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Art at the Capitol 2014 Concludes

Last Friday was the 6th annual Art at the Capitol, where lawmakers welcomed the public to tour their offices to view the publicly held artwork there.

This year’s theme was Illuminating the Legislative Process for the featured complementary chandeliers hanging in the Senate and House chambers at the Hawaii State Capitol.

The “Sun” and “Moon” by kinetic artist, Otto Piene, hang in the House and Senate chambers of the Hawaii State Legislature at the State Capitol

The kinetic light sculptures were commissioned by the State of Hawaii and installed in the koa-lined chambers of the House and Senate in 1971. The House Sun is a gold-plated sphere with 132 smaller golden orbs while the Senate Moon is a silver ball of 630 chambered nautilus shells. The featured artist, Otto Piene was unable to attend the event, but was interviewed speaking about the two complementary sculptures.

Art at the Capitol began in 2008 as Senator Brian Taniguchi’s initiative to welcome the public to view the variety of state-owned artwork displayed not just in the open areas of the State Capitol, but the legislative offices as well.  More than 900 pieces of artwork in the collection of the Hawaii State Foundation on Arts and Culture’s Art in Public Places Program are displayed at the State Capitol.

Two string quartets in the Hawaii Youth Symphony Orchestra played music for guests as they enjoyed the artwork in various legislators’ offices.

Many of the artwork in the Art in Public Places collection are done by artists local to the area. Some were on hand to talk about the works displayed in various offices.

Senator Ige with artist Steve Martin, who created the stoneware vessel displayed in his office.

Some senators provided additional entertainment and refreshment for guests.

Senator Gabbard shows off his Jean Charlot painting and offers his wife’s homemade toffee treats to constituents and guests.

Senator Jill Tokuda entertains guests with music from a harpist and flutist in her office for Art at the Capitol

Many legislators personally welcomed visitors to their offices.

Senator Espero greets guests to his office

Senator Kidani describes painting above her workstation a calming window

Senator Nishihara poses with guests in his office

Senators’ staff were also on hand to discuss the artwork in the offices.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim’s staff members rest under a wall of photographs.

Many people brought their families to the First Friday because appreciation of art has no age limits.

Guests in show off their 2014 Art at the Capitol packet in Senator Green’s office.

Senator Kahele and Senate Sergeant of Arms, Ben Villaflor taking a break to listen to the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra quartet

The evening was a fun and successful one and we hope that you will join us next year at Art at the Capitol.

Hawaii State Senators Go Red For Women

Hawaii State senators wore red today in support of National Wear Red Day, a movement to raise awareness for the battle against heart disease in women.

Heart disease is the number one killer of women and is more prevalent in women than men. Now in its 10th year, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign has saved lives by raising awareness of this serious issue.

From Left: Hawaii State Senators Kahele, Nishihara, Tokuda, Thielen, Solomon, Kim, Baker, Keith-Agaran, Shimabukuro, Chun Oakland

Senator Rosalyn Baker made the following announcement today on the Senate floor today.

“I just wanted to call to everyone’s attention: Some of us have red on for a reason. This is Go Red for Women Day, an acknowledgement that heart disease is one of the number one causes of deaths of women, and heart attacks manifest themselves very differently in women than they do in men. So, I would encourage all of the women here to know what the warning signs are and to watch out for your diet, and for all of our male colleagues who have women in their lives in whatever forms – sisters, daughters, moms, spouses – that you encourage them to know the warning signs and take care of their diet. Your health is a great concern to all of us, and happy Go Red for Women Day, and aloha.”

Governor Signs Measures to Support Agriculture

(Senators Clarence Nishihara, Ronald Kouchi, and Gilbert Kahele join their House colleagues and Governor Neil Abercrombie for the signing of several agriculture bills.)

Honolulu- Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed into law several measures relating to agriculture, helping to develop a strong foundation to enhance the State’s food and agricultural self-sufficiency.  Senator Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, released the following statements regarding the enactment of Senate Bill (SB) 993, SB 586, House Bill (HB) 1263 and HB 353.

SB 993, relating to agricultural loans, expands the Department of Agriculture’s agricultural loan program by adding farm innovation loan programs and expanding the definition of a new farmer.

“One of the major concerns regarding sustainability of agriculture in Hawaii is a lack of agricultural entrepreneurs,” said Nishihara. “This measure helps provide Hawaii’s emerging farmers with the capital they need to start their farming operations and be innovative in testing new crops or techniques.” 

SB 586, relating to agriculture, provides, under certain circumstances, an exemption from building code and permit requirements for nonresidential buildings or structures, including indigenous Hawaiian hale, on commercial farms and ranches located outside the urban district.

“These agricultural exemptions enacted in this measure support agricultural development and expansion by significantly easing the financial and administrative burdens that we have placed on our farmers and ranchers,” said Nishihara. 

HB 1263, relating to irrigation, appropriates $75,000 for the East Kauai irrigation system and $45,000 for the Peekauai Ditch irrigation system, also known as the Menehune Ditch.

“Reliable irrigation systems are critical to Hawaii’s agricultural industry,” said Nishihara. “These irrigation system investments will help ensure that Hawaii’s agricultural crops have the opportunity to continue to flourish.”

HB 353, relating to agriculture, appropriates $250,000 in the 2013-2015 fiscal biennium for the Department of Agriculture to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of coffee berry borer infestations.  The measure also appropriates $300,000 during the 2013-2014 fiscal year for the Department of Agriculture to fund efforts to control and mitigate the damage from coffee berry borer infestation.

“The coffee berry borer is an invasive species that has caused considerable damage to Hawaii’s coffee industry,” said Nishihara. “The enactment of this measure supports the State’s efforts in controlling the damage from the infestation and ensuring the survival of our coffee farms. “

Governor Signs Measure to Benefit Hawaii’s Honeybee Industry

(Senators Clarence Nishihara and Roz Baker join Governor Neil Abercrombie for the signing of Senate Bill 482 into law.)

Honolulu- Today Governor Neil Abercrombie enacted Senate Bill (SB) 482, relating to agriculture, into law. This measure helps to ensure the continued viability of honeybee stocks by encouraging beekeeping operations of all sizes throughout the State. Following the signing of SB 482 the Governor also proclaimed June 17 through 23 as “Hawaii Pollinator Week.”

Hawaii’s beekeeper operations play a critical role in the vitality of our honeybees,” said Senator Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. “The enactment of this measure seeks to promote the honeybee industry by leveling the hurdles currently required for beekeepers to operate in the State.”

Honeybees, as a primary pollinator of food crops, have a significant impact on agriculture in Hawaii.  Hawaii’s annual Farm Gate Sales from bee-pollinated crops is valued at $212,800,000. Unfortunately, vital honeybee populations are declining at a rapid rate due to the arrival of the varroa mites, nosema, and small hive beetles.

Small and large beekeeper operations are responsible for millions of healthy, pollinating bees throughout the State. Small beekeepers, however, have experienced significant barriers to beekeeping due to administrative and bureaucratic requirements.

It’s important that we continue to take the appropriate steps to curb the decline of Hawaii’s honeybee population,” said Senator Roz Baker, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection. “This law improves Hawaii’s current beekeeping requirements, helping to sustain small beekeeping operations and ensuring an adequate supply of honeybees throughout the State.”

SB 482 clarifies the maximum number of gallons of honey that can be sold by a certified honey house or food processing establishment without obtaining a permit from the Department of Health (DOH). The measure also exempts from the permit requirement sales of honey directly to retail stores that, in turn, sell the honey directly to consumers. Further, the bill requires honey producers to include certain wording on labels of each container of honey, take a food safety class and make records available to DOH.

Hawaii State Senate Unveils its Leadership and Committee Chairs

HONOLULU — Maui State Senator Shan S. Tsutsui (Sen. District 5) has once again been elected as the President of the Senate and will preside during the 27th Hawaii State Legislature, which will convene on January 16, 2013.  Senator Donna Mercado Kim (Sen. District 14) will also continue to serve as Senate Vice President and Chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism and Government Operations and Special Committee on Accountability.  Senator David Ige (Sen. District 16) will continue as Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, with Senator Michelle Kidani (Sen. District 18) serving as his Vice Chair.

The Senate acted quickly to organize after the November 6, 2012, General Election, with a primary goal of promoting an environment of cooperation and shared leadership and authority.  While much of leadership and committee chairmanships remained unchanged from the 26th Legislature, additional standing committees were established to provide greater scrutiny over important subject matter areas, as well as to provide a greater number of Senators the experience and authority to preside as committee chairs and vice chairs.

The Senate would like to buck the trend across the country of faction-based and partisan politics, which has too often delayed or stalled progress on important initiatives.  By sharing the power amongst more Senators, we hope to foster a more cooperative institution that can focus on and work towards the resolution of our most pressing issues,” said Senate President Tsutsui.

We are excited to have reached agreement so quickly.  This will allow us to focus our attention on the issues and begin preparations for the 2013 session,” said Senator Ige.

A complete listing of Senate Leadership and Committee Chairmanships is as follows:

President Shan S. Tsutsui
Vice President Donna Mercado Kim
Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria
Ways and Means, Chair David Ige
Ways and Means, Vice Chair Michelle Kidani
Read More»

Governor Signs Measure to Prevent the Spread of Axis Deer

(Senator Gilbert Kahele and Senator Clarence Nishihara join Governor Abercrombie for the signing of Senate Bill 3001 into law.)

Honolulu- Today Governor Neil Abercrombie enacted Senate Bill (SB) 3001, Relating to Wildlife, into law. This measure prohibits the intentional possession and interisland transportation or release of wild or feral deer.

The introduction of non-native species to the State poses a negative effect on Hawai‘i’s environment and indigenous species in a variety of ways.  Specifically, the Axis Deer has caused great damage to native habitats and agricultural crops on Maui and are a danger to vehicular traffic on roadways. SB 3001 aims to provide a deterrent to the purposeful spread of wild or feral deer within the State and establishes penalties for the intentional possession or interisland transportation or release of wild or feral deer.

It is imperative that Hawai‘i’s environment and local industry be protected from the devastating effects that non-native species can pose to the health of our local economy and ecosystem, ” said Senator Gilbert Kahele (District 2- Ka‘u, Puna, Hilo), who introduced the measure. “This measure establishes the regulations needed to prevent the unwanted spread of Axis Deer so that our environment and businesses can continue to grow and prosper.”

We commend Senator Kahele, the state legislature and the Governor for passing SB3001 to prevent the cruel and irresponsible abandonment of deer across Hawaii. Such illegal introductions cause unnecessary animal suffering and harm to the environment” said Inga Gibson, Hawaii director for The Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, who worked in support of this bill, are offering a reward of up to $2500 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the illegal transport, release or abandonment of deer on the Big Island. The DLNR- Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement (DOCARE) is asking anyone with information on this illegal activity to please contact their toll-free reward tipline at 1-855-DLNR-TIP (1-855-356-7847).

If anyone sights a  deer on Hawai‘i Island, please call the Big Island Invasive Species Council Deer Coordinator at (808)443-4036.

To view video click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_pm8PGgxdY.

Governor Enacts Measures to Support Local Farms

(Photo Courtesy: Office of the Governor)

Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture Clarence Nishihara and committee member Senator Ronald Kouchi joined Governor Neil Abercrombie today as he signed Senate Bill 2375 and Senate Bill 2646 into law. Together, these measures aim to benefit local farmers who want to sell their products and/or establish agricultural-based commercial operations.

Senate Bill 2375 defines agricultural- based commercial operations and authorizes agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts. Senate Bill 2646 intends to encourage and support diversified agriculture and agricultural self-sufficiency in the State by exempting certain nonresidential agricultural buildings that are on commercial farms from county building permit requirements.

For more information and to view other measures enacted by the Governor go to: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/report.aspx?type=acts.

Senator Gilbert Kahele Recognizes Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong

((L-R) Sen. Gilbert Kahele, UH Hilo Professor of Entomology Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi, UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney, Chef Alan Wong and Senator Clarence Nishihara.)

HONOLULU—Senator Gilbert Kahele honored key individuals involved in the Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong Program at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo with a Certificate of Recognition today.  Those individuals are renowned Chef Alan Wong, University of Hawai`i at Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney and University of Hawai`i at Hilo Professor of Entomology Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi.

Last year, Chef Alan Wong teamed up with UH Hilo to create the “Adopt-a-Beehive with Alan Wong Program” in order to bring awareness of the honey bees’ critical decline in population.  Now offered for a second year, the successful innovative program supports the education of student beekeepers, promotes research and development of healthy beehive practices in Hawai’i, and educates the public about the vital role that honey bees play in sustaining agriculture.

I was very impressed with this innovative idea that partners Chef Alan Wong and UH Hilo conceived in educating their students and the community on the vital role that honey bees play in sustaining agriculture in Hawai‘i,” said Senator Kahele, who represents District 2, encompassing Ka‘u, Puna, Hilo.

Senator Kahele, vice chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, co-adopted a beehive with Senator Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

There are 25 bee hives at the UH Hilo apiary located on the 110 acre Panaewa farm that are used for the hands-on beekeeping laboratories. The hives are assigned to students who learn manipulation skills and then send public “adopters” monthly updates on the status of their hives.

According to the University of Hawai`i, honey bees across Hawai`i have helped sustain agriculture for over 150 years.  But, bee colonies began collapsing in 2007 due to the invasion of the varroa mite.

UH Hilo Chancellor Donald Straney has been a strong supporter of the program since its inception.  He believes UH Hilo has the potential to become a global model in promoting research and educating the public about the vital role honey bees play in sustaining agriculture.

UH Hilo Professor of Entomology Dr. Lorna Tsutsumi has taught students the importance of sustainability for more than 25 years.  She has said honey bees are responsible for the pollination of many important agricultural crops and their health and well-being is especially important as we strive to lessen our dependency on food imports.

The Senate Committees on Agriculture and Education passed House Bill 2100, relating to bees this past Monday, March 19, 2012.  The bill would appropriate funds to the University of Hawai`i for statewide bee hive research.  The bill is now with the Senate Committee on Ways and Means for consideration.

Hawai‘i: The State of Clean Energy

HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i Energy Policy Forum and local TV station Hawaii News Now are partnering to produce and broadcast “Hawai‘i: The State of Clean Energy.” The six-show series aims to inform and engage the public on energy issues, challenges and actions to advance Hawaii’s clean energy future.

Hawaii: The State of Clean Energy focuses on key energy issues including: 1) Hawaii’s Clean Energy Future, 2) Clean Transportation, 3) Clean Jobs, 4) Energy Efficiency, 5) Advances in Hawai’i’s Energy Technology, and 6) Food and Fuel. The first show aired in February.

“The series explore the development of Hawaii’s clean energy and its future, said Senator Mike Gabbard, who appeared on an earlier episode. He is the chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment.

“I recommend everyone to watch it and hopefully get excited about renewable energy,” he added.

“There are many opportunities in the agriculture industry to help move Hawaii toward clean energy that people don’t know about. This show explores some of those ways,” said Senator Clarence Nishihara, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

The upcoming episode on Hawai’i: The State of Clean Energy is titled, “Made in Hawai’i” Part 1: Food and Fuel for Hawai’i. Here’s a description: What are bioenergy alternatives and biofuels? See the benefits, challenges, and opportunities that agriculture and energy can provide us in Hawai’i.

The show airs on:

• October 19 (KGMB), 6:30pm – 7:00pm

• October 20 (KHNL), 6:30pm – 7:00pm

• October 23 (KHNL), 6:30pm – 7:00pm (rebroadcast)

• October 30 (KGMB), 4:30pm – 5:00 pm (rebroadcast)

• November 13 (KHNL), 8:30 pm – 9:00pm (rebroadcast)

The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Hawaii Energy Forum is a unique experiment in collaborative energy planning and policy making. It includes representatives from business, government, and the community. The intent is to incorporate many different perspectives and the broadest possible experience into the design of a flexible, forward-looking energy strategy.


Senator Espero to Host Ustream Legislative Sit-Down

HONOLULU- On Tuesday, August 30, 2011, Senate Public Safety, Military and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee Chairperson Will Espero (Sen. District 20) will host a Ustream Legislative Sit-Down. The Ustream will begin at noon.

Senator Espero will use this online platform to talk with other State Legislators about the 2011 Legislative Session, find out what they are doing in the interim, and discuss any upcoming plans for next session. Joining Senator Espero for the discussion are Senator Carol Fukunaga (Sen. District 11), Senator Clarence Nishihara (Senate District 18), and Representative Angus McKelvey (House District 10).

“Utilizing this type of interactive broadcasting tool is something that is relatively new to the Legislature,” said Senator Will Espero. “This event will provide a great opportunity to explore engagement with the public utilizing such platforms. I look forward to continuing to host similar events in the future.”

Ustream is a live online interactive broadcast platform. Tomorrow’s event will be streamed live on the Hawaii Senate Majority’s Ustream account. To watch the event, please follow this link: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/hawaii-senate-majority. Participants can send in questions and comments during the event through the Ustream chat feature, by emailing Senator Espero at senespero@Capitol.hawaii.gov, or by calling into his office at 808-586-6360.

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