Kupuna Caucus Receives Honor

The Hawaii State Legislature’s Kupuna Caucus was honored this morning for its years of outstanding service on behalf of Hawaii’s senior citizens and retirees. Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland was joined by her Co-Convener Representative Gregg Takayama in accepting the 2013 Distinguished Service Award at the Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans and Kokua Council’s Seventh Annual Legislative Review. Representatives Marcus Oshiro, Bertrand Kobayashi and Cynthia Thielen along with members of the Caucus were also present.

This year the Hawaii State Legislature passed several priority measures from the Kupuna Caucus’ legislative package, including:  Senate Bill (SB) 102 (relating to the elderly), SB 106 (relating to aging), House Bill (HB) 120 (relating to health) and HB 200 (relating to the State Budget). These measures are currently being reviewed by the Governor.

SB 102, relating to the elderly: requires financial institutions to report instances of suspected financial abuse of an elder directly to the appropriate county police department and the Department of Human Services.

SB 106, relating to aging: establishes and funds a position for an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator. Appropriates funds for programs and services that support the State’s elderly population, including Kupuna Care and Health Aging Partnership. Establishes the Task Force on Mobility Management.

HB 120, relating to health: requires the Department of Health to post on its website reports of all inspections at state-licensed care facilities occurring on or after January 1, 2015. It also establishes a Working Group on Licensed Care Facilities.

HB 200, relating to the State Budget: appropriates positions and funds for the operating and capital improvements program budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Effective July 1, 2013.

Funds for Kupuna Care, Aging Disability and Resource Center, Long Term Care Insurance Feasibility and Actuarial Analysis, the operations of the Senior Centers, Medicaid, Adult Protective Services and other elder services are included in this bill.

During the 2013 legislative session the Legislature also worked to fund several programs that help to address the care, health and continued education and advancement of Hawaii’s Kupuna. Below includes a list of appropriation highlights:

  • $4,200,000       for Kupuna Care for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 (HB200, CD1)
  • $3,600,000       for Kupuna Care for Fiscal Year 2014 (SB106, CD1)
  • $300,000          for the Healthy Aging Partnership for Fiscal Year 2014  (SB106, CD1)
  • $70,000            for an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator for Fiscal Year 2014 (SB106, CD1)
  • $175,000           for Catholic Charities Hawaii for the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)
  • $50,000           for Moiliili Community Center for the Moiliili Senior Center for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)
  • $60,000          for the Waikiki Community Center for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)
  • $8,133,402     for operating costs for the Executive Office on Aging for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 (HB200, CD1)
  • $380,000       for a Long-Term Care insurance feasibility and actuarial analysis for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)

Background

The Kupuna Caucus was first convened in 2006 by Senator Chun Oakland and Representative Dennis Arakaki. The idea came out of the innovative 2005 Silver Legislature, attended by 150 seniors, who played the roles of legislators, lobbyists or observers. 20 bills were passed and delivered to the leadership of the House and Senate. All have since become law.