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.

Senate’s Capitol Idol Raises Over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank

The Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show, raised over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank. In 2012, the event raised $1,400.

Members of the executive branch and legislature didn’t hold anything back to win the coveted individual and team perpetual trophies. However, Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Neil Abercrombie, and his backup dancers outshone everyone with “Last Dance.”

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

“We all had a lot of fun for a good cause as we approach a hectic time during the legislative session,” said Gabbard. “We surpassed what we brought in last year and it’s all thanks to our guests and the performers.”

Performers included:

Team Executive Branch: Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i 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.

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Kupuna Power Celebrates Seniors

Kupuna Power Flyer 2014As the “silver tsunami” approaches, it has become even more urgent to empower seniors through education, awareness and exercise. Senator Brickwood Galuteria is hosting the second Kupuna Power Day at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda. It’s a fun-filled event bringing together more than 30 organizations providing vital information for the health, safety and well- being for Hawaii’ s Kupuna. The public, especially Kupuna, are invited to enjoy a program jam packed with entertainment and information on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The event celebrates Kupuna and seek to empower them with important information relating to everyday life. However, it’s not all serious business on Kupuna Power Day.  The fun-filled event features notable local entertainers taking the stage and seniors will be asked to lace up their sneakers and take part in healthy exercise, including Silver Sneakers Stretch. Entertainment will be provided by Danny Kaleikini, Marlene Sai and Tony Silva. The events are free to attend.

“This day is all about empowering the Kupuna with education, entertainment and exercise,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, organizer of the event.  “Our population is aging and we need to continue to provide our Kupuna with support so that they can live self-sufficiently. The silver tsunami is coming and we want to prepare all our residents for when that time comes.”

Here is the schedule of events:

9:00 a.m.          Welcome Kupuna Power – Sen. Brickwood Galuteria
PULE  -  Kahu David Kaupu
Flag Procession  -  McKinley High School Color Guard
Pledge of Allegiance – Wesley Lum, Dir., Exec. Office on Aging
Star Spangled Banner  -  Danny Kaleikini
Hawai’i Pono’i  -  Marlene Sai
Kupuna Power Day Proclamation – Gov. Neil Abercrombie

9:15 a.m.          What is Kupuna Power?  Knowing Your Resources:   Sen. B. Galuteria

9:20 a.m.          Silver Sneakers Stretch:  Merita Compton, Dir. Kokua Kalihi Valley Kupuna Program

9:25 a.m.          Medicaid/Medicare update:  Pamela Cunningham

9:35 a.m.          Danny Kaleikini .. entertainment w/Kit Ebersbach & Steve Jones

9:45 a.m.          Avoiding Identity Theft:  Scott Spallina – Deputy Prosecuting Atty

9:55 a.m.          Silver Sneakers Stretch:    Merita Compton

10:00 a.m.          Marlene Sai .. entertainment w/Kit Ebersbach & Steve Jones

10:10 a.m.          Long Term Insurance:    Pamela Cunningham

10:20 a.m.          SPECIAL GUEST:  DaBruddha’s/Tony Silva – “How you know if you one kupuna…age is just one numbah!”

10:30 a.m.          Silver Sneakers Stretch:  Merita Compton

10:35 a.m.          Kupuna Power Recap … Knowing Your Resources:  Sen. B. Galuteria

10:45 a.m.          “Hawaii Aloha” … sing & visit w/all vendors

11:30 a.m.           PAU!!

Vendors represented at the event are as follows:

  •  AARP
  • Aloha Care
  •  Alu Like Ke Ola Pono No Na Kupuna Project
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Attention Plus Home Health Care
  • Blue Jay Wireless
  • Catholic Charities Hawaii
  • City & County of Honolulu – Department of Transportation
  • DCCA -  Insurance
  • DCCA – Consumer
  • DCCA – Securities
  • DHS – Ho’opono For The Blind
  • DHS – Senior Companion Program
  • DHS Foster Grandparent Program
  • Elderly Affairs
  • Emeritus Club
  • Hawaiian Memorial Park & Mortuary
  • Hawaiian Tel
  • HECO
  • HGEA
  • Honolulu Community College Emeritus Club
  • HSTA
  • Ke Ola Mamo Kupuna Program
  • Kokua Kahili Valley
  • Lanakila Meals On Wheels
  • Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
  •  Office of the Prosecuting Attorney – Elder Abuse
  • ‘Olelo
  • Palolo Chinese Home
  • Premier Benefit Consultants
  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
  • Sage Plus
  • Scott Gardner
  • Senior Medical Patrol
  • Territorial Savings Bank
  • Waikiki Health Center
  • Walgreens

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State Leaders Take the Stage for Capitol Idol II

Everyone’s got talent, right? We’ll see about that at Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show fundraiser for the Hawai‘i Foodbank, featuring a handful of brave government leaders from the executive and legislative branches.  Members of the Senate, House and executive branch will sing, dance, and showcase other talents to win the applause of audience members on Monday, April 14 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. Admission is FREE. The event is hosted by Senator Mike Gabbard, with Champ Kaneshiro, of The Champ Show on OC16, emceeing.

The first Capitol Idol was held in 2012, with Rep. Marcus Oshiro (aka “Madame Moshiro”) stealing the show. People are still talking about the lady in the red dress today. However, the word lingering about Capitol hallways is that the Senate will definitely be rocking the House this year.  Individual and Senate/House perpetual trophies are at stake, but more importantly, bragging rights go to the winners for a year.

“We hope to see lots of smiling faces in the audience this year,” said Gabbard. “We want to surpass what we raised last year and encourage everyone to dig deep and support this very worthy cause. You won’t be disappointed in the show.”


Senator Gabbard plays the guitar for Capitol Idol 2012

Competing from the executive branch are Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i 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.

In the House’s corner, Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito will take the stage on behalf of their 51 members.

Representing the Senate are Sens. Russell Ruderman, Mike Gabbard and Malama Solomon. In addition, a group called Da Kolohe Bruddahs, given their name, will surely rouse laughter in the auditorium. The group wishes to remain anonymous, so the only way to find out who they are is to attend.

Senator Solomon dancing at Capitol Idol 2012

Although this is a FREE event, it is also a fundraiser to raise money for the Hawaii Food Bank. Therefore, state employees are encouraged to donate $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrips.

Votes (scrips) from the audience will determine the winner. Scrips can be picked up in Gabbard’s office, Capitol Room 201, until 5 p.m. on Monday, April 14. After 5 p.m., scrips can be picked up in Capitol Room 016 until 15 minutes after the end of the show. There is no limit on the number of scrips that a state employee can purchase. And people can vote for their favorites as much as they wish.

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Senate Special Investigative Committee on the Hawaii State Hospital Meets Again

The Senate Special Investigative Committee on the Hawaii State Hospital yesterday continued questioning top administrators in a hearing held at the Capitol. During the hearing, concerns were raised about nepotism and if there was a possibility of overtime pay being awarded unfairly. The Hawaii Legislature subpoenaed a top administrator, Bill Elliott, to inquire specifically whether clerks at the hospital were unfairly giving more overtime to one employee over another.

The investigation will be ongoing as senators look in depth at the Hawaii State Hospital as a whole. Further investigation and questioning will resume on April 30th.


Bill Elliott, acting administrator of the state’s only public mental hospital prepares to testify before the Senate Special Investigative Committee.

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