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Kupuna Caucus Receives Honor

The Hawaii State Legislature’s Kupuna Caucus was honored this morning for its years of outstanding service on behalf of Hawaii’s senior citizens and retirees. Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland was joined by her Co-Convener Representative Gregg Takayama in accepting the 2013 Distinguished Service Award at the Hawaii Alliance for Retired Americans and Kokua Council’s Seventh Annual Legislative Review. Representatives Marcus Oshiro, Bertrand Kobayashi and Cynthia Thielen along with members of the Caucus were also present.

This year the Hawaii State Legislature passed several priority measures from the Kupuna Caucus’ legislative package, including:  Senate Bill (SB) 102 (relating to the elderly), SB 106 (relating to aging), House Bill (HB) 120 (relating to health) and HB 200 (relating to the State Budget). These measures are currently being reviewed by the Governor.

SB 102, relating to the elderly: requires financial institutions to report instances of suspected financial abuse of an elder directly to the appropriate county police department and the Department of Human Services.

SB 106, relating to aging: establishes and funds a position for an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator. Appropriates funds for programs and services that support the State’s elderly population, including Kupuna Care and Health Aging Partnership. Establishes the Task Force on Mobility Management.

HB 120, relating to health: requires the Department of Health to post on its website reports of all inspections at state-licensed care facilities occurring on or after January 1, 2015. It also establishes a Working Group on Licensed Care Facilities.

HB 200, relating to the State Budget: appropriates positions and funds for the operating and capital improvements program budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. Effective July 1, 2013.

Funds for Kupuna Care, Aging Disability and Resource Center, Long Term Care Insurance Feasibility and Actuarial Analysis, the operations of the Senior Centers, Medicaid, Adult Protective Services and other elder services are included in this bill.

During the 2013 legislative session the Legislature also worked to fund several programs that help to address the care, health and continued education and advancement of Hawaii’s Kupuna. Below includes a list of appropriation highlights:

  • $4,200,000       for Kupuna Care for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 (HB200, CD1)
  • $3,600,000       for Kupuna Care for Fiscal Year 2014 (SB106, CD1)
  • $300,000          for the Healthy Aging Partnership for Fiscal Year 2014  (SB106, CD1)
  • $70,000            for an Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia Services Coordinator for Fiscal Year 2014 (SB106, CD1)
  • $175,000           for Catholic Charities Hawaii for the Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)
  • $50,000           for Moiliili Community Center for the Moiliili Senior Center for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)
  • $60,000          for the Waikiki Community Center for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)
  • $8,133,402     for operating costs for the Executive Office on Aging for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015 (HB200, CD1)
  • $380,000       for a Long-Term Care insurance feasibility and actuarial analysis for Fiscal Year 2014 (HB200, CD1)


The Kupuna Caucus was first convened in 2006 by Senator Chun Oakland and Representative Dennis Arakaki. The idea came out of the innovative 2005 Silver Legislature, attended by 150 seniors, who played the roles of legislators, lobbyists or observers. 20 bills were passed and delivered to the leadership of the House and Senate. All have since become law.

Local Artist’s Murals Bring Warmth to State Capitol Hallway

Beautiful murals depicting different aspects of the Hawaiian culture have brought warmth and life to the walls of a hallway leading to the Senate President’s Office on the 4th floor. The white walls were bare before the artworks were mounted. The original murals, located at the Honolulu International Airport, caught Senate President Donna Mercado Kim’s attention while she was awaiting her departure from Honolulu. With the help of the Department of Transportation and Department of Accounting and General Services, replicas of the paintings were made and brought to the State Capitol’s fourth floor.

This is a shining example of how Hawaii’s art can be displayed at facilities with empty walls throughout the state, a concept that the Hawaii State Foundation on the Culture and the Arts should adopt,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim.

The artist behind the murals is Kristie Fujiyama Kosmides, a fourth generation Japanese American and a Hilo, Hawaii-based painter. Kosmides’ work resides in numerous collections and has been exhibited nationally in galleries in California and Hawaii, as well as internationally in Japan.

Regular Session 2013 Opening Day

HONOLULU — Opening Day for the Twenty-Seventh Legislative session will be held on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 10 a.m. As the economy shows positive signs of recovery, this year’s Senate Opening Day ceremony will include remarks by presiding officers, local musicians and honored guests will be allowed to be seated on the chamber floor.

Local entertainers Brother Noland, Manoa DNA, the Gleemen Plus of Honolulu and Danny Kaleikini are scheduled to perform during session.

Gallery seating will be open to the public on a first come, first served basis.

Here is the Opening Day schedule:

Roll Call
Administration of Oath
Election of Officers
Senate President’s and Minority Leader’s Remarks

Opening Day will be broadcast live on Oahu, on Olelo channel 53 and tape delayed for the neighbor islands.  For neighbor island broadcast information, please call the following public access organizations:

  • Kauai:  Ho’ike Community Television (www.hoike.org), phone (808) 246-1556 (no web-streaming).
  • Maui:   Akaku:  Maui Community Television (www.akaku.org), phone (808) 871-5554 (web-streaming available).
  • Big Island: Na Leo O Hawaii (www.naleo.tv), phone (808) 935-8874 (Hilo) or (808) 329-9617 (Kailua-Kona) (web-streaming available).

19th Annual Children and Youth Day Honors Hawaii’s Keiki

HONOLULU – The 19th Annual Children and Youth Day will be held on Sunday, October 7, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will take place on the grounds of the Hawaii State Capitol and its surrounding areas, Iolani Palace grounds, Punchbowl Street, the King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, Kalanimoku Building grounds, and The Frank F. Fasi Civic Center.

Children, teens and families will have the chance to enjoy over three hundred interactive, educational and fun activities sponsored by community organizations. They will also be able to learn about the services and programs that are committed to keeping children and youth in their community excited about learning and exploring their talents and interests while keeping them healthy and safe. There will also be six stages of great entertainment and more than a dozen food vendors.

Other highlights include:
• BrushBots Workshop
• Guided tours of Iolani Palace, The Governor’s Office and King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center
• Dozens of rides, bouncers and games (Thor’s Mountain, Mad Twister, Bungee Trampoline, Bulls Soccer Stadium, HI Ultimate Frisbee, Wild One Obstacle Course, Crazy Mountain, Rush Soccer, Train Stations, Rope-A-Phobia, Mad Hatter Climbing Wall, USTA Tennis Courts, Yu-Gi-Oh and more!)
• Oversized displays and demonstrations (HFD’s Keiki House, Ancient World of Europe, Ancient Warriors of Asia, Samadha Aerial Acrobatics, Martial Arts, State Sheriffs, Honolulu Police Department’s K-9 Unit, Hawaii Civil Air Patrol Glider, Youth Football clinic, Tennis and Basketball clinics and more!)

For almost two decades, Children and Youth Day has become a wonderful and meaningful way for our community to honor Hawaii’s keiki and opio,” said Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, the event’s chair. “This event is a great opportunity for families to be together, enjoy each other’s company and learn together about the community resources available for the healthy development of our children and youth. This event creates wonderful memories for our children and families that will last a lifetime.” Senator Chun Oakland also Co-Chairs Children and Youth Month with Representative John Mizuno.

FREE PARKING will be available at all neighboring State and County public parking lots and Central Middle School.

Last year, about 50-thousand people attended the event, which has grown to become one of the largest community celebrations in the State since its inception. Children and Youth Day was established by law in 1993 as the first Sunday of every October. The event kicks off Children & Youth Month, which was established by law in 1997. For more information, please call Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland’s office at 586-6130, e-mail tmaae@thepaf.org, or go to www.HawaiiCYD.org

An Artist’s Journey: The Creating of Aquarius

This short film was showcased at the Hawaii State Capitol’s 4th annual Art at the Capitol event, which was held on March 2, 2012. The film documents the history behind the Aquarius mosaic and its creator, Tadashi Sato. Keiko Sato, Tadashi Sato’s sister, shares her memories of the renowned artist’s journey to creating Aquarius, which is located at the Hawaii State Capitol’s rotunda.

To view film click here.

The Creation of the Hawaii State Senate and House Chamber Tapestries

This short film was showcased at the Hawaii State Capitol’s 4th annual Art at the Capitol event, which was held March 2, 2012. The film documents the history behind the two giant wall tapestries hanging in the Senate and House Chambers. Ruthadell Anderson, creator of the Senate and House tapestries, takes viewers back in time to when she and her team spent hundreds of hours weaving the pieces of art.

To view film click here

National Jazz Appreciation Month

Honoka’a Jazz Band’s “Big City Tour”, April 19-22, includes shows at the State Capitol and Royal Hawaiian Center

Honolulu. In honor of National Jazz Appreciation Month, the Honoka’a Jazz Band from the Big Island has scheduled its annual “Big City Tour” of Oahu with several performances and appearances from April 19-22.

One of the young group’s first free performances will be at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda on Friday, April 20, 2012. After opening remarks from Representative Mark Nakashima and Senator Malama Solomon, the band will go on at 10 a.m.

On Sat., April 21, the 30-member band will perform at the Bishop Museum as part of the YMCA Healthy Kids Day.  Later that day, they will open the Twilight Jazz at Helumoa Concert in The Royal Grove at the Royal Hawaiian Center at 7 p.m. Joining the line-up will be The Kit Ebersbach Combo and Starr Kalahiki, performing at 8 p.m.

The Honoka’a Jazz Band was organized in 1988 by school musical director Gary Washburn. Since then, after almost 25 years of annual repertoire changes to accommodate the “personality” of the band as students graduate, the youth jazz band still remains the pride and joy of Honoka‘a High. In 2010, the music program at Honoka’a High School was selected by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) as one of 138 schools in the United States with an outstanding music program and commitment to music education. They are also the recipients of the prestigious 2011 Grammy Signature Schools Enterprise Award. Gary Washburn, the band director, recently received the 2011 Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction Award from the National Society of High School Scholars. In 2012, the band performed for the Edison Learning Convention in the Ilikai Hotel in Honolulu and will be featured in the June edition of the “Hana Hou” Magazine.

This year the band shows off a repertoire from a variety of music spanning from the 1940s to present including the music of Paul Simon, Michael Buble, Etta James, Ruth Brown, Brazil 66, Christina Aguilera, Maceo Parker, Aretha Franklin, as well as a special Cuban song “Mis Dos Pequenas”.

With all of the emphasis on math and science, it is crucial to always remember that it is music and the arts that provide us with inspiration,” said Rep. Nakashima, (District 1 – North Kohala, South Kohala, Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo).


“Music, drama and the arts provide our students with the opportunity to exercise their creativity, act on their inspiration, and imagine the possibilities,” he added. “Teachers like Mr. Washburn provide students with the venue to explore this realm and to contribute profoundly to our quality of life.”

I strongly encourage everyone to take time out of their busy schedules and listen to the music produced by these very talented youths,” said Senator Malama Solomon, (District 1 – Waimea, Hamakua, North Hilo, Rural South Hilo, Hilo). “Under the direction of their band director Gary Washburn, these students have demonstrated how music education has benefitted them to be successful in school and in life.”


State Celebration of National Jazz Appreciation Month

Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda
Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10a.m.
FREE and open to public
(808) 586-6680


Hawaii State Senate Celebrates Education

HONOLULU — Education will once again be the focus of an interactive week-long celebration at the State Capitol from March 12-16, 2012. Various educational stakeholders and organizations that make a difference in the lives of Hawaii’s students will be participating in the legislature’s 9th Annual Education Week. During House and Senate Floor Sessions, legislators will also be honoring various individuals and schools, such as Milken Award educators, district teachers of the year, principals of the year, and Hawaii Blue Ribbon Schools.

The event is being organized by the Hawaii State Senate Committee on Education. Focused on highlighting the success of our schools and our students, this year’s celebration will include programs and events that bring everyone, from our youngest of keiki to our most mature k?puna, to the State Capitol to educate and engage with policymakers.

Some highlights include:

  • University of Hawaii coaches and athletic department members meet and greet.
  • “Punt, Pass, Kick” competition
  • University of Hawaii System culinary students’ cooking demonstration and samples
  • Hawaii Public Charter Schools will be giving out frozen yogurt with 32 different toppings, which represents Hawaii’s 32 charter schools
  • High School students will engage in the legislative process by learning about it, then testifying on bills before several Senate Committees.
  • JROTC demonstrations by several high school teams
  •  “Ask Your Senator” project engages Hawaii State Senators take questions from students about a variety of topics, including civics, issues concerning them and their community, etc.   Through the use of social media, the Q’s & A’s, are exchanged.  They can be found on:  www.facebook.com/hawaiisenatemajority.


Below is a calendar of the events:


HE’E Coalition and Hawaii Education Matters Open House
Time:  9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Place:  State Capitol, Room 225

Friends of the Library Book Sale
Time:  9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Place:  State Capitol, Room 224

JROTC Demonstrations
Time:  10 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Place:  State Capitol Rotunda

Senate and House Floor Presentations:

2011 Librarians of the Year, 2011 Milken Family Foundation Educator Awards, 2011 Masayuki Tokioka Excellence Award, STEM and Creative Media Awards
Time:  11:30 a.m. (Senate) 12:00 p.m. (House)
Place:  Senate/House Chambers


University of Hawaii Systemwide Displays and Special Demonstrations by Culinary Arts and Meet and Greet with Athletic Coaches, “Punt, Pass, Kick” Competition
Time: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Place: Capitol Rotunda

Senate Floor Presentations:
Girl Scouts of Hawaii 95th Anniversary, UH Commission on Status of Women, UH Football Coach Norm Chow
Time:  Senate Session, 11: 30 a.m.
Place:  Senate Chambers


“32 Flavors of Hawaii’s Public Charter Schools”
(Charter schools to pass out frozen yogurt with 32 different toppings, representing 32 Hawaii Charter Schools)
Time:  9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Place:  Room 225

Senate Floor Presentation:

In memoriam of Dr. Shinichi Hamashige (Kahuku High and Intermediate School Alumni who established the Hamashige Endowment fund, which has helped 72 high school graduates pursue their dream of a college education, so far.)
Time:  Senate Session, 11: 30 a.m.
Place:  Senate Chambers


Early Learning Council Displays
Time:  9:30 a.m.  – 11:00 a.m.
Place:  Room 225

Lemonade Alley
(Lemonade Alley is national business literacy competition for students K-12 to gain street-smarts about business through a fun and engaging experience.  Students will be raising money for the Hawaii Food Bank during their presentation.)
Time:  9:30 a.m.  – 11:15 a.m.
Place:  Room 224

Castle High School Performing Arts
Time:  10:00 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Place:  State Capitol Rotunda

Senate and House Floor Presentations: 2012 Blue Ribbon Schools, 2011 National Distinguished Principals
Time:  11:30 a.m. (Senate) 12:00 p.m. (House)
Place:  Senate/House Chambers


Senate and House Floor Presentations: 2012 Hawaii Teachers of the Year
Time:  11:30 a.m. (Senate) 12:00 p.m. (House)
Place:  Senate/House Chambers

Youth Engagement Legislative Hearing Day with the Senate Committee on Education
Time:  1:15 p.m.
Place:  Room 225


First Electric Vehicle Charger Unveiled at State Capitol

On Wednesday, July 27, 2011, State officials unveiled the first electric vehicle charger at the State Capitol. The State Capitol charge station is part of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Electric Vehicle (EV) Ready Program initiative.

The charging station at the Capitol is the first of five charging stations planned for installation at State owned buildings in the downtown area. By making charging stations more available, the State program aims to make Hawaii’s transportation sector less dependent on petroleum.

“The launching of the electrical vehicle charger at the Capitol is an important step in our state continuing to be a leader in renewable energy. I got my all-electric Nissan Leaf in April and it’s awesome not having to fill up for gas. This is saving us about $250 each month in my commute from Kapolei. While I’ve got plenty of juice to get me to and from town every day, the charger will help alleviate some ‘range anxiety’ when I want to visit friends on the Windward side,” said Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment.

Owners of electric vehicles can use the charger at the Capitol for $2 an hour for a maximum of four hours. The Capitol station is located in the State Capitol underground parking garage, which is open during operating hours: Monday-Friday from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Saturdays from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.. It is closed on Sundays.

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