Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 10 Memorable Moments from the Capitol in 2009

Top 10 Memorable Moments from the Capitol in 2009 (in no particular order)! What are your top 10? Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR from the House Blog Team. Aloha!

1. Freshmen 6

New faces to the House of Representatives is always a memorable moment.
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2. Michael Jackson's death

We know. We know. Michael has nothing to do with the Legislature, but his sudden death is a moment in 2009 that is probably on thousands of these lists. Plus, we have a picture on file of Representative Tom Brower's visit to Los Angeles on the night that grieving fans flocked to the King of Pop's Hollywood Star. We couldn't leave it out!

3. Hawaii in the White House

Hawaii-born Barack H. Obama is inaugurated as the 44th President of the United State of America on January 20, 2009. Enough said.

4. Civil Unions debate

Hundreds turned out for the Senate Judiciary hearing to give testimony on the Civil Unions bill. It was a long day. The hearing lasted roughly nine hours. In the end, there weren't enough votes to pass the bill out of committee. Replay in 2010, possibly with different results?

5. Swine Flu

It's not really a moment, but it was a significant health issue being talked about around the capitol and the state. People were afraid. You can now buy face masks in your local 7-Eleven. News about swine flu dominated newspapers, television news reports and blogs. It wasn't the year of the ox, the pig took it home this year.

6. Balancing the budget

Council on Revenues projected continuous decreases in revenue at the beginning of 2009 leaving the Legislature with the task of finding money to fill a $2.1 billion deficit. The House Finance Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee spent countless hours in hearings, sometimes into the early wee hours, to hear testimony and make decisions on critical budget bills. The result: A balanced budget through a combination of solutions.

7. Pound da poi

The Hawaiian Caucus hosted the first Taro Festival in celebration of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus Day in the Capitol Rotunda. It was such a fun day! People were pounding poi learning about the Hawaiian culture and the significance of taro. I was eating it. Good times!

8. Time Capsule my Statehood

Hawaii celebrated its 50th year of statehood in 2009. House members and staff loaded a tiny silver time capsule full of memorabilia representing the past and present of the Hawaii House of Representatives. The House's pill is only one of 50 time capsules that will be buried in different locations statewide. They will be opened on the State's 75th anniversary in 2034.

9. Rallies

We could name all the rallies and protests that were held on Capitol grounds as a memorable moment on this list, but then there wouldn't be room for anything else! Furloughs, civil unions, education, healthcare for Micronesians, Healthystart, etc. all deserve to be on this list.

10. Rise of Twitter and the Attack of Social Media
In 2008 we started updating our Twitter profiles with all the nitty-gritty that went on at the Legislature. Don't worry. Really. We know. You don't have to shower us with praise for building the twit-gov bandwagon. Really. Stop. You're making us blush. In all seriousness, Twitter hijacked 2009. It's popularity grew quickly early in the year. Everyone was talking about it. Here are highlights of this past year tweet-style: John just had black coffee. Some guy's dad says the funniest poop ever. Apparently, Jeff Goldblum died and then didn't. Raw, unedited and gripping reports and footage filled Twitter streams. Happy New Year, Tweeps!!

Rep. Blake Oshiro rings in the new laws

Representative Blake Oshiro sat down with Steve Uyehara of Hawaii News Now to talk about a few of the laws that will go into effect when the clock strikes twelve tonight. View the segment here.

Most bills that survive a legislative session go into effect upon approval or on July 1. A few like the ones below are lucky enough to ring in the New Year.(We mentioned a couple others in a previous blog.)

HB1415 HD1 SD2 CD1 (Act 158)
RELATING TO SERVICE OF PROCESS. Report Title: Service of Process; Condominiums; Planned Community Associations; Cooperative Housing Description: Requires condominium associations, planned community associations, and cooperative housing corporations with properties inaccessible to the public to establish a policy to provide access for a person authorized to serve civil process. Sunsets on July 1, 2012. (HB1415 CD1)

HB1512 HD1 SD1 CD1 (Act 159)
RELATING TO TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS. Report Title: Temporary Restraining Order; Household Animals Description: Authorizes family court to authorize the issuance of a temporary restraining order in certain circumstances involving an animal identified to the court as belonging to a household. Effective 1/1/10. (HB1512 CD1)

SB166 SD1 HD1 CD1 (Act 168)
Requires health insurance providers to provide health insurance coverage for all chemotherapy treatment, including orally administered chemotherapy, at the same copayment percentage or relative coinsurance amount as is applied to intravenously administered chemotherapy. (CD1)

SB420 HD2 (Act 22)
Amends the title of chapter 455 to "naturopathic medicine" and amends references therein; defines "naturopathic medicine"; changes the name of the board of examiners in naturopathy to the board of naturopathic medicine and authorizes the board to make rules; authorizes temporary license to licensed out-of-state naturopathic physicians in a declared public health emergency.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Public unhappy with preschool subsidy cuts

Photo: Majority Floor Leader Cindy Evans and Rep. John Mizuno with testifiers who oppose the proposed subsidy changes. (from Rep. Mizuno)

The House Committee on Human Services held a hearing for parents and child care providers who will be affected by the proposed reduction of preschool subsidies to share their concerns and suggestions with state lawmakers.

Most parents and child care providers were worried that their facilities would have to shut down because of fewer children who will be able enroll in February when the proposed subsidy programs goes into effect. More than 50 child care providers in the state may have to shut their doors because of the subsidy changes. Those opposed to the proposition wants the state to leave the Department of Human Services alone. They suggest cutting programs from other departments that will no affect Hawaii's most needy people.

Rep. John Mizuno, the chairman of the Human Services Committee, believes that the state is putting early childhood education at risk.

"We need to save our preschools, because an investment in early education and preschools equals an investment in our community," he said. "I look forward to working with preschools, affected families, children and businesses to save our preschools."

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Coming Up...

Monday, December 28, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
State Capitol - Room 329
Committee on Human Services will hold an informational briefing to review the possible reduction of preschool care and licensed family care services.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.
State Capitol - Room 423
Legislative Federal Economic Stimulus Program Oversight Commission will meet on the overview of stimulus funds for the Department of the Attorney General and the Office of the Governor.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009 at 10:30 a.m.
State Capitol - Room 325
Senate Committee on Ways and Means and House Committee on Finance will hold an informational briefing for the Department of Budget and Finance. The following will be discussed:

*State investments in Auction Rate Securities
*General Obligation Bond sales and debt refinancing
*Collective Bargaining agreements and anticipated savings
*Reduction in Force (RIF) process and anticipated savings
*Status of exempt positions subject to RIF and furlough
*Departmental budget restriction amounts
*Monthly Vacancy reports

Facebook Privacy Settings

Facebook recently changed its policy on security settings for users. If you haven't already done so, you may want to visit your settings page and confirm that it is set the way you want it. Meagan Dorsch wrote an informative post on the subject for The Thicket, NCSL's blog. Read it here. If you are on Facebook, make sure you know what and how much of your account is private vs. public.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Even though we ain't got money..."

Representative Marcus Oshiro, House Finance Chair, turned on the "LOVE" Christmas lights outside his office on the third floor of the State Capitol last night. This is the 2nd year of the lights, with the addition of the "Happy Face" for 2009.

As you drive past the capitol on Beretania Street, look up to the mauka/diamond head corner of the building to see the lights. They will be up until January 3, 2010.
From Rep. Oshiro:
"Reminds me of that Loggins and Messina tune about eternal hope, life's seasons, and the simple truth of how this Christmas is really about our family and friends and loved ones. Here is the refrain from "Danny's Song". How appropriate in these times of little money.

And even though we ain't got money
I'm so in love with you, honey
And everything will bring a chain of love.
And in the morning, when I rise
You bring a tear of joy to my eyes
And tell me everything is gonna be alright.

Mele Kalikimaka."

Ring in the New Year - New Laws on January 1, 2010

Most bills passed during the 2009 legislative session went into effect upon approval or on July 1, 2009. A few, though, are slated to go into effect on January 1, 2010, such as:

HB981 Ignition Interlock. Makes amendments to Hawaii Revised Statutes and Act 171, Session Laws of Hawaii 2008, reflecting recommendations of ignition interlock implementation task force. (HB981 CD1)

HB1512 Pet Protection. Authorizes family court to authorize the issuance of a temporary restraining order in certain circumstances involving an animal identified to the court as belonging to a household. Effective 1/1/10. (HB1512 CD1)

This is not an exhaustive list. Let us know if you're aware of others.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Geography of a Recession

Rep. Denny Coffman shared this interactive graphic map depicting the unemployment rates by U.S. county over time. It starts in January 2007 and ends at October 2009. The animated graphic was prepared by Latoya Egwuekwe based on statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor. Click on play and watch the visual deterioration of employment and the economy in America.

New Report on Impact of DBEDT layoffs

The legislature’s economic development committee chairs, Representative Angus McKelvey, and Senator Carol Fukunaga announced today that a new report on the potential impact of the state layoffs at the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) is now available on the capitol website for public viewing. The report can be found here.

The House Committee on Economic Development, Business and Military Affairs , and the Senate Committee on Economic Development and Technology, held public informational briefings during the interim to discuss the rationale of the layoffs, the impact to Hawaii’s economy, Hawaii’s business community, and the general public.

The new report covers layoffs within and impacts to the following programs: Small Business Advocate, Land Use Division, Coastal Zone Management, and the DBEDT Library.

In their concluding recommendations, the committee report states that the layoffs within these programs will cause irreparable harm to the economy and its businesses, and it urges the legislature to reject the abolishment of key positions during the 2010 legislative session.

The committees strongly disagreed with the decisions made by the Department, state that the Department has lost its credibility with regard to all economic policies, and that the current DBEDT Director will have to assume responsibility for the deficiencies that will result from these actions.

Senator Carol Fukunaga – 808-586-6890
Representative Angus McKelvey – 808-586-6160

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rep. Nakashima and Sen. Takamine Hold Pre-Session Community Meetings

Senator Dwight Takamine and Representative Mark Nakashima

Representative Mark Nakashima (District 1 - North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) and Senator Dwight Takamine (District 1 - Hilo, Honoka'a, Laupahoehoe, Hamakua, Waiakea Uka, Keaukaha, Waimea) invite the public to join them in a series of pre-legislative session community meetings.

They will share information about issues facing state government in these challenging times and discuss new legislation to be proposed in 2010. Here is the schedule:


January 4, 2010 (Monday) 5:00 p.m.
Kohala - Kohala Senior Center (Rep. Nakashima)

January 4, 2010 (Monday) 6:30 p.m.
Waimea - Waimea Elementary School Cafeteria (Sen. Takamine)

January 5, 2010 (Tuesday) 7:00 p.m.
Rural South Hilo Community - Kalanianaole School Cafeteria

January 6, 2010 (Wednesday) 7:00 p.m.
Honoka'a - Honoka'a School Cafeteria

January 7, 2010 (Thursday) 6:00 p.m.
North Hilo Community Council - Laupahoehoe HS Humanities


January 4, 2010 (Monday) 9:00 a.m.
Kohala Seniors (Rep. Nakashima)

January 5, 2010 (Tuesday) 9:00 a.m.
Paauilo Seniors

January 6, 2010 (Wednesday) 9:00 a.m.
Honoka'a Seniors

January 8, 2010 (Friday) 9:00 a.m.
Laupahoehoe Seniors

January 12, 2010 (Tuesday) 9:00 a.m.
Waimea Seniors (Sen. Takamine)

January 12, 2010 (Tuesday) 10:30 a.m.
Hakalau Seniors

January 14, 2010 (Thursday) 9:00 a.m.
Papaikou Seniors

January 14, 2010 (Thursday) 10:30 a.m.
Pepeekeo Seniors

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tesoro site visit

Representative Kyle Yamashita (left) and Representative Tom Brower went on a ship-to-shore tour of Tesoro's refinery and crude oil receiving facilities on Thursday, December 17th. The tour began with a briefing at the Tesoro Kapolei refinery on renewable energy initiatives and an overview of its maritime operations.

Left to right: Rep. Kyle Yamashita, Rep. Tom Brower, Lyle Wong from the Dept. of Agriculture, Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairman of the Board of Agriculture, and Melissa Pavlicek, Hawaii Public Policy Advocates.

The group got an up close and personal view of an oil tanker unloading crude oil at the Tesoro single point mooring (SPM). All crude is received via an offshore terminal located 1.7 miles south of Barber's Point.

Vessels tie up to a specially designed buoy instead of a dock. The tie-up is with a 206-foot-long mooring hawser with a breaking strain of 1,670,632 lbs. The single point mooring buoy is anchored in place with six anchors. Underwater pipes lead from the refinery to the buoy. Floating hoses lead from the buoy to the tankers.

House Majority Position on Teacher Furloughs

Speaker Calvin Say issued the following statement this afternoon following the Majority Caucus. It confirms the House position after the breakdown in talks earlier this week between the administration and the Hawaii State Teachers Association on the teacher furlough issue:

“The House Majority Caucus reiterates its support for a special session to consider the teachers' furlough issue only after the negotiating parties reach a tentative agreement.

The House Majority Caucus emphasizes that it does not support the passage of any bill that, absent an agreement, legislatively limits the number of non-instructional days in exchange for increased teachers' pay. Passing such a bill before a tentative agreement is reached would constitute an inappropriate interference into the collective bargaining process. The Caucus would consider such a bill after a tentative agreement is reached.

The House Majority’s position remains that public education is a priority, and urges the parties to continue negotiations to restore the number of student instructional days during 2010 and 2011.

I would like to make a personal point. Although by law the Legislature is not involved in the negotiations, I would look unfavorably on any tentative agreement that requires the layoff of any personnel of the Department of Education."

"We the Powerful" makes an impact

The Public Access Room's "We the Powerful" series of legislative workshops wrapped up on the Big Island this past week. West Hawaii Today attended the workshop in Kona and filed this report.

Here are some quotes from the article reflecting the public reaction to the series:

Kailua-Kona resident Stan Koga, 51, was impressed with the presentation and learned more than he thought he would.

"I wanted to learn as much as I could about advocacy," he said. "It seems overwhelming at first, but this provided a lot of step-by-step details. It definitely helped.

"Sometimes it seems like the Big Island is a long way from Honolulu," said 66-year-old Priscilla Studholme, of Kailua-Kona. Studholme attended the workshop hoping to learn how to be more efficient and effective in submitting input on issues that were important to her. While she has not been overly active in the state government's workings since moving to Hawaii seven years ago, Studholme said it was about time she became more involved.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Council on Revenues General Fund Projection December 2009

The Hawaii Council on Revenues met today to, among other business, announce the latest general fund revenue projections for fiscal year 2010 and beyond.

For FY2010, the new projection is -2.5%, down from -1.5% forecast in August. For FY2011, the Council raised the forecast from 6.5% growth to 7.6% growth.

Here are the revenue projections through 2016. The percentages reflect the level of growth or decline from the previous year.

2010 - 2.5%

2011 - 7.6%

2012 - 6.0%

2013 - 6.0%

2014 - 6.0%

2015 - 5.0%

2016 - 5.0%

House Marathoners

Rep. Mark Nakashima posts some photos on his blog from the Honolulu Marathon held this past Sunday, December 13th, including this one from the starting line.

Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu also ran the marathon this year. his second time.
Are there more of whom I'm not aware? Let us know!
UPDATE: I understand that our Majority Leader, Rep. Blake Oshiro, and Rep. K. Mark Takai also ran this year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


In the most egregious case of miscasting I've seen in some time, one of our very own House Representatives plays "Santa", shown here with the Chinatown beauty queens.

Looks like "Santa" also agreed to let City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell make a wish.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Halawa Correctional Facility Site Visit

House and Senate finance members/staff visited the Halawa Correctional Facility this morning. The money committees have been touring facilities statewide to become better informed of the issues facing public safety.

Elected officials left to right: Rep. Marilyn Lee (House Finance Vice Chair), Senator Donna Mercado Kim (Senate Ways and Means Chair), Rep. Tom Brower (Finance Member), and Rep. Henry Aquino (House Public Safety Vice Chair).

Waianae potter Betty Winstedt

Representative Maile Shimabukuro interviews Waianae resident Betty Winstedt on her pottery pieces. Winstedt is 97 years old. She takes ceramics classes from legendary artist Bunky Bakutis at the Waianae Senior Center.

Friday, December 11, 2009

House Christmas Tree Takes a Budget the top

The elves within the Office of the Chief Clerk have done it again! Every year, the House Christmas Tree, located in the parlor area outside the Chief Clerk's office, reflects the important issues of the day. For 2009, the theme is "Budget Cuts".

Not only did the tree take a 20% reduction, it has also been "delamped".

The tree has many friends to support it during these hard times. Surrounding its base are those who have received pink slips, furlough days, layoffs and early retirement.

By coming together, the Christmas spirit still shines bright, even without a few bulbs. But, what happened to the top part?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

'Twas the Night Before Christmas Contest is hosting a contest for the holidays. See their blog post in full here. The challenge? Write your own verses for the Christmas classic 'Twas the Night Before Christmas based on a government theme. The deadline is Thursday, December 17th, 12 pm Eastern time. Therefore, Hawaii entrants should probably get their entries in by Wednesday evening. Email entries to

The prize? A Governing goodie bag filled with books, notebooks and other surprises! Yay! They will also post some of their favorites on the website.

Here's a few sample verses provided by from the B&G Report (a mainland organization), this one city-oriented:

T'was the night before budget
And all through the town
The whole counsel was ranting,
"Our mayor's a clown!"

"He wants to raise the taxes,
on screws, nuts and bolts
But the big building lobby
Has a ton of votes."

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Scaling Down for Opening Day

Here is a copy of the letter from Speaker Calvin Say and Senate President Colleen Hanabusa regarding Opening Day 2010.

2010 Census Means Redistricting in 2011

NCSL's December issue of State Legislatures focuses on redistricting at the federal, state and local level, the daunting process that takes place every 10 years following the Census. You can read the full story here.

The need for redistricting is based on the "one person, one vote" constitutional principle that guarantees that each person is equally represented, and that each legislative district is approximately equal in population. After the census results are turned over to the states in April 2011, the process of redistricting begins.

Now is the time for state legislatures to start preparing for redistricting. The Hawaii State Constitution, Article IV, lays out the process, starting with the establishment of the Reapportionment Commission on or before May 1st of the reapportionment year (2011).

Here is how reapportionment shall apply to the House of Representatives.

Here is how reapportionment shall apply to the State Senate. As well as how reapportionment will apply to the staggered terms for the Senate.

The Chief Elections Officer plays a critical role in the Reapportionment Commission's work.


More photos of Rep. Jerry Chang's Rock and Roll Motorcycle Club, which joined with all of the clubs last weekend to bring toys and holiday cheer for Hawaii's children and families in need.

Rep. Chang flanked by City Managing Director Kirk Caldwell and Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"We the Powerful" on the Big Island

The popular "We the Powerful" legislative workshops, free to the public, will be on the Big Island from December 10 - December 16. The workshops are conducted by the legislature's Public Access Room, a non-partisan office devoted to assist residents as they engage in the legislative process.

Here is the schedule for the island of Hawaii:

Thursday, December 10
Honokaa Public Library
5:30 p.m.

Monday, December 14
Naalehu School Cafeteria
6:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 15
Hilo Public Library
5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 16
Kailua-Kona Liquor Control Conference Room
5:30 p.m.

Here's what you can expect to learn:

*Easy ways to add your voice and ideas to the process that determines State laws.
*Overview of the people at the Capitol, what they do there, and how and when lawmaking takes place.
*Handy tips for finding the information you need.
*Assistance in writing and delivering effective testimony - at the Capitol or from your home.

Ahuimanu Elementary Clean Up

Ahuimanu Elementary Principal Randy Scoville sent a note of thanks to Rep. Jessica Wooley for her help on the beautification project, held November 28, 2009. He included the photo above of Rep. Wooley working hard on the clean up.

Freshman Jessica Wooley represents District 47 - an large area of Oahu that includes Laie, Hauula, Punaluu, Kahana, Kaaawa, Waikane, Kahaluu, Ahuimanu and Kaneohe.

Two truck loads of green waste were hauled away after volunteers cleaned up the fence line by the school's basketball courts. According to Soville, the project satisfies an MS4 Storm Drain Waste Water Management requirement.

Ahuimanu Elementary was invited to enter into a partnership with the Hawaii Air National Guard as part of the Joint Venture Education Forum, initiated by Sen. Dan Inouye, which provides support to military impacted schools. Every third year some schools, such as Ahuimanu, that do not have large numbers of military children are invited to participate in the program. Members of the Hawaii Air National Guard participated in the cleanup and will be assisting with future school activities and projects.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Toby Clairmont on The Kukui Connection

Toby Clairmont (left), Director of Emergency Services for the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, will be Rep. Marilyn Lee's guest on The Kukui Connection, December 13th and 20th.

Toby's background is as a nurse and engineer. He talks about the H1N1 situation, locally and nationally, and touches on related issues such as stockpiling supplies and vaccine availability. Also, he provides helpful advice on choosing a career path in Healthcare Emergency Services and Management.

The Kukui Connection airs every Sunday at 4:00 p.m. on Oceanic, Olelo Channel 54. Rep. Marilyn Lee, the host of this long-running series, represents District 38 - Mililani, Mililani Mauka.

Rep Marcus Oshiro on The Hot Seat

If you missed last week's live webcast of Rep. Marcus Oshiro on the Advertiser Hot Seat, you can watch a replay here.

There was also an edited transcript in the Sunday Advertiser here.

Rep. Oshiro's top three priorities for the session are 1)Health, 2)Human Services, and 3)Education - lower and higher education.

Rock and Roll Christmas

Rep. Jerry Chang rode with his Rock and Roll Motorcycle Club last Saturday to help Santa deliver presents and good cheer to the Waianae homeless shelter.

Santa was there to wish the kids and their families a Mele Kalikimaka.
Santa even stayed to share a bento and learned to eat lunch with chopsticks.

The Rock and Roll Motorcyle Club joined many motorcycle clubs across the state this past weekend to help those in need during the Christmas season.

Friday, December 4, 2009

"We the Powerful" heads to Molokai, Lanai & Lahaina

The Public Access Room will hold free public workshops for residents of Molokai, Lanai and Lahaina, Maui next week. The workshops demystify the legislative process and are designed to be useful for both newcomers and veterans. Covered topics include how to deliver effective testimony, how to make sense of deadlines, and how to use the latest innovations on the Legislature's website.

Most important - residents will learn how to speak out at the Legislature without ever having to leave their home island.

Please urge those you know who live in these communities to attend!

Monday, December 7th at 6 p.m.
DHHL/OHA conference room
600 Maunaloa Highway

Tuesday, December 8th at 6 p.m.
Lanai High and Elementary School Cafeteria
555 Fraser Ave, Lanai City

Wednesday, December 9th at 6:00 p.m.
MCC Lahaina Education Cetner Conference Room
60 Kenui St., Lahaina
(call 662-3911 for directions)

Food on Fire!

Photo: Leah Ball, Midweek
Left to Right: Quentin Kawananakoa, Terry Seelig (HFD spokesperson), Rep. Ryan Yamane, Hon. City Managing Director and former State Rep Kirk Caldwell, Rix Maurer

On this occasion, that's a good thing. Rep. Ryan Yamane, District 37 - Waipio Gentry, Mililani, is a strong supporter of Hawaii's emergency services, including the Honolulu Fire Department. On December 1st, he attended the Signature Chefs Food Festival held at the HFD headquarters.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Weekend Christmas Concert at the Capitol

A variety of Hawaii's favorite local musicians will perform in "A Capitol Christmas", a free Christmas concert held in the State Capitol Rotunda from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. tomorrow Dec. 4, 2009, which is also First Friday in Chinatown.

The music extravaganza is being held in an effort to collect canned goods and non-perishable foods for the Hawaii FoodBank.

Performers include Patrick Koh, The Krush, Tradewinds, Angeli Callo, Arshiel Calatrava, Simplisity, Pauoa & Pacific Heights, The Higher Ground Jazz Ensemble, Rachel Jones, The Christian Academy High School Chorus, Paul Cortes, Crooner's Inc., and more!

Those who bring in a donation item will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a trip to Las Vegas!

Those people already planning to attend First Friday in Chinatown, a monthly downtown event held the first Friday of each month, should stop by the Hawaii State Capitol to enjoy some holiday music or just to drop off a donation.

Metered parking will be available in the basement of the Hawaii State Capitol. It is free after 6 p.m. Attendees should take the elevator to the first floor.

For more information, please call 808-688-7799.

Be counted - Census 2010

The House Majority received information today regarding the 2010 U.S. Census. The census is a count of everyone residing in the United States. The U.S. Constitution requires that a national census be taken every ten years.

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently recruiting census takers to work within their own communities. For employment information, go to the 2010 Census website.

All U.S. residents must be counted - people of all ages, both citizens and non-citizens. State population will determine the reapportionment of seats in the U.S House of Representatives. In addition, census data is used to allocate more than $300 billion to states and communities.

In February/March 2010, you'll receive a short questionnaire, 10 questions which will take about 10 minutes to complete. If you do not return the questionnaire by mail, census takers will visit households in May through July 2010 to obtain population count information. By law, the Census Bureau must deliver the population counts to the president for apportionment of the U.S. House.

We should receive our completed census data for Hawaii by March 2011.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

And then there were 3

According to this story on KHON last night, there were 48 protea farmers in Ocean View on the Big Island a year ago. Today, because of the severe vog conditions, there are 3. While the federal government has offered low-interest loans to the farmers, it makes no sense for the majority of farmers who have been forced to close their operations and/or move away. Requests for no-interest loans have been denied.

Rep. Robert Herkes, who has conducted hearings on the impact of vog, had these comments:

"Some of them have just walked away, they've left their land, they've left the state. It's tough. Really tough....Where we need the help is what to do, how to do it, when to do it, not just more loans. That makes no sense."

Pre-Session Forum with Rep Marcus Oshiro

Representative Marcus Oshiro, House Finance chair, will be holding a pre-session forum tonight, December 1, 2009, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Wahiawa District Park in the Hale Koa Room.

Meeting Agenda

6:00 p.m. Socialize/ Refreshments
6:30 p.m. Meeting begins

Discuss furloughs, general assistance cuts, drug abuse, homeless, Wahiawa General Hospital, the possibility of a Special Session, and other community issues

8:30 p.m. Meeting pau

Please call Rep. Marcus Oshiro's office at 586-6200 should you have any questions.