Thursday, August 22, 2019

CIP FUNDS RELEASED FOR HONUAʻULA FOREST RESERVE


$1.3 million earmarked for fencing, new access road
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – State Representative Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) is pleased to announce that Governor David Ige has release $1.3 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds to benefit the Honuaʻula Forest Reserve.

The funds will be used to repair and install fencing, and to create a new access road for the North Kona reserve.
"I want to thank the Governor for releasing these funds for this important project," said Rep. Lowen. "Honua’ula Forest Reserve is the primary watershed for the North Kona area and these funds will help to protect our drinking water supply, and to preserve important habitat for native flora and fauna. As the current stewards of our environment, it is our responsibility to preserve and protect places like Honuaʻula."
The Honuaʻula Forest Reserve was established in 1906 to preserve the forest and manage the watershed and today covers 8,489 acres.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

SECOND TIME CAPSULE INSTALLED AT THE STATE CAPITOL



Senator Brian Taniguchi, his grandson Roycen Strom and Hawaiʻi State Archivist Adam Jansen place the time capsule in the wall at the State Capitol.  

Contents to be reveled in 2069 during 100th anniversary commemoration ceremony
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – When the Hawaiʻi State Capitol was dedicated on March 15, 1969, a time capsule was placed in a concrete wall and sealed with a bronze plaque. As part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Capitol building this past March, that time capsule was opened and the contents reveled.

Today, a new time capsule with mementoes of our own era was placed in the northwest corner column of the Capitol rotunda and the original dedication plaque reinstalled.
"This is living history. The objects we have sealed in this wall today will be removed someday and provide insight into our lives in the early 21st Century," said Senator Brian T. Taniguchi, chairman of the 50th Anniversary of the Hawaiʻi State Capitol Task Force. "Time does not stand still, but by placing this time capsule, a moment in time has been captured."

Thursday, August 15, 2019

REP. MATAYOSHI, HOUSE LEADERSHIP TO HOST LAWMAKERS LISTEN EVENT


WHO:             Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi
                        House Speaker Scott K. Saiki
                        Vice Speaker Mark M. Nakashima
House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti
House Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa

WHAT:          Lawmakers Listen for State House District 49


WHEN:          Wednesday, August 28
                        6:30 p.m.

                       
WHERE:       Ben Parker Elementary School Cafeteria
                        45-259 Waikalua Road, Kāne‘ohe
                       

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi Residents of Kāne‘ohe, Maunawili, Olomana are invited to join Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi and House leadership during the next Lawmakers Listen at Ben Parker Elementary School August 28. The event is an opportunity for the community to discuss important issues and learn about the significant bills passed during the 2019 Legislative session.

Matayoshi will be joined by House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, Vice Speaker Mark M. Nakashima, House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, and House Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa.

HEALTH COMMITTEES TO DISCUSS WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT


WHO:             Representative John Mizuno, Chair, House Committee on Health
Senator Rosalyn Baker, Chair, Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health


WHAT:          Informational Briefing on building Hawaiʻi's healthcare workforce for the 21st Century


WHEN:          Wednesday, August 21
                        9 a.m.

                       
WHERE:       Hawaiʻi State Capitol
                        Room 329


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Health and the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee will hold an informational briefing on Hawaiʻi's healthcare workforce development for the 21st Century at 9 a.m. Aug. 21 in room 329 at the State Capitol.
Hawaiʻi became a leader in healthcare reform in the 1970s when the state required healthcare coverage for eligible employees working at least 20 hours per week. Today the state is faced with maintaining its healthcare workforce, with many physicians and healthcare workers leaving the field of healthcare.
The briefing will highlight four goals:

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE GREGG TAKAYAMA APPOINTED CO-CHAIR ON NATIONAL DISASTER RECOVERY STUDY GROUP


Bi-partisan committee focuses public-private cooperation in emergencies
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
– Hawai‘i State Representative Gregg Takayama was appointed Co-Chair of a national steering committee on public-private partnerships on emergency management at the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit last week in Nashville, Tennessee.

The newly formed committee is intended to provide legislators and private sector partners a chance to engage on the future of disaster mitigation and recovery, and pursue coordination between federal, state and private sectors over the next 18 months.
"Although both the federal and state governments have demonstrated a clear emphasis on this issue, coordination and cooperation between these levels of government, as well as the private and nonprofit sectors, needs improvement," said the NCSL Foundation in announcing the formation of the committee.
"Hawai‘i is known nationally for the wide variety of emergencies we’ve faced, from volcanic eruptions to floods to brushes with hurricanes. I look forward to working with our Democratic and

Friday, August 9, 2019

HOUSE TECH SUPPORT OFFICE RECEIVES NATIONAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD


Team recognized at legislative summit for technological work, internal website redesign 
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The Hawaiʻi House of Representatives Tech Support Office has been awarded the Legislative Staff Achievement Award from the National Association of Legislative Information Technology (NALIT). 
The award was presented at the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Nashville yesterday. Team members were presented with a plaque and recognized at the NALIT Business Meeting at the summit.
"IT Director Craig Nakahara and his hard-working staff continually come up with creative and innovative solutions which improve the way legislators and their staffs operate," said Hawaiʻi House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. "This team is doing great work and deserve this recognition."

REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS LEE ELECTED NCEL VICE PRESIDENT


National non-partisan group focuses on environment, climate, energy policies
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – This week at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, Hawai‘i State Representative Chris Lee was elected to be the Vice President of the National Caucus of Environmental Leaders (NCEL).

NCEL is a non-partisan organization of 1200 Republican, Democratic, and independent State Legislators from all 50 states, territories. It is a 501(c)(3) organization that was created by and for state legislators to exchange policy ideas and work collectively toward improving environmental, climate and energy policy.
The NCEL Board of Directors, on which Rep. Lee has served since 2015, is comprised of 14 members, a majority of which are sitting state legislators. As Vice President Rep. Lee will work with newly-elected NCEL President and former Alaska House Minority Leader Beth Kerttula in leading and building an even stronger Caucus.
“As a national thought leader on policies that transition states to renewable energy, cleaner air and water, and sustainability for the future, Rep. Lee has been an invaluable mentor to his peers in the Caucus looking to replicate the success he has had making Hawai‘i a national leader on climate and energy policy,” said Jeff Mauk, executive director of NCEL. “NCEL is fortunate to have such a visionary leader bolstering our efforts to create a healthier environment for all.”

Thursday, August 8, 2019

HOUSE SPEAKER SAIKI NAMED PRESIDENT-ELECT OF NCSL


Bipartisan group provides research, technical support for lawmakers nationwide
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – House Speaker Scott K. Saiki has become president-elect of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), a bipartisan organization serving the nation’s 7,383 state lawmakers and more than 20,000 legislative staff, at the annual Legislative Summit in Nashville.

Speaker Saiki, the current NCSL vice president, succeeds Speaker Robin Vos (R-WI.), Speaker of the Assembly from Wisconsin, who will become NCSL president. NCSL alternates leadership between the two parties each year. Saiki will be named NCSL president at the 2020 Legislative Summit.
“I appreciate the opportunity to serve as President-Elect and look forward to continued collaboration with my colleagues from around the country,” said Saiki. “NCSL has afforded legislators and staff an unrivaled opportunity to learn from the experiences of other states, exchange ideas and come up with policy solutions that can help propel our respective states and, ultimately, our entire nation forward. I look forward to continued work with our Washington office to ensure federal policies are in line with state priorities.” 

Thursday, August 1, 2019

KALIHI CHURCH OFFERS SHELTER TO HOMELESS AS STORMS APPROACH


Rep. Mizuno seeks community, state support to create 'Ohana Zone' for church, farm
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – With two major storms approaching Hawaiʻi, a Kalihi church already known for helping homeless people, is offering to provide shelter for an additional 50 people at its 4-acre Waiʻanae Valley farm, according to Representative John Mizuno, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee.

Rep. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi) is working with Pastor Duk Hwan Kim of Cedar Church Kalihi to quickly assist dozens of homeless people pushed out of Kakaʻako this week with emergency shelter before Hurricane Erick and Tropical Storm Flossie hitting Oʻahu in the next few days.
"These people are wandering the streets with no place to go and two storms approaching," said Mizuno. "They need help and the church is offering to provide them shelter. I'm hoping this can happen before anyone is hurt."

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

LAWMAKER TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO CAP THE COST OF INSULIN TO $100 PER MONTH


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representative John M. Mizuno (D) (District 28 - Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi), Chairman of the House Health Committee, has drafted a bill to cap the co-pay for a 30-day supply of the life-saving drug insulin to $100.

In crafting the legislation, Mizuno said, "Insulin is an excellent example of runaway drug costs throughout our nation. It is my understanding that insulin prices have increased approximately 555 percent in the last decade and a half and therefore has caused co-pays to sky-rocket to unaffordable rates for our people. As painful as it sounds, many of our residents' underuse insulin because of its significant cost. Thereby increasing the potential for emergency room visits and costly intervention health services rather than prevention health maintenance."
Read bill at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1CCTGC0jZK1iaAhca8sGUcDlXZyoZjdr9 

Friday, July 26, 2019

HAWAI‘I ANT LAB EXTENSION OFFICE ESTABLISHED IN WEST HAWAI‘I


New extension agent to expand efforts to combat little fire ants on Hawai‘i Island
Captain Cook, Hawaii – The Hawai‘i Ant Lab, which was established to address the invasive Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia Auropunctata), has hired a new West Hawai‘i extension agent, Kiyoshi Adachi. Adachi previously worked for the Hawai‘i Ant Lab in Hilo as their senior research associate, and as a Pest Control Technician for the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture.


State Representative Nicole Lowen (D-North Kona) secured the funds for the new position during the 2018 legislative session.

“With the spread of fire ant populations in West Hawai‘i, we needed someone on the ground here to meet the growing needs of the West Hawai‘i community. Kiyoshi is the ideal person for this job because he has the needed expertise and experience, and he also understands how to work effectively with local residents and businesses,” said Representative Lowen.

NEW LAW REQUIRES BUSINESSES TO REDEEM GIFT CARDS WITH LESS THAN $5 REMAINING FOR CASH


Representative Matayoshi says gift cards often go unused when only a small amount remains
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – A bill introduced by Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi requires Hawaii merchants to refund consumers the remaining balance of their gift cards if the value remaining is less than five dollars.

"If you are given a gift card and use most of it leaving just a small balance, the card is often just dropped in a drawer and forgotten," said Rep. Matayoshi (Kāne‘ohe, Maunawili, Olomana). "In Hawaiʻi, gift cards don’t expire, so the merchant gets to keep that balance. With so many gift cards issued by mainland companies, that money is being held and spent out of state instead of returned to local consumers."
HB314, now Act 236, requires a certificate issuer to redeem the remaining value of a gift certificate or gift card for cash if it has a balance left of less than $5.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

NEW LAW PLACES TOUGH PENALTIES ON DUI OFFENDERS


Rep. Chris Lee says the goal is to keep drunks off the road, save innocent lives
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – In an effort to end the crisis of drunk drivers killing innocent people, a law passed by the Legislature this session placing tough penalties on DUI offenders is starting to take effect.

"Last year 33 people were killed by drunk drivers in Hawai’i and each death was the result of a choice by a driver knowingly getting behind the wheel drunk. We will tolerate this reckless behavior no more," said Representative Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo), who introduced the bill. "Our new law substantially increases fines, adds years of automatic license revocation, and helps send repeat drunk drivers to prison for up to five years to keep our roads safe."
Since the bill was signed into law this month, at least four repeat DUI offenders have been arrested and face long prison sentences and other penalties under the new law.
Captain Benjamin Moszkowicz, Honolulu Police Department Traffic Division, said on average four to six habitual drunk drivers are arrested each month and this new law makes a third DUI arrest a felony rather than a misdemeanor.
"It is important now that we make sure the public is aware of the penalties, so we can save lives and end the constant fatalities caused by people making bad choices and getting behind the wheel drunk," Moszkowicz said. "Hopefully, this will help prevent some of the habitual folks from reoffending in the future."

Saturday, July 20, 2019

STATEMENT BY THE HOUSE HAWAIIAN CAUCUS CHAIRMAN HOLT


Representative Daniel Holt, Chairman of the House of Representatives Hawaiian Caucus released the following statement asking Governor David Ige to rescind the emergency proclamation on Mauna Kea.
"The Hawaiian culture is one of aloha and respect. These values must be present in all that we do. It has become evident from the number of demonstrations across the State that the events on Mauna Kea impact all residents of Hawai‘i, whether or not they are of Native Hawaiian ancestry. 

"When an issue of this magnitude and sensitivity arises, it demands an approach of utmost care and understanding. We ask that Governor Ige immediately rescind the proclamation of emergency in order to de-escalate the situation and to allow space for the voices of Hawai‘i’s people to be heard. It is inappropriate to respond to peaceful protests with disproportionate force.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

CITY'S BULKY ITEM PICKUP FAILURE TURNING HONOLULU INTO A DIRTY CITY ON A BEAUTIFUL ISLAND


House Representative proposes State step in to solve problem
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The City's pilot project for scheduled bulky item pickup throughout urban Honolulu fails to address the fundamental issues of illegal dumping. As residents work to adjust to the new system, violators continue to discard bulky items in public places.

"The program is clearly not working as evidenced by the piles of mattresses, rusting appliances, infested sofas and other trash growing daily on street corners, at public parks and even at our schools," said Representative Takashi Ohno. "This is not only an eyesore but a health and safety problem that is turning Honolulu into a dirty city on a beautiful island."
Ohno (Nu‘uanu, Liliha, Pu‘unui, Alewa Heights) said the City's system of requiring residents to make appointments for limited bulky items pickups does not solve the more serious problem of "hot spots" where trash regularly is piled in places with no one to hold accountable for the illegal dumping.
"Basic government responsibilities include keeping our communities clean and sidewalks clear for residents," Ohno said. "Right now, the government is failing in that regard."

Monday, July 15, 2019

REPRESENTATIVES MATAYOSHI, OKIMOTO TAKE PART IN DANIEL K. INOUYE LECTURE 'LEADERSHIP IN THE AGE OF POLITICAL CONFLICT'



July 16 event to be live-streamed, replayed on ʻŌlelo
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The fifth and final Daniel K. Inouye Distinguished Lecture at the Library of Congress will feature political strategists David Axelrod and Karl Rove discussing leadership, public discourse, political parties, and campaigns in a changing world, in a conversation moderated by former White House correspondent Ann Compton.

The event, “Leadership in an Age of Political Conflict,” will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 16, in the Coolidge Auditorium in Washington, D.C.
Hawaiʻi Representatives Scot Matayoshi and Val Okimoto, along with other young lawmakers across the county, have submitted video questions for the discussion.
"Our country is terribly divided right now and part of that is due to people not talking to those with differing viewpoints," said Democrat Representative Matayoshi (Kāne‘ohe, Maunawili, Olomana). "Having friends across the aisle helps us to see that we agree on a lot of the end goals, even if we disagree about how to get there. As young leaders, we need to find a way to refocus on the goals and not waste time vilifying the opposition."
"As a member of the minority party in a blue state, it is important to have the voice of the people heard," said Republican Representative Val Okimoto (Mililani Mauka, Mililani, Waipio Acres).  "There are issues we agree and disagree on, but respectful dialogue with aloha is necessary to effectively serve and represent the people of Hawai‘i who may have differing points of view and opinions."

Thursday, July 11, 2019

NEW LAW INCREASES PARKING FINES ON STATE HIGHWAYS


Measure a 'game changer' for neighborhood road safety, less invasive tourism
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Thousands of people are drawn to the popular scenic areas on Kauai's north shore every day, but one long-standing problem has been too many vehicles illegally parked along state highways. This has caused gridlock, safety concerns, and numerous complaints according to Representative Nadine K. Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa, Wailua).

HB 333 HD1 SD2 CD1, a bill introduced by Rep. Nakamura and signed into law July 5 by Gov. David Ige, establishes a new State Highway Enforcement Program. The bill also sets a parking violation surcharge in special no parking zones in addition to other penalties and fines for parking violations on State highways.
“This bill is the direct result of Hāʻena and Wainiha residents raising the concern about illegally parked cars taking over their community and causing health and safety issues," Rep. Nakamura said. "Adding a $200 surcharge to the existing parking fine of $35 will deter visitors from parking in the newly established 'no parking' zone."

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

STATE CAPITOL TO HOST LIGHTS FOR LIBERTY O‘AHU


WHO:             Representative Tina Wildberger,
Partner organizations include The ACLU of Hawai‘i, The Legal Clinic, AAUW Hawai‘i, Hawaii J20+, Catholic Charities Hawai‘i, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawai‘i, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Indivisible Hawai‘i, Americans for Democratic Action, Hawaiʻi Children's Action Network

WHAT:          Lights for Liberty vigil to end human detention camps


WHEN:          Friday, July 12
                        4-6 p.m.

                       
WHERE:       Hawai‘i State Capitol Rotunda
                        415 S. Beretania Street


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The public is invited to attend the Lights for Liberty O‘ahu vigil at the State Capitol being held in solidarity with hundreds of similar events nationwide to protest the inhumane treatment of children and migrants at border detention camps.
The event will include musical guests, spoken word performances, guest speakers, and tables with information about organizations who provide services to immigrants. Food trucks featuring varieties of ethnic cuisines will be parked nearby.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

STATEMENT BY MAUI REPRESENTATIVE MCKELVEY ON VETO OF TAX FAIRNESS LEGISLATION


Representative Angus L.K. McKelvey (West Maui, Mā‘alaea, North Kīhei) released the following statement on Gov. David Ige's veto of Senate Bill 301 - Real Estate Investment Trusts.

"As Chair of House Economic Development & Business Committee, which oversaw the measure, I’m very disappointed the Governor would choose to veto SB 301, which sought to create tax parity and ensure those who profit off our states natural resources pay their fair share. I disagree that this measure would have chilled the investment climate in the state of Hawai‘i when our very climate itself has and always will provide an attractive investment to those around the world.

"Paradise is our natural resource and if people are going to make money from it, then they need to pay their fair share. Other states tax the financial gain of their natural resources by outside entities and as such, this was much-needed revenue for much-needed tax relief, to

STATEMENT BY REPRESENTATIVE SAN BUENAVENTURA ON VETO OF FORFEITURE BILL


Rep. Joy A. San Buenaventura (Puna) released the following statement on the veto of House Bill 748 by Governor David Ige today.
"I introduced this bill to prevent the ongoing seizing and selling of assets from people that have been arrested but not convicted of a crime. I am very disappointed in this veto as are so many people and organizations fighting to protect the rights and property of our residents.
"This bill would have required a criminal conviction before law enforcement could forfeit property, and any forfeiture revenue would be directed into the state's general fund, not of into police and prosecutor's office budgets which is a clear conflict of interest.

STATEMENT BY MAUI REPRESENTATIVE MCKELVEY ON VETO OF MOLOKINI CONSERVATION BILL


Representative Angus L.K. McKelvey (West Maui, Mā‘alaea, North Kīhei) released the following statement on Gov. David Ige's veto of his bill to limit commercial permits at Molokini.

"I am very disappointed that my bill to limit the number of commercial use permits for the Molokini Shoal Marine Life Conservation District has been vetoed. HB 1133 would not only have been good for the environment and business but would also benefit tourism by making a visit to the shoal a better experience for visitors.
"Policy should be set by the legislature to allow for public input and transparency and not by the DLNR which chooses to hold limited public hearings and arbitrarily decide what standards to use. We are not in the business of cutting off the public from government. While there are concerns about the size of boats under the current permit system, nothing in this measure prohibits the DLNR from addressing this issue in rules pursuant to the statute being passed, as it should be. 

Monday, July 8, 2019

BILL TO REVITALIZE ALOHA STADIUM SIGNED INTO LAW


Measure will fund a new stadium and provide economic development for the area
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
– A bill to dramatically revitalize Aloha Stadium by rethinking its use, management and the experience being provided for residents and visitors alike was signed into law today by Gov. David Ige.

HB1586 HD1 SD2 CD1, now Act 268, establishes the Stadium Development District comprising all state land under the Stadium Authority's jurisdiction. The bill authorizes the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) to facilitate the development of all state property within the District. The bill appropriates $20 million in general funds to develop the district for public use and authorizes the issuance of up to $180 million in revenue bonds and $150 million in general obligation bonds to build a new stadium.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

GOVERNOR SIGNS HOUSE BILL COMMITTING ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO RELIEVE RENTAL HOUSING CRISIS


Appropriation continues commitment of lawmakers to provide affordable housing
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
– Providing affordable rental housing has been a top priority for Hawaiʻi lawmakers and with the signing of House Bill 1312 by Governor David Ige today, the state has move a step closer to that goal.

HB1312 HD1 SD1 CD1 authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates $50 million each in 2019 and 2020 into the Rental Housing Revolving Fund.  This is in addition to the $35 -$38 million from the conveyance tax that is placed annually into the RHRF, bringing the total appropriation to about $170 million for two fiscal years.
"By passing and signing this bill the Legislature and the Governor continue their resolve to address Hawaiʻi's affordable rental housing crisis for the whole spectrum of local households," said House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakōlea, McCully, Pāwa‘a, Mānoa).

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

GOVERNOR SIGNS THREE WOMEN'S LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS BILLS


Measures address civil rights, prostitution offenses and domestic violence
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
– Three bills supported by the Hawaiʻi Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) were signed into law today by Governor David Ige. The bills, part of a package of measures introduced by the group this past session, address civil rights (Title IX), prostitution offenses, and domestic violence.

"This year's package reflects a strong collaboration between the women's community and the legislature," said WLC co-convener Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker (South and West Maui). "We worked with many different stakeholders to create thoughtful solutions to pressing issues like women's health care, domestic violence and gender equity."
The bipartisan WLC, is comprised of women elected to the State House of Representatives and the Senate. Along with Sen. Baker, the other co-conveners for 2019 include Representatives Lauren Matsumoto and Linda Ichiyama and Senator Laura H. Thielen.
"Thank you to our women's caucus members and to our male colleagues for their support of our WLC package," said Rep. Ichiyama (Moanalua Valley, Salt Lake, Āliamanu). "Today is the fruition of many months of hard work and we are grateful for everyone's contributions."

LAWMAKERS, CITIZENS, POLITICAL GROUPS URGE GOVERNOR NOT TO VETO BILL THAT PREVENTS ASSETS BEING TAKEN FROM INNOCENT PEOPLE


House Bill 748 would allow asset forfeiture only after a criminal is convicted of a felony
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Lawmakers, concerned citizens and representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaiʻi and Young Progressives Demanding Action, gathered at the State Capitol today to ask Gov. David Ige to not veto House Bill 748 which prevents the seizing and selling of assets from a person arrested but not convicted of a crime.

HB748 HD2 SD2 would require a criminal conviction before law enforcement could forfeit property, and any forfeiture revenue would be directed into the state's general fund, instead of into police and prosecutor's office budgets.
Under current civil asset forfeiture laws, police can seize property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner is never charged with or convicted of a crime.
Rep. Joy A. San Buenaventura (Puna), who introduced of the bill, said an audit of the Attorney General's Forfeiture Program in 2017 showed there are no rules in place to return assets to a person not convicted of any crime.
"Assets from innocent people have been taken and sold for 35 years. It is time to change that," said Rep. San Buenaventura. "This bill will make sure that assets are only taken away from criminals, not innocent people."

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

LEGISLATIVE BILLS TO PROVIDES FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS SIGNED INTO LAW



Measures expand HINET Program and continue successful Promise Program to help with tuition and basic needs
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – To offset the costs of a community college student's basic needs such as food and transportation, and paying for tuition, state lawmakers passed two bills last session appropriating more than $2.3 million in state funds to help our young people achieve their dream of a college education.


Governor David Ige today signed one of these bills, SB50 SD2 HD1 the Hawai'i Nutrition Employment and Training Program (HINET), into law during a ceremony at the State Capitol.

  • This bill appropriates $910,000 ($455,000 for each of the next two fiscal years) to continue the HINET program and hire seven full-time instructional and student support positions.
  • HINET helps students cover the cost of food, transportation, books, and necessary tools.
  • HINET is a workforce and education training program offered to students who receive or are eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and are enrolled at least part-time at a University of Hawaiʻi community college in an approved program.
  • HINET staff work with students one-on-one to address their needs and goals, and match them with training.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

STATE BASEBALL CHAMPION NĀNĀKULI HAWKS TO BE HONORED BY LEEWARD LAWMAKERS


WHO:             Representatives Stacelynn K.M. Eli and Cedric Asuega Gates, and Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro


WHAT:          Honoring the coaches and players of the Nānākuli Hawks 12U Baseball Team


WHEN:          Wednesday, June 26
                        6:30 p.m.

                       
WHERE:       Nānākuli High and Intermediate School and Nānākuli Elementary School
                        Team practice area below the football field, next to the basketball court


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – State Representatives Stacelynn K.M. Eli and Cedric Asuega Gates, and State Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro will present Congratulatory Certificates to the coaches and players of the Nānākuli Hawks 12U (12 years old and under) Baseball Team to celebrate their recent victory in the 2019 Hawaiʻi 12/70 Division Baseball Championship.
"We are so proud of these young athletes," said Rep. Eli (‘Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko ‘Olina, Kahe Point, Nānākuli, Lualualei, Mā‘ili). "They fought hard to earn this victory and are now going on to represent our state on the mainland."

Monday, June 24, 2019

STATEMENT BY HOUSE SPEAKER SCOTT K. SAIKI ON THE GOVERNOR'S INTENT TO VETO LIST


House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki released the following statement on the intent to veto list announced by Governor David Ige.

"The House Democratic Caucus will meet tomorrow morning to discuss the Governor's list.  We will also consult with the Senate leadership concerning the possibility of convening an override session if any bills are actually vetoed.

"If an override session is not held, any vetoed measures can be reintroduced in the 2020 legislative session. We will use this interim to address the Governor's objections to vetoed bills."

According to the Hawai‘i State Constitution, the Legislature may convene before noon on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, for the sole purpose of acting upon any such bill returned by the Governor.

On July 9, 2019, any measure passed during the 2019 legislative session that has not been signed or vetoed by Governor Ige will become law with or without his signature.

Friday, June 21, 2019

REP. SAN BUENAVENTURA TO HOST PUNA BOAT RAMP MEETING


WHO:             Representative Joy San Buenaventura
                        Robert "Bob" Masuda; First Deputy, State Department of Land and Natural Resources
                        Representative Chris Todd
                        Matt Kaneali'i-Kleinfelder; Hawai‘i County Council, District 5
Diane Ley, Director, County of Hawaii Department of Research & Development


WHAT:          Community meeting to discuss the Puna boat ramp

WHEN:          Saturday, July 13
                        1-3 p.m.

WHERE:       Sacred Hearts Church Pahoa
                        15-3003 Pahoa Village Road

Puna, Hawai‘i –Robert "Bob" Masuda of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will take part in a community meeting Saturday, July 13 to discuss the Puna boat ramp study.  State Representative Joy San Buenaventura will discuss the 2019 legislative funding for the boat ramp.  County Council person Matt Kaneali'i-Kleinfelder and Director of Research & Development Diane Ley will be available to answer questions.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE MIZUNO NAMED CO-CHAIR FOR COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS' HEALTHY STATES TASK FORCE SUBCOMMITTEE


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representative John M. Mizuno has been selected as a Co-Chair on a subcommittee of The Council of State Governments’ national Healthy States Task Force. The Task Force and subcommittees will convene on Monday, June 17 - 19 in Lexington, Kentucky.

The subcommittee's dedicated purpose is to develop a framework on the capacity, preparedness, and resiliency in healthcare access and delivery during and in the aftermath of a natural disaster or health crisis.

“The CSG Healthy States National Task Force will bring together a diverse group of state policymakers to explore ways states can best meet the challenges presented by the current health care system and leverage the revolutionary changes occurring in the health sector,” said CSG Executive Director David Adkins.

Mizuno (District 28 - Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi) will co-chair the Capacity, Preparedness and Resiliency, or CPR, subcommittee. The subcommittee will examine case studies and review recent state responses to health crises, including ways to prevent and/or reduce the impact of health crisis through preventive care.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

GOVERNOR SIGNS REPRESENTATIVE NAKAMURA'S BILL DURING CEREMONY CELEBRATING REOPENING OF HĀʻENA STATE PARK


Measure extends disaster relief appropriations following disastrous 2018 flooding


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –At a community celebration and blessing for the reopening of Hāʻena State Park Wednesday, Governor David Ige signed a bill introduced by Representative Nadine K. Nakamura to extend disaster relief funds for areas affected by the disastrous 2018 floods.

HB329 HD1 SD2 amends the Kaua‘i flooding disaster relief appropriation made in Act 12, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018. The new bill extends the lapse date of the appropriation to June 30, 2020 and allows funds to be used for mitigation.
“This one-year extension gives the State, the County of Kauai, and the City and County of Honolulu one additional year to continue the important work of rebuilding more resilient communities,” said Rep. Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa, Wailuā).

WEST HAWAI‘I LAWMAKERS TO HOST LEGISLATIVE UPDATE, TALK STORY SESSION JULY 3


WHO:             Representative Nicole Lowen
                        Senator Dru Kanuha
                        County Councilwoman Karen Eoff
                        County Councilwoman Maile David
                        County Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas

WHAT:          Community Forum/Talk Story Session

WHEN:          Wednesday, July 3
                        5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

WHERE:       West Hawai‘i Civic Center
74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway, Council Chambers


Monday, June 3, 2019

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS FOR DISTRICT 49 TOTAL $31.3 MILLION


Rep. Matayoshi secured funding for schools, passed consumer protection legislation
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) earmarked for House District 49 through 2021 include $31.3 million targeting improvements for schools, the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility, Hawaiʻi State Veterans Cemetery, and Hawaiʻi State Hospital.

"These CIP funds are an investment in our community," said Representative Scot Z. Matayoshi (Kāneʻohe, Maunawili, Olomana). "Infrastructure improvements impact our every-day lives, and I want to thank my colleagues in the legislature for their support in securing funding for these priorities."
In addition to securing CIP funds, Rep. Matayoshi introduced and passed legislation requiring gift certificate and gift card issuers to automatically cash out the remaining balances of gift certificates with less than $5 remaining, starting in 2020 (HB314 HD1 SD1).

Friday, May 31, 2019

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS FOR DISTRICT 48 TOTAL $30.5 MILLION


Rep. Kitagawa secured funding for schools, other projects, passed measures on key issues
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) earmarked for House District 48 through 2021 include $30.5 million targeting school, library, transportation, and hospital improvements. In addition to securing CIP funds, Representative Lisa Kitagawa (Kāneʻohe, Kahaluʻu, Waiāhole) introduced and was instrumental in passing measures aimed at education, conservation, and homelessness.

"These projects and policies are our tax dollars at work, and it's my job to ensure our community sees these funds and initiatives making a positive difference in their lives," said Rep. Kitagawa.
CIP District 48 funding for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021:
Schools
  • $525,000 for Benjamin Parker Middle School for a boundary survey, retaining wall replacements, and drainage improvements

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

WAI‘ANAE ELEMENTARY TO RECEIVE $100K DONATION FROM LOCAL BUSINESS OWNER


Donation to convert library into innovative student learning center
 


WHO:             Representatives Cedric Asuega Gates and Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro to present honorary certificate; Charles Hew-Len of Hew-Len Group

WHAT:          Honorary Donation Certificate Ceremony

WHEN:          Wednesday, May 29
                        8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

WHERE:       Waiʻanae Elementary School
                        85-220 McArthur Street

Wai'anae, Hawaii – Charles Hew-Len, CEO of Hew-Len Group, is scheduled to make a generous donation of $100,000 to Waiʻanae Elementary School to assist in the conversion of its library into an innovative student learning center. Representative Cedric Asuega Gates (Waiʻanae, Mākaha, Mākua, Māʻili) and Senator Maile S.L. Shimabukuro (Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nānākuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Mākaha, Mākua) will present an honorary certificate during the ceremony.

Friday, May 24, 2019

STATE CIP FUNDS RELEASED TO BENEFIT WAIMEA SCHOOL


Total of $1.6 million to be used to buy land for adjacent parking lot
  Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – State Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds totaling $1.6 million were released by Governor David Ige yesterday to finance land acquisition for a parking lot adjacent to Waimea Elementary and Middle School on Hawaiʻi Island

Representative David A. Tarnas, who represents District 7 where the school is located, said this is an important safety measure for students and families in the area.
"Mahalo to the Governor and the Legislature for providing these funds," said Rep. Tarnas (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala). "Acquiring this property is a top priority for me and the Waimea Elementary and Middle School community because it will provide a safe location for families to drop off and pick up the young students - especially on the many rainy and windy days we have in Waimea.

LAWMAKER CONCERNED WITH PATIENT DUMPING, POSSIBLE MEDICAID VIOLATIONS AT A COMMUNITY MEDICAID FOSTER HOME


Rep. Mizuno says move may put $2.6 billion in Federal Medicaid funding in jeopardy
  Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representative John M. Mizuno, Chair of the House Health Committee, is concerned that a Community Care Family Foster Home (CCFFH), hence a Medicaid care home, may force a current private pay patient to leave its three-patient facility because that patient is transitioning from private pay status to Medicaid pay status.

“I was contacted by a person concerned that his father, who is a private pay client in a Medicaid community care home, would be kicked out of his current care home because he will become a Medicaid status patient," Rep. Mizuno said.
Mizuno said the fee that homes can charge Medicaid patients each month is less than they charge a private patient. But Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes Sec. 321-481 provides in part, “The department, in its discretion, may certify a [community Medicaid] home for a third adult who is at the nursing facility level of care and is a Medicaid recipient.”
"What this means is that Medicaid care homes are allowed no more than two patients, however, if in the discretion of the health department such a Medicaid care home is allowed a third patient, such a patient MUST be a Medicaid patient," Mizuno said.