Friday, February 14, 2020

COMMITTEES TO HEAR TESTIMONY ON EARLY LEARNING BILL


WHO:             The House Committee on Lower & Higher Education
                        House Finance Committee

WHAT:          Committees to discuss the Access to Learning bill

WHEN:          Tuesday, February 18
                        2 p.m.
                       
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Room 309


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Lower & Higher Education and the House Finance Committee will hold a joint hearing to discuss HB2543 relating to Access to Learning on Tuesday, February 18 at 2 p.m. in room 309 at the State Capitol.

The bill transfers the Executive Office on Early Learning from the Department of Education to the Department of Human Services. Renames the Office as the Learning to Grow Agency. Focuses the jurisdiction of the agency to children who are 3 to 4 years old or will be eligible for kindergarten within two years. Establishes the goal of providing all children who are 3 to 4 years old or will be eligible for kindergarten within two years with access to learning through an early learning program by the year 2030. Appropriates funds.

The bill is part of eight House and Senate bills introduced this session that make up the 2020 joint legislative package to provide real economic benefits for Hawaiʻi's working-class families and

BILL ON PHOTO RED LIGHT IMAGING PROJECT ADVANCES


Drivers running red lights endanger lives, face fines
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Judiciary Committee yesterday voted to approve HB1676 HD1 that would establish a photo red light imaging pilot program. The bill now goes to the House Finance Committee for further consideration.

HB1676 HD1 establishes a three-year photo red light imaging detector system pilot program. The bill authorizes any impacted county to administer the photo red light imaging detector system pilot program. It also establishes a pilot program account as a special account within the general fund. The bill requires proceeds of fines to be expended in the county from which they were collected for operation of the photo red light imaging system program. The pilot program would sunset on June 30, 2023.
The committee found that the prevalence of motorists who violate Hawaiʻi's traffic laws, particularly

Thursday, February 13, 2020

REPRESENTATIVE YAMANE'S HAWAIʻI NATIONAL GUARD BILL APPROVED BY HOUSE COMMITTEE

Measure supports retirement benefits for guard members
Honolulu, HawaiʻiAn important bill supporting Hawaiʻi’s local national guard members and their families was introduced this legislative session by Representative Ryan I. Yamane (Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele) and was unanimously passed today by the House Committee on Labor & Public Employment.
HB 2485 requires the State Employees Retirement System (ERS) to conduct a study and recommend state retirement benefits for Hawaiʻi National Guard Members who are activated under state active duty orders but are not state or county employees.
The bill was introduced in response to recent state active duty orders related to the 2018 Kauaʻi disaster and lava events. In 2018, Hawaiʻi’s National Guard members were activated multiple times to provide disaster response under the Governor’s emergency proclamations. These emergency proclamations and the State Active Duty Orders were extended multiple times, likewise, extending Hawaiʻi National Guard activations and disaster response for lengthy periods of time.
 “Some of these 2018 state active duty activations led Hawaiʻi National Guard members to serve as long as six months of continued disaster response services, away from their private jobs, and their families,” said Representative Yamane. “With the rise of disaster events in Hawaiʻi and anticipated increased risk due to Hawaiʻi’s changing climate, we may need to activate our Hawaiʻi National Guard members more in the future to serve as Hawaiʻi’s disaster responders. If Hawaiʻi’s National Guard is going to be our first responders in disaster events in our local communities, then they deserve Hawaiʻi state retirement benefits for their service to our communities and families.”

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

HAWAIIAN CAUCUS WEEK HONORS NATIVE HAWAIIAN CONTRIBUTIONS


House recognizes key players in perpetuating Hawaiian culture

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Hawaiian Caucus week at the State Legislature will culminate with an open exhibition of groups promoting the language, history, and education of our host culture on the fourth floor of the State Capitol from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, February 14.

Hawaiian Caucus Day will feature more than 60 exhibitors including Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, Lā Pūkoʻa, the Council for Native Advancement, the Hawaiʻi State Archives, the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and many more.
There will also be an educational briefing by the State Department of Land and Natural Resources on the State Legacy Land Conservation Program from 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in room 414. The program provides grants to community organizations and government agencies that strive to purchase and protect land that shelters exceptional, unique, threatened, and endangered resources.
Representative Daniel Holt (Kalihi, Pālama, Iwilei, Chinatown), co-convener of the Native Hawaiian Caucus, said it is important to publicly recognize and honor the Hawaiian community leaders working to perpetuate our host culture.
"As the Hawaiian community continues to gain political momentum and unity, it is important to recognize and honor those that have been working to teach and share Hawaiian arts, language and skills," said Representative Holt. "The Hawaiian people honor our kupuna and continue to work toward the renewal of our culture and values."

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

REPRESENTATIVE TARNAS' BILL ALLOWING REMOTE TESTIMONY IN LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS PASSES HOUSE AND SENATE


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Have you ever felt frustrated by having to fly all the way to Oʻahu just to have your voice heard at the State Capitol? Or have you submitted written testimony but been unable to speak or answer questions from legislators during legislative hearings? 
  
A bill addressing these challenges to legislative access passed its final hearing today in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. Introduced by Representative David Tarnas (North Kona, South Kohala, North Kohala), HB1153 HD1 SD2 would improve public access to the legislative process by establishing a remote legislative access program that would allow individuals to present oral

Monday, February 10, 2020

HOUSE HEALTH COMMITTEE TO HEAR TRUTH IN LABELING AND FOOD SECURITY ACT BILL


WHO:            Rep. John M. Mizuno, Chair, House Health Committee
                       
WHAT:          Hearing on HB1663, HD1

WHEN:          Tuesday, February 11
                        9:30 a.m.

WHERE:       State Capitol
                        Conference Room 329


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The House Committee on Health will hold a hearing on truth in labeling and the Food Security Act at 9:30 a.m. February 11 in room 329 at the State Capitol.
Representative John M. Mizuno, Chair of the House Health Committee, said the measure is designed to safeguard our food and milk handling while supporting local sustainability.
"Because of news relating to milk shipped to Hawaiʻi failing the federal safety guidelines, one report had mainland milk having five times the amount of bacteria content allowed by federal standards, this definitely is a consumer protection and health issue we need to look into," Rep. Mizuno said. "Moreover, I think this bill represents our effort to ensure truth in labeling for our consumers and that the overall health and safety standards by the federal government are being followed by our processing facilities and distributors in Hawaiʻi. At the end of the day, we simply want to ensure we are in compliance with the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, including handling procedures, temperature verifications, and proper refrigerated transportation of all perishable foods. I think our consumers will appreciate government regulation protecting the health and safety of all people in addition to making sure we have truth in labeling."

Friday, February 7, 2020

HOUSE WATER, LAND, & HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE TO HEAR RESOLUTION ON FORMING BLUE RIBBON RECONCILIATION COMMISSION


WHO:             Representative Ryan I. Yamane, Chair, House Committee on Water, Land, & Hawaiian Affairs

WHAT:          Hearing on resolution to convene a reconciliation commission

WHEN:          Monday, February 10
                        9 a.m.
                        
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Auditorium

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Water, Land, & Hawaiian Affairs will hold a hearing on HCR 37 at 9 a.m. February 10 in the State Capitol Auditorium.
The State House of Representatives recognizes the need for inclusion and collaboration. The resolution requests that the Governor convene a Blue Ribbon Reconciliation Commission to examine and formulate a reconciliation process relating to issues of past, present, and future importance to the Native Hawaiian people and the State of Hawaiʻi.
Persons wishing to offer comments should submit testimony at least 24 hours prior to the hearing.  Testimony should indicate:
·    Testifier's name with position/title and organization;
·    The Committee(s) to which the comments are directed;
·    The date and time of the hearing; and
·    Measure number. 

STATE CIP FUNDS RELEASED FOR KOHALA MIDDLE SCHOOL COVERED PLAYCOURT


$3.6 million to be used to finance design and construction 
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – State Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds totaling $3.6 million were released by Governor David Ige today to finance design and construction for a covered play court at Kohala Middle School.
 
Representative David A. Tarnas, who represents District 7, where Kohala Middle School is located, said this project is a priority for the school community, and that he is working with the State Department of Education (DOE) to continue moving the project forward.
"A covered play court will provide many benefits to the Kohala Middle School community," said Rep. Tarnas (North Kona, South Kohala, North Kohala). "This facility will allow the Middle School students to play outside in all weather, especially Kohala's rainy days. It will also provide the school with a flexible space for creative projects, school gatherings, and celebrations. Because Kohala Middle School currently has no on-campus space that can hold all its students at once, this project has been a top priority for the school. I am working with the State Department of Education to continue to move this project forward and meet the deadlines to use this funding, including finalizing the play court design, obtaining the necessary building permits, and receiving bids for the construction work."

REPRESENTATIVE LOWEN ANNOUNCES RELEASE OF FUNDS FOR KONA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT


$8 million earmarked for USDA Inspection Building
 Honolulu, HawaiʻiRepresentative Nicole E. Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Hōlualoa, Kalaoa, Honokōhau) today announced that Governor David Ige has released $8 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds to be used for a new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Inspection Building at the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keāhole.

"The release of these funds will greatly improve the biosecurity of Hawaii Island," said Representative Lowen. "With an increase in international arrivals and air travel overall, the capacity for agricultural inspections that this facility will provide is essential."  

HOUSE COMMITTEE PASSES BILL ON FORFEITURE OF STATE BENEFITS WHEN FELONY COMMITTED


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi HB 2678, a bill introduced by House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, passed out of the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment today. The bill now moves to the House floor for second reading.
HB 2678, requires forfeiture of a state or county officer's or employee's compensation and fringe benefits upon a conviction for a felony committed in the course of government service.

REPRESENTATIVE McKELVEY ANNOUNCES CIP FUNDS RELEASED FOR LAHAINA HEALTH CENTER


A portion of the $506,000 will be used for improvements on Maui
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Rep. Angus L.K. McKelvey (West Maui, Mā‘alaea, North Kīhei) today announced that Governor David Ige has released $506,000 in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funds, part of which will be used for the design and constructions for renovations, repairs and improvements at the Lahaina Comprehensive Health Center on Maui.

"It is important that health centers in smaller communities on the neighbor islands get financial support from the state to help them treat and care for the residents of those communities," said Rep. McKelvey. "I would like to thank the Governor for releasing these funds that the Maui delegation secured."

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Representative Scott Nishimoto Recognized as 2019 Legislator of the Year


Honolulu, Hawaii – On January 29, 2020, the Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i (FLH) recognized Representative Scott Nishimoto as the 2019 Legislator of the Year for his commitment to improving, supporting, and strengthening the Hawai‘i State Library system.

The Friends of Library organization presents the Mahalo award annually to a state legislator who demonstrates continued support and dedication to the Hawai‘i State public libraries throughout the previous legislative session. Representative Nishimoto has been a steadfast supporter of library services in the McCully-Moili‘ili community. He recognizes the necessity for providing high-quality education and understands the important role the library system plays in cultivating learning opportunities in the State of Hawai‘i.

FLH President Lynnae Lee opened the Legislative breakfast and welcomed guests to the Hawai‘i State Library. Members of the Hawai‘i State Legislature, Hawai‘i State Public Library System, and Friends of the Library joined in celebrating the Mahalo Award presentation to Representative Nishimoto by Executive Director Nainoa Mau.

January 29, 2020 – (Pictured from left to right) Senators Michelle Kidani and Russell Ruderman, and Representatives Della Au Belatti, Dee Morikawa, Chris Lee, Scott Nishimoto, Troy Hashimoto, Scot Matayoshi, Lisa Kitagawa, Aaron Johanson, Mark Nakashima, Sylvia Luke, and Val Okimoto celebrate presentation of FLH's 2019 Legislator of the Year Award to Representative Nishimoto.



Tuesday, February 4, 2020

REP. YAMANE'S SUSTAINABILITY BILLS MOVING FORWARD AT LEGISLATURE


Measures deal with net-zero energy, planning and implementation of goals, climate change coordination, and a green new deal study
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Four bills intended to keep critical sustainability issues moving forward were introduced this legislative session by Representative Ryan I. Yamane (Mililani, Waipio Gentry, Waikele) and have been assigned to be heard in House committee hearings this week.

"These set of bills are taking a bold step in planning our sustainable future. These bills address climate change, sustainable food production, and long term land use," said Rep. Yamane. "The goals of these measures is to imbed the vision of sustainability in all of our future decisions."
HB2704 will be heard before a joint hearing of the House Energy & Environmental Protection and the Water, Land & Hawaiian Affairs committees at 11 a.m. Wednesday, February 5 in room 325 at the State Capitol.
HB2704 requires the State Department of Land and Natural Resources and the State Judiciary to make improvements to state facilities to reach goals of net-zero energy and 100 percent water reclamation by January 1, 2035 and January 1, 2045, respectively

LAWMAKERS PROPOSE MEASURES TO STRENGTHEN GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION, MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM


Bills would fill 'gaps' in existing law to protect police, community 
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The recent tragic incident involving the deaths of two Honolulu Police Officers last month has highlighted the need to improve mental health care and ensure we prevent guns from getting into the hands of those suffering from mental illness.


During a press conference today, House and Senate legislators, law enforcement officers and state officials discussed the collaborative effort taking place this session to consider several bills related to gun violence prevention and mental health.

"House and Senate committees this week will be taking up 18 measures in preventing gun violence. Some of these measures were drafted with the help of the Honolulu Police Department prior to the tragic events of January 19," said Representative Gregg Takayama, Chair of the House Public Safety, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee. "That tragedy has heightened the urgency with which we are considering measures dealing with gun violence and mental health. Yes, we have some of the strongest gun laws in the country, but we are constantly on the lookout for loop holes to improve the safety of our officers and the public."

Monday, February 3, 2020

HOUSE RESOLUTION CALLS ON THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TO INCLUDE HAWAIIAN AIRLINES IN FUTURE RANKINGS


Top-five rated airline is absent from newspaper's 2019 best, worse survey
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and a super majority of House Representatives have introduced House Resolution 18 and House Concurrent Resolution 34 which asks the Wall Street Journal to include Hawaiian Airlines in future best-worst airlines surveys conducted by the newspaper.

Hawaiian Airlines, which has been in service for 90 years, was named one of the top five best airlines in the United States in 2019 by numerous websites, including Conde Nast, Kayak, The Points Guy, Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, and WalletHub.

Forbes rated Hawaiian Airlines as the fifth-highest quality airline in the United States in 2019.

The Wall Street Journal recently published its list of "The Best and Worst U.S. Airlines of 2019" but did not include Hawaiian Airlines in the report. The survey ranked nine airlines based on on-time arrivals, cancelled flights, extreme delays, two-hour tarmac delays, mishandled baggage, involuntary bumping, and complaints.

HOUSE, SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTIONS ASK GOVERNOR TO FORM BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION TO EXAMINE NATIVE HAWAIIAN ISSUES


Commission to establish a reconciliation process for past, present, future issues
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Speaker Scott K. Saiki and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi have introduced House Concurrent Resolution 35 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 37 asking the Governor to form a blue ribbon commission to examine and establish a reconciliation process relating to past, present and future issues of importance to Native Hawaiians and the State of Hawaiʻi.