Wednesday, March 16, 2016

First video testimony heard during House committee hearings

The House of Representatives today launched a pilot project to accept video testimony from neighbor island residents during a hearing of the House’s Committee of Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs at the State Capitol.

Rep. Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena), who spearheaded the project along with his vice-chair Rep. Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) expressed its importance to his Maui constituents:

“As a Maui legislator, I know first-hand the difficulty and cost of flying to Honolulu to testify on issues that matter to my neighbors,” Ing said.  “Technologies like Facetime and webinars have become so simple and intuitive, that we have a duty to leverage these 21st century technologies to make sure all citizens in our state are have a voice.”

Maui Judge Richard Bissen was the first video testifier, speaking in support of his and Ing’s initiative to incorporate the Hawaiian language into the Judiciary website.

“(This bill) is about promoting respect for the Hawaiian people by promoting respect for the Hawaiian language,” said Judge Bissen from his office on Maui.

Initially, the pilot project will include only video testimony for the Committee of Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs.  The project is the first of its kind in the House, and simply requires a laptop with a camera and internet connection.  House Bill 1595, HD2 is currently moving through the Legislature to explore the possibility of expanding the program to all committees in both chambers.

Ing pointed to a survey sent by his office in 2014, where more than 93 percent of his respondents were in support of the project.  Ing said that the cost of the test project came from previously allocated monies in the internal legislative budget and adds no additional costs to taxpayers. 

“This common-sense initiative will give everyone of all backgrounds and income levels a voice at the Capitol.  I’m proud that our committee has led the way on this project, and offer my gratitude to the House Clerk and Information Technologies offices for helping me make it happen.  My hopes is to see this technology expand to all committees.”

More photos at 

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