Monday, July 28, 2014

Representative Rida Cabanilla Recognized as Global Woman of Distinction


Representative Rida Cabanilla (Ewa Villages, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ocean Pointe) has been selected by the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) as one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World. Honorees are invited to attend the Filipina Leadership Summit and awards gala on October 5-8, 2014 in Makiti, Philippines.

The 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Award™ recognizes Filipina women who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace, having reached status for outstanding work in their respective fields and are recognized for their leadership, achievement and contributions to society, mentorship and legacy. Annual and past awardees are asked to mentor a young Filipina protégé through the FEMtorship program to develop the next generation of Filipina global leaders.

“I am truly proud to be honored by an organization so relentlessly dedicated to the development and promotion of women across the world,” said Cabanilla. “I intend to contribute my own talents and experience in building the future of our community and I look forward to the exciting opportunity to mentor a young woman so that she too may one day be a benefit to society.”

“The Global FWN100™ women are dynamic entrepreneurs, practitioners, community leaders and executives who have moved through the ranks in large organizations, nonprofits, and government agencies. They are powerful examples of women doing extraordinary work who will motivate our youth and future leaders,” said Thelma Boac, Chair of the Global FWN100™ Worldwide Search and Selection Committee. “They were selected based on the size and scope of their positions, influence in their industries and their communities, board affiliations and other leadership roles. Nominations were received from 16 countries.

FWN is a nonprofit professional association based in San Francisco, California with members worldwide founded to increase awareness of the activities, careers and status of women of Philippine ancestry. FWN’s mission is to advance Filipina women in the global workplace through programs and activities that enhance public perceptions of Filipina women's capacities to lead and to build the Filipina community's pipeline of qualified leaders, to increase the odds that some Filipina women will rise to the president position in the private and public sectors worldwide.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Representative Rida Cabanilla Urges Governor to Implement Statewide 'Return to Home' Program

Representative Rida Cabanilla (Ewa Villages, Ewa Beach, Ewa Gentry, Ocean Pointe, West Loch) urged Governor Neil Abercrombie to implement the ‘Return to Home’ program created to reduce homelessness in Hawaii.

SB515 (2013), signed into law as Act 222 (SLH 2013) by Governor Abercrombie in June 2013, created and appropriated $100,000 for a three-year ‘Return to Home’ pilot program, an initiative to provide one-way airfare tickets for eligible homeless individuals to return home to their families on the mainland. However, the Department of Human Services—the coordinating department as written in law—declined to establish and administer the program.

The intent of the program would reduce the ever growing problem of homelessness in Hawaii and ensure that individuals who find themselves homeless in the islands are able to reconnect with family and support networks where they would have the opportunity to recover. Additionally, the program would possibly further save Hawaii taxpayers millions of dollars in welfare costs that would have been spent on homeless individuals who have travelled to live in the state.

“The Governor has not released the $100,000 that was appropriated in the 2013 state budget for the ‘Return to Home’ program for the homeless. This appropriation is much needed to decrease the homeless population in our state, to return these stranded homeless individuals from the mainland to an environment of their choosing, and most importantly to preserve these funds for our own homeless kamaaina. Let us implore the Governor to release the money and create the program,” said Cabanilla.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tourism Chair Tom Brower to Introduce Legislation Banning Aerial Advertisement

Representative Tom Brower (Waikiki, Ala Moana) announced plans to introduce legislation banning aerial advertisement in the state of Hawaii. The proposed legislation will seek to clarify the ambiguities and jurisdiction of aerial advertising written in federal, state, and city law. The measure will specifically make it illegal for a pilot to fly a plane out of a state airport for the purpose of towing a banner for advertisement.

“I have had discussions with U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and state officials to identify what we can do. Due to the ambiguities of city, state and federal law, there is a need for legislation to add more clarity. Right now, we have federal and state laws that need further explanation,” said Brower. “Our skies are under federal and local jurisdiction, but state airport officials issue contracts and agreements with pilots and businesses. While the FAA has indicated that plane operators need to abide by state law and county ordinance, the contract signed by the particular pilot in question did not specifically allow or deny the operation of a tow banner business.”

The plane operator, Aerial Banners North (ABN), has received a federal waiver to conduct banner towing operations nationwide, but state and city officials have strongly asserted that aerial advertisement is illegal under local law. ABN has argued that the waiver allowing them to operate across the nation, and in Hawaii, supersedes any state or county prohibitions.

On Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration clarified that the waiver granted to Aerial Banners North which authorizes the company to conduct banner towing operations nationwide, “does not waive any state law or local ordinance. Should the proposed operations conflict with any state law or local ordinance, or require permission of local authorities or property owners, it is the operator’s responsibility to resolve the matter.”

“I care about the threat of aerial banners flying over Hawaii's tourist destinations, ruining the natural beauty, interfering with outdoor recreation and enjoyment of residents and tourists. Most importantly, if we don't act, this will set a bad precedent, opening the flood gates for more aerial advertising in Hawaii's skies,” added Brower, Chair of the House Tourism Committee.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Tanning Beds for Minors Ban Signed Into Law



HB611 HD1 CD1, a measure to protect the health of minors by making it unlawful for tanning facilities to allow individuals under age 18 to use tanning equipment utilizing electromagnetic radiation, was signed into law by Governor Neil Abercrombie. The law will allow the Department of Health to impose fines of up to $250 for a first violation and $500 for subsequent violations.

“Young people are especially susceptible to the risk of skin cancer from ultraviolet radiation,” said Representative Gregg Takayama (Pearl City, Waimalu, Pacific Palisades), who introduced the bill. “The use of indoor tanning devices are directly linked to skin cancer. Studies show indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma that those who do not tan indoors.”

“This bill protects minors by preventing them from using indoor tanning equipment until they reach an age when they are better able to weigh the benefits and dangers of the practice,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa), House Health Committee Chair.

“Many people don’t know that tanning via artificial ultraviolet light delivers 10-15 times higher the radiation than the mid-day sun” noted Senator Roz Baker (South and West Maui) who introduced similar legislation in the Senate. “I’m delighted to see this bill become law because it will help save lives,” she concluded. 

Senator Baker is also immediate past chair of the Hawaii Pacific Board of the American Cancer Society.  The American Cancer Society has made this legislation a priority nationwide, and Hawaii is the tenth state to enact such a law.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Juvenile Life Sentences Without Parole Abolished

Hawaii has taken a step towards recognizing that juveniles are constitutionally different from adults and that these differences should be taken into account when children are sentenced for adult crimes. Signed into law today by Governor Neil Abercrombie, HB2116 eliminates the sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders.

“Hawaii is one of a shrinking number of states that still allows life sentencing without parole for juvenile offenders,” said the bill’s introducer Representative Karen Awana (Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei, Maili). “In addition, it has been uniformly rejected by the international community and it’s time we remove this law from our books. Right now the United States is the only nation in the world that allows children to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.”

Hawaii’s current law establishes that persons who are convicted of first degree murder or first degree attempted murder are to be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole—regardless of age. The changes to the law would maintain a mandatory life sentence for those above eighteen years old, but would sentence persons under the age of eighteen years old at the time of the offense to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

According to The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, a national advocacy group, Hawaii now joins numerous other states who have eliminated or do not allow juvenile life without parole sentences. Such states include Texas, Wyoming, Kentucky, Kansas, Colorado, Montana, and Alaska. Additionally, other states have created measures to provide youths convicted of violent crimes an opportunity for resentencing later in life.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Long Time Kahaluu Resident George Okuda Sworn into Office

George Okuda was officially sworn in today as a member of the Hawaii House of Representatives by Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. Okuda was appointed by Governor Abercrombie to represent House District 48 (Kaneohe, Heeia, Ahuimanu, Kahaluu, Haiku Valley, Mokuoole) previously held by Representative Jessica Wooley who was appointed Director of the Department of Health's Office of Environmental Quality Control.

Okuda will serve out Wooley’s term until a new member is elected in the November general election.

"I want to thank Governor Abercrombie and Speaker Souki for having the confidence in me to carry out the duties of the office. I look forward to working with them along with those in the community to fulfill the responsibilities of my position,” said Okuda. “During the next few months I will be focusing on addressing the concerns and issues of the residents in the 48th district.”

House Speaker Joseph M. Souki said, “George is familiar with the Legislature and the issues of the Windward area and will serve the community well as its representative in the months ahead. He has been involved in managing legislation and working with various constituents, community groups, and state officials including with school principals to attain much needed capital improvement funding at schools in the windward district.”

Okuda served as an aide to Representative Ken Ito (Kaneohe, Maunawili, Olomana) since 2000. Prior to that he worked for former State Senator Bob Nakata (Kaneohe , Kaaawa, Hauula, Laie, Kahuku, Waialua, Haleiwa, Wahiawa, Schofield Barracks, Kunia). He has been a resident of Kahaluu since 1973, and served on the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board for six years including two as its Chair.

Okuda earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and is a licensed civil and structural engineer who previously worked for Hawaiian Electric Company.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Agriculture Bills Signed into Law

House Bill 1514, a measure introduced by Representative Nicole Lowen (District 6-Kailua Kona, Holualoa) to combat the devastating effects of the coffee berry borer (CBB) infestation, was signed into law today by Governor Neil Abercrombie.

Representative Lowen and Governor Abercrombie with the signed HB1514
The law creates a five-year subsidy program under the Department of Agriculture (DOA) to grant subsidies for coffee farmers to assist in offsetting the costs of combating the coffee berry borer beetle. The law also includes $500,000 in funding for the program.

“Subsidy programs like this have helped in other coffee-growing regions to provide an incentive for farmers to adopt best practices, and I’m hopeful that it will do the same in Kona. Direct assistance from the State is critical for our coffee farmers, and this bill accomplishes that,” said Rep. Lowen.

Under the program, a single coffee farmer may receive reimbursement for the expense of the organic fungus used to control the pest of up to $600 per year per acre of land in coffee production, but not more than $9,000 per year. The legislation will go into effect on July 1, 2014.

In recent years the coffee berry borer beetle has become a major threat to Hawaii's coffee industry, which is responsible for $30 million in revenue annually. Past efforts by Representative Lowen have provided additional funds of $800,000 funds to help mitigate and study the infestation. This program will further help protect and maintain Hawaii’s coffee industry.


Also signed into law today were 5 other agriculture-related measures including:
  • HB737, which allows the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds for all agricultural enterprises
  • HB1618, amending the makeup of the Board of Land and Natural Resources to have a member with expertise in native Hawaiian practices instead of in conservation and natural resources
  • HB1716, appropriating $5 million to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council
  • HB1931, appropriating $360,000 to the Department of Agriculture to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of macadamia felted coccid
  • HB2664, clarifying language relating to the agricultural land qualified agricultural cost tax credit


Friday, June 13, 2014

George Okuda Appointed to vacant District 48 House Seat

Governor Abercrombie this morning announced the appointment of George Okuda to the vacant District 48 State House of Representatives seat.

The position was left vacant after the appointment of former Rep. Jessica Wooley as Director of the Environmental Quality Control last month.

Okuda has served as a legislative aide for state Rep. Ken Ito since 2000, drafting, tracking and analyzing bills and resolutions. He was also responsible for meeting and working with various state department personnel, organizations and constituents on measures before the Legislature. In addition, Okuda worked with school principals in Rep. Ito’s district on capital improvement projects needed at schools. In prior years, he served as a legislative aide for state Sen. Bob Nakata. Okuda was also a member of the Kahaluu Neighborhood Board for six years, two as chair.

Okuda is licensed civil and structural engineer and previously worked for the Hawaiian Electric Company. A resident of Kahaluu since 1973, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


(Photo & Bio courtesy of Governor's Office)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Climate Change Protection Bill Signed Into Law

Photo Courtesy of Governor's Office
The state has taken an important step forward towards protecting the public and addressing the impacts of climate change in Hawaii. Signed into law today by Governor Abercrombie, House Bill 1714 will address climate change adaptation in the state by establishing an interagency climate adaptation committee under the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to develop a sea level rise vulnerability and adaptation report that addresses sea level rise impacts statewide to 2050.

"We have a chance to change our future," said Representative Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimanalo) the bill’s introducer and Chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection. "Planning ahead now will save billions of dollars for our next generation and it will make us secure, safe and give our next generation of children an opportunity to much of the same Hawaii that we have today.”

"I applaud my colleagues in the Legislature and the Governor for making it a priority to tackle the consequences of climate change on our islands. We have seen rising sea levels, erosion of our shoreline, and various other effects of global warming on the increase in the last year,” added Majority Policy Leader Representative Henry Aquino (Waipahu). “The Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative will help protect our economy and way of life for our next generation.”

House Bill 1714 was one of the measures included in the 2014 Joint Majority Legislative Package. The significance of a joint package is that the included bills are considered to have statewide importance and the commitment of the majorities of both chambers of the legislature.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

OP-ED: Dismantling the Hawaii Health Connector Will Do More Harm Than Good

Hawaii Health Connector boardmembers and state officials testify before the  House Committees on Health and Consumer Protection & Commerce

As members of the Legislature who worked throughout the session with all stakeholders on reshaping the Hawaii Health Connector, we are troubled by president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Medical Service Association Michael Gold’s recent call to dismantle the health insurance exchange (Maui News 5/9/14). HMSA is one of two health insurers participating in the health insurance exchange and its representatives have been intimately involved in the formation of the Hawaii Health Connector from day one.

With the legislative session recently concluded, it is very disappointing to hear the CEO of HMSA calling for the shutting down of the Hawaii Health Connector. During the long and arduous legislative session, state lawmakers were extensively briefed by all stakeholders on the Health Connector, by the Governor’s department heads, the Attorney General and HMSA on how to restructure, reform and right-size the Connector.

Mr. Gold calls for the removal of the Hawaii Health Connector’s Small Business Options Program (SHOP) as an unnecessary middle man and encourages small businesses to enroll directly with HMSA. But this “direct enrollment” solution virtually eliminates competition in the marketplace by denying Hawaii businesses and residents the opportunities to “shop and compare” and choose a health plan that’s right for them, leaving only the “big boys” to dictate that choice. Having a robust SHOP is an essential element to the Connector’s sustainability and allows employees and employers to compare plans to see what works best for them.

Moreover, Mr. Gold’s assertion that these waivers exist and that the Legislature did not pursue them is simply not true. On February 4, 2014, we wrote to our congressional delegation asking for the very same waiver that Mr. Gold alluded to, and we were told, in no uncertain terms, that we would not be able to secure them. We also drafted a House resolution asking for a waiver and were told again that we would not be able to get permission.

Through the legislative process, we learned that the only way we could secure a federal waiver was through the innovation waiver process, which is why we passed House Bill 2581 that will set up a task force to develop a plan to seek the waiver.

Mr. Gold also stated that the Legislature did not ask the right questions regarding the Health Connector during our deliberation on the bills. During this past legislative session, all of the information that we received from the Hawaii Health Connector reflected the views of its board of directors, which included Jennifer Diesman, an HMSA vice president.

Moreover, in all of the briefings, never did HMSA’s representative question the route or the line of questioning that was being asked. It seems strange that at the same time HMSA is asking for a rate increase of nearly 13 percent; at the same time that the bill removing HMSA from the board is going to the Governor for his signature, that HMSA now suddenly questions the need for a health exchange. These new developments push us to the next part of health care reform that needs to be taken up by elected officials – taking a closer look at what’s really driving the costs of health care here in Hawaii.

There are some who would have us do nothing but hand the problem off to Washington D.C. or to big insurance corporations. If we do, we run the risk of losing all the gains we’ve made under our Prepaid Health Care Act. And that has always been our main concern: the protection of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act. Despite our differences, we believe that is also Mr. Gold’s ultimate goal, and we remain open to discussing with him his concerns and how we can, together, ensure that end for the benefit of all of Hawaii.

     Representative Della Au Belatti, Health Committee Chair
     Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa

     Representative Angus McKelvey, Consumer Protection and Commerce Committee Chair
     West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei 

     Senator Rosalyn Baker, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee Chair 
     South and West Maui

---
The opinion-editorial was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on May 15, 2014.

Friday, May 9, 2014

State Lawmakers Respond to HMSA CEO's Remarks on Dismantling Hawaii Health Connector

Questions why the member of Health Connector Board did not express concerns earlier

For someone who has been so intimately involved in the formation of the Hawaii Health Connector, state lawmakers are baffled by recent remarks by Michael Gold, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Medical Service Association (HMSA). In a Maui News article published today, Gold told the newspaper that the Connector was a costly mistake and that Hawaii “needs to get out from under it. We need to go right now to the federal government and ask them for a waiver to get us out of the connector in Hawaii.” HMSA is one of two health insurers along with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii participating in the health insurance exchange.

“Our legislative session concluded not less than 10 days ago and it is very disappointing to see today’s reports from HMSA calling for the shutting down of the Hawaii Health Connector,” said Rep. Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa), chair of the House Health Committee. “During the long and arduous legislative session, state lawmakers were extensively briefed by all stakeholders on the Health Connector, including the Governor’s department heads, the Attorney General, and HMSA on how to restructure, reform and right-size the Connector.

“It is very disingenuous, disheartening, and disappointing to learn that the CEO of HMSA is now calling for the dismantling, shutting down and federalization of the Health Connector.”

Rep. Angus McKelvey (West Maui, Maalaea, North Kihei), chair of the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, also expressed dismay over Gold’s comments which he described as misinformation.

“First of all, the assertion that these waivers exist and that the Legislature did not pursue them is simply not true,” McKelvey said. On Feb. 4 we wrote to our congressional delegation asking for the very same waiver that Mr. Gold alluded to, and we were told in no uncertain terms that we would not be able to secure them. We also drafted a House resolution asking for a waiver and were told again that we could not.

“Through the legislative process, we learned that the only way we could secure a federal waiver was through the innovation waiver process, which is why we passed House Bill 2581 that will set up a task force to develop a plan to seek the waiver.

“Mr. Gold also stated that the Legislature did not ask the right questions regarding the Health Connector during our deliberation on the bills,” McKelvey added. “Well, I for one did not see Mr. Gold at any of the numerous hearings and briefings on the Connector, nor did any of the HMSA participants question the route or the line of questioning that were being asked. And there was plenty of time during the session for HMSA to have brought up any issue relating to the Connector.

“It seems very strange to me that at the same time HMSA is asking for a rate increase of nearly 13%; at the same time that the bill removing HMSA from the board is going to the Governor for his signature, that HMSA now suddenly questions the need for a health exchange, an exchange that HMSA sits on and has been involved in from day one. It’s very problematic, but suggests that we should take a closer look at what’s really driving the cost of health care here in Hawaii.”

With the passage of Senate Bill 2470, the state Legislature has put the Hawaii Health Connector on a corrective course to the future—a future that helps to ensure the survival of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Act and the health care of everyone in Hawaii. This measure establishes a Legislative Oversight Committee, requires the Health Connector to submit an annual sustainability plan, and amends the composition and procedures of the Connector’s Board of Directors. It also appropriates $1.5 million for the operation of the Connector.

In addition, House Bill 2581 establishes a state Innovation Waiver Task Force to develop a plan for applying for a state innovation waiver that meets the requirements of federal law. With these actions, the Legislature has taken action to address serious issues relating to the transparency, accountability and sustainability of the Health Connector and its process of enrolling and determining the eligibility of potential users during its initial start-up phase.

Ironically, part of the problem with the Health Connector involves Hawaii’s own success under Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care Act. Enacted in 1974, it has enabled the state to maintain the highest rate of coverage in the nation for health care, and has brought Hawaii closer than most other states in achieving universal health care and fulfilling the goals of the federal Affordable Care Act, which mandates state health exchanges or the participation in the federal program.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

2014 Big Island CIP and GIA

Big Island legislators secured over $400 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island. The Big Island’s portion of the budget included funding for the new Kona judiciary complex, the Kona airport terminal expansion and other airports improvements, various highway improvements and monies for Hawaii island schools.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

•    $79.309 million for terminal expansion and other improvements for Kona International Airport
•    $33 million for the design and construction of a new instructional facility for the University of Hawaii at Hilo College of Pharmacy
•    $35 million for the design, engineering, and construction of a Judiciary Complex in Kona
•    $14.89 million for the construction and equipment of a specialty and support classroom building at Waimea Middle School
•    $2 million for improvements to the Waimea irrigation system
•    A total of $5.4 million for improvements for the Lower Hamakua Ditch watershed project
•    $3.5 million for the design and construction of a community agricultural park in Waimea
•    $3 million for the plans, land acquisition, design, construction and equipment for the Keeau Demonstration Facility to develop biofuel animal feed in Keeau
•    A total of $14.517 million for various improvements to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA)
•    $2 million for the construction of a student drop-off and parking area at Honokaa Elementary School
•    $3 million for improvements to athletic facilities at Honokaa High School
•    $250,000 for the design of a covered play court and site improvements at Kamalii Elementary School
•    $550,000 for improvements to athletic facilities at Kau High School
•    $300,000 for upgrades to the Kealakehe High School track
•    $675,000 for the construction of covered walkways and site improvements to Keaau Middle School
•    $275,000 for ground and safety improvements at Keaau High School
•    $250,000 for lighting system for gymnasium at Konawaena High School
•    $3.86 million for gymnasium renovations and improvements at Pahoa High and Intermediate School
•    $1.05 million for the design and construction of a covering for the existing play court at Waiakea Elementary School
•    $450,000 for the design and construction of a new batting cage at Waiakea High School
•    $800,000 for the plans and design of a new regional library in Pahoa
•    $7.9 million for improvements to the Youth Challenge Academy, Keaukaha Military Reservation
•    $300,000 for plans and design of a new West Hawaii Veterans Center
•    $1.61 million for a non-potable well at the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery
•    $2.55 million to plug two geothermal wells and to restore well sites
•    $3 million for the design and construction for Puu Waawaa structure improvements and dam compliance
•    $3.5 million for Manuka Natural Area Reserve boundary fence
•    $13 million for the design and construction of Phase 1 of the Waimea District/Regional Park
•    A total of $43.4 million for new aircraft rescue and firefighting station and other various improvements at Hilo International Airport
•    $3 million for various improvements to the Ellison S. Onizuka Space Museum
•    $1.425 million for modification plans to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies at Hilo Harbor
•    $12.41 million for various improvements to Mamalahoa Highway
•    $7.570 million for realignment construction and widening of Akoni Pule Highway on the Pololu Valley side of Aamakao Gulch
•    $10.71 million for various improvements to Hawaii Belt Road
•    $2.215 million for the construction of miscellaneous improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities necessary for improved traffic operation
•    A total of $9.175 million for the extension design of Saddle Road from the Hilo Terminus to Queen Kaahumanu Highway
•    $6.75 million for land acquisition and the design of Puainako Street from two to four lanes between Kanoelehua Street to Komohana Street
•    $7.622 for the construction of a Saddle Road maintenance baseyard facility
•    A total of $27.7 million for the widening of Queen Kaahumanu Highway to a four-lane divided highway from Kealakehe Parkway to the vicinity of Keahole Airport
•    $1 million for the construction of sidewalk and intersection improvements on Mamane Street from Lehua Street to Plumeria Street
•    $3.5 million for the plans, design, and construction of a traffic signal at the Pahoa bypass and Post Office Road intersection
•    $7 million for various improvements along state highways, including guardrail and shoulder improvements
•    $2 million for the alignment and replacement of the Waiaka Stream Bridge along Kawaihae Road
•    $2 million for intersection improvements at Highway 130 and Homestead Road
•    $2 million for infrastructure improvements to the University of Hawaii-Hilo Office of Mauna Kea Management
•    $2.5 million to the University of Hawaii-Hilo College of Astronomy for the modernization and repair of the 2.2 meter telescope on Mauna Kea
•    $500,000 to the University of Hawaii-Hilo College of Agricultural, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management for the plans, design, and construction to establish the temporary international flight training center at the Hilo Airport.
•    $600,000 for renovations to the nursing and culinary buildings at the University of Hawaii- West Hawaii campus
•    $2.4 million for the design and completion of Phase 1 at the University of Hawaii – Palamanui Campus
•    $2.5 million for improvements to the Kau Irrigation System

In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-In-Aid were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Big Island community:

•    $1.7 million to Kanu O Ka Aina Learning Ohana (KALO) for the construction of a new community recreation center in Kamuela
•    $500,000 for the construction of a new Island Heritage Gallery at the Lyman House Memorial Museum
•    $1.5 million to the Waiohuli Hawaiian Homesteaders Association, Inc. for the construction of Phase 2 of the Waiohuli Community Center and park master plan
•    $950,000 to La’i’Opua 2020 (L2020) for improvements to the parking lot and roadway. L2020 is a community group focused on supporting communal needs and the coordination of facilities and services for residents of the Villages of La’i 'Opua and the broader Kealakehe area
•    $643,000 to the Salvation Army for the renovation of the Family Intervention Services facility in Hilo
•    $250,000 to The Food Basket, Inc. (Hawaii Island Food Bank) for infrastructure repairs and maintenance
•    $1 million to the Hawaii Island Community Development Corporation for the construction of a new adult day care facility
•    $750,000 for the design of a new free-standing emergency room at the Puna Community Medical Center
•    $425,000 for the design and construction of a community based outpatient clinic and box culvert at the Hawaii Island Veterans Memorial
•    $751,000 to the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council for various equipment and improvements including the design and construction for emergency repairs and handicapped access improvements; vehicles for the transportation program; and the design, construction and equipment for a botanical garden
•    $1.5 million to the Kahilu Theatre Foundation for improvements to existing facilities
•    $30,000 to the Brantley Center, Inc. for renovations of existing facilities in Honokaa. A partner of Hawaii Island United Way, The Brantley Center provides training and support individuals with disabilities so they may overcome barriers in the community
•    $200,000 to the Hawaii Island Humane Society for Phase 1 of the Hawaii Island Animal Community Center
•    $75,000 to Child and Family Services to support operations and rent subsidies for transitional housing in East Hawaii
•    $200,000 to the Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council for the Drop-Out Prevention Program which provides educational and support services to students at-risk of dropping out of school
•    $92,362 to Kalani Honua to assist with the restoration of the Pahoa Intermediate and High School eight-man football program
•    $200,000 to the Kona Historical Society for the Hawaii Island Museum Outreach Project which provides a wide range of academic, community, and volunteer services
•    $107,672 to Malama O Puna to restore priority areas of the Keauohana native lowland wet forest
•    $79,214 to Project Vision Hawaii to expand health screening services for the poor and disabled across Hawaii island
•    $15,000 to the Volcano Art Center to equip the Hale Hoomana building with the basic tools to support a range of teaching programs that will serve a diverse population of Hawaii residents and visitors
•    $20,000 to the Anekona Ouli Kanehoa VFD Company for the construction of a volunteer apparatus garage
•    $60,000 to the Kailapa Community Association for the plans and design of the Kailapa Community Resource Center
•    $1 million for the construction of the West Hawaii Community Health Center at Laiopuna in Kona

Representatives Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona)
(808) 586-9605
repcreagan@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala)
(808) 586-8510
repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Faye Hanohano (Puna)
(808) 586-6530
rephanohano@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau)
(808) 586-8400
replowen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo)
(808) 586-6680
repnakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano)
(808) 586-6120
reponishi@capitol.hawaii.gov

Representative Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea)
(808) 586-8480
reptsuji@capitol.hawaii.gov

2014 Kauai Island CIP and GIA Funding

With the close of the 2014 legislative session, Kauai legislators secured over $80 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island. The largest amount was provided for highway improvements throughout Kauai. These roadway improvements will address aging infrastructure, improve existing operations, establish additional safety measures, and mitigate the effects of traffic constrictions.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Kauai include:
  • $200,000 for design and construction of a new water source and pipeline for the Kekaha water system 
  • $1 million for improvements to the upper and lower Aahoaka Reservoirs
  • $1.6 million for improvements and renovations to Career Pathway classrooms and facilities to provide additional learning opportunities at Kapaa High School
  • $250,000 for an automotive paint booth at Kauai High School
  • $1.52 million for the renovation of Building B at Kilauea Elementary School for administrative services
  • $2 million for the rockfall mitigation at Menehune Road in Waimea
  • $3 million for the construction of remediation improvements to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands dams and reservoirs in Anahola
  • $2.45 million for the construction of improvements at the Federal Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor
  • $2.8 million for improvements to the Camp 10 access bridges connecting Kokee State Park to the Na Pali Kona Forest Reserve
  • $2.5 million for plans, design and construction to repair, reinforce and upgrade the Hanalei River breach
  • $1.3 million to repair, upgrade and install waterlines for fire protection sprinklers at Kilauea School
  • $600,000 for the construction of approximately 46 sheltered bus stations along highways across Kauai Island
  • $27.6 million for the rehabilitation or replacement of Hanapepe River Bridge along Kaumualii Highway
  • $1 million for the resurfacing of the Mana Drag Racing Strip
  • $7.95 million for a new West Kauai field operations facility for eight divisions of the Department of Land and Natural Resources
  • Over $6 million for construction of various improvements to existing intersections and highway facilities to improve traffic operations
  • Nearly $14 million for a wide range of transportation infrastructure improvements including those to bridges, highways, and roadways
  • $2.4 million for the construction of slope stabilization at Lumahai Hillside
In addition to the executive budget CIP funding, appropriations for Grants-In-Aid were also awarded to organizations for the benefit of the Kauai community:
  • $270,000 to Hawaiian Island Land Trust for a long range development plan for the former Coco Palms site
  • $300,000 to Aha Hui E Kala for design and construction of infrastructure improvements at the Lawai International Center
  • $435,000 to Hale Opio Kauai Inc. for renovations, upgrades and energy improvements, to include photovoltaic systems. Hale Opio Kauai Inc. provides youth-directed and family centered programs that address physical, emotional, education, recreational, and developmental needs of those in the community.
  • $105,406 to Hale Opio Kauai Inc. for the operation of the Kauai Teen Court, a family-centered accountability-based program focused on first- and second-time youth offenders
  • $50,000 to Hui O’Laka (Kokee Museum) for renovations to the civilian conservation corps camp and Kokee State Park
  • $400,000 to the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) for the expansion and renovation of a new women’s center
  • $200,000 to Waipa Foundation for construction of the Waipa Kitchen, Poi Mill and Hale Imu. The Waipa Foundation is a Native Hawaiian learning and community center that provides hands-on cultural and physical learning opportunities for over 5,000 keiki a year.
  • $120,000 to Malama Kauai for the development of Kilauea Agricultural Park
  • $776,000 to Kauai Museum Association for improvements and renovations of the museum to include installation of a photovoltaic system
For more information, please contact:
Representative Derek Kawakami (Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa, Wailua)
(808) 586-8435

Representative James Tokioka (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town)
(808) 586-6270

Representative Dee Morikawa (Niihau, Lehua, Waimea, Koloa)
(808) 586-6280

Effective Communication Rights for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired

State Representative James Tokioka (Wailua Homestead, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Oma`o) applauded the actions taken by the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission and Disability and Communication Access Board that unveiled today public education materials on the legal obligations and rights of health care providers and patients. Under state and federal law, health care providers have an obligation to provide auxiliary aids and services for patients who have disabilities, including qualified sign language interpreters when needed to provide effective communication.

For Tokioka (who has a son, Pono, who is deaf), the hurdles and challenges of those who are deaf or who are hearing impaired and their families are ones he has personally experienced in his own life.

“I am personally grateful to the Executive Director William Hoshijo of the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission (HCRC), Executive Director Fancine Wai of the Disability & Communication Access Board (DCAB), Senator Josh Green, Kristine Pagano of DCAB and Delphine le Marie for taking this proactive approach to assisting our families who struggle to negotiate everyday activities that most of us give little thought to, like a visit to the doctor,” Tokioka said.

“I can’t tell you how important this initiative is for these families and what a difference it makes in their lives, when qualified sign language interpreters are available to help them communicate with their doctors during a normal visit or with a hospital attendant in an emergency situation, which can include serious life and death situations.”

“The deaf do not choose to be deaf, but must sometimes rely on others for help. Government is set up to help those who cannot help themselves, and this is a clear case when government should and must step in to help. If we can create greater awareness and better educate not only our health care providers but our entire community, we’ll help to create a better quality of life for these individuals and their families.”

One to two percent of people in Hawaii (approximately 16,000) are deaf, hard of hearing or deaf blind. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Hawaii state civil rights law, they have the right to effective communication in medical and health care services.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Hawaii Womens Legislative Caucus Reponds to Federal Title IX Investigation into UH


Earlier in this legislative session, the Women’s Legislative Caucus introduced House Concurrent Resolution 12 (HCR 12), asking the University of Hawaii to reaffirm its commitment to upholding the tenets of Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA). Adopted in the last days of session, HCR 12 is one of a several measures relating to women’s rights and issues submitted by the Women’s Caucus that made it successfully through the legislative process.

“We asked the University of Hawaii to rededicate itself to ending all forms of sexual violence on all of its campuses, formulate concrete plans to address and prevent gender discrimination and gender violence, and provide a progress report to the 2015 Legislature on the University’s compliance with Title IX and VAWA,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa), co-chair of the caucus.

“During the session, the University and Interim President David Lassner responded very positively to our resolution and were supportive of the Caucus’ requests,” added Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay), co-chair of the caucus.

House Concurrent Resolution 12 was passed prior to yesterday’s release of a list by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) identifying 55 universities nationwide under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints. The University of Hawaii was one of those universities listed.

The schools were selected based on various sources of information, including statistical data, news reports and information from parents, advocacy groups and community organizations. It is the first time that the OCR made public a list of colleges under investigation and was characterized by the agency as taking a “proactive” step in light of a recent statistical report of sexual violence on college campuses across the country.

“Sexual harassment and violence against women are horrific and debilitating crimes that cannot be shoved under the rug or hidden from view just because they make us uncomfortable to acknowledge,” Belatti said. “The light has got to be shined on these acts of violence so that we can create safer environments that provide opportunity for all women to thrive and succeed. This federal investigation, HCR 12, and the University of Hawaii’s active support and cooperation will all go a long way in doing just that.”