Friday, February 27, 2015

Speaker Emeritus Say Meets Qualifications to Hold Office

After reviewing written documentation and hearing presentations from attorneys for the parties challenging Speaker Emeritus' Calvin Say’s qualifications to represent District 20 (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Maunalani Heights, Wilhelmina Rise, Kaimuki) and defending Speaker Emeritus Say, the special House committee formed to investigate the matter determined that Speaker Emeritus Say is qualified to represent District 20. 

The committee will issue a written report to the House in which it outlines the process of its investigation and basis for its final decision. The report is available for viewing at

The report noted that the committee followed procedures that were consistent with the way other state legislatures handled similar internal investigations. The report also noted that the bulk of the documents submitted to the committee by both parties were previously reviewed by the Honolulu City Clerk’s office and the State Office of Elections in earlier unsuccessful challenges. 

The committee found no “compelling evidence” that Speaker Emeritus Say did not meet the requisite qualifications to represent District 20. 

The committee operated under several constitutional provisions, including one relating to requirements for holding office as a member of the House of Representatives (Article III, Section 6). Under the provision, the Hawaii State Constitution sets three qualifications to be a member of the House of Representatives: 1) be a resident of the state for not less than three years; 2) have attained the age of majority; and 3) be a qualified voter of the representative district from which the person seeks to be elected prior to filing nominations papers and continuing thereafter. 

Because Speaker Emeritus Say has long been and continues to be a registered voter in District 20 and meets the other two requirements, the committee found that the representative met the necessary qualifications. The committee recommended no further action be taken. 

The committee’s report and recommendation will be voted upon by the full House of Representatives.

Following the hearing Representative Calvin Say provided the following statement, "The House special committee has done its due diligence and found, like other investigative bodies before it, that there is no basis for this challenge. For me, I hope we can finally put this behind us and get on with the people’s business. Throughout the nine years of these challenges, I have seen these matters put squarely in the hands of my constituents and they have seen fit to return me to office each time. I look to focusing on matters of concern to my constituents and to all of the voters of Hawaii."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

737 House Bills Continue Through Legislative Process

One month into the session, 737 bills, a little more than half the 1,515 bills originally introduced by representatives for the 2015 Legislature, are still being considered. The measures include bills relating to medical marijuana dispensaries, health care, transparency in government, the state’s public hospitals, affordable housing and the state’s fiscal obligations, including the Hurricane Reserve Trust Fund.

Today, Feb. 20, is the deadline for House bills to reach the final committee to which they’ve been referred.

Among the bills that continue to move through the legislative process in the House include measures that: create medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers, require the Office of Elections to implement elections by mail, appropriate funds for the Kupuna Care Program and an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center, require the UH Board of Regents to study the feasibility of selling or leasing the building housing the Cancer Center,

In addition, other House bills still alive include those that: address invasive species, increase the tax credit for low-income household renters, make permanent the counties’ authority to establish a surcharge on state tax, limit compelled disclosure of sources or unpublished information by journalists (Shield Law), and enable the Hawaii Health Connector to offer large group coverage.

All House measures that have passed the first lateral deadline can be viewed at

Hawaii State Legislature invites public to 7th Annual Art At the Capitol

Fifty years ago, construction began on the Hawaii Capitol that would transform the 24-acre historic site into the iconic five-story building where some of the most important legislative decisions have been made since statehood. With its open atrium, high ceilings and ring of columns erupting from a reflecting pool, the building is both symbolic of the islands and stands as a work of art in its own right.

That’s why on the 50th anniversary of the start of its construction, the Capitol building itself will be a major part of the focus for this year’s State Legislature Annual “Art at the Capitol” exhibit. The exhibit is being presented in conjunction with the Hawaii State Art Museum’s First Friday festivities on Friday, March 6, 2015 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. A program on the third floor kicks off the event in Conference Room 329.

More than 500 works of art by local artists placed in the offices of legislators and executive offices will be open to the public for viewing. Fifty-seven offices in both the House and the Senate, including the Public Access Room, and the Office of the Governor are participating.

“People are invited into their Capitol to visit the offices, chat with legislators, and learn a little more about the personality of the occupant through the art they chose to display” said Senator Brian Taniguchi (Manoa, Makiki, Punchbowl, Papakolea), who has led efforts for the Art at the Capitol event. “People can wander the halls listening to live chamber music and later stroll over to downtown Honolulu and celebrate First Friday activities."

"It’s important to let your mind wander to places not usually visited during one’s busy day," said Rep. Isaac Choy (Manoa, Punahou, University, Moiliili) who coordinates efforts from the House for Art at the Capitol. “Art is a great distraction to get away and just imagine.”

However, it’s the Capitol itself that will be the featured “work of art.” Along with viewing the art collection, visitors may watch a short documentary featuring interviews with Governor George Ariyoshi, retired Judge James Burns (son of Governor John Burns), Uncle Joe Tassill (Capitol tour guide), and architect Frank Haines. The film will provide insight into the history of the Capitol.

Commissioned in 1959, construction on the Capitol did not actually start until November 1965 and was completed four years later on March 15, 1969. The original estimated cost was $24 million, but reduced to $14.5 million after public outcry at the original price tag.

The Hawaii Capitol was designed to reflect the historic and cultural significance and natural beauty of the islands. The number eight was incorporated into the building as a metaphor for the eight major islands of the Hawaiian archipelago. There are eight columns front and back of the building, groups of eight columns on the balcony surrounding the fourth floor, and eight panels on the doors leading to the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s office.

The Capitol is surrounded by water symbolic of the Pacific Ocean, with columns, representing palm trees, rising from the reflecting pool. The curved, sloping walls of the House and Senate chambers were inspired by the volcanoes that gave birth to the islands.

But it’s the building’s open air design with its expansive entryways and open courtyard that has proven to be more than symbolic. The building is a wonderful piece of art and architecture, where function and design work hand in hand to encourages gatherings, dialogue and interaction—a perfect setting for Hawaii’s seat of government on an island known as “the gathering place.”

Guests will also enjoy entertainment featuring live music from the Hawaii Youth Symphony Quartet, and have the chance to mingle with lawmakers and artists. 

For a preview of some of the art in the offices, a video series called “What’s on your wall?,” can be found on the Art at the Capitol YouTube and Facebook accounts.
Art at the Capitol Background:

Art at the Capitol began seven years ago, as Senator Brian Taniguchi’s initiative to allow the public to view art acquired by the “Art in Public Places” program that are displayed in the Capitol offices. With more than 900 pieces of artwork in the Capitol, the idea was conceived following a conversation with a Hawaii State Art Museum docent about having legislators open their doors to the public to view the art collection – the people’s art. During its inaugural year, the Senate opened its doors afterhours for the Art at the Capitol event. With an overwhelming amount of positive response to the event, the House of Representatives joined Art at the Capitol the following year. In 2012, the Governor’s and Lieutenant Governor’s Offices participated in the event, making it the first time that all five floors of the building were open for Art at the Capitol.

Works of art are placed in public areas of the Capitol as part of the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts’ “Art in Public Places” program, which seeks to enhance the environmental quality of state public buildings and spaces for the enjoyment and enrichment of the public; cultivate the public’s awareness, understanding and appreciation of visual arts; contribute toward the development and recognition of a professional artistic community; and acquire, preserve, and display works of art expressive of the character of the Hawaiian Islands, the multicultural heritage of its people, and the various creative interests of its artists. The program was established in 1967 and was the first of its kind in the nation.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hawaii students to design and operate a NASA experiment on the surface of the moon

Moon RIDERS announcement at Kealakehe High School. Credit: PISCES
When state legislators provided funding for the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES), a Hilo-based state government aerospace agency under the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), they hoped that the education arm of the entity would encourage Hawaii’s students to shoot for the moon. 

Little did they expect that goal to be taken literally. But a partnership between PISCES and NASA will task students from Honolulu’s Iolani School and the Big Island’s Kealakehe High School to design and operate an experiment on the surface on the moon by the end of 2016. 

The experiment involves electrodynamic dust shield technology and the selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project. 

“It's exciting that, out of all the public high schools in the State, Kealakehe was chosen for this. It really reflects on the students' hard work and achievements through the years, especially the robotics team,” said Rep. Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau). “I—and I'm sure everyone on the Big Island—take great pride in this amazing opportunity they have earned. I can't wait to watch the project unfold." 

“I am impressed and overjoyed by the selection of students from Iolani School to take part in this outstanding project,” added Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo), a graduate of Iolani School. “My enthusiastic congratulations to all of the students who will take part in this great adventure, as well as their teachers and parents.” 

“To have Hawaii students involved in such a project with NASA is amazing and wonderful, and speaks to the level of talent and creativity we have among our young folks,” said Rep. Scott Nishimoto (Kapahulu, McCully, Moiliili). “It makes me very optimistic about the future of this state.” 

The dust shield experiment is the culmination of years of NASA research and development. The technology repels and removes planetary dust, which collects on surfaces like solar panels and space hardware, by using a high-voltage, low-current device. The technology has been tested extensively on earth, but has yet to be test in space or on the surface of the moon.

Lynn DeCoite Sworn In As Representative For House District 13

Today Representative Lynn DeCoite, who was appointed by Governor David Ige to complete the current term of the late Mele Carroll, was sworn in during the regular session of the Hawaii State House of Representatives.

"This is a bittersweet day for me and my family." Stated Rep. DeCoite" I know I have some big shoes to fill. I am grateful for having the opportunity to get to know Rep. Carroll. She was my Rep., my friend, and she was my family."

DeCoite continued "I know I have a lot to learn. I am committed to setting forth with an open mind and to do the best for District 13, the people of East Maui, Moloka'i and Lana'i. I am thankful for this opportunity and will not take it for granted."

Representative DeCoite will serve on the House Committee on Finance (FIN) along with the committees on Agriculture (AGR), Economic Development & Business (EDB), Tourism (TUR) and Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts (VMI).

Rep. Lynn DeCoite was born in Honolulu and has lived on Moloka'i since she was four years old. She is a third generation homestead farmer, where she and her three siblings were raised to work hard and live off the land. Rep. DeCoite went to Moloka'i High School and then attended Moloka'i Community College. She is a devoted wife and proud mother of three children.

Rep. DeCoite and her husband Russell, own and operate L&R Farms Enterprises, LLC where they raise the famous Moloka'i purple sweet potato.

Along with being a small business owner DeCoite has a history of community service. She has been involved with the Annual Moloka'i Christmas Parade, the Moloka'i Ag Festival, the Annual Prince Kuhio Day Event and the Moloka'i Annual Charity Walk. She also served as the Parent Teacher Student Organization President for Moloka'i Middle School.

Lynn DeCoite has also served on the Boards for organizations like Lokahi Pacific (from 2004-2012 ) - a housing and small business loan agency, Hikiola Cooperative (2008-2011)- a feed and fertilizer Co-op, Moloka'i Irrigation Advisory Board (2008-2012), the Moloka'i Chamber Foundation (2006-2012), The Moloka'i Planning Commission from (2006-2009). Up until her appointment to the State House of Representatives Lynn served on the Moloka'i Homestead Farmers Alliance (2006-2015), Farm Service Agency (2007-2015) and the Hawaii State Board of Agriculture (2012-2015).

Rep. DeCoite has been engaged in issues and involved at both the Maui County Council and the State Legislature and advocated for the people of Hawaii for many years. She has participated in various working groups including the Maui Water Community Working Group and the Moloka'i Workforce Development Agricultural Working Group. She was instrumental in having Moloka'i Irrigation System audited and lobbying for it to have the necessary funds to fix the system so that farmers can continue to farm.

"I am committed to keep my ears open and am willing to listen and work with EVERYONE to make the State of Hawai'i a better place for all of its people." Rep. DeCoite said in closing.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Representative Mele Carroll Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of former state House Representative Diana "Mele" Carroll. She passed at 3:50am on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 with her family at her side. At this time services are pending and will be announced at a later date.

Representative Carroll was re-elected on November 4, 2014 to begin her sixth term, representing the 13th House district. The 13th District is a true canoe district that includes East Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i, Kaho'olawe and Molokini.

“It is a very sad day for the House,” said Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “Mele brought to the Legislature a vigorous desire to serve and deep love for Maui, Molokai and Lanai and Hawaii in general. She will be greatly missed by everyone here at the Capitol. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family.”

In 2005 Representative Mele Carroll started her legislative career when she received a phone call from then Governor Linda Lingle in February to represent the 13th District in the state House of Representatives. At the time she was working as the chief legislative liaison for Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa.

Rep. Carroll served as the chair of the House Committee on Human Service (HUS) and as a member for the Committees on Health (HLT) and Housing (HSG). In her tenure as a state House Representative she has also been the chair of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, and a member of the Women's Legislative Caucus, Keiki Caucus, Kupuna Caucus, as well as the Historical Preservation Caucus.

Prior to her appointment in 2005 by Governor Lingle, Rep. Carroll served as the executive assistant and the chief legislative liaison to Mayor Arakawa and was responsible for representing the County of Maui at the Legislature by providing oral and written testimony, researching and drafting bills, as well as providing community updates through public forums and meetings.

As Arakawa’s chief legislative liaison, she was also responsible for writing a federal grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for $2 million dollars that contributed to the purchase of Muolea Point (73 acres) in Hana, and worked with the community to develop a management plan to preserve Muolea Point, which was known as King David Kalakaua’s summer home for the Alii.

Rep. Carroll was a key leader and instrumental in helping secure funding for the new emergency medical helicopter service for Maui County, working with a bi-partisan coalition of community leaders.

She served as chief of staff to State Senator Kalani English for two years, in addition to serving four years as his chief of staff at the Maui County Council. She also served on the state’s Cable Television Advisory Committee and the Na Ala Hele Trails Council.

Rep. Carroll’s community service includes serving on the following boards of non-profit organizations: past president of the Waikikena Foundation; past president of the Maui AIDS Foundation; past vice president for the Friends of Maui County Health Organization; past board director of the `Aha Ali`i Kapuaiwa O Kamehameha V Royal Order of Kamehameha II; past board director for the Maui Adult Day Care Center; member of the Aloha Festivals Maui Steering Committee; past board director of the Na Po’e Kokua; and Paia Youth & Cultural Center. She also served as the head coach of the Lahainaluna High School’s Girls Varsity Basketball team.

The former representative stated many times that serving the people of Hawaii and the 13th District was a "tremendous honor" that she would never forget, and spoke of her position and the people she serve with great admiration. The love that she showed everyone epitomized the Aloha Spirit.

Friday, February 13, 2015

‘Kollin Elderts’ bill seeks to prevent repeat of tragedy

HB1129 seeks to prohibit law enforcement officers from consuming any amount of alcohol while in the possession of a firearm. The measure came as a result of a tragic incident, in which Christopher Deedy, a U.S. State Department special agent, in Hawaii to provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, fatally shot Kollin Elderts in the Kuhio Avenue McDonald's restaurant in the early morning of Nov. 5, 2011. He was off duty at the time.

The measure was introduced by Rep. Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena) at the request of the Elderts’ family.

"While no legislation can heal the pain that the Elderts' family has endured, we need to take action to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” Ing said during a press conference held at the Capitol today to call attention to the bill. “No matter where you stand on the Deedy trial, we can all recognize the dangers of carrying a firearm while intoxicated. This is a common sense bill that will save lives."

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Marine Life bills attract almost 4,000 pieces of testimony

A House Committee hearing on a package of bills relating to the collection and protection of marine life drew almost 4,000 pieces of written testimony today. The House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affair’s committee (OMH), chaired by Rep. Kaniela Ing (Kihei, Wailea, Makena), heard speakers voice opinions on bills relating to the collection of aquarium fish, fishing rights and regional fishery management. An overwhelming number of individuals submitting testimony on HB511, which prohibits the harassment of anyone marine or aquarium fishing and specifically tasks conservation officers with enforcing the harassment ban.

“Everyone in Hawaii wants to ensure that our reefs and marine life are sustainable,” Representative Ing said. “One thing was very evident and that’s the passion that each testifier felt, as well as their deep concern for the ocean environment that sustains all marine life in our waters.

“While we heard decidedly differing views and concerns on the issues and while it may be uncomfortable, we need to strike a balance, find common ground and make the best decision we can. I believe that today’s discussion was a positive step forward to reach that goal.”

The measures heard today included HB606, which establishes a 10-year moratorium on the taking of aquarium fish; HB873, which prohibits the sale of aquatic life for aquarium purposes; and HB883, which seeks to prevent the cruel treatment of aquatic life by preventing its sale when such treatment is part of the capture or collection of fish.

Also on today’s agenda was HB483, authorizing administrative inspection within the West Hawaii regional fishery management area.

“We are taking the time to carefully review all the available information so that we can make the best decision going forward,” added Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau), OMH vice chair. “The latest report from the Department of Land and Natural Resources does show an overall increase in fish populations in West Hawaii in recent years, but it also cautions that allowing the aquarium industry to expand could eventually harm the resource. Right now, we have the task of looking at ways to make sure we are protecting our important marine resources without eliminating a $2.3 million industry overnight.”

Today’s committee hearing notice and testimony is available at

The Committee on Water and Land will decide whether to move the bills forward tomorrow, Thursday, February 12, at 11:35 a.m. in room 325.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Freshman Puna Representative San Buenaventura Announces 2015 Package of Bills

First-term Puna Representative Joy San Buenaventura has introduced a slate of Puna related bills, in the aftermath of last summer’s Hurricane Iselle and in response to the ongoing lava flow from the Puu Oo vent.

“The residents of Puna face distinct issues that require us to take special action,” says San Buenaventura. “By working together we can take on these problems and build a better and more vibrant community. That’s why I’ve introduced these measures addressing a broad range of issues that Puna faces collectively and individually and will continue to face in the aftermath of this current flow activity.”

The following bills relate to the Puu Oo lava flow:

HB1314 Emergency Home Relocation Special Fund; Appropriation.  Establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster. Appropriates funds.

HB1369 CIP; County of Hawaii; Road Repair and Maintenance; GO Bonds; Appropriation.  Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the county of Hawaii for the repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for highway 130 and any portion of highway 130 under the jurisdiction of the county.

HB1106 CIP; 4th Representative District.  Authorizes issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates moneys for capital improvement projects in the 4th representative district.

HB737 Hawaii Hurricane Relief Fund; Hawaii Property Insurance Association.  Authorizes the Hawaii property insurance association to spend funds in the Hawaii hurricane relief fund to pay for extraordinary losses caused by the flow of lava or other volcanic activity.

HB1320 Emergency Management; Tree Maintenance.  Authorizes entry into private property to mitigate hazards posed by trees to utility and communications lines and roadways. Assesses a fine of $150 per day against a landowner whose property must be entered for this purpose.

HB383 Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance.  Makes an appropriation for one advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii and to be used from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and to include a vehicle, equipment, and personnel costs.

HB377 Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation.  Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

HB374 Transportation; Harbors; Kapoho Bay; Feasibility Study.  Requires DOT to contract for a study on the feasibility of establishing a harbor or port at Kapoho bay.

HB370 HPIA; Policy Renewals; Continued Coverage.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to renew policies that were in effect as of 1/1/2014. Provides for continued coverage under an existing HPIA policy upon a transfer in ownership of the property.

HB380 HPIA; Mandatory Issuance of Policies; Removal of Moratorium.  Requires member insurers of HPIA to offer a minimum number of policies proportionate to their market share on properties that are situated in the areas designated for coverage by the insurance commissioner and that have been previously and continuously insured since 06/01/2014. Prohibits HPIA from issuing or continuing a moratorium on issuing policies on those same properties.

The following bills relate to Puna and the Big Island in general:

HB1107 Bookmobile; Big Island; Educational Materials; Department of Education; Appropriation.

Appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that shall serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii.

HR6 Cellular; Broadband; Rural Communities.  Requests reports regarding state agency action to ensure access by rural communities to cellular and broadband services.

HB376 Chief Election Officer; Elections Commission; Evaluation; Term Length.  Changes the term of the chief election officer to 2 years. Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer within 2 months of certifying election results, and hold a public hearing relating to the performance evaluation.

HB378 After School Bus Program; Island of Hawaii; Appropriation.  Restores funding for the after school bus program on the island of Hawaii that was excluded from the 2015-2017 executive biennium budget. Appropriates moneys.

HB1155 Albizia Trees; Conservation and Resources Enforcement Special Fund; Appropriation.

Makes an appropriation from the conservation and resources enforcement special fund to DLNR for the removal of albizia trees on public and private land.

HB1134 Judiciary; Third Circuit; Ho‘okele; Appropriations.  Appropriates moneys for equipment, supplies, and salaries for Ho‘okele legal self-help service centers in Hilo and Kona.

HB88 County Fuel Tax; Hawaii County.  Permit's Hawaii County to expend its share of fuel tax revenues for maintenance of private subdivision roads. Specifies that public entities are not required to install infrastructure on these roads upon a private sale.

The following bills relate to overall state issues:

HB87 Process Server; Criminal Trespass.  Shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties.

HB371 Foreclosures; Asset.  Prohibits a mortgage creditor from executing on any asset of the debtor beyond the asset that is secured by the mortgage.

HB372 Marijuana; Civil Penalties for Possession of One Ounce or Less.  Establishes a civil violation for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana that is subject to fines.

HB373 Transient Accommodations Tax.  Amends amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated to the counties from a specified sum to an unspecified percentage of the revenues collected.

HB375 Attachment or Execution of Property; Exemptions.  Amends the thresholds for the exemption of real property from attachment or execution to be based upon the most recent real property tax assessment, regardless of value and for all types of property owners. Clarifies that attachment or execution does not apply to a debtor who is not delinquent in payment of income taxes, real property taxes, or mortgages. Bases the value threshold of certain personal property exempted from attachment and execution on the fair market value as adjusted by the consumer price index. Exempts child support moneys and tax refunds from the federal earned income tax credit and federal or state child support tax credit from attachment and execution.

HB381 Homeowners' Associations; Planned Community Associations.  Expands the law on planned community associations to apply to homeowners' associations so that all disputes are mediated instead of going to court.

HB382 Employees' Retirement System; Division of Pension.  Requires the Employees' Retirement System to divide pensions between a retired employee and non-employee former spouse or civil union partner, upon application and pursuant to a qualified domestic relations order. This has the effect of ensuring that employees for the full pension benefits and in the event of domestic violence spouse, victim need not ask for their share of pension.

HB833 Transient Accommodations Tax; Counties; Revenues.  Makes permanent the current amount of transient accommodations tax revenues allocated for distribution to the counties. This allows the county of Hawaii to file and the State cannot lessen the county’s share of the annual hotel room tax

HB834 Check Cashing; Deferred Deposits.  Requires the written agreement for the deferred deposit of checks to also state that all cumulative fees charged for deferred deposit transactions shall not exceed an annual percentage rate of 39%.

HB1204 Procurement; Sustainable Procurements Manager; Appropriation.  Appropriates funds for a new position within the state procurement office tasked with facilitating the development and implementation of procurement processes for public agencies and private organizations for the purpose of food sustainability in Hawaii.

HB1205 Hawaii-grown Food Procurement Task Force; Procurement; Appropriation.  Establishes and appropriates funds for the Hawaii-grown food procurement task force for the purpose of creating recommendations for increasing procurement of food grown in Hawaii by State departments and agencies.

HB1206 University of Hawaii Sustainability Office; Appropriation.  Establishes the University of Hawaii sustainability office.  Appropriates funds.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at

A full list of measures proposed by Rep. San Buenaventura is available at

Rep. Takashi Ohno: "Let's Do Things Better"

State Representative Takashi Ohno (Liliha, Puunui, Alewa Heights, Nuuanu) is encouraging residents to expect more from Hawaii in 2015. His proposals include solutions to expedite daily commutes, reward our best educators, increase access to farmers' markets, and keep politicians accountable to the people. This challenge was echoed in the bills that Ohno, currently in his second term representing House District 27, authored for the 2015 Legislative Session.

"After my first two years in office, it became clear from talking with residents, nonprofits, businesses and government agencies that everyone is aware we have large, complicated issues looming over our quality of life in Hawaii," said Ohno. "While we are working on long-term resolutions, I think there are many small-scale improvements that will immediately be noticeable and prove to people that things can and will get better."

Bills for Better Schools
Ohno's education initiatives aim to reward and retain effective and experienced educators.

HB 1401
Appropriates $3.4 million to Hawaii's preschool programs to ensure three- and four-year-olds are equipped with the skills to become a successful student.

HB 1229
Recognizes educators taking on extra school leadership roles with a bonus for teacher leaders.

HB 1228
Creates a bonus for National Board Certified teachers employed at Title 1 schools to reward those empowering our communities in need.

Increases the spending power of principals so that school funds can be directed toward each school's unique goals.

HB 1230
Reestablishes an education working group that will create a plan to resolve ongoing staffing, repair and maintenance, and other issues tasked under Act 51.

Bills for Better Government 
With falling voter turnout in recent elections, Ohno introduced measures to instill trust back into government.

HB 1084
Prohibits lobbyists from giving gifts to elected officials to prevent undue influence in the officials' duties.

HB 1083
Requires an additional campaign spending report to promote greater transparency and reduce the influence of money in politics.

Bills for a Better Hawaii
The immediate impact of these bills will produce positive change to the everyday lives of Hawaii's residents.

HB 1226
Enacts a repaving pilot project to bring relief to older neighborhoods with "roads-in-limbo," which do not qualify for maintenance improvements by city or state agencies.

HB 1400
Allocates funds for a matching incentive program for SNAP beneficiaries at farmers' markets to put more fresh, nutritious options into the hands of those in need while supporting local food sustainability.

HB 1399
Appropriates funds to provide free WiFi at Honolulu International Airport to better serve our tourists and remain an accessible destination in the 21st Century.

HB 1085
Restricts the sizes of political signs and limits the amount of time that a sign can be erected to promote clear views of Hawaii's natural beauty.

More information on all of these bills can be found on the Hawaii State Capitol website at

About Representative Takashi Ohno: Takashi Ohno is the Hawaii State Representative for District 27, which includes Liliha, Puunui, Alewa Heights and Nuuanu. He won re-election in 2014 and is currently serving his second term. Ohno is the Vice Chair of the House Committee on Education and Vice Chair of the House Committee on Tourism. Prior to being elected, he was a third-grade teacher at Mayor Joseph J. Fern Elementary School in Kalihi. Additional information is available on the Hawaii State Capitol Website or on Facebook.