Senate to Open Special Session to Consider Judicial Appointments

The Hawaii State Senate will convene Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at 11 a.m. to open a special session to consider judicial appointments of Jeffrey P. Crabtree and Christine E. Kuriyama to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu), and Margaret K. Masunaga to the District Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii).

Following the official opening of the special session, the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee will hold decision making on the confirmation and consideration of the appointees at 11:30 a.m. in Room 016 of the Hawaii State Capitol. Lawmakers today heard from the appointees and those who supported or opposed their appointments.

On Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 11 a.m. the full Senate will reconvene to vote on the recommendations made by the Judiciary and Labor Committee. Information related to the special session, including testimony and committee reports, can be found online at: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/splsession.aspx?year=2014a.

Sen. Green schedules Info Briefing on State Readiness for Ebola Outbreak

State Senator Josh Green M.D., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, has scheduled an informational briefing at the State Capitol for Wednesday, October 22 at 9:00 AM on Hawaii’s preparedness for outbreaks of infectious disease, including the Ebola virus.

“Ebola kills more than half the people it infects,” Green said, “so this is a matter of life and death, not only for the person who is infected but for everyone who comes into close contact with them.”

Green announced that he will convene representatives from the Hawaii State Department of Health, the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, the Department of Transportation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to brief the Senate Committee on Health on current procedures, facilities, and plans to identify and control cases of Ebola infection should it reach Hawaii.

“We have to make sure that Hawaii is ready if someone infected with Ebola steps off a plane here,” Green said. “That means having effective screening measures in place at our airports, and being prepared with facilities and procedures that can safely transport, quarantine, and care for Ebola patients until they recover.”

Senator Green stressed the need for special safety procedures: “It is essential that we have emergency protocols ready and in place that will protect the nurses, orderlies, and other health workers who would be in close contact with potential Ebola patients. This disease is spread by contact with body fluids from an infected individual, and it can only be effectively contained if the right equipment and procedures are used with extreme care.”

“State government, hospital administrators, and the entire health care system must communicate, work together, and be prepared so we are ready to safely handle patients infected with Ebola or other dangerous contagious diseases,” Green said. “It is extremely unlikely that someone infected with Ebola will reach Hawaii, given our distance from West Africa and our geographical isolation, but we must be prepared as if it is certain that we will have to screen, identify, quarantine, and care for Ebola patients who could arrive here. Ebola is too deadly and dangerous to ignore.”

Green (3rd District – Kona, Kau) is an Emergency Room doctor with 15 years of hospital experience on Big Island.

For more information, please contact Senator Green at (808) 937-0991 or sengreen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Sen. English Supports the Recommendation of Hokoana as UH Maui College Chancellor

Sen. J. Kalani English today announced his support of Lui K. Hokoana as the next chancellor of the University of Hawaii Maui College. The selection, recommended by a special search committee, is subject to final approval by the full Board of Regents at its next meeting on October 16, 2014.

“Lui K. Hokoana has had an illustrious career within the UH System and I have no doubt that he is highly qualified for the position as chancellor of the UH Maui College,” said English, who represents District 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe.  “I have known him for a long time and have always been impressed by his excellent leadership skills and dedication to higher education and the students of Hawaii. His return to UH Maui College is much welcomed and I hope the Board of Regents gives final approval of his selection in its meeting next week.”

“Hokoana has deep local roots – born and raised on the island, a Native Hawaiian speaker and educated at the former Maui Community College, now UH Maui College – and carries with him a great understanding of the community,” added English.

“If his past accomplishments at various higher education institutions, including UH Maui College, are an indicator of what we can expect, I would say we have a bright future ahead of us. Even more, with his diverse background and exceptional managerial skills, I anticipate Hokoana will be able to lead the college in a new and exciting direction.”

Lui K. Hokoana started his higher education career at the University of Hawai‘i (UH) in 1991 and currently serves as the vice chancellor for student affairs at UH West O‘ahu since 2013. He also served as associate vice president for student affairs for the UH System, vice chancellor of student affairs at Windward Community College, and director for various programs at UH Maui College. Hokoana has secured more than $20 million in county, state, federal, and private funds to support various UH system wide initiatives that have contributed to unprecedented enrollment growth, financial aid access, service to underrepresented groups, and overall student success. He was named State Manager of the Year by the State of Hawai‘i in 2011. Hokoana earned a doctorate of education degree from the University of Southern California. He received a master’s degree in communications from UH M?noa and bachelor’s degree in political science from UH Hilo.

 

Sen. Baker’s Statement on Lipoa Point Purchase

Sen. Roz Baker rel13592538993_3d38fff9a8_beased the following statement on the closing and signing ceremony for the State of Hawaii’s purchase of Lipoa Point.

“This acquisition action which culminates today will ensure the protection and preservation of one of the most iconic landmarks in Hawaii while securing pension benefits for 1600 retirees of the former Maui Land and Pineapple, Inc (MLP). This was all made possible with the passage of Act 241 which the Maui delegation and our colleagues at the legislature strongly supported.

“These lands hold important historical and archaeological sites and sits above a nationally recognized marine reserve. I am proud of the work that we have done to preserve these lands for our future generations to experience and enjoy and that the funding set aside by this Act goes to preserve pension benefits for many MLP and International Longshore & Warehouse Union retirees.”

Mililani Community Meeting for Update on Little Fire Ant Infestation

Senators Donovan Dela Cruz and Michelle Kidani have scheduled a community meeting to provide concerned Mililani residents with an update from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) on the treatment and prevention of the little fire ant (LFA).

The meeting will be held on Monday, October 13 from 7-9 p.m. at Mililani Mauka Elementary School Cafeteria. Agencies invited to the meeting are the Hawaii Ant Lab, Hawaii Invasive Species Council, Department of Land and Natural Resources, and the City and County of Honolulu.

The HDOA in June confirmed that at least eight homes on Auina St. in Mililani Mauka were positive for LFA and the infestation has spread to the gulch.

The LFA are tiny ants, measuring 1/16th inch long, and pale orange in color. Their bites can produce painful stings and large red welts and may cause blindness in pets. They can build up very large colonies on the ground, in trees and other vegetation, and buildings and homes.

“This is the second of our meetings and we want to make sure that we control the spread of the LFA and educate our residents on how to detect them,” said Sen. Kidani.

The LFA is considered the world’s most invasive species. It has been found on Hawaii Island since 1999 and in December 2013 was detected on hapuu logs (Hawaiian fern) on Maui and Oahu. More recently, six acres in Waimanalo have been treated after detection of the LFA.

“We ask that all residents take the time to check their home and yard for these ants,” added Sen. Dela Cruz. “The public should report concerns of LFA infestation at the toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378).”

For questions about the town hall meeting, please call Sen. Dela Cruz at 586-6090 or Sen. Kidani at 586-7100.

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