2015-2016 Leadership and Committee Assignments

The 28th Legislature opens on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. You can view the Hawaii State Senate’s Leadership and Committee Assignments here.

Hawaii State Senate Accepting Applications for the 2015 Legislative Session

The Hawai‘i State Senate is accepting job applications for the upcoming 2015 legislative session.

Working at the Hawai‘i State Senate offers individuals an opportunity to experience firsthand what it’s like to work in a dynamic public service organization, work closely with elected officials and the public, and learn more about the legislative process.

Session jobs require a 4-6 month commitment, depending on the position. Most begin on January 2, 2015 and end on the last day of the legislative session.

Senate employees working 20 hours or more per week are eligible for health insurance through the Hawai‘i Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Found.

More information about employment opportunities with the Hawai‘i State Senate can be found online at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/sjobs.aspx.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to sclerk2@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Info Briefing on Homelessness and Housing Policy

State lawmakers plan to hear from various homelessness and housing agencies to get an update on affordable housing development plans and proposed 2015 legislation addressing housing and homelessness. The informational briefing, with the Senate Committee on Human Services and the House Committee on Housing, is scheduled for Wednesday, November 12, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hawaii State Capitol in the Auditorium (basement level).

According to a 2014 “State of Homelessness in America” report, Hawaii ranked highest among the 50 states for homeless per capita. In a recent study by the State Department of Human Services, there are more than 7,000 people without shelter statewide, with 4,700 of them on Oahu.

Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland attributes the State’s inability to keep up with housing demand over the years as part of the reason why there are so many homeless in Hawaii. “There are just not enough affordable homes to meet needs,” she said. “About 40 percent of our homeless are people who work and just can’t find affordable housing.”

“In 2011 ‘The Hawaii Housing Planning Study’ revealed to us that 50,000 new homes need to be built by 2016. This informational briefing will give us an opportunity to bring everyone to the table, gather information, and see what progress has been made and what more we can do this legislative session,” added Sen. Chun Oakland.

The following agencies have been invited to participate:

• Hawaii Interagency Council on Homelessness
• PHOCUSED in partnership with Partners in Care
• Homeless Programs Office, Department of Human Services
• Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation
• Hawaii Community Development Authority
• Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
• Office of Housing, City and County of Honolulu

No public testimony will be accepted; however, the public can access presentations material the day of the briefing here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2014/testimony/Info_Testimony_HMS-HSG_11-12-14_Homeless.pdf

Leadership Team and Committee Chairs for the 28th Legislature

3/4/2014 Daily Highlights

The Hawai‘i State Senate has organized today and selected Donna Mercado Kim to continue as Senate President for the 28th Legislature, which will convene on January 21, 2015.

“I appreciate the confidence the members have in my leadership and I am pleased that we were able to organize so quickly,” said Senate President Kim (D-14 Kapalama, ‘Alewa, Kalihi Valley, Ft. Shafter, Moanalua Gardens & Valley, portions of Halawa and ‘Aiea). “This is a strong leadership team that will waste no time in preparing for the upcoming legislative session.”

Sen. Will Espero (D-19 ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) will serve as Vice President and will continue to chair the Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs committee.  Sen. Jill Tokuda (D-24 Kane‘ohe, Kane‘ohe MCAB, Kailua, He‘eia, ‘Ahuimanu) will chair the Ways & Means Committee and Sen. Ron Kouchi will serve as the Vice Chair.  Sen. J. Kalani English (D-7 Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe) assumes the Majority Leader position.

“Our State continues to face a number of fiscal challenges, and the Senate Majority stands ready to work with both the House and the Ige administration to address these issues and help Hawai‘i families,” said Sen. Tokuda.

“The Senate will focus on sustainability and resiliency as an overall theme for the next legislature,” added Sen. English. “We will work diligently to ensure that all of Hawai‘i’s people move forward together.”

The State Senate leadership and committee chairs are as follows:

President – Donna Mercado Kim

Vice President – Will Espero

Majority Leader – J. Kalani English

Floor Leader -  Josh Green

Caucus Leader – Gil Kahele

Policy Leader -  Les Ihara, Jr.

Majority Whip – Brian Taniguchi

Ways & Means – Jill Tokuda

Ways & Means, Vice Chair – Ron Kouchi

Judiciary & Labor – Gil Keith-Agaran

Consumer Protection – Roz Baker

Hawaiian Affairs – Maile Shimabukuro

Education – Michelle Kidani

Health – Josh Green

Economic Development and Technology – Glenn Wakai

Water and Land – Laura Thielen

Tourism and International Affairs – Gilbert Kahele

Human Services and Housing – Suzanne Chun Oakland

Higher Education and the Arts – Brian Taniguchi

Government Operations – Donovan Dela Cruz

Public Safety, Intergovernmental

and Military Affairs – Will Espero

Energy and Environment – Mike Gabbard

Agriculture – Russell Ruderman

Transportation – Clarence Nishihara

 

Talking Youth Sports with NZ Consul-General and Former All Blacks Rugby Player

New Zealand Consul-General Robert Kaiwai, several former All Blacks rugby legends and Olympic paddlers met with Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz and officials from the Department of Education, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and high school sports and youth organizations to discuss the social aspects, culture and the role of sports in keeping kids on track, being good community role models, building character, and learning leadership, discipline and teamwork skills.

10/27/2014 NZ Consul-General and All Blacks

In photo: (Left to Right) Front: Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Billy Richards, Cheryl Lupenui, Kealoha Fox, Frano Botica, Jocelyn Doane, Camille Masutomi, Dawn Dunbar, Katie Chang, Lisa Carrington. Back: Jacob Hamstra, Raymond Fujino, Tyrell Ma‘ae, Charles Riechelmann, Frank Bunce, Mehana Hind, Christian Cullen, Terry Wright, Grant Bramwell, Eric Rush, and New Zealand Consul-General Robert Kaiwai

10/27/2014 NZ Consul-General and All Blacks.

 

New Zealand Consul-General and Former All Blacks Rugby Team Players to Meet with Lawmakers and State Agencies

Photo from www.allblacks.com

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz will be meeting with the New Zealand Consul-General Robert Kaiwai, several former All Blacks Rugby Team players and Olympic paddlers to discuss the social aspects and the role of sports in keeping kids on track and out of jail, being good community role models, building character, and learning leadership, discipline and teamwork skills. Also attending are officials and executives of the Department of Education, Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and high school sports and youth organizations.

“One of the main things I would like to discuss with Consul-General Kaiwai and the former All Blacks rugby legends is how we can improve the long-term statistics for local Pacific Islander youths,” said Sen. Dela Cruz (District – 22 Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho). “Many of the youth in my district are Pacific Islanders who participate in a variety of sports such as football and volleyball. Being part of a team helps to build character and keeps children motivated to succeed in other aspects of their lives. I see this initial meeting as a first step for on-going conversations and partnerships with New Zealand on this issue.”

The New Zealand government established a permanent office in Honolulu headed by Consul-General Kaiwai.

Senate Confirms Three Judges

The Hawaii State Senate opened a special session on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 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).10/23/2014 Special Session - Day 2

Following the official opening of the special session, the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee held a decision-making hearing on the confirmation and consideration of the appointees. Lawmakers earlier heard from the appointees and those who supported or opposed their appointments.

10/22/2014 Judicial Appointment Decision Making

From left to right: Margaret K. Masunaga to the District Court of the Third Circuit (Island of Hawaii), Jeffrey P. Crabtree and Christine E. Kuriyama to the Circuit Court of the First Circuit (Island of Oahu).

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, the full Senate reconvened to vote on the recommendations made by the Judiciary and Labor Committee. Lawmakers voted unanimously to confirm all three judicial nominees to the bench.

10/23/2014 Special Session - Day 2

Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee gives remarks on the committees decision to recommend confirming all three judicial nominees.

During this final floor session, senators also presented certificates of appreciation and bid aloha to Senators Clayton Hee and Malama Solomon.

10/23/2014 Special Session - Day 2

From left to right: Sens. Michelle Kidani, David Ige, Malama Solomon, Clayton Hee, and Clarence Nishihara

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.

More photos from both days of the special session can be found on our Flickr page.

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.

 

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