Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Here in Hawai‘i, we are lucky to live in a place with diverse ecology and unique environments. As such, we must actively strive to be stewards of our ‘aina and protect our islands for the future.

Celebrating Earth Day at the State Capitol, students from Farrington High School, Waialua High and Intermediate School, Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Leilehua High School, Hawai‘i Pacific University, Hongwanji Mission School, ‘Iolani School, and Le Jardin Academy rallied to support a clean energy future  and an end to Hawai‘i’s dependency on fossil fuels.

Students sign waive for clean energy along Beretania Avenue in front of the State Capitol

Students display their homemade rallying signs supporting clean energy

Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, addresses students at the rally

Senator Roz Baker encourages students to support clean and renewable energy

In addition to rallying for clean energy, students also participated in the legislative process. They visited Senate and House galleries to see legislators at work during the legislative floor session, and urged lawmakers to support clean energy policies under current consideration.

Students fill the Senate visitors’ gallery during the Senate floor session

The event was organized by the Blue Planet Foundation, a local nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the quality of life for Hawai‘i residents by supporting a clean energy future.

Statement from Maui Senators on $305 Million for New Car Rental Facility for Kahului Airport

Maui’s Kahului Airport will receive $305,500,000 in capital improvement projects (CIP) funding appropriated by the legislature. Governor Neil Abercrombie released funds for the construction of a new multi-level consolidated car rental facility and roadway improvements at Kahului Airport.

The car rental facility will include a customer service building, quick turnaround, ready return vehicle parking spaces, four 15,000-gallon fuel storage tanks, a people mover system to and from the terminal, site improvements, roadway connections to airport terminal roadways, additional employee parking spaces and potential flat-plate, non-reflective photovoltaic panels. A new access road to the facility will run from Hana Highway to Airport Loop Road.

“Residents and visitors alike will see improvements in customer service as the new car rental facility will streamline the car rental process,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui. “Airport modernization is good for Maui and the State, and projects like this will certainly improve our tourism industry.”

“Right now customers have to drive through the terminal roadway system to get to the existing rental car facilities, causing congestion in front of the terminals,” said Senator J. Kalani English, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, who represents H?na, east and upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe. “A new access road from Hana Highway to Airport Loop will help to alleviate traffic congestion at the airport.”

“I’m glad the governor released funds appropriated by the legislature for this large and important project that benefits all of Maui,” said Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who represents Wailuku, Waihe‘e, and Kahului. “It will create more local construction jobs, stimulate the economy, and improve the overall customer experience for residents and visitors. I am looking forward to work on this project breaking ground.”


The Hawaii State Legislature Honors Bruno Mars with Certificate of Appreciation


The Hawaii State Legislature  honored local boy Bruno Mars for his great successes in his musical career. Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, along with Jerry Chang, UH Hilo’s director of university relations, and Bruce Coppa, Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s chief of staff, presented Bruno with a certificate recognizing his outstanding career and saluting the impact he has made on the world with his music.

“Bruno Mars is an extremely talented young man and Hawaii is very proud of him,” said Kim. “He represents our state well and I congratulate him for pursuing his musical gifts.”

“His extraordinary career began as a musical child prodigy, and since then he has honed his skills as a performer, composer, songwriter and producer,” she added. “He’s an inspiration to many and has a bright future ahead of him.”

Bruno, 28, played his last sold-out show Monday after a weekend of wowing fans. Hawaii is the first stop on Mars’ second leg of his Moonshine Jungle World Tour.

Highlights of the Senate Certificate Honoring Bruno Mars 

His friends and classmates at Roosevelt High School remember him as Peter Gene Hernandez, but even as a teenager he was showing signs of the tremendous talent within. The son of musical parents and professional entertainers, Bruno, as he was nicknamed at an early age, formed a band with friends and performed with his family’s act at the Ilikai Hotel.

Already a prodigy as a child, he honed his act and repertory, not to mention his musical gifts, during his many years of performing in Waikiki.Following his graduation from high school in 2002, Bruno Mars left the islands to seek his fortune in Los Angeles.

His career developed slowly, and it was only after he turned his creativity to composing did he begin to enjoy greater exposure. Bruno made a decision to focus on his songwriting and producing skills, helping other performers develop their careers. It was not until 2010 that Atlantic Records gave him the opportunity to sing in the chorus for his composition, “Nothin’ on You” recorded by rapper B.o.B., and he finally found himself as a pop performer as well as a composer.

Bruno released his first solo single, “Just the Way You Are,” several months later and hasn’t looked back since. The few short years following his breakthrough as a performer have been nothing short of remarkable, as he earned a Grammy Award for best male pop vocal performance, had his debut album reach platinum status, sold 45 million singles to date around the world, copped numerous industry honors in the United States and elsewhere, been named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, and wowed football fans as the featured half-time act at the 2014 Super Bowl.  Bruno Mars, a young man born in Hawaii, has become a musical phenomenon and a global icon, and an exceptional representative of the people of these islands.

The Senate and House of Representatives of the Twenty-seventh Legislature of the State of Hawaii hereby commends and congratulates Bruno Mars on his outstanding career and extends our best wishes for his continued success throughout the years to come.


Senators Break from Conference to Observe Good Friday

Happy Good Friday. Legislators are breaking from conference committee meetings today after a week of getting together to hash out differences between House and Senate versions of bills.

The first bill out of conference was SB2901 SD1 HD1, a bill that would bring the State into compliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations by deleting any existing statutes or provisions containing federal requirements that are currently addressed in Hawaii Administrative Rules. This would help ensure exact compliance and avoid the possibility of a contradiction between federal and state rules and statutes.

Senators and Representatives meet in conference to discuss differences in SB2901

Throughout next week, senators and representatives will continue to meet in conference meetings to settle difference between the two chambers bills. If legislators come to a consensus on a conference draft of the bill, it will be decked for final reading and voted upon in each chamber. If a bill survives that last vote by May 1st, the adjournment date of the regular legislative session, it will be delivered to the governor to sign into law.

Women’s Legislative Caucus Donates Easter Baskets to Help Families in Need

Senator Baker with the Easter Bunny and donated baskets for the Institute for Human Services 

The Women’s Legislative Caucus today donated more than 100 Easter baskets full of essential household items to the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to help families in need.

Baskets filled with laundry soap, utensils, dishes, toiletries, towels, and school supplies will benefit clients who get help and support in transitioning out of homelessness. The items in the baskets will be a nice welcome for the families and individuals who are just starting off in a permanent home.

“The Caucus has been doing these drives for about 10 years now,” said Senator Roz Baker (D – South and West Maui). “Community support really helps nonprofits like IHS. We’re so grateful to everyone who took the time to make these beautiful baskets and share aloha with those in need.”

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is a bipartisan organization which consists of the women Senators and women members of the House of Representatives.  The Caucus works closely with women’s organizations and concerned individuals across the State, as well as with the Governor, state agencies and other legislators to advocate for programs and services that benefit women.

For information on how you can organize a food, toiletry, clothing or other drive for IHS, email drives@ihs-hawaii.org.


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