Governor Neil Abercrombie, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, and Representative Mele Carroll (on behalf of Speaker Joseph Souki) today announced the launch of a new effort to increase public safety and hold juvenile offenders accountable for their actions, while reducing costs to Hawaii taxpayers. A new bipartisan, inter-branch working group will analyze the state’s juvenile justice system and develop data-driven policy recommendations for the 2014 Legislature.
In response to today’s launch, SenatePresident Donna Mercado Kim offered the following remarks:
I want to thank the members of the Hawaii Juvenile Justice Working Group for taking on this task.
I look forward to working with the Governor, with Speaker Souki and the members of the Legislature in passing legislation during the upcoming session so that we will be able to create a better juvenile justice system.
It costs $190,000 per year for a bed to put a youth into our correction facility and that is unacceptable. $190,000, that’s more than the cost of a four year education at the University of Hawaii or K through tenth grade at most of our private schools here in Hawaii.
And despite spending this huge amount, more than half of the youth that we put in those beds return to the system. We need a system that will hold our juvenile offenders accountable, protects public safety and controls the costs.”
Honolulu- Hawaii State Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria was recently selected as a recipient of the Patrick Henry Award from the National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and the Hawaii National Guard Association for his significant contributions to the Hawaii National Guard.
Our military service members and their families embody the spirit of selfless service, making incredible sacrifices to protect our freedom,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, who represents Senate District 12, encompassing Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kakaako, McCully, Moiliili. “I am deeply touched and humbled to have been selected for this prestigious award. I will continue to do my best to work with the Hawaii National Guard and others to ensure that Hawaii’s servicemen and women receive the support they deserve.”
The Patrick Henry Award, the civilian counterpart to the NGAUS Distinguished Service Metal, was created in 1989 and recognizes local officials and civic leaders, who, in a position of great responsibility, distinguish themselves with outstanding and exceptional service to the Armed Forces of the United States, the National Guard or NGAUS.
This award recognizes Senator Galuteria for his unequaled political support to the Department of Defense of the State of Hawaii, the Hawaii National Guard and the Military in Hawaii,” said Ray Jardine, who is the president and CEO of Native Hawaiian Veterans LLC and recommended Galuteria for the award. “His hard work and dedication in our State Legislature has had a direct and positive impact on the quality of life of our service members, creating a legacy that will be felt for generations to come.”
Senator Galuteria has been an unwavering champion for Hawaii’s military service members and their families,” said Major General Darryl D.M. Wong. “His exceptional leadership and work at the Legislature has demonstrated his passion and advocacy for the servicemen and women that serve this state and our nation.”
Galuteria is serving his second term as a Hawaii State Senator and is the Majority Leader of the Senate. During his tenure at the State Senate Galuteria has served as chair of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs and Committee on Hawaiian Affairs and Tourism, and as a member on various committees. He currently sits on the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs.
An award ceremony will be held in September 2013 as part of the 135th NGAUS General Conference and Exhibition in Hawaii.
Honolulu- Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed into law a measure to promote gun safety and enhance registration requirements for firearms brought into Hawaii.
Senate Bill 69, relating to firearms, closes a loophole in Hawaii’s firearms law by requiring individuals who bring into Hawaii firearms produced outside of the State to undergo a background check.
With the recent shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Newton, Connecticut, gun violence has been thrust into the forefront of many discussions across the country, including here in Hawaii,” said Senator Will Espero, who introduced the measure and chairs the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. “This measure promotes gun safety by strengthening Hawaii’s firearm registration requirements and ensuring that individuals bringing firearms into our State are receiving proper background checks.”
Under Hawaii’s previous law, a person arriving in the State with a firearm was required to register the firearm, but no permit process or background check was required. This created a loophole which allowed individuals who might have been prohibited from acquiring a firearm in Hawaii the ability to acquire a firearm outside of this State, where a permit process or extensive background check may not be required, then possess and be considered a registered firearm owners after registering with the county police department.
SB 69, requires county police departments under certain conditions to fingerprint, photograph and perform background checks on individuals who wish to register a firearm that was procured out-of-state. The measure also authorizes the police departments to assess a fee for conducting a fingerprint check and specifies the amount of the fee. Additionally, it extends the time period for registering a firearm procured out-of-state for consistency with the time period for registering firearms obtained in or imported into the State.
(Senator Will Espero joins the Governor for the signing of Senate Bill 680, relating to homeland security.)
Honolulu- Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law today a measure aimed at strengthening homeland security in the State of Hawaii. Senate Bill 680 enacts a homeland security law to establish a State Homeland Security Office within the Department of Defense and authorize the establishment of county organizations for homeland security.
“Hawaii’s geographic location makes us vulnerable to homeland security threats,” said Senator Will Espero, who introduced the bill and chairs the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. “By establishing a Homeland Security Office within the State, this measure demonstrates Hawaii’s commitment to ensure the continued safety of our citizens and visitors. The recent incident in Boston shows the need for local jurisdictions to be very attentive and take the initiative on security issues. ”
“Currently, the main focus of the State Department of Defense is mostly civil defense or emergency preparedness and the National Guard,” Espero explained. “The new office will complement the Federal Department of Homeland Security, providing a comprehensive program to help protect Hawaii’s residents, infrastructure and government from terrorism and other attacks.”
Under the law, the adjutant general will serve as the director of the State Homeland Security Office. The office is tasked to prepare comprehensive plans and programs for homeland security and homeland defense, conduct studies and surveys of the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure and other tasks.
Honolulu – A measure that would close the loophole in Hawaii’s gun law is on its way to the Governor’s desk for consideration. The measure, Senate Bill 69, was passed out of the Senate and House today. If it becomes law, county police departments are required to fingerprint, photograph and perform background checks on a person arriving in Hawaii with a firearm purchased outside of the state.
This measure tightens up our current gun law and it has nothing to do with denying someone their second amendment rights, it has to do with public safety,” said Senator Will Espero, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. He also is the primary introducer of the bill.
Hawaii has one of the strictest gun laws in the nation. This measure was supported by Hawaii Rifle Association.
Another measure introduced by Senator Espero and receiving approval from both chambers is Senate Bill 680, which establishes a state Homeland Security Office within the state Department of Defense.
Hawaii’s geographic location makes us vulnerable to homeland security threats. This new office would complement the federal Department of Homeland Security and show the states commitment to terroristic and other threats to our state. Currently, the main focus of the state Department of Defense is mostly civil defense or emergency preparedness and the National Guard,” explained Espero.
If the measure becomes law, the adjutant general will serve as the director of the State Homeland Security Office. The office is tasked to prepare comprehensive plans and programs for homeland security and homeland defense, make studies and surveys of the vulnerabilities of critical infrastructure, and other tasks.
Honolulu – In wake of recent incidents relating to the Department of Public Safety, the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs is holding an informational briefing on Thursday,April 4, 2013, at 2:30 p.m. in the State Capitol’s Conference Room 224.
The informational briefing will discuss the following issues and incidents:
Number of escapes from Public Safety Department facilities the last 5 years
Recruitment and Training of Public Safety Department staff
February 20, 2013 escape of Teddy Munet
Death of Cyrl Chung at Oahu Community Correctional Center
Dept. of Public Safety Director Ted Sakai and Dept. of Human Resources Development Director Barbara Kreig have been invited to attend.
“The recent incidents under the Department of Public Safety’s watch have raised many questions and concerns regarding the community’s safety as well as the safety of its employees and inmates,” said Sen. Will Espero, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs. “We hope to have good discussion about the issues that’ll hopefully lead to some resolutions.”
The briefing will be televised live on cable channel 55.
Honolulu – The Hawaii State Senate will be presenting the United States Navy with a Certificate of Recognition for its Hawaiian cultural stewardship and its renewable energy initiatives on Tuesday, March 12, during its Session.
Senator Maile Shimabukuro is co-sponsoring the certificate with Senator Will Espero, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam has partnered with other organizations to perform important projects that help preserve our culture, including maintaining the Halealoha Haleamau Burial Platform and replacing invasive Pickleweed with native Hawaiian plant species at Ahua Reef,” said Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, who represents District 21, encompassing the areas of Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Ko ‘Olina, Nanakuli, Ma‘ili, Wai‘anae, Makaha, and Makua. “These projects mean a lot to our community and we certainly appreciate the Navy pitching in to help.”
The Navy have also been hosting Makahiki events co-sponsoring with the O`ahu Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs for the past ten years.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam further promotes environmental stewardship by utilizing photovoltaic arrays to lower energy costs in support of U.S. Navy and Department of Defense initiatives, operates a fuel oil reclamation facility to reduce disposal costs and dependence on foreign oil, and was recently recognized as best in the Navy for energy and water efficiency.
Meanwhile, the Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kaua`i and its partnership with Ke Kula Ni`ihau O Kekaha sustains the educational display of habitat types that existed on the Mana Plain prior to western contact, and supports educational programs that include remotely piloted water craft and model rockets developed by Kaua`i students. The Missile Range also manages its light sources to reduce potential harm on the Newell’s Shearwater and Hawaiian Petrel. This effort protects the endangered birds and reduces energy consumption. It also continues its partnership with numerous agencies and volunteers to enhance the survival of Laysan Albatross populations located at the facility.
Senator Will Espero, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs talks about today’s joint informational briefing with the House Committee on Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts. Today’s briefing discussed the economic impact of the Armed Forces in Hawaii and the budgetary concerns impacted by the federal fiscal cliff.
Honolulu –The Hawaii State Senate honored the Tuskegee Airmen during its floor session today.
The Tuskagee Airmen are members of the 332d Fighter Group and 477th Bombardment Group that flew missions from Sicily to Normandy during World War II. The Tuskegee Airmen are also the only African American pilots who served in combat.
Hawaii residents Romaine Goldsborough and Philip Baham, along with Alexander Jefferson of Michigan, were presented a Certificate of Recognition from the Senate. Romaine Goldsborough will be represented by his wife at the presentation. Although unable to attend the presentation, Governor Neil Abercrombie presented the veterans with a proclamation, declaring today “Tuskegee Airmen Day.”
It was such an honor to meet these veterans who faced so much adversity, yet still had the strength to fight in the war. It was important to acknowledge and share their story and the contributions they made to our American history,” said Senator Will Espero, chair of the Senate Committee Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs.
While facing much adversity and limited opportunities, African Americans were barred from flying for the U.S. military prior to 1940. These barriers neared an end when civil rights groups and the press exerted enough pressure for an all African American pursuit squadron formed in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1941.
The Tuskegee Airmen overcame segregation and racial prejudice and became one of the most highly respected fighter groups of World War II. Their awards and decorations include three Distinguished Unit Citations, 14 Bronze Stars, and eight Purple Hearts. These achievements and commendations paved the way for full integration of African Americans in the U.S. military.
Honolulu – Senate Bill 1168 was passed through its final committee and will go before the full Senate for consideration next week. If passed, the bill will go to the House for consideration.
The bill clarifies the State Tort Liability Act, stating that no public entity or public employee will be held liable to any person for injury or damage sustained on government land while mountain climbing, rock climbing, rappelling and bouldering.
The bill received an overwhelming amount of support, which we took into consideration while hearing the measure,” said Senator Malama Solomon, chair of the Senate Committee on Water and Land. “This bill will release the State from being responsible for anyone’s injuries while participating in climbing activities on state land.”
The Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Attorney General, Access Fund, and Change.org. supported the measure, while the Hawaii Association for Justice and numerous individuals opposed the bill.
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