Legislators to host session wrap up at senior center meetings

Senator Dwight Takamine and Representative Mark Nakashima will host post-session meetings to provide seniors a summary of the work accomplished during this legislative session. These meetings will provide seniors an opportunity to share their concerns and receive updates on projects affecting seniors in the district.

           

 

         DATES:                                              LOCATIONS:

May 14, 2010  Fri. 9:00 a.m.              Laupahoehoe Seniors

May 19, 2010  Wed. 9:00 a.m.           Honoka’a Seniors

May 25, 2010  Tues 10:00 a.m.          Hakalau Seniors

June 8, 2010  Tues 9:30 a.m.             Waimea Seniors

 

For more information, contact Senator Takamine’s office at (808) 586-7335.

Senate passes bill to address unemployment insurance rate hikes

The Senate today passed HB 2169, which will help reduce increases in unemployment taxes for Hawaii businesses, while maintaining funding for unemployment benefits. Because the bill has already passed the House and was not amended by the Senate, it is expected to receive final House approval quickly, and that Governor Lingle will sign the bill into law next week. 

“HB2169 will provide timely, significant tax relief for businesses while maintaining unemployment benefits for those who are underemployed or unemployed through no fault of their own.  Both the $241 million in tax relief over two years and ensuring the underemployed and unemployed have full unemployment benefits will support the state’s economic recovery,” said Senator Dwight Takamine, chair of the Labor Committee. “Ensuring adequacy of the Unemployment Trust Fund will buffer businesses against any reoccurrence of the current situation where businesses were hit with higher taxes precisely at the time that they can least afford it.” 

The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) had requested that the legislature “fast-track” the measure to help the department process new unemployment tax bills for employers before the bills were due to go out in April.  Previously, the House unanimously passed the measure on to the Senate on February 18.  A joint Senate committee composed of the Labor and Ways and Means Committees passed the bill unamended on February 26 to help expedite the measure’s passage by DLIR’s March 12 deadline. 

“This is the Chamber of Commerce of Hawai’i’s only priority this session and the Chamber and members of the business community deserve much of the credit for getting this measure through the legislative process,” Takamine said.

“HB2169 will change the effective tax rate for covered employees from 2.3% to 1.5% or an average cost per employee from $591 to $379. It has been widely reported that the “average” annual unemployment premium was jumping from $90 to $1,070 in 2010.”

Hilo legislators to host mid-session community meeting

Senators Russell Kokubun and Dwight Takamine, and Representatives Jerry Chang, Clift Tsuji and Faye Hanohano will be hosting a mid-session community meeting in Hilo to provide residents an opportunity to share their concerns about legislation in progress and community issues. Senator Takamine says “this meeting is an opportunity for residents to engage in an open dialogue with their legislators and participate in the conversation about projects affecting people the Hilo area.”

WHEN: Tuesday, February 23, 2010
          7:00 p.m.
WHERE: University of Hawai‘i, Hilo
          UCB Room 127

The public is invited to attend and participate in the open forum to inform and educate their legislators on issues that are affecting their communities. The legislators will also be sharing updates on education, budget and projects on the Big Island.

Hilo area legislators seeking public input for upcoming legislative session

Senators Russell Kokubun and Dwight Takamine along with Representatives Jerry Chang and Clift Tsuji are hoping to get an earful from the community. The Hilo area legislators have scheduled a joint community meeting on Wednesday, January 13, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s UCB Room 127. The purpose of the meeting is to give the public a chance to express their concerns and priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

“This is a chance for the public to educate legislators on their major concerns,” said Kokubun, who serves as the Vice President of the Senate. “We all know that the state’s budget and economy are critical issues, but we also know that we need to maintain our focus on a variety of other issues that are important to the community, including agriculture, education and healthcare, among others.”

Chang, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee and a member of the Education Committee added, “Building our economy also implies ensuring that educational opportunities are available at every level,” Chang said. “In our community, that means everything from public elementary and high schools to UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College.”

As Chair of the House Agriculture Committee and a member of committees addressing areas such as consumer protection, economic revitalization and tourism, Tsuji believes that the voice of the public is vital in maintaining balance in the community. “These are the matters that affect our residents every day,” said Tsuji. “There is no substitute for hearing their concerns in their own voices, to make sure their values are represented in the Legislature. They need access to healthcare, education and jobs to feed their families, but they also want to maintain the kind of lifestyle that makes the Big Island a special place. We can help maintain that balance, but we have to start by listening.”

In the end, says Senator Takamine, who chairs the Senate Labor Committee, their effectiveness as legislators relies on the public’s willingness to share their thoughts. “Don’t be shy,” he said. “We want to hear from everybody who has a concern, even if it’s to say, ‘You need to do a better job of this.’ Bring your concerns and speak from the heart.  Considering the serious economic situation that confronts us, we really need to work together to forge our way into the future.”

The 2010 legislative session convenes on January 20, 2010. 

Hilo area legislators seeking public input for upcoming legislative session

Community meeting on January 12 will give the public an opportunity to “educate” legislators on community’s concerns.

Senator Dwight Takamine (District 1 – Hilo, Honoka‘a, Laupahoehoe, Hamakua, Waiakea Uka, Keaukaha, Waimea) and Representatives Jerry Chang (District 2 – South Hilo, Waiakea Kai, Kaumana, Keaukaha) and Clift Tsuji (District 3 – South Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown) are hoping to get an earful from the community. The Hilo area legislators have scheduled a joint community meeting on Monday, January 12, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s UCB Room 127. The purpose of the meeting is to give the public a chance to express their concerns and priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

“This is a chance for the public to educate legislators on their major concerns,” said Takamine, who chairs the Senate Labor Committee. “We all know that the state’s budget and economy are on everybody’s mind, but we also know that we need to maintain our focus on a variety of other issues that are important to the community, including agriculture, education and healthcare, among others.”

Chang, Chair of the House Higher Education Committee and a member of the Education Committee added, “Building our economy also implies ensuring that educational opportunities are available at every level,” Chang said. “In our community, that means everything from public elementary and high schools to UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College.”

Read More»
© Copyright Hawai'i Senate Majority Caucus - Theme by Pexeto