Senate to Open Special Session to Consider Judicial Appointments

The Hawaii State Senate will convene Wednesday, October 20, 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.

Maui Senators Want More Community Engagement on Wastewater Systems Policy Changes Proposed by DOH

Sen. Roz Baker (District 6 – South and West Maui) has asked the Department of Health (DOH) to hold public hearings on the neighbor islands on proposed wastewater management policy changes, and to provide more time for meaningful comment. The changes will affect more than 77,000 homeowners on the neighbor islands and 11,000 on Oahu.

The proposed changes include prohibiting the installation of new cesspools and requiring sewer connections or upgrades of existing cesspools to a septic tank within 180 days after the sale of a property.

“There is no doubt in my mind that septic tanks are better than cesspools,” said Sen. Baker. “However, the department should have been working with the community on a plan that could be supported. I also greatly appreciate DOH wanting to protect groundwater resources by reducing the number of cesspools in the state, but using the administrative rules process rather than actively engaging the affected communities is not the best approach. I would prefer a carrot rather than stick approach to give our community members a genuine voice in any proposal.”

DOH has scheduled a public hearing for Thursday, October 2 on Oahu where only about 12 percent of all cesspools in the state are located. Video conferencing is also being made available on Kauai, Hawaii Island and Maui. Residents affected on Molokai, which has over 1,400 cesspools, will not be able to participate in the video conferencing.

In a letter addressed to Director Linda M. Rosen, she has asked DOH to hold public hearings on all neighbor islands, especially on Molokai where access to video conferencing is not available. (letter attached)

“There could be a lot of unintended consequences with these policy changes,” said Sen. Baker, “such as problems with meeting the 180-day septic tank connection time frame or even being able to connect at all. The department should consider holding more public meetings and provide more time for meaningful comment from neighbor island communities.”

Sen. Baker’s Maui colleagues also support the call for public hearings on the neighbor islands. “I agree that the department should take the time to meet with and hear from the neighbor island and rural communities that will be impacted the most by this policy change,” said Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran (District 5 – Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului).

“The DOH is making a flawed assumption with this proposal, that each homeowner has easy access to a public sewer system,” added Sen. J. Kalani English (District 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe). Many residents in the small and rural communities I represent do not have access to public sewer systems.  In fact, the majority of my district does not have any public sewer systems at all. This proposal will impact them the most and they deserve public hearings and enough time to ask questions and share their concerns. Improvements to our wastewater system are necessary, but let’s make sure it’s done right by giving our communities, especially those who will be most affected, an opportunity to provide input. I call on the DOH to conduct public hearings on these proposed rules in Hana, Haiku, Kula, Paia, Molokai and Lanai.”

 

HPD Chief Cancels Meeting with Hawaii Women’s Caucus and Women Honolulu City Councilmembers

The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus today announced that they received a call from the Honolulu Police Department’s (HPD) Chief of Police’s office canceling Thursday’s meeting with the Women’s State Legislative Caucus and three women members of the Honolulu City Council.

A representative of the Women’s Caucus spoke with the office of Chief of Police Louis M. Kealoha to ask that the commitment to meet with the women on Thursday be honored.

“The purpose of Thursday’s meeting was for the Women’s Legislative Caucus and the three women city councilmembers to have the opportunity to speak with Chief Kealoha directly,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, a member of the Women’s Caucus. “We hoped to work cooperatively with the police to strengthen efforts to end domestic violence and keep victims safe. We wanted to discuss concerns and questions about HPD’s internal policies and procedures regarding domestic violence cases, especially when one of their own officers is a suspect that has been brought to us by victims’ service providers.”

“The Women’s Legislative Caucus and women Honolulu City Councilmembers asked for the opportunity to discuss these issues with Chief Kealoha prior to the public informational briefing so that he could be prepared to respond fully in public, and to, hopefully, open the door to improved partnerships and outcomes in domestic violence cases,” said Senate President Kim.

A representative of the Women’s Caucus was told the meeting was cancelled because the internal investigation was not yet completed. “We made it clear that the Women’s Caucus understands that personnel investigations are confidential and that we have no intention of interfering in that matter,” stated Senator Laura Thielen, a member of the Women’s Caucus. “We told Chief Kealoha’s office that our concern and our meeting is to be focused on the broader HPD policies and response to domestic violence incidents.”

The cancellation was completely unexpected. “Many of us rearranged our schedules to suit the Police Chief’s requested meeting date and time. We are disappointed at his unexpected cancellation,” stated Senate President Kim. “We sincerely hope this is not a sign of the lack of importance the department places on the issue of domestic violence. But it’s perplexing to us why he would cancel such an important meeting with so many women leaders.”

Members of the Hawaii Women’s State Legislative Caucus are:

REP. KAREN LEINANI AWANA
REP. DELLA AU BELATTI
REP. RIDA CABANILLA
REP. MELE CARROLL
REP. LAUREN MATSUMOTO
REP. CINDY EVANS
REP. BETH FUKUMOTO
REP. FAYE HANOHANO
REP. SHARON HAR
REP. LINDA ICHIYAMA
REP. GEORGETTE “JO” JORDAN
REP. NICOLE LOWEN
REP. SYLVIA LUKE
REP. DAYNETTE “DEE” MORIKAWA
REP. CYNTHIA THIELEN
SEN. ROZ BAKER
SEN. SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND
SEN. MICHELLE KIDANI
SEN. DONNA MERCADO KIM
SEN. MAILE SHIMABUKURO
SEN. MALAMA SOLOMON
SEN. LAURA THIELEN
SEN. JILL TOKUDA

Women members of the Honolulu City Council are:

COUNCILMEMBER ANN H. KOBAYASHI
COUNCILMEMBER CAROL FUKUNAGA
COUNCILMEMBER KYMBERLY MARCOS PINE

 

Women’s Legislative Caucus Calls for Accountability of HPD

Following the public release of a surveillance video showing a Honolulu Police Department (HPD) sergeant allegedly brutally beating his girlfriend in a Waipahu restaurant, the Hawaii Women’s State Legislative Caucus and the three women members of the Honolulu City Council are calling on HPD to explain its policies and procedures for handling criminal actions involving its own officers and how the failure to act that occurred earlier this week is not repeated.

According to reports, HPD officers responding to the scene did not arrest the sergeant, nor did they file any reports of the incident that night. It was only on the following day, after a citizen provided HPD and the press with the surveillance video, that HPD took action to remove the sergeant of his police powers and begin an internal investigation into the incident, according to a Hawaii News Now report.

The Joint Women’s Legislative Caucus and City Council members released the following statement:

“We are calling for a meeting with the Chief of Police, followed by an informational briefing with the Honolulu Police Department and Police Commission. The public has a right to know the department’s policies and procedures for response to domestic violence or any other crimes when the offender is a police officer, particularly one who serves in a supervisory role.

“HPD officials must explain to the public why the alleged assailant was not charged and arrested given evidence of probable cause, including multiple witnesses who had to come to the woman’s aide and a video surveillance depicting the appalling domestic violence assault.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that HPD officers chose not to enforce our domestic violence laws. The fact that the woman denied the incident is to be expected under the circumstances. Indeed, the responding officers’ failure to take action clearly communicated that her safety will not be protected by them. If similar situations have occurred in the past, any victim of violence would deny it out of fear of retaliation.
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“This incident sends a dark message to victims of domestic violence and all residents of Oahu, that members of HPD, who are supposed to serve and protect, may turn a blind eye to domestic violence or other criminal acts committed by of one of their officers.

“The integrity of HPD has been mired and trust has been lost. We demand public accountability.”

Members of the Hawaii Women’s State Legislative Caucus are:

REP. KAREN LEINANI AWANA
REP. DELLA AU BELATTI
REP. RIDA CABANILLA
REP. MELE CARROLL
REP. LAUREN CHEAPE
REP. CINDY EVANS
REP. BETH FUKUMOTO
REP. FAYE HANOHANO
REP. SHARON HAR
REP. LINDA ICHIYAMA
REP. GEORGETTE “JO” JORDAN
REP. NICOLE LOWEN
REP. SYLVIA LUKE
REP. DAYNETTE “DEE” MORIKAWA
REP. CYNTHIA THIELEN
SEN. ROZ BAKER
SEN. SUZANNE CHUN OAKLAND
SEN. MICHELLE KIDANI
SEN. DONNA MERCADO KIM
SEN. MAILE SHIMABUKURO
SEN. MALAMA SOLOMON
SEN. LAURA THIELEN
SEN. JILL TOKUDA

Women members of the Honolulu City Council are:

COUNCILMEMBER ANN H. KOBAYASHI
COUNCILMEMBER CAROL FUKUNAGA
COUNCILMEMBER KYMBERLY MARCOS PINE

DOH Director and State Hospital Employees Subpoenaed to Testify at Senate Hearing

6/18/2014 Investigative Committee on the State Hospital Hearing

Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital Hearing held on June 18, 2014

The Senate Special Investigative Committee will continue its investigation into allegations of misconduct at the Hawaii State Hospital Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 12 p.m. in Room 016

The investigation has been ongoing as senators take a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the Hawaii State Hospital to address the safety of workers and allegations of administrative improprieties, and failure to conform to established employment policies and practices including nepotism.

The committee, co-chaired by Senator Clayton Hee and Senator Josh Green, will receive testimony from the following individuals for which subpoenas were issued:

• Linda Rosen, Director of the Department of Health
• Leona Guest, Director of Nursing
• Candace Sullivan, Nurse Manager
• Kalford Keanu, Psychiatric Technician
• Ryan Oyama, Psychiatric Technician
• Joshua Akeo, Registered Nurse

**For more information, please visit http://capitol.hawaii.gov/specialcommittee.aspx?comm=hsh

Sen. Solomon Announces Release of $1 Million for Kohala Hospital Repairs

Sen. Malama Solomon today announced the release of $1,000,000 in capital improvement funds for repairs and updates to Kohala Hospital. She issued the following statement:

“Mahalo to Governor Abercrombie for releasing the funding for much-needed repairs and improvements to Kohala Hospital,” said Senator Malama Solomon (District 4, Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona). “The hospital has served the small community for almost 100 years, and with these funds we can bring Kohala into the future and keep up with changes in healthcare.”

Kohala Hospital is a 28-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) with 24 hour emergency services. It has serving the North Kohala community since 1917.

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