Sen. Russell Ruderman Introduces Bills Addressing Big Island Issues

Sen. Russell Ruderman has introduced a number of bills this session to address Puna/Big Island’s unique issues.

“These bills need your support,” said Ruderman.  “Big Island endured serious damage from a tropical storm last year and faces uncertainty due to the impending lava flow.  Many of the bills I have introduced could help our district to be better prepared for disasters in the future.  I am also committed to focusing on food and agricultural sustainability this session.”

Several of the bills have already been scheduled for hearing. It is hoped that constituents in the Puna area begin tracking the bills on their individual Capitol webpage and submit testimony in support when a Bill is scheduled.

Below is a list of bills that Ruderman has introduced that relate to Puna and/or Big Island issues:

SB319
Conservation; Department of Land and Natural Resources; Sandalwood; Penalties; Fees
RELATING TO SANDALWOOD.
Prohibits the sale, export, and possession with intent to sell or export raw or unprocessed sandalwood timber, including whole or partial raw logs. Establishes penalties for the sale, export, or possession with the intent to sell or export raw or unprocessed sandalwood timber and establishes a violation as a misdemeanor.

SB322
Aquatic Life; Aquarium Permits; Fish; Sale of Aquatic Life for Aquarium Use Prohibited
RELATING TO WILDLIFE.
Criminalizes the sale of aquatic life for aquarium use and establishes the penalties for first and subsequent violations. Amends existing aquarium fish permit law to conform to the ban. Takes effect on 1/1/2016.

SB576
Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation
RELATING TO HEALTH.
Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

SB578
Elections; Voting; Elections by Mail; Absentee Voting; Appropriation
RELATING TO ELECTIONS.
Enable the office of elections to implement elections by mail in any interested county, beginning with the 2016 primary election. By 2018, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail. Enables absentee walk-in voting to continue prior to election day. Ensures limited polling sites in each county remain open on election day for absentee walk-in voting and to receive mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

SB580
Puna Community Medical Center; Mobile Health Unit; Annex Medical Clinic; Emergency Appropriation ($)
MAKING AN EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION FOR THE PUNA COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTER.
Appropriates funds as an emergency appropriation to the Puna Community Medical Center for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.

SB586
Rat Lungworm Disease; Appropriation ($)
RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII.
Appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii at Hilo for programs and studies related to rat lung worm disease.

SB589
Property Insurance; Hawaii Property Insurance Association; Renewal
RELATING TO INSURANCE.
Requires the renewal of property insurance, but permits insurers to deny renewal for nonpayment of an undisputed premium by a policyholder.

SB591
Invasive Species; Albizia Trees; Appropriation ($)
RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
Makes an appropriation to the Hawaii invasive species council for the coordinated management of albizia trees on Hawaii island and throughout the State.

SB594
Coffee; Labeling; Geographic or Regional Origins; Percentage of Content Requirement; Hawaii-grown Coffee
RELATING TO COFFEE.
Requires a specific listing of the geographic origins of various Hawaii-grown coffees and the geographic or regional origins of the various coffees not grown in Hawaii that are included in a coffee blend to be listed on the front panel of a label. Increases the minimum percentage requirement for coffee blends to use geographic origin in labeling or advertising to 80 per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin. Effective January 1, 2016.

SB597
Emergencies and Disasters; Postponed Elections; Distribution of Voting Results
RELATING TO ELECTIONS.
Requires the chief election officer or county clerk to exercise existing powers to postpone an election in affected precincts when the right to vote is substantially impaired due to an emergency or natural disaster. Prohibits the distribution of results from any precinct, whether or not designated for postponement, until after the final closing of the polls for an election postponed due to an emergency or disaster.

SB1013
Hooulu Lahui; Appropriation; Grant ($)
MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR A COMMUNITY CERTIFIED KITCHEN IN PUNA.
Appropriates funds to Hooulu Lahui to complete construction of a community certified kitchen in lower Puna.

SB1016
Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance; Puna; Appropriation ($)
RELATING TO HEALTH.
Appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii, including the acquisition of a vehicle and equipment and personnel costs for state-certified emergency medical services personnel.

SB1200
Puna Small Boat Harbor; General Obligation Bonds; Appropriation ($)
RELATING TO A SMALL BOAT HARBOR IN SOUTH PUNA.
Authorizes the director of finance to issue general obligation bonds to finance the design and construction of a small boat harbor in South Puna.

SB1257
Airport; Appropriation ($)
MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN AIRPORT IN PUNA.
Appropriates funds for construction of a small airport in South Puna due to the threat of inaccessibility from lava flow.

For assistance in submitting testimony online or for outer island residents who want to testify by video, contact the Public Access Room at: http://lrbhawaii.org/par/

A complete list of bills Introduced by Senator Ruderman can be found here:

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=intro&year=2015&leg=Ruderman&rpt_type=first_pri

All bills introduced this session here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/main.aspx

$4 million Released for Waimea District/Regional Park

Sen. Lorraine Inouye (Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, Kona) today announced Governor David Ige’s release of $4 million in general obligation bond funds appropriated by the Legislature to finance construction of various improvements to the Waimea District/ Regional Park. The administration notified stakeholders last month of the release of funds.

With matching funds from the County of Hawaii, the monies will implement Phase 1 of the master-planned 50-acre park that will offer diversified types of recreational activities including active play areas such as fields for soccer, baseball, and football, a community gymnasium, a multi-purpose community

Photo from pbrhawaii.com (PBR Hawaii & Associates, Inc.)

Photo from pbrhawaii.com (PBR Hawaii & Associates, Inc.)

building, a multi-use walkway and trail system, and other passive recreational areas.

The first phase is slated to cover 24 acres and includes work on a covered play court, multi-use community building, pavilion, two football/rugby/soccer fields, one youth baseball/softball field, and a multi-use walkway and trail. The second phase would add 26 acres and thus convert the facility to a regional park.

“I’m pleased that the governor released the much-needed and long-overdue funding for plans, designs and construction for this valued recreational facility in West Hawaii,” said Inouye. “Once the work is completed, it will benefit our community members by filling a void in both indoor and outdoor athletic and recreational activities. Everyone is excited about it and we’re looking forward to thrilling sporting events in the future.”

 

Women’s Legislative Caucus’ Package Focuses on Safety and Well-Being of Women

DSC_0626The Women’s Legislative Caucus, consisting of members from both the state Senate and House, today announced a joint package of measures for the 2015 legislative session.

The package of bills cover five areas of concern to women of all ages and economic background, including improving reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assaults, reducing violence and sexual assaults on college campuses, ensuring women’s access to healthcare, addressing Hawaii’s high cost of living faced by working families, and restoring public trust of Hawaii’s law enforcement community.

“Domestic violence, campus assaults, perceived unsympathetic law enforcement officials—all of these issues remain ongoing concerns for women of all ages from all backgrounds,” said Representative Della Au Belatti (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa). “Whenever we think we are making progress, reports like the recent Star Advertiser article on the U.S. Department of Education’s investigation of 55 college campuses across the nation punctures that balloon.”

“It shows we need to continue to press our case for better reporting and enforcement of domestic violence and sexual assault on our schools campuses, for greater transparency and accountability from our law enforcement entities, for better access to health care for women, and for greater support for women who are often more vulnerable to the high cost of living in Hawaii.”

“This year’s caucus package represents the collaborative work of women legislators and the Women’s Coalition, the community counterpart to the Women’s Legislative Caucus,” said Senator Rosalyn Baker (South and West Maui). “These bills address some of the important societal issues facing women and girls – security in home, workplace and community.

“In the package we also highlight our concern for women’s health.  Breast and cervical cancer still goes undetected for too many women in Hawaii.  One of our bills will provide funding to expand screening and treatment services to underserved, at-risk women.  These cancers can be successfully treated and cured, if found early.  This bill’s modest investment will save suffering, healthcare costs and lives.  Together, our package will help to create a safer and healthier environment and contribute to a better quality of life for Hawaii’s women and their families.”

“Our state has the highest cost of living in the nation and we are in dire need of affordable housing,” added Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland (Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nuuanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown).  “A 2011 housing study informed the state that we will be 50,000 housing units short by 2016.  This creates a perfect storm for many low-income earners, many of whom are women supporting their families, who are trying to get by paycheck to paycheck and keep a roof over their heads. Amending the income tax credit for low-income renters is one strategic component that will put more money in their pockets to support their families.”

“Different decades of women banding together can make a powerful sisterhood which will make our communities, state and world a safer and better place,” said Representative Cynthia Thielen (Kailua, Kaneohe Bay).

This year’s package is dedicated to the Women’s Coalition in recognition of their commitment and advocacy for women and girls.

The Women’s Coalition, established in 1990 by former State Representative Annelle Amaral, is a coalition of community organizations and volunteers from across the state that raise awareness and advocate for important issues to women and families.  Through its own collaborative processes, the Women’s Coalition assists the Caucus in creating its legislative practice.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is made up of all the female members of the state House and Senate.  Each year the caucus presents a package of bills relevant to the well-being of women and families and supports the bills throughout the legislative session. Belatti, Baker, Chun Oakland and Thielen serve as co-chairs of the Caucus.

IMPROVING REPORTING & ENFORCEMENT PRACTICES RELATED TO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULT

HB446/SB384, relating to the Confidentiality Program, Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund and Confidentiality Program Grant Fund

Establishes the Address Confidentiality Program to help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault relocate and keep their addresses confidential.  Creates the Address Confidentiality Program Surcharge Fund.

HB447/SB390, relating to domestic abuse, Department of Human Services and Family Court

Removes certain unnecessary and redundant reporting responsibilities of the family courts and the Department of Human Services in cases where temporary restraining orders are sought for alleged domestic abuse involving a family or household member who is a minor or incapacitated person.

HB448/SB386, relating to domestic violence fatality reviews and Department of Health

Requires the Department of Health to conduct reviews of domestic violence fatalities, near-deaths, and suicides.  Requires the DOH to enter into a memorandum of understanding to develop procedures for obtaining information relating to near-deaths resulting from intimate partner assaults.  Requires reviews to commence within one year following the death, near-death, or suicide.  Requires information and recommendations from the review process to be compiled for system reform efforts.

HB453/SB391, relating to psychologists continuing education, ethics and domestic violence

Amends the continuing education requirement for psychologists to include at least three credit hours of ethics training and at least two credit hours of domestic violence training.

HB452/SB393, relating to statewide sexual assault services, the Attorney General, base budget and appropriations

Appropriates funds to increase the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services for fiscal biennium 2016-2017 to $2,380,000 per fiscal year. Beginning with the 2017-2018 fiscal year, requires the base budget of the Department of the Attorney General for statewide sexual assault services to be at least $2,380,000 per fiscal year.

REDUCING VIOLENCE & SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES

HB451/SB387, relating to affirmative consent and the University of Hawaii system

Requires the University of Hawaii system to establish and enforce an affirmative consent standard for all policies and protocols relating to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as a condition of receiving state funds for student assistance.

ENSURING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

HB455/SB385, relating to the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, the Department of Health and appropriations

Appropriates funds to the Department of Health for the breast and cervical cancer control program.

ADDRESSING HAWAII’S HIGH COST OF LIVING FOR WORKING FAMILIES

HB454/SB392, relating to the income tax credit and low-income household renters

Amends income tax credit for low-income household renters to adjust for inflation.  Applies to taxable years beginning after 12/31/2015.

RESTORING PUBLIC TRUST WITH TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY OVER POLICE POLICIES & PROCEDURES

HB449/SB388, relating to county police departments, domestic violence policies and standards of conduct

Requires each county police department to post its policies relating to domestic violence, officer-involved domestic violence, and standards of conduct on its official website.

HB450/SB389, relating to police commissioners, county police commissions, composition and requirements

Amends the composition of the county police commissions to require that three commissioners on each police commission have backgrounds, including equality for women, civil rights, and law enforcement for the benefit of the public.

The public can participate in legislative discussions and follow the progress of the bills by logging onto the Capitol website at http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/advreports/advreport.aspx?report=package&pkey=12&year=2015&name=Women%27s+Legislative+Caucus

Keiki Caucus Unveils 2015 Legislative Package

The Keiki Caucus, a bipartisan group of House and Senate members, today unveiled its 2015 legislative package of priority measures that addresses a variety of issues related to ensuring the protection and welfare of Hawaii’s children and youth. The package includes five key areas of focus including safety and well-being, education, health and early intervention, local food and healthy meals, and affordable housing.

In a press conference held this afternoon, state lawmakers and community advocates emphasized three key proposals. They include creating a 5-year Safe Places for Youth pilot program, establishing the R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health) program in the Office of Youth Services, and implementing policies that address bullying and create safer schools for children.

“The driving force behind this package and the collaboration between all stakeholders is to give our children and youth the best opportunities now and into the future,” said Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland (13
Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus, Downtown), co-chair of the Keiki Caucus. “This includes providing the necessary after-school programs and services that provide our keiki with a safe, inspiring environments and continuing to support bullying awareness and prevention initiatives.

“Our keiki represent our state’s most precious resource. They are our future and the reason why we need to invest in the youth today for a better tomorrow,” said Rep. John Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi), co-chair of the Keiki Caucus.

“The REACH program is poised to have a significant impact on Hawaii’s future.  It provides middle school students with dynamic after-school activities that keep them engaged in school and on track towards graduation,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui.  “With the support of the Keiki Caucus, I hope to see the REACH bill move through the Legislature successfully,” said Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui.

###

The Keiki Caucus is a bipartisan group of 27 House and Senate members joined by a community resource group of over 150 children and youth advocates, various non-profits, educators, youth, parent groups, researchers, agency officials, businesses and other experts working to develop initiatives to address a variety of issues affecting Hawaii’s children and youth, including education, health, child safety, youth development, food security, and other critical issues. The Keiki Caucus is co-chaired by Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland and Rep. John Mizuno.

 

 

2015 Package

* Indicates priority identified at the 2014 Children and Youth Day Summit

SAFETY and WELL-BEING

BILL NUMBER DESCRIPTION
SB979

HB395

  • Relating to Youth*

Requires the office of youth services to coordinate a five-year safe places for youth pilot program to establish a network of safe places where youth in crisis can access safety and services. Establishes the position of safe places for youth program coordinator. Allows youth in crisis under 18 years of age to consent to services in the safe places program under certain circumstances. Makes an appropriation.

 

EDUCATION

BILL NUMBER DESCRIPTION
SB980

HB397

Relating to Afterschool Programs

Establishes the R.E.A.C.H. (Resources for Enrichment, Athletics, Culture, and Health) program in the office of youth services to provide a standardized framework and funding for afterschool programs in public middle/intermediate schools. Establishes a revolving fund to receive fees and other moneys to supplement the costs of administering and operating the program.

SB865 Relating to Bullying

Requires educational institutions and all youth-serving agencies to create and implement anti-bullying policies. Establishes a bullying prevention task force to provide guidance. Outlines the requirements for each institution or agency’s policy and specifies reporting, investigation, and appeals procedures involving incidents of bullying. Provides immunity to reporters of bullying in the event of a cause of action for damages arising from the making of a report. Requires institutions and agencies to establish annual bullying prevention programs for youth and to provide bullying prevention training to all employees and volunteers who have significant contact with youth. Requires institutions and agencies to report aggregate figures regarding bullying to the governor and requires the governor to report to the legislature regarding bullying and the effectiveness of anti-bullying policies.

SB977

HB1794

Relating to the Department of Education*

Appropriates funds to raise awareness of mental health issues and provide mental health training for public school administrators, teachers, and other school personnel. Appropriates funds to establish additional public school counselor positions in the public schools.

 

 

 

EDUCATION (cont.)

SCR5

HCR11

 

Concurrent Resolution

Encouraging public and charter schools to provide information to parents of all public school students in the sixth grade regarding human papillomavirus vaccinations.

SCR-Pending Introduction

HCR12

Concurrent Resolution

Requesting the Board of Education to include financial literacy as part of the public school curriculum at all levels and to include a financial literacy class among high school graduation requirements.

Pending Introduction Concurrent Resolution*

Requesting the Board of Education to establish a life skills education program at each public high school for students in grades nine through twelve.

Pending Introduction Concurrent Resolution

Requesting the Board of Education to include financial literacy as part of the public school curriculum at all levels and to include a financial literacy class among high school graduation requirements.

Pending Introduction Concurrent Resolution

Requesting the Department of Education to support the Kids’

Savings project.

 

HEALTH and EARLY INTERVENTION

BILL NUMBER DESCRIPTION
SB978

HB396

Relating to Youth*

Appropriates funds to support anti-bullying and suicide prevention efforts in Hawaii’s public schools.

SB981

 

  • Relating to Health
  • Appropriates funds to continue administration of the Hawaii home visiting program, a hospital-based early identification designed to enhance health and safety outcomes and prevent child abuse and neglect, and ensure continuation of home visiting services in certain priority high-risk neighborhoods.
SB982

HB398

  • Relating to Medical Amnesty
  • Establishes limited immunity for individuals who seek medical assistance for themselves or others experiencing a drug or alcohol overdose or other medical emergency.

 

 

2015 Senate Majority Legislative Program

Hawai‘i State Senate
Senate Majority Legislative Program
Twenty-Eighth Legislature
2015

We, of the Democratic Majority of the Hawai‘i State Senate, are committed to a vision and future for Hawai‘i that will stabilize Hawai‘i’s economy and improve our quality of life for generations to come. We have a unique opportunity to serve the people of Hawai‘i. In that spirit, the Senate Majority is committed to being open, inclusive, and collaborative in its decision-making on behalf of the people of the State of Hawai‘i.

We enter the first year of the Twenty-Eighth Legislative biennium with three over-arching themes and priorities for legislation that will improve the quality of life for everyone in Hawai‘i, including our keiki, kupuna, and ‘Ohana who are most in need.

The Democratic Majority of the Senate will focus on the following areas during the 2015 Session:

Energy and Food Resiliency
• Ensuring a sustainable future for Hawai‘i will continue to be a priority. Improving energy resiliency and food self-sufficiency will have positive effects on our local job market and economy.
• We will focus on renewable energy alternatives that are practical and economical for the State that take into account Hawai‘i’s unique geographical and topographical circumstances. As Hawai‘i continues to make progress in this area and with our overall clean energy goals in mind, we will encourage the availability of renewable energy, facilitate processes for the development of renewable energy, and advance projects to improve energy efficiencies.
• We will ensure that Hawai‘i is well-prepared for any disaster, economic disruption, or other external factor by encouraging the production and consumption of locally grown and locally raised food through good agricultural practices and support of local farmers.

Community Well-Being and Smart Growth
• We will strengthen our social safety net to ensure that our keiki, kupuna, family care givers, and all members of a family are healthy and safe, while continuing to work together in the community development process of any and all lands to address housing, agricultural, environmental, and health concerns. Smart growth allows for future thinking on how to best utilize the different types of land available for Hawai‘i’s myriad of communities and their needs.
• We will explore opportunities to protect Hawai‘i’s natural resources through preservation and protective measures, including addressing agricultural practices, climate change, and zoning concerns. Because of Hawai‘i’s unique geographical features, including coastline, volcanoes, and watersheds, we can implement innovative processes and procedures, as well as explore new technologies and applications to existing systems, to accommodate Hawai‘i residents for today and the future.
• We will focus on efforts to create a holistic overview and understanding for community development in the State, such as transit-oriented development. Because comprehensive community development presents an opportunity for the State to solve many socio-economic challenges that face Hawai‘i’s residents, understanding the issues from various parties will further synergize the development to meet housing, critical infrastructure, and community needs.

Government Effectiveness
• We will support efforts that ensure that the government is providing effective services in which residents are well-served, safe, and protected. We will work toward greater efficiency, security, and accountability.
• We will encourage effectiveness, transparency, and accountability across all branches of government by insisting on high standards of ethical conduct, proper training, and reliable systems and procedures.
• We will strengthen and protect government infrastructure by upgrading technology and services to meet the demand of Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors. We will continue to promote the enhancement of the State’s information technology services and concentrate on our critical infrastructure, including broadband.

It is our sincere hope that we can work collaboratively with the House of Representatives and the Governor to achieve all the goals outlined in this 2015 Senate Majority Legislative Program.

Hawaii Senate Majority Program

New Senior Center Groundbreaking in Kakaako

The historic Kakaako Pumping Station was given new life today, as community members came together to celebrate the groundbreaking and blessing of the new Na Kupuna Makamae (The Beloved Kupuna) Center off Ala Moana Boulevard. The 114-year-old building has been vacant for decades, with numerous proposals for its revival failing to reach completion.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Sen. Galuteria, who represents Kakaako and surrounding areas, addresses community members and other state leaders and offices.

In June, the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA) voted to approve the preparation of an environmental assessment and special management area permit for non-profit Pacific Gateway Center (PGC) to move forward with plans to renovate the historic building into a community resource center. In July, Gov. Neil Abercrombie released $1 million in capital improvement grant funds identified by the state Legislature for the refurbishment project.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Sen. Pres. Donna Mercado Kim with Kimo Kahoano, who acted as master of ceremonies for the groundbreaking

“We’re excited to give this iconic building back to the public so that it can have new life serving our kupuna and future generations,” said HCDA Executive Director Tony Ching.

“It’s a great feeling being the Senator who represents such a historic and evolving community,” said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (District 12 – Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako, McCully, Moiliili). “This day is as much about honoring the essence of our past as it is celebrating a new beginning.”

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Kahu Curtis Kekuna with (L-R) Rep. Karl Rhoads, PGC Executive Director Myaing Thein, Marlene Sai, Sen. President Donna Mercado Kim, Governor Neil Abercrombie, Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, and HCDA Board Chair Brian Lee.

The new facility is expected to serve as a learning and gathering place for the many kupuna who call Kakaako home. The Na Kupuna Makamae Center will focus on services for the elderly and specifically on intergenerational programs, in which Hawaii’s youth will be engaged to help older adults with workshops and services, such as teaching computer skills or assisting with lifelong learning opportunities.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

Na Hiwa Hiwa perform Kalakaua He Noa

“We are extremely excited and honored to have a role in the reawakening of Kakaako through the preservation of the building that will now house the programs of Na Kupuna,” said Dr. Myaing Thein, PGC executive director.

Founded in 1973, PGC has developed a 40-year track record of delivering critical need-based services and designing innovative social enterprises to support the community. It offers a wide range of direct and support services to approximately 5,000 clients per year.

9/10/2014 Na Kupuna Makamae Groundbreaking

The historic Kakaako Pumping Station will be revitalized, refurbished and renewed to become the Na Kupuna Makamae Center, or the Beloved Kupuna Center.

 

Senators Honor Recipient of a National Hispanic Caucus Scholarship

8-27-14 National Hispanic Caucus Scholarship Check Presentation to Isis Usborne

From L-R: Mililani High School Principal Fred Murphy, NHCSL scholarship recipient Isis Usborne, Sen. Michelle Kidani and Dane Wicker, representing the office of Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz

A Mililani High School graduate is one of just eleven students from across the U.S. selected to receive a college scholarship award from the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures (NHCSL).

Isis Usborne, a valedictorian from the MHS Class of 2014, will use the $3,000 grant to help with tuition and expenses as she enrolls at UH Manoa for the fall semester. The John S. Martinez Closing the Achievement Gap Scholarship was created in memory of the late Connecticut State Representative and former NHCSL President John S. Martinez to recognize the values most important to him – leadership, innovation, compassion and public service.

Applications for the award are accepted from high school seniors of Hispanic ethnicity who attend schools in legislative districts represented by state lawmakers who are also of Hispanic descent. Mililani High School is located in Senate District 18, represented by Senator Michelle Kidani who is of Puerto Rican descent. The school also serves students and families in the adjacent District 22, represented by Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, also of Puerto Rican descent. Both Senators are active members of the National Hispanic Caucus.

“Mililani is a diverse community where we celebrate and share each other’s heritage,” Senator Kidani said. “I encourage Hispanic students in my district to apply for this prestigious award each year, and we are so pleased to congratulate Isis for her outstanding accomplishments that easily qualified her for the Martinez scholarship.”

Isis has displayed admirable leadership, academic excellence and a passionate commitment to community. She was a Valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.

In her community, Isis has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. “Students like Isis who are high achievers always have a terrific support team behind them,” Senator Kidani added. “We are grateful to her dedicated teachers and mentors at Mililani High School and to her family and friends who have been with her through the last four years.”

Sen. Kidani last week presented the scholarship check to Isis. She offered the following remarks during the check presentation:

Thank you for being here today – especially our guest of honor, Isis Usborne, who has taken some time out of her class schedule for this presentation. Introduce Principal Fred Murphy and Rep Lauren Matsumoto.

Let me proceed with a little background about the John S. Martinez ‘Closing the Achievement Scholarship’ that I am honored to present today.

This is a National Scholarship Award and Isis is one of only 11 students selected nationally by the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures from scholarships funded by the Comcast Foundation through Comcast NBC Universal.

The National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures is an organization of legislators from across the U.S. I, as well as my colleague Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, both have Puerto Rican ethnicity in our backgrounds, and have been active participants in this Hispanic Caucus organization which allows us to identify issues of importance to this growing segment of Hawaii’s population.

Census figures from 2013 indicate that residents of the islands who identify as Hispanic or Latino background represent almost ten percent of Hawaii’s population . . . and the numbers are rising, just as they are in mainland states.

The Scholarship Award we present today is named to remember the late John S. Martinez – a state legislator from Connecticut, who also served as the Hispanic Caucus President. Representative Martinez knew that education – especially education beyond high school – is vital to empowering individuals and developing leadership skills, nurturing innovative and critical thinking, and a citizens’ lifestyle that includes a commitment to public service.

The Martinez Scholarship is awarded each year to just eleven students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and a commitment to community service. The other criteria are that the student be of Hispanic background, and that she or he attend school in a district represented by a lawmaker of Hispanic background. Mililani High School from where Isis recently graduated serves students in both Mililani Town and Mililani Mauka – the districts which Senator Dela Cruz and I serve as Senators.

Isis Usborne is one of the eleven students from across the country chosen to receive the Martinez Scholarship.

Isis has more than qualified for this award during her years at Mililani High School. I would like to read just one paragraph from the Senate Certificate we have prepared to recognize her accomplishments:

  • Isis was a valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.
  • In her community, she has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. She will use the $3,000 scholarship award to support her studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa beginning this fall.

I am told that Isis has not declared a major yet – and that she wants to “explore” political science, performing arts, earth sciences, astronomy and the humanities. In other words, she wants to do it all.

It is a pleasure to present this prestigious award to Isis Usborne with every good wish for success in the years ahead.

Statement from Senate President Donna Mercado Kim on the Passing of Former Hawaii Island Lawmaker Robert “Bob” Herkes

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim today issued the following remarks on the passing of former lawmaker Robert “Bob” Herkes, who passed this week at 83:

“I am saddened to learRep Herkes Christmas 2011n of the passing of former lawmaker Robert “Bob” Herkes and my thoughts and prayers are with Jo-Anna and their family. Our state lost a revered man who dedicated his life to public service, and we were lucky to have him serve as a state senator, state representative and Hawaii County Council member. Even after leaving the Legislature, Bob never stopped contributing to the well-being of our state. The Senate in April confirmed him as a member of the Hawaii Tourism Authority Board and he was scheduled to attend his first meeting just a few days ago. Until the end, he was committed to improving the lives of Hawaii’s people.

“Bob cared deeply about his home and its people. He fought tirelessly to strengthen our communities and create a better life for all. Many will remember him for effectively passing legislation helping homeowners during the mortgage foreclosure crisis, and spearheading efforts to address the impacts of VOG on health and safety, agriculture, the economy and tourism. Because of his work, Hawaii Island received a mobile medical van that acts as a roving clinic in under-served areas.

“He was a respected lawmaker, sharp businessman and compassionate mentor and friend. We will miss him dearly.

“On behalf of the Hawaii State Senate, we offer our deepest condolences to his wife Jo-Anna, sons Bob, Ken and Dough, and all family and friends at this difficult time.”

Mililani High School Valedictorian Receives Scholarship From National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures

A Mililani High School graduate is one of just eleven students from across the U.S. selected to receive a college scholarship award from the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures (NHCSL).

Isis Usborne, a valedictorian from the MHS Class of 2014, will use the $3,000 grant to help with tuition and expenses as she enrolls at UH Manoa for the fall semester. The John S. Martinez Closing the Achievement Gap Scholarship was created in memory of the late Connecticut State Representative and former NHCSL President John S. Martinez to recognize the values most important to him – leadership, innovation, compassion and public service.

Applications for the award are accepted from high school seniors of Hispanic ethnicity who attend schools in legislative districts represented by state lawmakers who are also of Hispanic descent. Mililani High School is located in Senate District 18, represented by Senator Michelle Kidani who is of Puerto Rican descent. The school also serves students and families in the adjacent District 22, represented by Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, also of Puerto Rican descent. Both Senators are active members of the National Hispanic Caucus.

“Mililani is a diverse community where we celebrate and share each other’s heritage,” Senator Kidani said. “I encourage Hispanic students in my district to apply for this prestigious award each year, and we are so pleased to congratulate Isis for her outstanding accomplishments that easily qualified her for the Martinez scholarship.”

Isis has displayed admirable leadership, academic excellence and a passionate commitment to community. She was a Valedictorian in her graduating class with a 4.089 GPA – achieved while successfully completing six Advanced Placement classes. She received multiple honors for her academic work, including awards at district and state science and engineering fairs, and as a member of the Mililani High School We the People constitutional studies team that travelled to Washington, D.C. for national competitive events.

In her community, Isis has been a legislative intern and participated in numerous service activities – including tutoring and mentoring fellow students, campus beautification programs and events to promote health and environmental awareness. “Students like Isis who are high achievers always have a terrific support team behind them,” Senator Kidani added. “We are grateful to her dedicated teachers and mentors at Mililani High School and to her family and friends who have been with her through the last four years.”

Lawmakers Hold Briefing on the State’s Application and Plan for Community Services Block Grant

The Hawaii State Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor and the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment will hold an informational briefing Friday to get an update on the State of Hawaii’s Application and Plan for Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) for fiscal years (FY) 2015 and 2016.

“The Community Services Block Grant provides federal funding for Hawaii to determine its goals and objectives and implement initiatives to address poverty issues,” said Senator Clayton Hee, chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor. “CSBG grant funding improves the quality of life and raises the welfare of our state’s residents.”

“We rely on this federal funding to enhance the livelihood of our state,” said Representative Mark Nakashima, chair of the House Committee on Labor and Public Employment. “When we address the root causes of poverty, we can begin to plan for improvements to lessen poverty’s effect.”

The State of Hawaii’s CSBG Application and Plan for FY 2015 and 2016 was released for public comment on June 9, 2014. Federal law requires the state to post its plan and hold public hearings on the matter.

CSBG is administered federally by the Office of Community Services within the Administration of Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services and by the State of Hawaii Department of Labor’s Office of Community Services at the local level. CSBG funding is used to support efforts to assist low-income families and individuals. Funding is available to all four county Community Action Agencies including Honolulu Community Action Program, Hawaii County Economic Opportunity Council, Maui Economic Opportunity, and Kauai Economic Opportunity.

The State CSBG Application and Plan for FY 2015 and 2016 is available online at: http://labor.hawaii.gov/ocs/files/2012/11/CSBG-State-Plan-2015-2016.pdf

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