Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hawaii Future Caucus

From left to right: Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, Councilmember Stanley Chang, Rep. Beth Fukumoto, Rep. Takashi Ohno, Rep. Kaniela Ing, and Rep. Chris Lee

Young Legislators Establish Hawaii Future Caucus
Bipartisan effort launched to engage young people, increase government transparency

HONOLULU – A bipartisan group of state and county leaders age 40 and under have established the Hawaii Future Caucus (HFC) to increase government openness and participation among young people. The Caucus will facilitate policy discussions between public, private and nonprofit sectors and advance legislative packages within the State House and City Councils.
The Co-chairs are State Representative Beth Fukumoto, a Republican, State Representative Takashi Ohno, a Democrat, and Honolulu City Councilmember Stanley Chang. The three legislators will work together to execute programming and lead policy strategy discussions for HFC.
“Young people are frustrated by the partisanship they see within all levels of government, and as a result, they’re disengaging,” said Fukumoto. “But if the system is going to improve, these are the very people our government needs to involve.”
The Caucus has identified two priorities that it considers barriers keeping young people from participating in government; government transparency and voter participation.
“Improved voter participation and transparency in government are not issues exclusive to any one political party,” said Ohno. “By addressing these obstacles, we make government accessible and appealing to an entire generation of young people and help them transition into roles of active citizenship.”
“At the end of the day, young people just want to see problems getting solved. If we can show that we can work together productively on issues that are important to everyone, it may help restore confidence and encourage engagement in government,” said Chang.
A 2013 Harvard study found that almost half of people (47%) age 18-29 agree that “politics today are no longer able to meet the challenges our country is facing,” and another third (36%) were apathetic to the question. Voter turnout among the same age group dropped from 51% to 45% between the last two national elections.
The Hawaii Future Caucus is working with the Millennial Action Project (MAP), a nonprofit working to move America beyond political gridlock with next generation leadership and innovative, future-focused policy dialogue. MAP recently worked with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) to form the Bipartisan Congressional Future Caucus with Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL).
"We are extremely proud of Representative Fukumoto, Representative Ohno, and Councilmember Chang for spearheading the Hawaii Future Caucus. Their fresh perspective, innovative ideas, and post-partisan approach is an excellent model of leadership," said Steve Olikara, President and Co-Founder of the Millennial Action Project.
For more information about the Hawaii Future Caucus, please visit its Facebook page, For more about the Millennial Action Project, please visit

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hiring for the 2014 Legislative Session

Interested in working at the Legislature or learning the inner workings of State Government? Then a job at the State House of Representatives might be for you!

We are hiring for the upcoming 2014 Legislative Session from January - May.

More information is available in the attached flyer or on the Capitol website at:

Friday, November 8, 2013


The Hawaii House of Representatives today voted to pass SB1 HD1, relating to equal rights, on third reading. The measure was approved by a vote of 30 to 18, with three members excused.

The House draft includes amendments, modeled after similar language in Connecticut law, significantly broadening exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization. Religious organizations and affiliated nonprofits would be exempted from having to furnish goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of solemnizations if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith. It also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith. The measure also grants immunity from administrative, civil and legal liability to religious organizations and officials for the failure or refusal to provide services, goods, or facilities as described.

The issue was discussed in House committee hearings spanning five days and nearly 57 hours of public testimony. There were 5,184 registered testifiers, with over 1,000 people testifying, and nearly 24,400 written testimonies submitted. As far as House members could recall, the public hearing on SB1 was the longest hearing on a single bill in the modern history of the Hawaii House of Representatives.  Based on concerns and issues raised during the public hearing the bill was amended to expand the religious exemptions for churches and religious organizations that do not want to solemnize same gender marriages.

The bill is now transmitted to the Hawaii State Senate for their consideration. Upon approval of the changes by the Senate, the bill will be transmitted to the Governor for his signature into law.  If the Senate rejects the amendments, the bill will go into conference committee. The Senate is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, November 11, to vote on the amended House bill (SB1 HD1).

More information on the bill is available on the Capitol website at: