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.

Hawaii Island Receives $300,000 for Wastewater and Highway Improvements

Senator Malama Solomon (District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) released the following statement on the administration’s release of nearly $300,000 for wastewater and highway capital improvement projects on Hawaii Island:

• $47,000 for transportation improvements to Queen Kaahumanu Highway at the intersection of Kawaihae Road
• $250,000 for design and construction at Waimea Baseyard Wastewater Systems

“These projects are important to the people of Hawaii Island and I’m glad the governor released the funding for these much-needed improvements.

“Although there has been delays in work at Kawaihae Road and Queen Kaahumanu Highway intersection for a variety of reasons, I’m looking forward to its completion as changes will help with the flow of trafSen.MalamaSolomon_2013Legislature_Final(Cropped)fic and address safety concerns shared by the community.

“I’m proud of the work my colleagues and I did to ensure money flowed to projects such as the quarter of a million dollars for upgrades to wastewater systems in Waimea. Making these necessary upgrades will help create a more safe and effective sewer complex through the modernization of aging sewage treatment facilities.

 

LEGISLATIVE OFFICES WILL BE CLOSED FRIDAY AS TROPICAL STORMS ISELLE AND JULIO HEAD TO OAHU

House Speaker Joseph M. Souki and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim today announced that Legislative offices will be closed on Friday, August 8, 2014.  All non-essential legislative personnel are being asked to stay at home and off the roads as tropical storms Iselle and Julio bear down on Oahu.

Employees are encouraged to take precautions for their personal safety and follow media reports for up to date information on the pending storms.

The State Capitol will also be closed on Saturday, August 9 as both house chambers will be used by the Office of Elections as its Control and Counting Center Operations.

Normal office hours are expected to resume on Monday, August 11th unless otherwise directed.

 

State Hospital Administrators Subpoenaed to Testify Before Senate Investigative Committee

The Hawaii State Senate continues its investigation into allegations of misconduct at the State Hospital on Wednesday, July 16.

The Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital was formed during the 2014 legislative session to conduct an investigation of the workplace safety of psychiatric workers and allegations of administrative improprieties and failure to conform to established employment policies and practices at the Hawaii State Hospital. The hearings began in March to receive testimony from subpoenaed individuals and has been ongoing as senators take a wide-ranging and in-depth look at the State Hospital.

“There are a growing number of concerns at the State Hospital,” said Senator Clayton Hee, co-chair of the Senate Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital. “As we learn more about the inner workings at the State Hospital, it’s become clear that there are many issues that need addressing. We need to hold workers accountable for improper actions, but also equip them with the tools necessary to do their jobs.”

“The first step in solving a problem is to assess the current situation” said Senator Josh Green, co-chair of the Senate Special Investigative Committee on the State Hospital. “The hearings we hold attempts to gives us insight into what exactly is happening at the State Hospital so that we can begin to address and solve those issues with open and transparent governance.”

The next hearing will be held on Wednesday, July 16 at 11:00am in Room 16 of the Hawaii State Capitol to receive testimony from the following individuals for which subpoenas were issued:

  • Mark Fridovich, Adult Mental Health Division Administrator
  • William Elliott, Acting Hawaii State Hospital Administrator
  • Linda Rosen, Director of the Department of Health

Session Laws of 2014

The Session Laws of 2014 are complete with 235 acts this year. Of the 245 measures that were passed by the legislature this session, the governor signed 229 of them into law, vetoed seven measures and let the remaining six bills become law automatically by taking no action on them.

Last year, 288 bills became law. Although there were 53 less laws passed this year than last, the measures that became law will have a lasting impact on Hawaii. These new laws will go a long way in supporting those most in need including kupuna, keiki and minimum-wage earners, protecting and conserving our environment for future generations, mitigating the ill effects of invasive species and climate change, and funding to maintain core services and projects.

Article III, Section 16 of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii states that all bills passed out of the legislature 10 days prior to adjournment sine die must be signed or vetoed by the governor within 10 days of passage or it automatically becomes law. For bills passed with less than 10 days until the end of session, which fell on May 1st this year, the governor is given 45 days to consider bills with either a signature or veto or it automatically becomes law. This day fell on July 8th this year.

To see the full set of the Session Laws of 2014, visit: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?year=2014&report=deadline&rpt_type=gov_acts&measuretype=HB,SB&title=Acts

Senator English Participates in Transportation and Infrastructure Summit

Senator J. Kalani English, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and Intergovernmental Affairs participated in the first Transportation and Infrastructure Summit hosted by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce today.

The summit brings together top transportation leaders in the state to address topics such as air and sea transportation, the physical state of infrastructure in Hawaii, and the Honolulu rail project.

Senator English was a part of a round table discussion on the challenges of planning, paying for and addressing the backlog of infrastructure projects.

The day-long summit was held at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. For more information about the summit, please visit: http://www.cochawaii.org/hits-event-hawaii-infrastructure-transportation-summit/

 

Waikoloa to receive $525,000 for design of a new public library

Sen. MalamSen.MalamaSolomon_2013Legislature_Final(Cropped)a Solomon is pleased to announce that funding identified by the Legislature for a new public library in Waikoloa has been released by the administration. The project includes $525,000 for design work for a new Waikoloa Public Library.

“Residents of Waikoloa worked very hard over the years to get this much-needed public library in the community,” said Solomon, who represents District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa and Kona. “The rural area of Waikoloa is a growing region and I’m pleased that the governor has recognized this and released the funding identified by the Legislature to support literacy and serve the needs of the community.”

“Investing money into our community’s infrastructure will also create more jobs and stimulate the economy,” she added. “This is great news for Hawaii Island and I look forward to the project moving forward.”

Sen. Solomon will keep the community informed of the start and timeline of work on this and other projects as they become known.

Community members are encouraged to contact her at 808-586-7335 or sensolomon@capitol.hawaii.gov should questions arise.

Kihei Library to Receive $400,000 for Air Conditioning

baker 2013Sen. Roz Baker, who represents District 6 – South and West Maui, is pleased to announce that funding identified by the Legislature for a new air conditioning system at Kihei Public Library has been released by the administration. The library will receive $400,000 for construction.

“Improving the conditions of community infrastructure which supports education and literacy is part of the legislature’s commitment to the people of Hawaii and my commitment to the people of Kihei,” said Baker. “Once construction on replacing the air conditioning is completed, families will have a better experience when they go to Kihei Public Library. In addition, modernizing our air conditioning systems brings us up-to-date with energy efficiency. We will see less energy used and more money saved. Air condition for Kihei Public Library and other construction projects identified by my colleagues and I will also help revitalize our economy by creating jobs that will get our people back to work.”

Baker will keep the community informed of the start and timeline of construction as they become known.

Community members are encouraged to contact her at 808-586-6070 or senbaker@capitol.hawaii.govshould questions arise.

Sen. Solomon on the Selection of Hawaii as the Next Host of the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) today selected Hawaii as the location to host the 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress.

Senator Malama Solomon (District 4 – Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) this past session put forth a certificate supporting Hawaii’s bid to host the 2016 World Conservation Congress.

She issued the following remarks on the selection of Hawaii:

“We’ve been waiting with anticipation for the announcement of the next host of the 2016 World Conservation Congress and I am elated that Hawaii has been selected. The Congress, since its inception in 1948, has never come to the United States, and it’s with great pride and Aloha that our state welcome its delegates in 2016.

“Hawaii is the ideal location for the gathering of the minds from across the world to discuss global environment issues and priorities as they relate to conservation programs and activities, government and the economy.

“We have a legacy of conservation in Hawaii and have shown over the years our continued commitment to preserving our natural resources, through various key environmental initiatives and commitment to traditional Hawaiian natural resource management practices.

“Because of our unique and fragile ecosystem, Hawaii is vulnerable to the world’s most pressing environment issues, such as effects of climate change and invasive species. This event will put Hawaii center stage of the global conservation conversation and provide a forum for our business, government, and social leaders to share and gather ideas with others from around the world to help improve how we manage our natural resources.”

State Senator Jill Tokuda Receives National Recognition for Her Work with Charter Schools

During National Charter School Week, Sen. Jill Tokuda received a 2014 “Champions for Charters” award at the U.S. Capitol from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS). The award honors seven federal, state and local elected officials who have worked to advance the growth and success of public charter schools.

JT and Sen Hirono (Copy)
State Senator Jill Tokuda displays her award in a photo with U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono.
Photo Credit: State Senator Jill Tokuda


State Senator Jill Tokuda with U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard at the U.S. Capitol
Photo Credit: State Senator Jill Tokuda

In 2011, Senator Tokuda chaired a task force on charter school governance and accountability that made recommendations for significantly improving Hawaii’s charter school law and led the passage of a bill that contained these recommendations. These changes increased Hawaii’s charter school law ranking by NAPCS from 35th in the nation in 2012 to 14th in 2013. This year, Sen. Tokuda sponsored legislation to provide facilities support to public charter schools and continued to work to make improvements to the charter school law for better clarity and consistency.

“This national recognition is as well-deserved as it is impressive,” said Tom Hutton, Executive Director of the Hawaii State Public Charter School Commission. “Senator Tokuda’s strong support for Hawaii’s public charter schools would be noteworthy on its own, but her sustained engagement in the laborious and often thankless work of strengthening charter school accountability truly has showcased her leadership.”

“Senator Tokuda is truly committed to Hawaii’s public education system, both charter schools and DOE schools,” added Lynn Finnegan, Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network. “As Senate Education Chair, Senator Tokuda has invested a lot of time and effort to learn about the balance between autonomy and accountability that the charters school sector needs to survive and thrive. The leadership she has shown to help craft and pass charter school legislation is unprecedented in Hawaii for charter school issues. We are very grateful for her hard work.”

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Its mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector.

About National Charter School Week
National Charter School Week is an annual event that honors the great work accomplished by public charter schools across the country and the increasing momentum that they have shared over the past year. It gives the charter school community the opportunity to highlight and share successes, lessons learned, and achievements on behalf of the nearly 6,500 schools and more than 2.5 million students served.

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