Senate’s Capitol Idol Raises Over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank

The Capitol Idol II: The Return of Capitol Idol, a government talent show, raised over $1,700 for the Hawaii Foodbank. In 2012, the event raised $1,400.

Members of the executive branch and legislature didn’t hold anything back to win the coveted individual and team perpetual trophies. However, Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Neil Abercrombie, and his backup dancers outshone everyone with “Last Dance.”

Sen. Mike Gabbard organized the fundraiser and comedian Champ Kaneshiro volunteered as emcee.

“We all had a lot of fun for a good cause as we approach a hectic time during the legislative session,” said Gabbard. “We surpassed what we brought in last year and it’s all thanks to our guests and the performers.”

Performers included:

Team Executive Branch: Linda Rosen, Director of the Dept. of Health; Keali‘i Lopez, Director of the Dept. of Commerce and Consumer Affairs; Maria Zielinksi, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Accounting and General Services; Audrey Hidano, Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation; Keone Kali, Chief Information Officer; Joshua Wisch, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Taxation; Jesse Souki, Deputy Director of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources; and Blake Oshiro, Deputy Chief of Staff

Team House: Reps. Lauren Cheap Matsumoto and Ken Ito

Team Senate: Sen. Russell Ruderman, backed by Sens. Rosalyn Baker, Will Espero, Mike Gabbard, Michelle Kidani and Suzanne Chun-Oakland;  Sen. Mike Gabbard; Sen. Malama Solomon with back-up singers Sen. Brickwood Galuteria and senate staff; and Da Kolohe Bruddahs, consisting of Sens. Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria and Russell Ruderman.


Kupuna Power Celebrates Seniors

Kupuna Power Flyer 2014As the “silver tsunami” approaches, it has become even more urgent to empower seniors through education, awareness and exercise. Senator Brickwood Galuteria is hosting the second Kupuna Power Day at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda. It’s a fun-filled event bringing together more than 30 organization providing vital information for the health, safety and well- being for Hawaii’ s Kupuna. The public, especially Kupuna, are invited to enjoy a program jam packed with entertainment and information on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 from 9 – 11:30 a.m.

The event celebrates Kupuna and seek to empower them with important information relating to everyday life. However, it’s not all serious business on Kupuna Power Day.  The fun-filled event features notable local entertainers taking the stage and seniors will be asked to lace up their sneakers and take part in healthy exercise, including Silver Sneakers Stretch. Entertainment will be provided by Danny Kaleikini, Marlene Sai and Tony Silva. The events are free to attend.

“This day is all about empowering the Kupuna with education, entertainment and exercise,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, organizer of the event.  “Our population is aging and we need to continue to provide our Kupuna with support so that they can live self-sufficiently. The silver tsunami is coming and we want to prepare all our residents for when that time comes.”

Here is the schedule of events:

9:00 a.m.          Welcome Kupuna Power – Sen. Brickwood Galuteria
PULE  -  Kahu David Kaupu
Flag Procession  -  McKinley High School Color Guard
Pledge of Allegiance – Wesley Lum, Dir., Exec. Office on Aging
Star Spangled Banner  -  Danny Kaleikini
Hawai’i Pono’i  -  Marlene Sai
Kupuna Power Day Proclamation – Gov. Neil Abercrombie

9:15 a.m.          What is Kupuna Power?  Knowing Your Resources:   Sen. B. Galuteria

9:20 a.m.          Silver Sneakers Stretch:  Merita Compton, Dir. Kokua Kalihi Valley Kupuna Program

9:25 a.m.          Medicaid/Medicare update:  Pamela Cunningham

9:35 a.m.          Danny Kaleikini .. entertainment w/Kit Ebersbach & Steve Jones

9:45 a.m.          Avoiding Identity Theft:  Scott Spallina – Deputy Prosecuting Atty

9:55 a.m.          Silver Sneakers Stretch:    Merita Compton

10:00 a.m.          Marlene Sai .. entertainment w/Kit Ebersbach & Steve Jones

10:10 a.m.          Long Term Insurance:    Pamela Cunningham

10:20 a.m.          SPECIAL GUEST:  DaBruddha’s/Tony Silva – “How you know if you one kupuna…age is just one numbah!”

10:30 a.m.          Silver Sneakers Stretch:  Merita Compton

10:35 a.m.          Kupuna Power Recap … Knowing Your Resources:  Sen. B. Galuteria

10:45 a.m.          “Hawaii Aloha” … sing & visit w/all vendors

11:30 a.m.           PAU!!

Vendors represented at the event are as follows:

  •  AARP
  • Aloha Care
  •  Alu Like Ke Ola Pono No Na Kupuna Project
  • Alzheimer’s Association
  • Attention Plus Home Health Care
  • Blue Jay Wireless
  • Catholic Charities Hawaii
  • City & County of Honolulu – Department of Transportation
  • DCCA -  Insurance
  • DCCA – Consumer
  • DCCA – Securities
  • DHS – Ho’opono For The Blind
  • DHS – Senior Companion Program
  • DHS Foster Grandparent Program
  • Elderly Affairs
  • Emeritus Club
  • Hawaiian Memorial Park & Mortuary
  • Hawaiian Tel
  • HECO
  • HGEA
  • Honolulu Community College Emeritus Club
  • HSTA
  • Ke Ola Mamo Kupuna Program
  • Kokua Kahili Valley
  • Lanakila Meals On Wheels
  • Lanakila Multi-Purpose Senior Center
  • Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
  •  Office of the Prosecuting Attorney – Elder Abuse
  • ‘Olelo
  • Palolo Chinese Home
  • Premier Benefit Consultants
  • Retired and Senior Volunteer Program
  • Sage Plus
  • Scott Gardner
  • Senior Medical Patrol
  • Territorial Savings Bank
  • Waikiki Health Center
  • Walgreens


Senate Judiciary Chair Announce Effort to Establish “No Fishing Zone” Around Ni’ihau Island

(Two owners of the Island of Ni‘ihau, Bruce and Leiana Robinson joined eight other island residents, DLNR Director William Aila, Deputy Director Esther Kiaaina and members from the Senate’s Hawaiian Caucus- Senators Clayton Hee, Michelle Kidani and Brickwood Galuteria at a press conference today, announcing efforts to resolve issues relating to the depletion of near shore fisheries on the Island of Ni‘ihau.)

Honolulu- Hawai‘i State Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee in a press conference today announced that the Hawaii State Legislature and the Department of Land Natural Resources (DLNR) intend to respond individually to the depletion of near shore fisheries on the Island of Ni‘ihau.

Ni‘ihau is a constant and living reminder of the interdependence of man and nature,” said Senator Hee. “There is no question that unless the government takes dramatic proactive steps to reserve the near shore fisheries for the island population, their survival going forward is in jeopardy.”

Unlike every other populated Hawaiian Island, Ni‘ihau is the only island that does not have any commercial stores where food can be purchased.  As such, the near shore reef fishery serves as their predominant source of food.

With the fisheries of Kaua‘i Island becoming more depleted as the population has grown, accompanied by a disregard for taking care of the near shore fisheries, more and more people have been going to Ni‘ihau at greater frequency taking food sources upon which the native population of Ni‘ihau is totally dependent.

To protect these valued resources and resolve ongoing issues caused by the external exploitation of Ni‘ihau, Senator Hee announced that the Senate, in consultation with the Hawaiian Affairs Committee of the House, intends to introduce legislation to establish a “no fishing zone” law for Ni‘ihau Island. In addition, DLNR is currently analyzing a series of administrative rules to strike a balance between the protection of Ni‘ihau residents and offshore opportunities.

This is a unique situation unlike anywhere else in Hawai‘i and this unique situation calls for unique legislation,” said Senator Hee. “The Hawaiian Caucus of the Senate intends to introduce legislation that will in essence create a no-take zone around the island.”

Hawaii State Senate Sends Governor Measure to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Honolulu- In an historic vote, the Hawaii State Senate today passed a measure on final reading  to legalize same-sex marriage in the State of Hawaii, accepting the House amendments to Senate Bill 1 (SB 1 HD 1), Relating to Equal Rights.  The measure will now go to the Governor’s desk for his approval.

Today’s passage of Senate Bill 1 marks a pivotal moment in our State’s history, a moment enshrined in equality and justice,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria, who introduced the bill. “Working together with our colleagues in the State House we have come to a compromise which provides a balance between religious freedom and equal rights.”

SB 1 HD1 recognizes marriages between individuals of the same gender. In addition, the measure extends to same-sex couples the same rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage to which opposite-sex couples are presently entitled.

I am pleased to have played a small part in this legislation which will bring equality, justice, and liberty for all regarding all Americans,” said Senator Clayton Hee, Chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

Incorporating public input and changes proposed by the House, the measure takes into account the concerns expressed by both the religious community and same-sex advocates. Specifically, language regarding religious exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization has been amended to closely model similar provisions currently in effect in the State of Connecticut.

Under SB 1 HD1, religious organizations and affiliated nonprofits would be exempt from having to provide goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of solemnization if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith. It also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith. In addition, the measure grants immunity from administrative, civil, and legal liability to religious organizations and officials for the failure or refusal to provide services, good, or facilities as described. Language has also been included that conforms the above exemptions to the existing civil union statute.

If signed into law by the Governor, same-sex marriages would begin December 2, 2013 in the State.

Hawaii State Senator Brickwood Galuteria Honored with Patrick Henry Award

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.

Hawaii State Senate Announces Transformation in Committee Lineup

Honolulu–The Hawaii State Senate today unveiled changes to its committee lineup and chairmanships. Two committees have been added, splitting the current Committee on Tourism and Hawaiians Affairs (THA) into two separate subject matter committees. The new committees are Tourism (TSM) and Hawaiian Affairs (HWN).

Senator Gilbert Kahele will chair TSM with Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran serving as vice-chair. Senator Maile Shimabukuro will chair HWN with Senator Clayton Hee serving as vice-chair.

In the beginning of the session we acted quickly to organize and kept changes to a minimum so that we could focus our attentions on the issues and prepare for the 2013 session,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “Now that session is over, we are afforded the capacity to listen to feedback and evaluate ourselves. In doing so, we have been able to make some positive changes.  These new assignments maximize the skills and interests of each of our members, while providing us with greater opportunity to focus on the individual subject areas.”

Currently, Senator Brickwood Galuteria has served as both the Majority Leader and Chair of THA. The new committee assignments will allow the newly appointed chairs to take on greater leadership roles while providing Galuteria with more flexibility to serve in his continued capacity as Majority Leader.

I am pleased with this new leadership lineup for the committees,” said Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria. “Understanding the role of a chair makes my Senate Majority Leadership assignment more effective. I look forward to working with both Chairs Kahele and Shimabukuro in their new capacities and most importantly to continuing to work with my Senate colleagues to advance the priorities of the Senate Majority.”

Additionally, the Senate announced changes to the vice-chairmanships of the Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection (CPN) and Water and Land (WTL). Under the new changes Senator Brian Taniguchi will serve as vice-chair of CPN and Galuteria as vice-chair of WTL.


The change in committee assignments will take effect July 1, 2013.

Audit of DHHL Homestead Service Division to be Discussed by Senate Committee

Honolulu- The Senate Committee on Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs will be holding an informational briefing to address concerns raised in the Audit of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ (DHHL) Homestead Services Division and other related departmental issues.   The Office of the Auditor (Auditor) released a report on the division (Report No. 13-02) in April of this year.

The briefing will be held on Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. in the State Capitol’s Conference Room 229.

Among the concerns found in the report is the commission’s failure to meet its fiduciary obligations, as well as the department’s lax management of lessee loans. The report states that in attempting to provide long-term tenancy to lease beneficiaries, the commission has thwarted collection or cancellation of chronically delinquent homestead leases, consequently tying up leases and staff resources to the detriment of the beneficiaries still waiting for leases. The report further found that, as of June 30, 2011, there were 9,922 homestead leases statewide and 26,170 applicants waiting for homestead leases. In FY2011, the department issued 177 new homestead leases. That year, the department collected $61.1 million in revenues and accrued $70 million in expenses.

I’m glad that the department has recognized many of the Auditor’s concerns and is seeking to aggressively look at and take action on the loan delinquency issues,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs. “This is not a time to point fingers, but is a time for self-reflection. My hope is that through this report and discussion that we will be able to take steps to resolve these issues and enhance the overall performance of the agency. Our beneficiaries and the public at large deserve greater transparency and accountability.”

The following officials from the DHHL and the Auditor will be present during the discussion:

  • Jobie Masagatani, Director, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
  • Darrell Young, Deputy Director, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
  • Commissioners, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
  • Jan K. Yamane, Acting State Auditor

DHHL administers about 200,000 acres of public lands set aside for agricultural and pastoral use to be leased to native Hawaiians, upon which they may live, farm, ranch, and engage in commercial or other activities. The department, headed by a nine member executive board, the Hawaiian Homes Commission, is responsible for the provision of financial and technical assistance to native Hawaiians (those with at least 50 percent Hawaiian blood), which enables them to enhance their economic self-sufficiency and promote community-based development. According to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, by doing this, the traditions, culture, and quality of life of native Hawaiians will be self-sustaining.

No public testimony will be accepted.

2013 Legislative Session: State Senate Invests In Hawaii’s Future

HONOLULU– The Hawaii State Legislature has adjourned on this final day of the 2013 Legislative Session.  With a spirit of cooperativeness, civility, and compromise exercised by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Finance, the Hawaii State Budget, House Bill (HB) 200, was passed more than one week before the final day of the 2013 session.  The budget’s early passage allowed the Senate to carefully assess the needs of Hawaii residents and the direction of Hawaii’s government through bills pending in conference committees.

By providing positions and $18,811,090 in fiscal year (FY) 2013-2014 and $14,358,110 in FY2014-2015 to modernize the state’s information technology (IT) infrastructure, the Senate sought to encourage long-term planning and efficiency efforts to fundamentally change the character and delivery of government services.  $130M was appropriated for informational systems in various departments to streamline tax collections, maintain and share critical health information, and to provide for a more secure communication network for the islands.  To help protect the state’s information and data, the Senate passed SB 1003, authorizing the Chief Information Officer to conduct security audits to detect and prevent IT intrusions and theft of the public’s personal information.  Through passage of HB 632, the Senate seeks to promote more open and transparent government as set out in the State of Hawaii Business and Information Technology/Information Resource Management Plan.

We are attempting to become more efficient in delivering government services through upgrading our antiquated IT infrastructure,” said Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. “Through refining a number of policies, government organizations also become more transparent and accountable to the public they serve.”

In addition to improving delivery of government services, the Legislature fulfilled its commitment to start prefunding unfunded liabilities pertaining to other post employment benefits.

The Legislature made appropriations to begin payment to these unfunded health benefit liabilities through HB 200 with $100M for FY14 and $117.4M for FY15.

Currently, the unfunded liabilities for the employer-union health benefits trust fund is $13.6 billion.  Paying down these liabilities will have a positive impact on the state’s bond rating and ensure that Hawaii’s future is not handicapped by increasingly burdensome debt.  Additionally, HB 546 will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to statutorily require payment of the annual required contribution for future public worker health benefits.

The Senate advanced the “Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative” by passing bills that align government regulations and policies with clean energy goals.  SB 19 exempts landlords who install renewable energy systems from the onerous requirements imposed on public utilities and serves as an incentive for landlords to adopt renewable energy systems.  SB 120 authorizes the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to establish a policy to incentivize Hawaii’s electric utility companies to make needed reforms that attain lower electricity rates. SB 1087 provides a lower cost financing alternative for Hawaii businesses and residents to utilize green infrastructure equipment and technology to reduce electricity consumption by leveraging clean energy technology. The innovative financing method created in this measure will provide a secure financing structure to allow the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT) to issue revenue bonds at very competitive rates and pass these savings on to the consumers in the form of lower borrowing costs.

In an effort to improve food self-reliance and agricultural resiliency, the Senate expanded livestock feed subsidies through SB 593, allocated funds to begin the process of producing clean, healthy and economic alternative fuel, fertilizer and feedstock, and to protect Hawaii’s unique environment ten inspector positions were funded for plant, pest and bio control personnel and programs

Seeking to encourage economic diversity, the Senate passed SB 1349 that reestablishes the income tax credit for qualified research activities to encourage job growth in research and development.  This measure contributes to the diversification of the State’s economy by creating and maintaining science, technology, engineering, and mathematics jobs in the State.  The Senate also passed HB 726 for the film, television, entertainment, digital media, and music production industry in Hawaii by increasing the amount of the Motion Picture, Digital Media, and Film Production income tax credit for qualified production costs incurred by a authorize production company.

The bills we passed lay the groundwork for diversifying our economy by making strategic investments in the agriculture and in the film industries.” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.   “We also looked for opportunities to diversify the job market for the people of Hawaii.”

The bills now go to the Governor for consideration.

For more information on the bills:

Senate Spotlight: Featuring Senator Brickwood Galuteria

Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria (Senate District 12- Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka’ako, McCully, Mo’ili’ili) discusses the Senate Majority’s overarching themes and priorities for the Twenty-Seventh Legislative biennium, which include: Food and Energy Resiliency; Supporting People, Strengthening Communities; and Government Efficiency and Accountability.  He also describes this year’s Senate Majority theme, No Na Mamo, which means for all generations.

To view video:

Lawmakers to Discuss Bus Routes and Urban CIP Updates at Town Hall Meeting

Honolulu- Senators Suzanne Chun Oakland and Brickwood Galuteria, along with Representatives Karl Rhoads and Scott Saiki and Councilmember Carol Fukunaga, will sponsor a community meeting on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the State Capitol Auditorium. Lawmakers have invited guest speakers from the State Department of Transportation, State Department of Accounting and General Services, State Department of Hawaii Housing Finance Development Corporation, State Department of Hawaii Community Development Authority, and City and County Department Transportation Services.

I highly encourage everyone to attend this meeting and learn about the upcoming projects that will impact them,” said Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland, who represents Senate District 13, encompassing Liliha, Palama, Iwilei, Kalihi, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Lower Tantalus and Downtown. “This meeting provides the public with the chance to hear from and talk story with their government officials.”

During the meeting, we will be discussing key issues, including upcoming improvements for Downtown, Chinatown, and Kaka’ako/Iwilei, as well as the City’s plans to restore bus routes and update water and sewer billings,” said Senator Brickwood Galuteria, who represents Senate District 12, encompassing Waikiki, Ala Moana, Kaka‘ako, McCully, Mo‘ili‘ili. “I look forward to seeing everyone at Tuesday’s town meeting.”

The general public will have the chance to ask questions about legislative issues and the topics being discussed.

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