. “Young individuals like Tosha and Joseph serve as an inspiration and reminder of why we are here.”

“The ability to serve and give back is noble,” Kawakami said, “and in a day and age where peer pressure plays a huge factor in the decisions that our youth make, it is remarkable that these youths have found the ability to rise above the fray to contribute to their community and their fellow students. It takes a village to raise a child and it is with the support of organizations like the Boys & Girls Club and a supportive family structure that allow our youth to shine.”

Rep. Hashem's Mid-Session Newsletter

Hawaii Micro Robotics Bipedal Robot Workshop

The 2nd Hawaii Micro Robotics Bipedal Robot Workshop will be held August 25-26 at Hawaii Community College in Hilo. The workshop is designed to stimulate high technology education and assist in creating a technically capable workforce by developing the infrastructure and skill sets necessary to support high technology robotics-based activities as programs for potentially larger efforts, and, as a result, increasing the number of students who have access to micro robotics, a program that is transitional between high school and college.

Elementary (grades 5, 6, enrichment), middle, and high school teachers with school robotics teams are eligible to participate in the workshop. The cost is $25 per teacher or adult mentor and includes 2 lunches. A bipedal kit will be provided for each registered participant and participants are encouraged to bring a laptop computer for programming their biped robot, and, if possible, an Android phone or tablet.

The Hilo Hawaiian Hotel has a special rate of $92 per night for a room that accommodates up to 4 people (a reservation form can be found and downloaded at the bottom of the page).

The event is sponsored by Friends of Hawai'i Robotics, University of Hawai'i Hawai'i Community College, Waiakea High Robotics, Hawai'i Nasa Space Grant Consortium, and Easybotics. Further details and the application form can be found below.

2012 Bipedal Robot Workshop
Hilo Hawaiian Hotel Reservation Form

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Waianae Legislative Town Hall Meeting

Rep. Jo Jordan recently held a Lawmakers Listen, where she was joined by House leadership in briefing her constituents on what has taken place in the current legislative session and to field questions from the community. The event, which was held in Waianae, had a tremendous turnout and can be viewed on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, April 11 at 2:00 PM on FOCUS 49

Friday, April 13 at 6:00 PM on VIEWS 54

Monday, April 16 at 11:00 AM on FOCUS 49

You can also watch the meeting online via Rep. Jordan's Vimeo site: 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

WLC Easter Basket Drive

This afternoon, the Women's Legislative Caucus held its annual Easter Basket drive at the Capitol. Headed by Rep. Marilyn Lee, the program has been running for more than a decade. This year, the WLC teamed up with the Institute for Human Services to collect "Welcome Home Baskets" to benefit homeless shelter clients.

More than 100 colorful baskets were donated by individuals from throughout the community. The baskets contained basic household items including dishes, pots & pans, utensils, and toiletries.

Reps. Della Au Bellati, Corinne Ching, Heather Giugni, Chris Lee, Silvia Luke, Dee Morikawa, Barbara Marumoto, Mark "the Easter Bunny" Takai, Cynthia Thielen, and Sen. Rosalyn Baker were instrumental to the success of the drive.

Rep. Choy's March-April 2012 Prevailing Winds

Prevailing Winds March-April 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lawmakers Listen to be held on Kaua'i on Wed, April 11

(L-R) Reps. James Kunane Tokioka, Dee Morikawa, Derek Kawakami
Kaua‘i legislators will hold a “Lawmakers Listen” for the public to share their concerns, make suggestions, and provide feedback on issues and legislation important to their community. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. at Wilcox Elementary School Cafeteria in Lihue.

“Lawmakers Listen” is an outreach program by the House of Representatives to give residents an opportunity to ask questions and interact with House leaders, committee chairs, and their state representatives.

Kaua‘i lawmakers Representatives Derek Kawakami, Dee Morikawa, James Tokioka, and Senator Ronald Kouchi will be joined by Majority Leader Pono Chong; Majority Floor Leader Cindy Evans; Vice-Speaker Joey Manahan; Finance Chair Marcus Oshiro.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Senator Akaka Honored on House Floor

Sen. Kouchi, Speaker Say, Senator Akaka, Rep. Tokioka, Sen. Akaka's wife Millie, Rep. Morikawa, Rep. Kawakami
Today, the Hawaii State House of Representatives honored Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka with a floor presentation. Senator Akaka was recognized for being the 2011 Recipient of the Harry S. Truman Award for Distinguished Service in Support of National Defense. The Truman Award is the highest award given to a lawmaker and is presented for sustained and exceptional contributions to national defense and security and has only been awarded to thirty-four other individuals since its inception in 1969.

Reps. Coffman, Nakashima, and Hanohano, Sen Akaka and his wife Millie, Reps Evans, Chang, and Tsuji
Senator Akaka, a longstanding member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans' Affairs committees, earned this most prestigious award for his work to help increase benefits, full-time manpower, and the availability of body armor, as well as for rewriting the Post-9/11 GI Bill to include National Guardsmen mobilized under Title 32.

Hawai'i Becomes Sister-State With Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer, Morocco

Governor Abercrombie, the Moroccan delegation, Reps. Awana and Hashem
Aloha and asalaam alaikum! Yesterday, Governor Neil Abercrombie and M. Bouamor Taghouan, President of the Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer Region Council, Kingdom of Morocco formally entered into a sister-state relationship between their two states.
Governor Abercrombie and President Taghouan signing the agreement
This union took several years of hard work to come to fruition. House Committee on International Relations Chair, Rep. Karen Awana, took the lead in assuring that the agreement was actualized and, along with Vice-Chair, Rep. Mark Hashem, was present for the signing.

"Establishing this relationship with Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer marks a milestone for Hawaiian international relations and opens a gateway of friendship between our state and North Africa," said Rep. Awana.

Rep. Awana presenting a proclamation to the Moroccan delegation
The Moroccan delegation that came to Hawai'i for this historic signing included Ambassador to the United States, Mohamed Rachad Bouhlal; Moroccan Minister of Interior, Saad Hassar; President of the Rabat-Sale-Zemmour-Zaer Region Council, M. Bouamor Taghouan; Director General of the Agency of the South, Ahmed Hajji; and Secretary General of Economic and Social Council of Morocco, Driss Guerraoui.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the Moroccan fountain
To commemorate this momentous occasion, the Kingdom of Morocco has generously donated a fountain to the people of Hawai'i. Groundbreaking for the construction of the fountain occurred yesterday afternoon at the Hawai't State Art Museum. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kukui Connection: Hermina Morita

On the next episode of Kukui Connection, Rep. Marilyn Lee welcomes back her former colleague in the House and current Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Chair, Hermina Morita. Along with Rep. Lee, Chair Morita was a part of the freshman class of 1996 and served in the House for 15 years. In the episode, she explains what the PUC is as well as her role as Chair.

Established in 1913, the PUC is responsible for regulating public service companies in the state and establishing rates, tariffs, charges, and fees. Chair Morita explains the close relationship between the PUC and the Legislature, where the Legislature sets policies in place, which are then implemented by the PUC.

The rising prices for water, electricity, and gas have drawn a considerable amount of attention to the PUC in recent years. Chair Morita tells us about PUC's expanding renewable energy portfolio, including the rapidly evolving potential of geothermal.

The episode will air Friday, April 6 at 8:30 pm on Olelo Channel 54 and be rebroadcast Sunday, April 8 and Sunday, April 15 at 4:00 pm.