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."