Wednesday, November 6, 2019

JUDICIARY COMMITTEES TO HEAR UPDATES ON STATEWIDE VOTING BY MAIL PROCESS


WHO:             Representative Chris Lee, Chair, House Committee on Judiciary
Senator Karl Rhoads, Chair, Senate Committee Judiciary

WHAT:          Informational Briefing on the statewide voting by mail process

WHEN:          Wednesday, November 13, 2019
                        2 p.m.
                       
WHERE:       Hawaii State Capitol
                        Room 016

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House and Senate Judiciary Committees will hold a joint informational briefing on the statewide voting by mail process at 2 p.m. Nov. 13 in room 016 at the State Capitol.
The purpose of this briefing is to update the status of the implementation of voting by mail pursuant to Act 136, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019.  Act 136 requires that all elections in the State be conducted by mail commencing with the 2020 election cycle.
Speakers include:
  • Scott Nago, Chief Election Officer, State of Hawai‘i;
  • Jon Henricks, County Clerk, County of Hawai‘i;
  • Josiah Nishita, County Clerk, County of Maui;
  • Jade Fountain-Tanigawa, County Clerk, County of Kaua‘i; and
  • Glen Takahashi, City Clerk, City & County of Honolulu.

Friday, November 1, 2019

My Turn: Energy code shows proactive plan against climate change




Recent news coverage of the county council’s work on amending the building code, and the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), seems to be missing the point. Specifically, the point that the higher efficiency standards required by the code for new construction will save homeowners, businesses, and taxpayers more than $1 billion in energy costs over the next few decades.
Yes, the codes need small adjustments to be customized for each county’s unique considerations— which is why the counties are given an ample two-year window to make amendments. Yes, in cooler areas and higher elevations, the tropical code should remain an option. However, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that the new code, overall, protects consumers; ensures comfortable, healthy and cost-effective homes; facilitates compatibility with new technology; and cuts carbon emissions to boot.
We should be wary of anyone who tries to frame this long-overdue building code update as a tradeoff between affordable housing and environmental objectives, and focuses narrowly on cost increases on the construction side while selectively ignoring the positive impacts and the significant net cost reductions over the lifecycle of a home or building.
There has been a lot of pushback from the construction industry about these codes, which went into effect unamended after the county failed to take any action inside of their two-year window.
But, responsible builders and architects will agree that we should not cut one-time construction costs at the expense of health, comfort, safety, and financial savings for homeowners over the long-term.
This past summer was the hottest on record and we are beginning to experience the impacts of climate change in real time: heat and humidity are worsening, cooling trade winds are less frequent, and the zone in which passive cooling measures are enough to keep homes comfortable is shrinking. The demand for air conditioning is soaring and will continue to grow.

REPRESENTATIVE MIZUNO ASKS U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INVESTIGATE NEW YORK CITY POLICY OF SENDING HOMELESS PEOPLE TO HAWAIʻI


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representative John M. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi) has sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr asking that his agency investigate New York City's policy of sending homeless citizens to other states across our nation.
In his letter, Mizuno says an investigation is needed following the New York Post's front page article of October 26, 2019 titled "NYC secretly exports homeless to Hawaii and other states without telling receiving pols."
The article alleges that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Special One-Time Assistance Program" (SOTA) has since its inception in August 2017 exported 12,482 homeless individuals to 32 states.
"The SOTA program to my knowledge fails to comply with ensuring the safety, well-being, and continued support which is needed for a homeless individual or family being displaced. The SOTA program is a recipe for disaster and inhumane to the homeless being exported out of New York," Mizuno said in his letter.

Monday, October 28, 2019

WOMEN'S LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS OPENS LACTATION ROOM FOR MOTHERS ATTENDING PUBLIC HEARINGS AT THE STATE CAPITOL


Room will provide privacy, comfort for mothers to nurse babies, express milk


Women's Legislative Caucus members celebrate the blessing and opening of the new Lactation Room at the State Capitol. (From left) Rep. Linda Ichiyama, Rep. Lauren Matsumoto, Sen. Laura H. Thielen, Sen. Rosalyn H. Baker, Rep. Della Au Belatti, Sen. Sharon Y. Moriwaki, Rep. Lisa Kitagawa, and Rep. Nadine K. Nakamura.

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The Women's Legislative Caucus (WLC) today held a blessing and opening ceremony for the first Lactation Room at the State Capitol. The room, located on the second floor, will provide a comfortable, private space for mothers to nurse their babies and express milk. 

The space is comfortably furnished with a table, chair, posters and a rug provided by the House and Senate Clerks offices for the project.
"In the past, mothers who came to the Capitol to talk to lawmakers, attend hearings, or testify did not have a private, hygienic place to use a breast pump," said Representative Linda Ichiyama, Women's Legislative Caucus Co-Convener. "This new room for mothers and families removes a barrier to open participation in government. I'm grateful it all came together before the start of the next legislative session."
"We have wanted to make this room available for a couple years and needed to find the right space," said Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Co-Convener of the WLC. "The Lactation Room will allow mothers who are breastfeeding to feel safe and comfortable when they visit the Capitol."
Leʻa Minton, Board President of Breastfeeding Hawaiʻi, said the lactation room is critical for allowing mothers to take part in the legislative process.
"Lactation rooms are opening in government building across the country," Minton said. "Mothers have the right to breastfeed or express milk and still take part in the legislative process. We want to thank the Women's Legislative Caucus for making this happen."

Friday, October 18, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE KITAGAWA, HOUSE LEADERSHIP INVITE KĀNEʻOHE, KAHALUʻU, WAIĀHOLE RESIDENTS TO LAWMAKERS LISTEN COMMUNITY MEETING


WHO:             Representative Lisa Kitagawa
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and House Leadership

WHAT:          Lawmakers Listen, community meeting

WHEN:          Tuesday, October 22
                        6:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria
45-259 Waikalua Road, Kāneʻohe


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The public is invited to join Representative Lisa Kitagawa (Kāneʻohe, Kahaluʻu, Waiāhole) and members of the House of Representatives Leadership team for an open discussion about the upcoming Legislative session and important community topics including education, environmental, homelessness, and family issues on October 22 at Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria.
Members of the community are invited to share their questions and concerns directly with Rep. Kitagawa, Speaker of the House Scott K. Saiki, Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa, and Labor & Public Employment Committee Chair Aaron Ling Johanson.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEES TO HOLD BRIEFING ON YOUTH VAPING EPIDEMIC


WHO:             Representative Roy M. Takumi, Chair, House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Chair, Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health


WHAT:          Informational Briefing seeking solutions to end the youth vaping epidemic


WHEN:          Thursday, October 17
                        10 a.m.

                       
WHERE:       Hawaiʻi State Capitol
                        Room 309


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee will hold an informational briefing on the youth vaping epidemic at 10 a.m. Thursday, October 17 in room 309 at the State Capitol.

Youth vaping is a serious public health issue and recently there has been a dramatic increase in use of electronic smoking devices by Hawaiʻi's youth. Only 4.7 percent of Hawaiʻi adults report use of electronic smoking devices as compared to 26 percent of our public high school students with numbers up to 34 percent for the neighbor islands. The national vaping average is 13 percent.
Overall, U.S. youth vaping surged 78 percent in just one year between 2017 and 2018.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE MIZUNO, CVS PHARMACY ANNOUNCE THE INSTALLATION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUG DISPOSAL UNITS AT 17 LONGS DRUGS STORES


Effort to help stop prescription drug diversion and misuse, save lives
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
State Representative John Mizuno, Chair the House Health Committee, talked about the need to address the diversion and misuse of unwanted or unneeded prescription medications including opioids in Hawaiʻi at the Kamehameha Long Drugs CVS Pharmacy last week.


Mizuno, author of HB1272 which was signed into law on July 2 as Act 183, said the bill allows for the safe disposal of prescription drugs at drug disposal units now being utilized by CVS Longs at 17 of their pharmacies statewide.
"According to statistics from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, 200 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and 2,000 Americans suffer an overdose every day," said Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley, Lower Kalihi). "From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose. We have an opioid crisis."
The drug disposal units are an effort to combat the opioid epidemic and support healthcare providers and health systems, partner with law enforcement, and encourage consumers to make safe choices about opioids and the devastation that comes with their misuse.
"We need to make sure that prescription drugs that are no longer needed by the patients they were meant for are disposed of properly and don't fall into the wrong hands," said Mizuno. "I want to thank CVS Longs for supporting this endeavor and program in Hawaiʻi."

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE PERRUSO, HOUSE LEADERSHIP INVITE WAHIAWĀ, WHITMORE VILLAGE, LAUNANI VALLEY RESIDENTS TO LAWMAKERS LISTEN COMMUNITY MEETING


WHO:             Representative Amy A. Perruso
House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and House Leadership

WHAT:          Lawmakers Listen, community meeting

WHEN:          Tuesday, October 8
                        6 p.m.

WHERE:       Dot's Wahiawā
130 Mango St.


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – The public is invited to join Repretentive Amy A. Perruso (Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, Launani Valley) and members of the House of Representatives Leadership team for an open discussion about the upcoming Legislative session and important community issues including education, family issues, and homelessness on October 8 at Dot's in Wahiawā.
Members of the community are invited to share their questions and concerns directly with Rep. Perruso, Speaker of the House Scott K. Saiki, Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, and Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa.

Monday, September 23, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE MIZUNO, CVC PHARMACY, ANNOUNCE INSTALLATION OF DRUG DISPOSAL UNITS AT 17 LONGS DRUGS STORES

Effort to help combat prescription drug diversion and misuse in Hawaiʻi 


 WHO:             Representative John Mizuno, Chair, House Committee on Health

WHAT:          Installation of drug disposal units at 17 Longs Drugs Stores completed

WHEN:          Friday, September 27
                        10 a.m.

WHERE:       Longs Drugs
                        Kamehameha Shopping Center
1620 North School St.


Honolulu, HawaiʻiState Representative John Mizuno, author of HB1272 which was signed into law as Act 183, allows for such drug take back in Hawaiʻi. Mizuno will join representatives from CVS Pharmacy to announce the completed installation of drug disposal units in 17 Longs Drugs stores across the State, including nine on Oʻahu. 

The disposal program is designed to help address the diversion and misuse of unwanted or unneeded prescription medication -- including opioids.

"We need to make sure that prescription drugs that are no longer needed by the patients they were meant for are disposed of properly and don't fall into the wrong hands," said Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi). "I want to thank CVS and Longs Drugs for supporting this program to help our residents."

REPRESENTATIVE ELI TO HOST COMMUNITY PRESENTATION ON THE FORMER MĀ‘ILI POINT VOICE OF AMERICA TRANSMITTER SITE


WHO:             Representative Stacelynn K.M. Eli
                        U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)
                        Hawaiʻi Department of Health

WHAT:          Presentation on the restoration of the Ma‘ili Point former Voice of America Transmitter site

WHEN:          Thursday, September 26
                        6:30 p.m.

WHERE:       Kamehameha School's Community Learning Center
                        87-790 Kulauka Street


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Representative Stacelynn Eli is co-sponsoring a community meeting with the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Hawaii Department of Health to discuss the restoration of the Ma‘ili Point former Voice of America Transmitter site.

At the meeting a project team from the U.S. Coast Guard will discuss what was done to complete the restoration of the transmitter site.

The Department of Health will talk about the project and the next steps for the site.

"Please join us to hear what has been done and what is planned for the future at the site," said Representative Eli (‘Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko ‘Olina, Kahe Point, Nānākuli, Lualualei, Mā‘ili). "I want to thank the Coast Guard and the Department of Health for their work on this project and believe it will be a great benefit for our community."

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

HOUSE SPEAKER SAIKI NAMES LYNN McCRORY TO HART BOARD


Appointment expected to bring accountability to City’s rail project
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi
– House Speaker Scott K. Saiki today appointed Lynn McCrory to serve as a non-voting ex-officio member of the Board of Directors for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART).


McCrory fills the vacancy left following the resignation of Kamani Kualaʻau, with her term expiring on December 31, 2021.

McCrory is the Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Lanaʻi Resorts LLC and previously was President of PAHIO Development Inc. on Kauaʻi with responsibilities for community and government relations.

"Lynn McCrory has extensive experience in the planning and development of commercial projects both in Hawaiʻi and on the mainland," said Speaker Saiki. "She has worked closely with community members and government agencies and will be a great asset to the HART board. I am very grateful that she is willing to accept this appointment and look forward to her feedback."

Monday, September 9, 2019

McKELVEY PRAISES MAUI COUNCIL COMMITTEE VOTE TO SETTLE SUPREME COURT APPEAL


Lawmaker hopeful that the full council will also settle Lahaina Wastewater Facility issue
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –Representative Angus L.K. McKelvey applauded the decision by the Maui County Council's Governance, Ethics, and Transparency Committee to settle the injection well case rather than pursuing it to the United States Supreme Court.

"I humbly thank the members of the committee for recommending that the County withdraw its lawsuit from before the Supreme Court. While I am pleased with today's outcome, it is important to note that further action will still be required to consecrate this decision," said McKelvey (West Maui, Mā‘alaea, North Kīhei). "I am hopeful the supporting members will continue to be steadfast in the same course of action by the Council as whole. I humbly ask those who are not in support of today's recommendation to reexamine the issues again in light of the new letter from the Department of Health to the County."
The county had argued that because pollutants did not flow directly into the ocean but rather flowed indirectly through injection wells, no permits under the Clean Water Act are required.

Friday, September 6, 2019

COMMITTEES TO HEAR TESTIMONY ON MEDICAL USE OF CANNABIS AND HEMP-DERIVED CANNABIDIOL


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 cannabis and hemp-derived cannabidiol

WHEN:          Thursday, September 12
                        9:30 a.m.

                       
WHERE:       Hawaii 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 to review Hawaii's policy on Medical Cannabis and improve the safety of integrative healthcare options for Hawaiʻi's people based upon recent scientific research and best practices in other jurisdictions.
Hawaiʻi is faced with potential public health risks arising from consumption of unregulated sales of products reportedly containing CBD on the internet and through so-called CBD dispensaries, spas, gyms, health food stores, convenience stores, and even gas stations.
This briefing will seek to accomplish these four goals:
  • Examine the benefits of Medical Cannabis therapy including as a safe alternative to prescription opioids for pain relief
  • Understand the risks associated with human consumption of unregulated hemp-derived CBD; review state hemp cultivation and manufacturing policies and CBD regulations in other jurisdictions
  • Review other jurisdictions who provide for rational protections for employees registered in the state’s Medical Cannabis Registry program.
  • Begin a discussion about Hawaiʻi’s need for a well-considered, thoughful transition to a “dual use” program that allows both medical and adult social use of cannabis.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

HEALTH COMMITTEES TO DISCUSS HOSPICE CARE


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi –The House Committee on Health and the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, and Health Committee will hold an informational briefing on current trends in hospice care at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11 in room 329 at the State Capitol.
Healthcare professionals are increasingly seeing hospice as an important way to improve care and the quality of life for terminally ill patients. Hospice is available around the state and seen as best practice, but there is still much more that we can do as state to educate the community and make hospice care more accessible and acceptable.

In this informational briefing, two experts from the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the leading professional organization promoting excellence in hospice care, will speak on current and future trends in hospice regulation and the intersection of policy and quality of care. They will also provide an update on the progress being made across the nation to increase the availability of Palliative Care in a variety of healthcare settings.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

DISCOVER THE PUBLIC'S POWER IN THE STATE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS


 Free Workshops on the Legislative Process coming to Hawaii Island September 9-13
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi - Ever wonder how laws are created in our state and how you can have an influence on them? The Public Access Room (PAR) will be visiting Hawaiʻi Island from September 9-13 to demystify our state's legislative process and teach citizens how they can have a say in which bills become law.


"How-To" guides, informational handouts, and other resources will be available. Workshop times include:

Kailua Kona
West Hawaiʻi Civic Center Liquor Conference Room; 74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway
Monday, Sept. 9, 6 to 7 p.m.  

Ocean View
Ocean View Community Center; 92-8924 Leilani Circle
Tuesday, Sept. 10, noon to 1 p.m.

Friday, August 23, 2019

REPRESENTATIVE DALE KOBAYASHI ASKS GOV. IGE TO NOT PROVIDE STATE FUNDS FOR THE ALA WAI FLOOD PROJECT


Mānoa lawmaker says $125 million expense was rejected by House last session
Honolulu, HawaiʻiRep. Dale T. Kobayashi has sent a letter to Governor David Ige urging him to reconsider his decision to provide State funds to pay a $125 million portion of the federal Ala Wai Flood Mitigation Project.

"As you know, during the 2019 legislative session the House rejected SB 77 which would have provided the city's share of funding," Kobayashi said in the letter. "This vote reflected the will of the chamber and of our respective constituencies to not provide state resources for this effort."
Earlier this week the City Council approved a resolution to move forward on the Ala Wai project after Mayor Caldwell expressed confidence the State would come up with the approximately $125 million match, via the issuance of Certificates of Participation.
Robert Yu, Deputy Director of the State Department of Budget & Finance, confirmed that the funding is already in the works, bond counsel has been hired, and the State is soliciting bids for the underwriting. 

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.