$19.5 Million Protects Lipoa Point from Development

Sen. Roz Baker today applauded the administration’s release of $19.5 million specified by the Legislature for the acquisition of Lipoa Point at Honolua in West Maui. The land will be preserved as conservation land in perpetuity.

During the 2013 session at the behest of Sen. Baker and Rep. Angus McKelvey, lawmakers passed a bill (HB 1424, Act 241, SLH2013) for the acquisition of lands at Honolua Bay with the intent of protecting it from future development. In January 2014, $500, 000 was released to support activities supporting the land acquisition including title search, property appraisal and boundary surveys.

“Release of these funds means that the State is moving forward with purchasing acreage at Lipoa Point,” said Baker. “Rep. McKelvey and I fought to get the Legislature to include $20 million in its budget to fund this acquisition. These are pristine lands threatened by development.  As stewards of the aina, we had to make every effort to protect our natural resources for future generations.”

“Mahalo to the Governor for recognizing the importance of the timely acquisition of this precious resource to be preserved as conservation land in perpetuity,” added Baker. “And congratulations to all who advocated and stood with us to protect Lipoa Point.”

Senator Baker speaking on the floor during the 2014 legislative session

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Senate Looks into Inmate Visitation Hour Cancellations

This past Sunday, the Hawaii State Department of Public Safety (DPS) cancelled visitation hours at the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua. Earlier this month, DPS also cancelled visitation hours at the Oahu Community Correctional Center and Hawaii Community Correctional Center. The recent cancellations of visitation hours prompted the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs (PSM) to hold an information hearing to hear from inmate family members and the DPS to learn more the cancellations and what is being done to remedy the problem.

Senators Espero, Baker and Slom question Ted Sakai, Director of DPS, and Max Otani, Deputy Director of Corrections, regarding visitation hours cancellations at DPS correctional facilities

Ted Sakai, Director of DPS, and Max Otani, Deputy Director of Corrections, testified before PSM yesterday explaining the staff shortages and unique circumstances that caused the cancellations including a power outage and ongoing renovations to a facility. The comments offered by the inmates’ families during the hearing gives DPS more insight to the issues concerning the cancellation of visitation hours so that it may address the problems to correct them. Additionally, DPS brainstormed short-term solutions that may give inmates more access to their friends and family such as weekday visitation hours and allowing video chats.

Senator Will Espero presides over the information hearing

Senator Will Espero, chair of PSM, assured the public that he will follow up on the ideas presented during the hearing’s discussion on issues facing DPS’ correctional facilities.

Senator Baker Announces Release of Funds to Improve Infrastructure of Maui Schools in Senate District 6

Senator Roz Baker announced the release of funding identified by the Hawaii State Legislature for construction projects for six schools in Senate District 6.

Projects include:

  • Lahaina Intermediate, One general portable classroom, $650,000 estimated for statewide capacity projects
  • Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Classroom building project, $7,224,000 estimated for statewide construction and equipment
  • Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Reroof P3, $65,000
  • Princess Nahienaena Elementary, Erosion Control, $124,000
  • Kamehameha III Elementary, Renovate and paint various buildings, $25,000
  • Kihei Elementary, Building J, Reroof upper roof, $280,000
  • Lahainaluna High, Building Y, Replace exhaust fans, $48,000
  • Lokelani Intermediate, Campus Replace Fire Alarm, $32,000
  • Lokelani Intermediate, Building E, Reroof, $310,000

“The funding released by the administration spans a plethora of renovations and building projects that need to be addressed as soon as possible,” said Sen. Baker, who represents Senate District 6 – South and West Maui. “Six schools in the Lahaina and Kihei areas will be seeing a variety of improvements, from new classrooms to essential equipment and structure replacements.”

“My colleagues and I worked hard to get these items into the capital improvement budget,” she added. “And I’m grateful that the administration has recognized the value of investing in education infrastructure on Maui and across the state.”

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Senator Baker at a committee hearing

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Kihei Library to Receive $400,000 for Air Conditioning

baker 2013Sen. Roz Baker, who represents District 6 – South and West Maui, is pleased to announce that funding identified by the Legislature for a new air conditioning system at Kihei Public Library has been released by the administration. The library will receive $400,000 for construction.

“Improving the conditions of community infrastructure which supports education and literacy is part of the legislature’s commitment to the people of Hawaii and my commitment to the people of Kihei,” said Baker. “Once construction on replacing the air conditioning is completed, families will have a better experience when they go to Kihei Public Library. In addition, modernizing our air conditioning systems brings us up-to-date with energy efficiency. We will see less energy used and more money saved. Air condition for Kihei Public Library and other construction projects identified by my colleagues and I will also help revitalize our economy by creating jobs that will get our people back to work.”

Baker will keep the community informed of the start and timeline of construction as they become known.

Community members are encouraged to contact her at 808-586-6070 or senbaker@capitol.hawaii.govshould questions arise.

Hot Off the Press: The Latest Episode of Maui Manao

The Maui senate delegation consisting of Rosalyn Baker, J. Kalani English and Gilbert Keith-Agaran, talk about issues affecting Maui County in the latest episode of Maui Mana‘o.

Watch the senators answer frequently asked procedural questions detailing the legislative process and discuss some of the bills being negotiated in conference committee.

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! Here in Hawai‘i, we are lucky to live in a place with diverse ecology and unique environments. As such, we must actively strive to be stewards of our ‘aina and protect our islands for the future.

Celebrating Earth Day at the State Capitol, students from Farrington High School, Waialua High and Intermediate School, Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, Leilehua High School, Hawai‘i Pacific University, Hongwanji Mission School, ‘Iolani School, and Le Jardin Academy rallied to support a clean energy future  and an end to Hawai‘i’s dependency on fossil fuels.


Students sign waive for clean energy along Beretania Avenue in front of the State Capitol


Students display their homemade rallying signs supporting clean energy


Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, addresses students at the rally


Senator Roz Baker encourages students to support clean and renewable energy

In addition to rallying for clean energy, students also participated in the legislative process. They visited Senate and House galleries to see legislators at work during the legislative floor session, and urged lawmakers to support clean energy policies under current consideration.


Students fill the Senate visitors’ gallery during the Senate floor session

The event was organized by the Blue Planet Foundation, a local nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the quality of life for Hawai‘i residents by supporting a clean energy future.

Statement from Maui Senators on $305 Million for New Car Rental Facility for Kahului Airport

Maui’s Kahului Airport will receive $305,500,000 in capital improvement projects (CIP) funding appropriated by the legislature. Governor Neil Abercrombie released funds for the construction of a new multi-level consolidated car rental facility and roadway improvements at Kahului Airport.

The car rental facility will include a customer service building, quick turnaround, ready return vehicle parking spaces, four 15,000-gallon fuel storage tanks, a people mover system to and from the terminal, site improvements, roadway connections to airport terminal roadways, additional employee parking spaces and potential flat-plate, non-reflective photovoltaic panels. A new access road to the facility will run from Hana Highway to Airport Loop Road.

“Residents and visitors alike will see improvements in customer service as the new car rental facility will streamline the car rental process,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui. “Airport modernization is good for Maui and the State, and projects like this will certainly improve our tourism industry.”

“Right now customers have to drive through the terminal roadway system to get to the existing rental car facilities, causing congestion in front of the terminals,” said Senator J. Kalani English, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, who represents H?na, east and upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe. “A new access road from Hana Highway to Airport Loop will help to alleviate traffic congestion at the airport.”

“I’m glad the governor released funds appropriated by the legislature for this large and important project that benefits all of Maui,” said Senator Gilbert Keith-Agaran, who represents Wailuku, Waihe‘e, and Kahului. “It will create more local construction jobs, stimulate the economy, and improve the overall customer experience for residents and visitors. I am looking forward to work on this project breaking ground.”

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Women’s Legislative Caucus Donates Easter Baskets to Help Families in Need


Senator Baker with the Easter Bunny and donated baskets for the Institute for Human Services 

The Women’s Legislative Caucus today donated more than 100 Easter baskets full of essential household items to the Institute for Human Services (IHS) to help families in need.

Baskets filled with laundry soap, utensils, dishes, toiletries, towels, and school supplies will benefit clients who get help and support in transitioning out of homelessness. The items in the baskets will be a nice welcome for the families and individuals who are just starting off in a permanent home.

“The Caucus has been doing these drives for about 10 years now,” said Senator Roz Baker (D – South and West Maui). “Community support really helps nonprofits like IHS. We’re so grateful to everyone who took the time to make these beautiful baskets and share aloha with those in need.”

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is a bipartisan organization which consists of the women Senators and women members of the House of Representatives.  The Caucus works closely with women’s organizations and concerned individuals across the State, as well as with the Governor, state agencies and other legislators to advocate for programs and services that benefit women.

For information on how you can organize a food, toiletry, clothing or other drive for IHS, email drives@ihs-hawaii.org.

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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.

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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.

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