Senators Break from Conference to Observe Good Friday

Happy Good Friday. Legislators are breaking from conference committee meetings today after a week of getting together to hash out differences between House and Senate versions of bills.

The first bill out of conference was SB2901 SD1 HD1, a bill that would bring the State into compliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations by deleting any existing statutes or provisions containing federal requirements that are currently addressed in Hawaii Administrative Rules. This would help ensure exact compliance and avoid the possibility of a contradiction between federal and state rules and statutes.


Senators and Representatives meet in conference to discuss differences in SB2901

Throughout next week, senators and representatives will continue to meet in conference meetings to settle difference between the two chambers bills. If legislators come to a consensus on a conference draft of the bill, it will be decked for final reading and voted upon in each chamber. If a bill survives that last vote by May 1st, the adjournment date of the regular legislative session, it will be delivered to the governor to sign into law.

Latest Episode of Maui Mana‘o is out

Maui senators J. Kalani English, Rosalyn Baker and Gilbert Keith-Agaran talk about the issues affecting Maui and how the State Senate is addressing those issues in the latest episode of Maui Mana‘o.

If you’ve been curious about airport and highway modernization on Maui, the status of naming the new high school in Kihei after the late U.S. Representative Patsy T. Mink, funding for Maui Memorial Medical Center, and issues facing Hawaiian Homelands, then watch Maui Mana‘o.

Statement from Senator J. Kalani English on the Inaugural Flight of Ohana by Hawaiian to Molokai

Senator J. Kalani English, District 7 – Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lanai‘i and Kaho‘olawe, today released the following statement on the inaugural flight of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian to Moloka‘i, the first of two islands it will return to the Hawaiian Airlines network. On March 18, twice daily service between Honolulu and Lana‘i will launch. Sen. English is chairman of the Committee on Transportation and International Affairs.

 

“This is a special day for Moloka‘i and its residents. The last time Hawaiian Airlines flew to Molokai was 10 years ago and we are excited to welcome them back. The ‘Ohana by Hawaiian operation will better serve our residents while creating more than 100 new jobs locally.

“I am humbled by Hawaiian Airlines’ invitation to take the inaugural flight, provide remarks and tour the aircraft. Hawaiian Airlines is establishing a network of safe and reliable routes that connect families and friends daily and we look forward to the launch of the Lana‘i flights.”

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Senator English’s Statement on Lana‘i Plane Crash

Senator J. Kalani English (District 7- Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe), Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs, today issued the following statement after learning of the fatal plane crash near Lana‘i Airport:

“It is with great sadness that I extend my most heartfelt condolences to the friends and families of those who passed in last night’s fatal plane crash on Lana‘i. I continue to keep the survivors who are currently under the care of Queen’s Medical Center in my thoughts and prayers.”

“We lost two officials from Maui County’s Department of Planning and the pilot of the charter plane, with three others injured. They were on their way back from a Lana‘i Planning Commission meeting that ended at 8:30 p.m. Their flight left around 9:05, about an hour after the last commercial flight leaving Lana‘i. The Maui Planning Department officials played an integral part in development of the county and will be remembered for their service to the community.”

“Maui County has endured great tragedy in just a few months. We are still grieving the loss of Loretta Fuddy, Hawai‘i’s State health director, to a plane crash off the shores of Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i.”

“As a unique and isolated county, small chartered planes are necessary for travel within the county. As such, air travel safety is an issue that is highly important to us. Maui Air had a previously unblemished record and I trust that a thorough investigation of the crash will occur. For those traveling by air to and from Lana‘i, I want to assure you that services are safe and will continue.”

“We are grateful to the first responders in the crash and for their continued commitment to protecting Hawai‘i and those who visit our state.”

“On behalf of the Hawai‘i State Senate, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives and will keep the survivors in our thoughts and prayers.”

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Senator J Kalani English Applauds Completion of Second Phase of Lahaina Bypass

Honolulu- Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs J. Kalani English (District 7- Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe) applauds the completion of the Lahaina Bypass, Phase 1B-1 project, the second of five phases of the bypass corridor.

Formally titled “Honoapiilani Highway Realignment, Phase 1B-a, Lahainaluna Road to Hokiokio Place,” the project involves constructing a two-lane highway within a right-of-way that will ultimately become a four-lane divided facility with sufficient capacity to accommodate future traffic growth.

The successful completion of the second phase of the Lahaina Bypass marks a significant milestone in the realignment of the Honoapiilani Highway,” said Senator J. Kalani English. “The people of Maui and Lahaina have waited nearly three decades for the completion of this project. By relieving congestion on the existing Honoapiilani Highway through Lahaina town this new segment of bypass will greatly impact the lives and needs of our local residents.”

Phase 1B-1 will complete a 1.7-mile segment of the Lahaina Bypass corridor, extending further south of Lahainaluna Road to allow motorists an alternate route between Keawe Street and Hokiokio Road.

Department of Transportation Updates Senate on HI and H2 Projects

(Department of Transportation briefs the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs regarding major projects on Interstates H-1 and H-2.)

Honolulu- The Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs held an informational briefing today to receive an update from the Department of Transportation (DOT) on major projects on Interstates H-1 and H-2.

During the briefing DOT officials informed Senators on the purpose, timelines, lane closures, cost and method of funding for highway projects currently being planned and executed. Senators were also briefed on how major roadway projects are planned, coordinated and implemented.

This informational briefing was a great opportunity for us to meet with the Department of Transportation and discuss the current status of projects in progress on H-I and H-2,” said Senator J Kalani English, Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs. “Now that we have a better understanding of where the organization is, the Senate can take the necessary steps to address the department’s future needs and shortfalls. The tax payers deserve for us to make prudent and precise decisions when it comes to the safety of our interstates.”

Projects discussed during today’s briefing included the implementation of an interagency incident management program, an advanced traveler information system to give motorist real-time traffic info (via phone, internet and signs), destination sign upgrades and replacements, interstate improvements and bridge replacements.

Senator English Applauds Governor’s Release of $21.8 Million for Airports and Highways

Honolulu- Governor Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $21.8 M in capital improvement projects (CIP) for state airports and highways.  Projects include allocation of funds for priority projects identified by members of the State Legislature.

Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs J. Kalani English issued this statement in response to the Governor’s release of funds:

“I am very pleased that Governor Abercrombie has released funds identified by the Legislature as key projects for enhancing the safety, capacity and usability of our airports and highways statewide,” said Senator English.  “The State of Hawaii’s transportation infrastructure is what connects us, bringing together our Ohana, our local businesses and our travel industry. These appropriations represent new construction jobs and much needed improvements to our roads and airports.”

One of the priority projects announced by the Governor included $ 395,000 for Statewide Bridge inspection and appraisal, in Fiscal Year 2013. These funds were appropriated for the planning for the bridge inspection and appraisal program to determine bridge needs and the prioritization of those needs.

“The recent bridge collapse in Washington demonstrates the importance of investing in the maintenance of our bridges,” said Senator English. “Residents of the State of Hawaii use our bridges every day to get from point A to point B. As Hawaii’s bridges age, it remains vital to invest in their infrastructure so that we can continue to ensure the safety of our traveling public.”

The Governor also announced that the Kahului Airport on Maui will be receiving $4,750,000 in CIP funding. This funding will include construction for repaving a portion of Runway 2-20 to comply with applicable FAA requirements.

“Construction and repaving of the Kahului Airport Runway 2-20 has been long-overdue,” said Senator English, who represents District 7 (Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe). “I’m extremely thankful that the Governor has approved much needed funding so that the airport can comply with FAA requirements.”

Other CIP funds announced by the Governor include funds for the Honolulu International Airport, Kapalua Airport, Kuhio Highway, Kekaulike Avenue, Castle Hills Access Road, Kalanianaole Highway Drainage Improvements and other important projects.

Statement by Senator Clayton Hee in Response to Governor’s Signing of Click it or Ticket Bill

Honolulu- On May 20, 2013, Governor Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill (SB) 4, relating to Motor Vehicles, into law.  This measure requires all front and back seat passengers to be restrained by a seat belt assembly or child passenger restraint while the motor vehicle is being operated on any public highway.

Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor, issued this statement in response to the enactment of SB 4:

The data regarding seat belt use is irrefutable,” said Senator Hee, who was the introducer of the bill. “Seventy-five percent of back seat passengers suffer serious injury of death when they are not properly buckled up.  People’s lives will be saved by this new law and, at the end of the day, that is really what counts!”

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, seat belt restraints increase the safety of all motor vehicle occupants by as much as forty-five percent.  By requiring all front seat and back seat occupants to buckle up, this bill seeks to protect the safety of Hawaii’s motor vehicle drivers and passengers.

Governor Signs Traffic Safety Measures

Honolulu- Today Governor Neil Abercrombie signed two traffic safety measures, Senate Bill (SB) 4 and House Bill (HB) 980, into law.

SB 4 requires all front and back seat passengers to be restrained by a seat belt assembly or child passenger restraint while the motor vehicle is being operated upon any public highway. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, seat belt restraints for all occupants increases the safety of all motor vehicle occupants by as much as forty-five percent. Through requiring all front seat and back seat occupants to buckle up, this measure seeks to protect the safety of Hawaii’s motor vehicle drivers and passengers.

“Seat belts save lives,” said Senator J. Kalani English, chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs. “The enactment of this measure reinforces what many of us already know, that the importance of seat belt use can’t be ignored. By taking a few moments to buckle up, we can each play a vital role in preventing an unnecessary tragedy.”

Distracted driving is a serious problem with growing national concern. Using cellular phones or other mobile electronic devices while driving creates preventable distractions that pose a risk of harm not just to the driver, but to others in the vehicle or on the road. HB 980 establishes a statewide law prohibiting the use of any mobile electronic device while driving.

“Studies show that mobile phone use while driving can have lethal effects,” said Senator English. “By providing consistent statewide requirements for the use of mobile electronic devices while driving, we are telling drivers that using a mobile device while driving is dangerous and unacceptable. I encourage Hawaii drivers to drive responsibly; the safety of everyone who uses our roads depends on it.”

Today’s bill signings kicked off Hawaii’s Click It or Ticket’ Mobilization enforcement campaign.

Statement by Senator J. Kalani English in Response to Governor’s Signing of the Move Over Bill

Honolulu- Today Governor Neil Abercrombie enacted House Bill (HB) 2030, Relating to the Statewide Traffic Code, as Act 318. Commonly referred to as the “Move Over” bill, this measure requires motorists to move over and slow down their vehicles when passing a stationary emergency vehicle on a highway.

Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs J. Kalani English issued this statement in response to the enactment of HB 2030:

Traffic accident fatalities involving officials responding to emergency situations are tragic and can be prevented with certain traffic safety precautions,” said Senator English. “The enactment of House Bill 2030 will help ensure the safety of our emergency respondents by providing greater clarity to Hawaii’s existing traffic laws.”

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