Friday, January 30, 2009

Women's Legislative Caucus Package dedicated to Madelyn Payne Dunham

Rep. Marilyn Lee addresses Hawaii Women's Legislative Caucus

The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus unveiled their 2009 legislative package on Thursday, January 29, 2009, dedicated to the late Madelyn Payne Dunham, former Hawaii businesswoman and grandmother of President Barack Obama. Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, Mrs. Dunham's granddaughter and the President's sister, sent the following:
On the occasion of the dedication of the 2009 Women's Legislative Caucus Package to the late Madelyn Payne Dunham:

A big mahalo to the Hawaii State Women's Legislative Caucus for recognizing our Tutu's life and her contributions to the State of Hawaii.

I am proud that today's legislation is devoted to women's health and welfare. Our grandmother took care of all of us through difficult times, and she did so without complaint. Because of her financial and emotional support, my brother--our President-- was given access to the finest education and a broad range of educative life experiences, all of which have helped to give stronger shape and direction to his enormous talent. He has acknowledged his debt to her.

There are so many women out there who are in need of real recognition; they are doing just as much for their families and many are struggling to maneuver across the many hurdles that confront them in these difficult economic times. May these bills be supported in honor of these women's contributions to the countless keiki in need of their help.

-- Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng
January 29, 2009
Mr. Ah Nee Leong and Rep. Faye Hanohano

The caucus also remembered Ah Quon McElrath, the dedicatee of the 2005 Women’s Legislative Caucus, who passed away on December 9, 2008. Ah Nee Leong, A.Q.'s brother, attended the press conference in her honor.

Theme: Women’s Financial Stability. As our state and our nation face an historic economic crisis, the Women’s Legislative Caucus has selected financial stability as the theme of this year’s package. The crisis may have a greater impact on women than men, as women differ from men in terms of asset ownership and earnings. In addition, many women care for children, an ailing spouse, or aging parents, and this may prevent their active participation in the work force or may force early retirement.

The Legislative Package of Bills and Resolutions:


HB327/SB779 – Relating to Cigarettes. Prohibits sale, distribution, and import of purse packs of cigarettes or cigarette packs containing fewer than 20 cigarettes per pack.

HB328/SB780 – Relating to Cancer. Appropriates funds for cervical and breast cancer screening, education, and outreach.

HB329/SB777 – Relating to Health. Requires the State to reject all Title V federal funding for mandated abstinence-only-until marriage programs.

HB330/SB778 – Relating to Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Requires any recipient of state funding to provide medically accurate sexuality education.

Human Services

HB331/SB784 - Relating to Real Property. Requires that tenants of rental property be given sixty days written notice to vacate when the rental property is sold in foreclosure. Requires that tenants of rental property be notified when foreclosure proceedings have begun on the rental property.

HB332/SB782 – Relating to Employment Security. Establishes eligibility for unemployment insurance.

HB333/SB783 – Relating to Taxation. Creates a state earned income tax credit funded initially with TANF funds. Restricts the interest charged by tax preparers to clients who claim the earned income tax credit.

HB334/SB781 – Relating to Community Reintegration. Requires the Department of Public Safety to develop a plan to use current funding resources to improve community-based programs to assist female offenders in transitioning from prison back into the community.

Public Safety

HB335/SB776 – Relating to an Automated Victim Notification System. Establishes a statewide automated victim notification system to provide victims of crime with current information regarding the custody status of the offender in the victim’s case.

HB336/SB785 – Relating to DNA Collection for Arrestees of Violent Crimes. Requires DNA collection from those arrested for violent crimes.

House Resolutions

HCR16 – Addressing “under banking”. Identifying the under banked population, encouraging local action to encourage savings and development of credit and formulation of an inventory of bank services available to low income persons.

HCR15 – Encouraging stakeholders and interested parties to work together to establish paid family leave or similar wage replacement programs to assist family caregivers. The Legislature urges the business community, the labor community, health care advocates, and the general public to work together to develop programs for assistance to family caregivers such as wage replacement and paid family leave.

Dedication to Madelyn Payne Dunham. Mrs. Dunham is not only the grandmother of newly-elected President Barack Obama, but was also a feminist pioneer in the banking industry. She worked her way up the corporate ladder to become the first female vice-president of Bank of Hawaii.

Remembering Ah Quon McElrath. “A.Q.” as she was called by colleagues and friends, was a tireless defender of the underdog. As an integral part of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), she helped unified workers fight for wages and working conditions. She remained active in social, political and human rights issues.

Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus Members. Representatives Karen Awana, Della Au Belatti, Lyla Berg, Rida Cabanilla, Mele Carroll, Corinne Ching, Cindy Evans, Lynn Finnegan, Faye Hanohano, Sharon Har, Marilyn Lee, Sylvia Luke, Barbara Marumoto, Hermina Morita, Kymberly Pine, Maile Shimabukuro, Cynthia Thielen, Jessica Wooley. Senators Rosalyn Baker, Suzanne Chun Oakland, Carol Fukunaga, Colleen Hanabusa, Michelle Kidani, Donna Mercado Kim, Jill Tokuda.

Brief History of the Caucus. The Women’s Legislative Caucus was created over twenty years ago, and is comprised of all of the female legislators in both the House and the Senate of the Hawaii State Legislature. Each year, the Caucus meets to create a package of bills relevant to women in the State of Hawaii. In addition to the bills, the Caucus is involved in supporting community organizations, such as the annual Easter Basket drive that benefits the clients of the Institute for Human Services.

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