Tuesday, April 22, 2014

House Calls for Red Hill Fuel Leak Task Force

The House unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 73 HD1, requesting the Director of Health to convene a task force to study the effects of the January 2014 fuel tank leak at the Red Hill underground fuel storage facility.

It’s been estimated that over the last 65 years, untold thousands of gallons of jet fuel has leaked underground from the fuel tanks involving multiple leaks, the latest occurring last January when the Navy confirmed that up to 27,000 gallons of JP-8 aviation fuel leaked from one of the tanks.

"Studies indicate that past fuel spills have already leached into the groundwater and soil beneath the storage tank facility," said Representative Mark Takai (Aiea), Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts Committee chairman.

"We are asking for a much more deliberative approach to this situation," Takai said. "The Navy, State, Board of Water Supply and all involved need to take aggressive mitigating action and to work together to prevent a huge catastrophe from happening."

The resolution requests the task force look into the implications of shutting down the fuel storage facility, as well as the remediation of the current contaminated soil and ground water.

A single underground fuel tank stands as tall as the Aloha Tower (250 ft.) and 100 ft. wide and holds about 12 million gallons of fuel. The Navy’s Red Hill facility contains 20 such tanks.

Lawmakers provide green infrastructure financing options for low and middle income homeowners

Photo Credit: Mauisolarproject.org.
House and Senate lawmakers have agreed to kick start a statewide green infrastructure financing program designed to make clean energy improvements, such as photovoltaic panels, affordable and accessible to underserved community members, including low- and moderate-income homeowners, renters and nonprofits.

Per the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism, Green Energy Market Securitization (GEMS) was established through Act 211 on June 27, 2013. The program addresses the financial challenges many Hawaii residents face when attempting to purchase and install energy saving devices and aims to work with existing clean energy companies to expand the mrket of eligible consumers who will be able to simply invest in solar today, with no upfront cost, and repay over time.

House and Senate Budget conferees lead by Finance Chair Representative Sylvia Luke and Ways and Means Chair Senator David Ige have agreed to allow the disbursement of up to $50 million from the Green Infrastructure Special Fund to initiate the GEMS program. The provision is a line item within the state’s executive budget bill HB1700, and would go into effect after the measure is passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.

“Clearly, this levels the playing field for all of Hawaii’s residents to be a part of Hawaii’s efforts to be energy self-sufficient,” said Luke. “We found that the upfront costs of alternative energy equipment are a barrier, preventing many electric utility customers from investing in solar panels and other alternative energy equipment.

“Existing programs and incentives do not serve everyone, particularly those customers who lack access to capital or who cannot afford the large upfront costs required. I believe it is in all of our best interest to make cost-effective green infrastructure equipment options accessible and affordable to customers in an equitable way.”

The program will take a proven rate-reduction bond structure and use it in an innovative way to provide low-cost financing to utility customers. Payment for the devices would be made over time through one’s electricity bill and paid for with the energy savings. Upon approval from the Public Utilities Commission, the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism will facilitate the GEMS financing program via the Hawaii State Energy Office.

More information on the GEMS program is available on DBEDT’s website at http://energy.hawaii.gov/testbeds-initiatives/gems.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Honoka'a High School's Jazz Band to Tour Oahu

State Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo) today announced that the Honoka’a Jazz Band from Honoka’a High School will be on its annual concert tour of Oahu from April 24-27. This year, the award winning band devotes its talents to the service of others. Hunger, homelessness, domestic violence and senior comfort remain a part of our community.

“I am very pleased to support the efforts of all of those connected with the Honoka’a Jazz Band, the pride of Honoka’a and the Big Island,” said Nakashima. “Each year the repertoire of the band changes as students graduate and the ‘personality’ of the band changes. This year, their repertoire includes a wide variety of music spanning from the 1940s to the present, and includes the music of Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon, Christina Aguilera and others.”

“It speaks to the talent and hard work of the kids and their teachers that they can perform such a wide range of music at such a high level.”

The Honoka’a students will be entertaining seniors at 15 Craigside on Friday, April 25 and then serving lunch as well as jazz at the Institute for Human Services on Sunday, April 27 at noon. "What a blessing to have the Honoka'a Jazz band volunteer their time and talents at IHS! We look forward to sharing with them our mission to end homelessness," said Connie Mitchell, executive director for the Institute for Human Services.

The band’s tour also includes championing the ending of domestic violence as part of the Kapi´olani Community College Denim Day and Sexual Violence Awareness & Education campaign on Thursday, April 24. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the band performs at 11:30 a.m. in the Ohia Cafeteria.

The band’s ability to deliver consistent quality music has caught the attention of the Royal Hawaiian Center which welcomes their celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month each year. This year the Honoka’a Jazz Band will perform in the newly renovated Royal Grove of Helumoa on Saturday, April 26 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and will be followed by other performances.

The Band received a GRAMMY Signature Schools Award in 2012 and has been recognized by NAMM Foundation as being an outstanding school for Music Education. Honoka’a High School was one of 36 schools out of 22,000 eligible programs in the U.S. to receive the GRAMMY Signature Schools Award.

The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and it's nearly 9,000 members around the world, with the mission of advancing active participation in music making by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry.

The Director Gary Washburn has been recognized as Claus Nobel Teacher of Distinction Award recipient, a Living Treasure of Hawaii and was inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame this past October.

For the past 15 years, the band has served as the entertainment for the Friends for Youth Transition Conventions on the Big Island with Frank Delima, and has performed with Melveen Leed as part of the Lokahi Tree Project.

Capitol Idol II

Individual act winner Blake Oshiro and the Executive Team
Another year and another great showing of Capitol Idol, a government talent show fundraiser in support of the Hawaii Foodbank. The installment of the event raised $1,735 to support and feed Hawaii hungry. The first Capitol Idol in 2012 raised $1,400.

This year, members of the House and Senate were joined by participants from the Executive Branch. The newcomers proved a major obstacle in the House's goals of defending the best individual act and team act awards--as the Executive team swept both perpetual trophies.

The individual act winner was Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor and the Executive Team performing Last Dance.   The Executive Branch was the overall team winner with several acts from nearly a dozen performers.

Senator Mike Gabbard organized the fundraiser and comedian Champ Kaneshiro volunteered as emcee.

Performers included:

Team Executive Branch: Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Kealii Lopez, Director of the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Maria Zielinksi, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Accounting and General Services; Audrey Hidano, Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation; Keone Kali, Chief Information Officer; Joshua Wisch, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Taxation; Jesse Souki, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; and Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff

Team House: Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito

Team Senate: Sen. Russell Ruderman, backed by Sens. Rosalyn Baker, Will Espero, Mike Gabbard, Michelle Kidani and Suzanne Chun-Oakland;  Sen. Mike Gabbard; Sen. Malama Solomon with back-up singers Sen. Brickwood Galuteria and senate staff; and Da Kolohe Bruddahs, consisting of Sens. Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria and Russell Ruderman.

 More photos from the event are available below

Conference Committee Begins Negotiations on State Budget

House and Senate conferees met today to begin negotiations on a final version of HB1700, the state budget bill. Earlier, the House Finance Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee crafted their respective versions of the budget. They will continue meeting to iron out the differences between the two versions through April 25, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee. A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

“The most recent projections by the Council on Revenues that forecasted a flatter rate of growth suggested we take a more prudent and conservative approach to structuring the State’s budget,” said Rep. Sylvia Luke (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nuuanu, Dowsett Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa), House Finance Committee Chair.

“Nothing has changed to alter the wisdom of that approach since the House and Senate formulated their versions of the budget. It does not mean we do not spend at all, but that we do it prudently by focusing on our priorities and spending wisely.”

Luke said that approach meant “restraint” should be exercised when looking at programs that commit the State to significant dollars for the long term. She noted that a cautious approach also means reinforcing the State’s emergency reserves, such as the “rainy day” fund, and ensuring that sufficient funds are available for the State’s long-term financial obligations such as the State’s unfunded liabilities.

Finance Vice-Chair Scott Nishimoto, Finance Chair Sylvia Luke, and Ways and Means Chair David Ige
Also today, the committee highlighted several budget items upon which there was agreement in the House and Senate budget drafts.
  • $1,500,000 for the Housing First Program to address homelessness in the state.
  • $7,359,000 for Wiki Wiki shuttle buses at Honolulu International Airport to support the state’s visitor industry at the points of entry and exit.
  • $1,000,000 in funding for campus enrollment support positions at University of Hawaii-West Oahu.
  • An appropriation of $318,486 for the Executive Office on Aging grant programs.
Budget worksheets detailing agreements and disagreements in the state and judiciary budget bills are available on the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/budget/2014budget.aspx.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Conference Committee Guide 2014

House passes HCDA bill and others on final reading

The state House of Representatives today passed the omnibus bill that seeks to improve management, legislative oversight and public participation of the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA). HB1866 HD2 SD2 is one of a number of bills that originated in the House, was amended by the Senate, and now goes to the Governor for his review. The Governor has the option of signing the bills into law, vetoing them, or allowing them to become law without his signature.

“HB1866 will allow us to ‘reboot’ HCDA and allow it to refocus on its mission, provide greater transparency in its operation and decision making, and allow the public to have greater input in its deliberations,” said Representative Scott Saiki (Kakaako, McCully, Kaheka, Downtown), who introduced the bill.

“At the end of the day, it will help HCDA create a community that is more livable, more productive and that better reflects our island values, lifestyle and sensibilities.”

Other bills passing final reading in the House included:

HB33, SD1 extends the sunset date for the prohibition against urinating or defecating in public within the boundaries of downtown Honolulu to December 31, 2016.

HB1503, HD1, SD1 voids any rental agreement provision that allows for eviction of a tenant who has a valid certificate for the medical use of marijuana unless: (1) the rental agreement allows for eviction for smoking tobacco and the medical marijuana is smoked; or (2) the documents of a condominium property regime or planned community association prohibit the medical use of marijuana. Effective 11/01/2014.

HB1660, HD1, SD1 specifies that the offense of obstructing includes, in addition to obstructing a highway or public passage, providing less than thirty-six inches of space for passage on any paved public sidewalk, except as authorized by law, or failing to obey a law enforcement officer's order or request to cease any of the foregoing activities.

HB2269, HD1, SD1 authorizes the Insurance Commissioner to collect and annually publish health premium information from health insurers on the official website of the Insurance Division.

HB286, HD1, SD1 deletes the requirement that a condominium hotel or hotel have a commercial kitchen and dining room for liquor licensing purposes.

HB716, SD1 clarifies that the board of public accountancy may take one or more disciplinary actions against any person for violations of public accountancy regulatory law, repeals the maximum amount of time for which the board may suspend or refuse to renew a license or permit, and increases the amount of the administrative fine that may be imposed for any violation.

HB1300, HD1, SD1 accommodates the formation of directed trusts by specifying standards of care and performance for fiduciary actions subject to an advisor's authority under the terms of the trust.

HB1830, HD2, SD1 requires arbitration awards, records of awards, and related supporting materials under chapter 466K, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to be public records. Requires licensed or certified real estate appraisers who are named or appointed in a submission agreement to appraise or arbitrate entered into after July 1, 2014, to record with the bureau of conveyances all arbitration awards; records of awards, if separately issued; and any supplementary, dissenting, or explanatory opinions on awards within ninety days of the notification of the determination of the award to the parties. Specifies that no agreement between the parties or the appraisers acting as arbitrators may preclude or deny the requirement to record an award, the record of the award, or any supplementary, dissenting, or explanatory opinions. Clarifies that failure to comply is a violation of real estate appraiser license or certification requirements.

HB1881, SD1 amends the composition of the center for nursing advisory board by decreasing the number of voting members on the center for nursing advisory board to nine; specifying the membership of the advisory board to better facilitate the center for nursing's mission; and clarifying term limits and appointments to the advisory board. Amends certain powers and duties of the advisory board.

HB1882, HD2, SD1 adopts the national standard of a minimum of twenty-four months in an accredited podiatric residency prior to licensure as a podiatrist, beginning on 01/01/2015. Specifies separate requirements for out-of-state podiatrists who graduated from an approved college before 01/01/2004, who are seeking initial licensure in Hawaii.

HB1938, HD1, SD2 clarifies that the rules adopted by the Board of Agriculture referring to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) D4814, relating to standard specification for automotive spark-ignition engine fuel, shall be deemed to refer to version ASTM D4814-13b adopted in 2013, as modified by the National Institute of Standards and Technology Handbook 130, part IV, subpart G, section 2.1 adopted in 2013.

HB1977, HD2, SD1 requires any further provisions each party is proposing for inclusion in the final position in a collective bargaining arbitration to be limited to those specific proposals that were submitted in writing to the other party and were the subject of collective bargaining up to the time of impasse. Provides the arbitration panel with authority to determine if final positions submitted are compliant with statutory requirements.

HB2045 HD1, SD1 provides a remedy for community associations to recover unpaid assessments for a share of common expenses up to the time of a grant or conveyance of property. Entitles both parties to a statement from the board of directors, either directly or through its managing agent or resident manager, setting forth the amount of the unpaid assessments. Relieves the grantee of liability for any unpaid assessments against the grantor in excess of the amount set forth in the statement, except as to the amount of subsequently dishonored checks mentioned in the statement as having been received within the thirty day period immediately preceding the date of such statement.

HB2496, HD1, SD1 amends the procedures by which regular and acting members of the Hawaii labor relations board are appointed by requiring the governor to appoint the representative of the public; the representative of management, after first considering, if the governor chooses to consider, a list of nominees submitted by the counties; and the representative of labor from a list submitted by mutual agreement from a majority of the exclusive representatives.

HB2666, HD1, SD2 makes permanent the amendments allowing a business to scan an individual's driver's license or identification card to verify age when providing age-restricted goods or services. Removes reference to "the business" from the reasonable doubt standard for proof of age.

In addition to the bills passed today, several hundred bills are now in conference committee where the House and Senate will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will go through for final consideration.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

House passes over 150 measures on second crossover

Conferees will work out differences on a wide range of legislation

The State House of Representatives passed today more than 150 Senate bills dealing with education, housing and homelessness, health, seniors, agriculture, invasive species and the environment, minimum wage, public safety and improving the quality of life for Hawaii residents. The majority of these bills, along with House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

Notable senate-originating measures passed by the House include:

SB2424, SD2, HD1 requires the state Department of Education in conjunction with other state departments and agencies to develop a master strategy for cooling all public schools facilities. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds to fund projects that demonstrate efficient methods to air-condition classrooms.

SB2516, SD2, HD1 appropriates funds to the State Public Charter School Commission to support its facilities pilot project, based, in part, on the need and performance of charter schools.

SB2768, SD2, HD2 makes kindergarten attendance mandatory for five-year-old children in the state.

SB2609, SD1, HD2 updates the state’s minimum wage requirements, increasing the minimum wage each year from January 1, 2015 to January 1, 2018 to $7.75, $8.50, 9.25, and $10.00 respectively. Adjusts the tip credit to fifty cents per hour beginning January 1, 2015 and seventy-five cents per hour beginning January 1, 2016 provided that the combined amount the employee earns in salary and in tips is at least $7.00 more than the applicable minimum wage.

SB2533, SD1, HD1 addresses Hawaii’s affordable housing needs through appropriations of fund and the issuance of general obligation bonds.

SB2442, SD1, HD1 helps meet the current and projected needs for affordable housing in Hawaii by appropriating monies to the Rental Housing Trust Fund for the construction of micro units, family units, and elder housing units to be leased to individuals and families meeting certain income requirements.

SB2346, SD1, HD2 provides necessary services and support programs for the health and well-being of Hawaii’s older population by appropriating funds for the Kupuna Care Program, Aging and Disability Resource Center and Healthy Aging Partnership Program; and establishing a public education and awareness campaign on long-term care. Majority Package.

SB2345, SD1, HD1 protects Hawaii’s kupuna from financial fraud and abuse by appropriating funds for the operation of the investor education and other related financial education programs targeted at kupuna within the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Majority Package.

SB2399, SD2, HD1 authorizes the High Technology Development Corporation to establish a geriatric research and technology park that will serve the emerging elderly population and stimulate economic growth and appropriates funds for the project.

SB2629, SD1, HD1 provides greater transparency in lobbying activities by requiring persons who engage in lobbying during any special session to file a statement of expenditures with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission within 30 days after adjournment sine die of the special session.

SB2634, SD1, HD2 requires individuals who spend more than $750 on lobbying during a statement period to itemize each expenditure in certain categories.

SB2470, SD1, HD1 amends the functions, operations, organization, and oversight of the Hawaii Health Connector.

SB2866, SD1, HD1 makes an emergency appropriation to provide funds for the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation and its regions.

SB2434, SD2, HD1 specifies additional duties for the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator position in the Executive Office on Aging and appropriates funds to establish a full-time position to assist the coordinator with information and referral, counseling, education, support groups, and safety services.

SB2054, SD3, HD3 requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders up to a maximum benefit amount for certain individuals, and requires the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization to contract for the performance of an actuarial analysis of the projected costs of providing insurance coverage for screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.

SB2495, SD3, HD1 prohibits the use of electronic smoking devices in enclosed public areas and other specified locations.

SB2687, SD1, HD2 extends from two to four years after April 24, 2012, the statutory period during which victims of child sexual abuse may bring an otherwise time-barred civil action against the victim’s abuser and certain legal entities, including the State or its political subdivisions.

SB702, SD2, HD2 establishes Alicia’s Law to combat internet crimes against children by instituting an Internet Crimes Against Children Fee to be assessed against a defendant for each felony or misdemeanor conviction and creating an Internet Crimes Against Children Special Fund to train and equip, or otherwise enable, local law enforcement to investigate and prosecute internet crimes against children and assist groups working directly to fight internet crimes against children.

SB2729, SD2, HD1 amends the fine structure and amounts for violations of the prohibition against operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device in the state.

SB2315, SD1, HD1 appropriates funds to the state Department of Public Safety to provide substance abuse treatment to inmates of the Halawa Correctional Facility.

SB2308, SD1, HD1 appropriates funds to the Department of Public Safety to provide for programs and services for children of incarcerated parents and to assist with family reunification.

SB2343, HD1 protects Hawaii’s environment and economy and the health and lifestyle of its people by appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014-15 to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources for projects undertaken in accordance with the Hawaii Invasive Species Council for prevention, control, outreach, research and planning. Majority Package.

SB2920, SD2, HD1 protects Hawaii’s environment, agriculture and economy, and the health of Hawaii’s residents and visitors from the devastating effects of invasive little fire ants by creating a pilot project to develop model strategies for controlling and eradicating the little fire ant, developing a canine detection pilot program, and implementing a statewide public awareness and education campaign.

SB3024, SD2, HD1 increases financial resources to support conservation and natural resource protection programs in the state by allocating funds from the Transient Accommodations Tax to support beach restoration, state parks, the Hawaii Statewide Trail and Access Program and the Conservation and Resource Enforcement Special Fund.

SB3121, SD1, HD1 requires legislative approval of any exchange of public land for private land by majority vote of both houses of the Legislature.

SB3065, SD1, HD1 appropriates funds for the state Department of Budget and Finance to investigate and, if appropriate, execute an exchange of existing state land for certain parcels of land currently owned by Dole food company, Inc., that contain important watershed, forest reserve and agricultural land.

SB2110, SD2, HD1 commits and restores appropriate staffing levels so the Department of Agriculture can properly administer and regulates pesticides in accordance with the Hawaii Pesticides Law.

SB3036, SD2, HD1 addresses erosion on Oahu’s North shore by requiring the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program to create a North Shore Beach Management Plan for the area stretching from the Kawailoa to Waialee ahupuaa and appropriating funds for the development of the plan.

SB2731, SD2, HD2 enables the operation of car-sharing companies which represents a green transportation innovation that can significantly reduce miles traveled, oil imports, greenhouse gases, and household transportation costs, in the state by creating a car-sharing vehicle surcharge tax.

SB2175, SD2, HD2 authorizes the dean of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to establish a two-year industrial hemp phyto-remediation and biofuel research program.

SB2110, SD2, HD1 appropriates funds to facilitate increased pesticide education and regulation.

SB718, SD2, HD1 supports long-term economic growth by the State by appropriating funds to the Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation to continue the HI Growth Initiative. Also, appropriates funds to perform studies and analysis relating to the establishment of one or more facilities on Hawaii Island for quarantine operations.

SB2968, SD2, HD2 establishes a temporary income tax credit for qualified hotel construction and renovation costs.

SB2079, SD2, HD1 amends the Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production Income Tax Credit by (1) requiring a film production to comply with all applicable statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations of the federal, state, and county governments and secure all necessary film permit approvals with the appropriate state or county agency if film production takes place on state or county property; (2) prohibiting production costs that have been financed with state funds from qualifying for the tax credit beginning July 1, 2014; and (3) prohibiting reality television programs from qualifying for the tax credit.

SB2583, SD1, HD1 appropriates funds, contingent on a dollar-for-dollar match of funds by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), for the purpose of funding an engineering assessment of the proposed venture between NASA and the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems to establish a laser optical communications ground station in the state.

SB3053, SD2, HD1 appropriates funds to establish, staff and operate a Hawaii Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Site. Establishes a chief operating officer position for the test site and an advisory board to oversee and manage operations.

SB2658, SD3, HD2 relating to solar energy on agricultural land. Complement the uses of utility scale solar energy generation and local food production on agricultural land with an overall productivity rating of Class B or C even if percentage of acreage limits are exceeded, by requiring a special use permit for the solar energy facility.

SB2198, SD1, HD1 creates a Renewable Energy Fuels Task Force within the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to perform a feasibility study and make recommendations on renewable energy strategies.

SB2829, SD1, HD1 appropriates general funds to recapitalize the Emergency and Budget Reserve Fund (“Rainy Day” Fund) to help rebuild the State’s depleted fiscal reserves and ensure ongoing State financial stability.

SB3122, SD2, HD2 authorizes the Office of Hawaii Affairs (OHA) to pursue authorization to conduct residential development and to impose association fees on certain parcels of land in the Kakaako Makai area that were transferred to OHA, as part of the settlement of claims related to public land trust revenues.

SB2953, SD1, HD3 allocates to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands a to be determined percent of the royalties received by the State from geothermal resources located on lands under the jurisdiction of the department.

SB1007, SD2, HD2 increases liability protections for the State and counties by extending the conclusive presumption for legally adequate warning to include dangerous non-natural conditions on unimproved lands and makes permanent the liability protections based on posting warnings signs regarding outdoor recreation on public lands by Act 82, Session Laws of Hawaii 2003.

SB2026, SD1, HD2 establishes the offense of cruelty to animals by slaughtering or trafficking pet animals for human consumption as a misdemeanor.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Facebook: A Tale of Two Cities

Confusion over Kailua, Oahu versus Kailua, Hawaii County (Kailua-Kona) clarified

Honolulu, Hawaii – Locals would never confuse Oahu’s Kailua Town with the Big Island’s Kailua-Kona. Geographically and otherwise, the two are distinct as Kailua Town’s Fourth of July Parade and Kailua-Kona’s Ironman World Championship race. Both have made a name for themselves beyond our shores with Hawaii’s visitors and support bustling small business communities relying on their unique online presence. Unfortunately, because of the similarity of their names, visitors looking for either destination sometimes confuse one for the other. Up until now, Facebook’s description of both has only added to the confusion, as news stories highlighted recently.

That could add up to a lot of confused people. In 2013, the popular social media network had over 2.3 billion monthly and more than 15 million business, company and organization users.

That’s why state Representatives Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) and Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau) co-authored House Resolution 165 that urges Facebook to more clearly distinguish the two towns on the social networking site to protect the local businesses in each town. The resolution was recently passed by the House Committee on Veterans, Military, and Culture & the Arts and goes to the full House for adoption.

However, within hours of the hearing, Facebook’s entries for both neighborhoods were changed to better describe both locales.

“After we called attention to the confusion, Facebook must have realized there were some real issues caused by the inaccurate information and made changes,” Representative Lee said. “Even as we are focused on fixing our major issues, sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference to some businesses. A big mahalo to Facebook for their quick action to fix this.”

“In addition to the very real consequences of inaccurate information affecting business and travel decisions, we all take great pride in our distinct identities as communities.” added Representative Lowen. “Kailua, Hawaii County on Facebook used to be linked to a map for Kailua, Oahu, but, as of today, I’m pleased to see it’s been corrected.”

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

House Honors Voyages and Accomplishments of the Hokulea

After 38 years of sailing across more than 140,000 miles of open waters of the Pacific using traditional non-instrument means of navigation, the crews of the Hokulea continue to explore the world’s oceans. During its current four-year odyssey—Malama Honua Worldwide Voyage—the Hokulea will circumnavigate the world, covering 47,000 miles, visit 26 countries and 85 ports.

What it has and continues to accomplish was the focus of a state House of Representative ceremony, recognizing the Hokulea, its crews and the Polynesian Voyaging Society. On hand for the passage of a House resolution were Nainoa Thompson, master navigator who steered the Hokulea on its initial voyages in the 1970s; Laura Thompson, Nainoa’s mother and a board member for the Polynesian Voyaging Society; Clyde Namuo, executive director for the Polynesian Voyaging Society; and Kathy Muneno, Nainoa’s wife, local television newscaster and board member for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

“What began in 1973, as a scientific experiment to build a replica of a traditional voyaging canoe, the Hokulea and her crew has proudly become a representation of Hawaii and Polynesia as a symbol of cultural art, heritage and progress,” read the House certificate of appreciation.  “The House of Representatives of the 27th Legislature of the State of Hawaii hereby extends its sincerest appreciation and deepest gratitude to the Hokulea and her crew for the important ideological, environmental, and cultural impact on, not just the voyaging community, but on Hawaiian and Polynesian culture”