President of the Senate Shan Tsutsui’s statement regarding the Governor’s U.S. Senate Appointment

“Congratulations to the Lieutenant Governor on his appointment to fill Senator Inouye’s vacant seat in the United States Senate.  I am confident that he will ably serve the State of Hawaii and honor the legacy that Senator Inouye has left behind.  I understand that by law, as Senate President, I would be next in line to succeed Lieutenant Governor Schatz.  I plan to discuss this prospect with the Governor and my family before making a decision.” 

Hawaii State Senate President Shan Tsutsui’s Statement on the Passing of U.S. Senator Dan Inouye

Today, we have lost a true American hero.  Senator Dan Inouye served the people of Hawaii and our country with great dignity and honor.  A true statesman, his lifelong work has left an indelible mark on Hawaii and he leaves behind a legacy that we will never forget.  We express our heartfelt condolences to the Inouye ohana and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Peter Cahill to the Maui Second Circuit Court

(Maui Senators congratulate Peter T. Cahill on his confirmation.)

HONOLULU — In a Special Session, the Hawai‘i State Senate today confirmed the appointment of Peter T. Cahill as Judge for the Circuit Court of the Second Circuit, located on Maui.

Cahill was nominated by the Judicial Selection Commission to fill the vacancy left open by the recent retirement of Judge Shackley F. Raffetto.

“Judge Cahill has established himself as a person of great integrity and diligence,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents Wailuku, Waihe‘e, Kahului, Pa‘ia, Lower Pa‘ia.  “We are honored to confirm him to Maui’s Second Circuit Court.”

“Judge Cahill possesses the professional experience, exceptional legal skills, and even temperament inherent of a good jurist.  I believe that the people of Maui will be well-served under his judgeship,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents South and West Maui.

“Judge Cahill’s even-keeled temperament, intellect, and commitment to leadership are characteristics that will make him an asset to the State’s Second Circuit Court and to the people of Maui.” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka’i, Lana’i and Kaho’olawe.

Cahill currently serves as an attorney at Cahill & O’Neill on the island of Maui, concentrating on injury and wrongful death cases. Prior to his employment at Cahill & O’Neill, he worked as a lawyer at Krueger & Cahill and the Law Office of James Krueger.

Cahill earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey, and his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Notre Dame Law School.

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge Pollack to the Supreme Court

(Hawaii State Senate Confirms Judge Richard W. Pollack to the Supreme Court.)

HONOLULU – In a Special Session, the Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Judge Richard W. Pollack as an Associate Justice to the Supreme Court.  He was nominated by Governor Neil Abercrombie and was subject to Senate confirmation.  Justice Pollack fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice James E. Duffy, Jr.

“We are confident that Justice Pollack will serve the Supreme Court well with his extensive experience as a judge in the Circuit Court,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  “We believe he will uphold our state constitution and work to ensure that the laws are applied fairly, equally and appropriately for all the people of Hawaii.”

“Judge Richard Pollack will be a valuable asset to the Hawaii Supreme Court.  His compassion, integrity and knowledge of the law will guide him in service to the people of Hawaii.  I am honored to have Chaired his confirmation,” said Clayton Hee, Chairman of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor.

Justice Pollack, 61, has been serving as a judge in the Circuit Court since 2000, presiding over the civil and criminal trial calendar. During that time period, he served as a substitute justice and substitute Intermediate Court of Appeals judge on numerous occasions.

Justice Pollack is an adjunct professor at the William S. Richardson School of Law where he currently teaches Law of Evidence and Criminal Procedure. Prior to his appointment to the Circuit Court bench, Justice Pollack served as the State Public Defender from 1987 to 2000.  He managed a statewide office of 99 attorneys and was actively involved in appellate work during his tenure.

Hawaii State Senate Stays the Course in 2012 Legislative Session

Job Creation, Education, Shoring up the Safety Net and Improving IT Infrastructure

HONOLULU –  The Hawaii State Senate adjourned on this final day of the 2012 Legislative Session, passing many bills in support of its priorities set forth at the beginning of the session.  Throughout the second year of the legislative biennium, the overarching themes and priorities of the Senate were in alignment with Governor Abercrombie’s “A New Day in Hawaii.”

We advanced important measures with the citizens of Hawaii in mind, hoping to make our State a better place to live for everyone now and in the future,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.

I commend everyone in the Legislature for their hard work this session and I thank those who came to be part of the process and let their voices be heard,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.

The Senate Majority, whose members are Democrats, remain committed to improving the quality of life for the people of Hawaii.  Here are highlights of the Senate Majority’s accomplishments:

 

Job Creation & Creating a Sustainable Economy

Although Hawaii is experiencing a steady economic recovery, many people are still unemployed or under-employed, especially in the construction and trade industry.   Realizing this grim reality, the Senate made job creation and creating a sustainable economy a top priority through its flagship initiative, The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012.  To accomplish this goal, the Senate was able to include in excess of $414 million for repair and maintenance projects in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) portion of the budget for fiscal year 2013, pursuant to House Bill 2012.  The funding will allow for the creation of more than 4-thousand shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants, and help put money in workers’ pockets and give companies confidence to begin hiring again.

The projects will focus on smaller repairs and maintenance to address aging infrastructures and to extend the useful life of existing state-owned assets and facilities; energy conservation and sustainable improvements; and health, safety and code requirements.  Not only the state departments, but everyone in the State will benefit from this funding.  All trades in the construction industry will prosper, as well as businesses that provide goods and services to the industry.

Highlights of the funding are provided as follows:

The Department of Education will receive $296M in FY13, including $116M that has been appropriated for classroom renovations and school building improvements to address the departments’ repair and maintenance backlog, $10M for electrical upgrades to support the rapidly evolving technology that is imperative to keep students competitive in the global economy, and $30M in various lump sum appropriations for schools throughout the State to address Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, health and safety and special education needs.

For the University of Hawaii, over $80M was appropriated for capital renewal and deferred maintenance as well as health, safety, and building code requirements, System wide. Additionally, to address significant growth in student enrollment at the community colleges, an additional $27.5M was provided to the community colleges, as well as $10M for Kapiolani Community College to begin construction of the Culinary Institute of the Pacific.

Additionally, over $60M has been provided for Hawaii Public Housing Authority to continue to upgrade its units and help to shelter low-income families; $35M has been appropriated for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to help tackle the repair and maintenance needs at community hospitals statewide; $26M has been provided to the Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources to allow them to continue their efforts to maintain the State’s irrigation systems, as well as rivers, reservoirs and dams statewide, including $1.1M to upgrade, repair and reinforce the Hanalei River breach which was made worse by the recent heavy rains.

Finally, to shore up our safety net, many community programs run by non-profit organizations were provided a total of $20M to assist them in the continuation of services and programs throughout the State.

To further continue supporting our top industry, strategic investment was made in our tourism industry through Senate Bill 490.  The measure develops and implements new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism in the State, taking advantage of an executive order signed by President Obama to ease access for international travelers.  The expanded visa programs would help provide up to an estimated 154,000 jobs in Hawaii. China in particular is a rising market for Hawaii’s tourism industry, with unprecedented growth potential.

Looking ahead into the future of tourism, the Senate supports an emerging market, such as Space Tourism, which has the potential of being a billion dollar global industry that could significantly increase state revenues, provide new aerospace jobs, and rejuvenate economic development in the Kalaeloa area.  The ground work for the industry is established through Senate Bill 112, which appropriates funds for the application for a spaceport license from the Federal Aviation Administration.

People and Children

As a result of our State’s steady economic recovery, the safety net continues to need strengthening. There are many who still suffer job loss and significant wage and benefit reductions.  The Senate Majority is mindful of the struggles of Hawaii’s most vulnerable citizens and supports efforts to assist them.  Child welfare, domestic violence shelters, MedQuest, and various shortfalls across the Department of Human Services were addressed in the State Budget, House Bill 2012.

Additionally, since the closure of Hawaii Medical Center-West, hospitals on Oahu are faced with an increased volume in patient admittance.  The Senate provides support for the hospitals system through House Bill 304.

With the growing demand of health care, Senate Bill 2939 appropriates funds for the St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, formerly known as Hawaii Medical Center-East to improve its facilities and services in the interest of the health, safety, and wellbeing of residents.

The Senate also continues its strong support for education. Notably, the Senate has underscored education as a top priority.  Through the State Budget, key areas of investment were made in the student weighted formula, student meals, Community Schools for adults and student transportation.

To strengthen Hawaii’s Charter School system, Senate Bills 2115 and 2116 increase accountability in the governance of Hawaii’s Charter schools that will foster improved student outcomes.  Senate Bill 2115 establishes clear lines of authority and clarifies the relationships, responsibilities, and lines of accountability among stakeholders of Hawaii’s Charter School System.  Senate Bill 2116 appropriates funds to help with the transition.

The Senate believes early life experiences lay the groundwork for a child’s lifelong learning and providing high quality early learning programs that are affordable and accessible for all children are critically important for ensuring the success of Hawaii’s keiki.  Working in concert with the Governor’s Early Childhood Education Initiative, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 2545, which establishes the Early Learning Council and the Early Learning Advisory Board.

Renewable Energy and Sustainability

The Senate Majority strives to make Hawaii a model for the rest of the country by continuing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative.   Reducing electricity costs depends in part on diversifying the energy sources within the State.  Geothermal energy is a solid source of indigenous, renewable energy that could be made available at low costs. Senate Bill 2001 requires consultation and input from the Native Hawaiian community and general public when developing geothermal projects on public trust lands. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 3003 allows geothermal resources exploration and development in all state land use districts and all zones of the conservation districts, respectively.  Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 3003 into law in April.

With our State’s dependence on imported foods and threat to our food security, Senate Bill 2695 establishes a livestock feed feasibility pilot project to help address the rising cost of feed and explore ways to increase the sustainability of our local protein sources.  Self-sufficiency is critical to Hawaii’s food security and ability to respond effectively in the event of natural disasters or disruptions in transportation.

Retooling Government 

In the area of technology, the Senate calls for investing in the State’s information technology (IT) infrastructure in order to improve government and to better serve the public.  The investment in IT upgrades aims to increase productivity, making government more efficient.  The State Supplemental Budget, House Bill 2012, makes significant investments in software upgrades, integration in information technology, and modernization of database and records, to name a few.  Hawaiian Homelands, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Accounting and General Services and Human Services are some of the departments that will be receiving IT upgrades.

The Senate also supports the Governor’s broadband initiative to improve services and to ensure that each and every citizen has access.  The initiative is supported by Senate Bill 2236, which assists Clearcom or a partnership headed by Clearcom, Inc., with the planning, designing, constructing, and operating of broadband infrastructure throughout the State.

 

Other Notable Bills:

House Bill 608, Relating to Health, Act 1 (2012)

Governor Abercrombie signed House Bill 608 (Act 1) into law in February. The measure appropriates state funds to The Queen’s Medical Center to perform kidney and liver transplants and to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawai’i to maintain its chronic kidney disease management program.  Act 1 helps ensure that organ transplant patients are able to remain in the islands and receive efficient and timely care.

Senate Bill 2783, Relating to the Public Trust Lands, Act 15 (2012)

Senate Bill 2783 conveys Kaka‘ako Makai lands to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).  The State and OHA agreed that an approximately $200 million settlement represents a reasonable compromise of the

disputed claims.  To satisfy that $200 million amount, the State is conveying contiguous and adjacent parcels in Kaka‘ako Makai.  Under this law, all disputes and controversies relating to OHA’s portion of income and proceeds from the public trust lands will be extinguished and discharged as well as bar all claims, suits, and actions for the period November 7, 1978 through June 30, 2012. Governor Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 2783 into law in April.

Senate Bill 2776, Relating to Public Safety

After an unprecedented collaboration between the Governor, Chief Justice, Senate President, House Speaker and Director of Public Safety, a data-driven justice reinvestment strategy was created to bring out-of-state prisoners back to Hawaii, reduce spending on corrections, and reinvest savings generated in strategies that would reduce recidivism and crime and increase public safety.

One of the outcomes of the Justice Reinvestment Initiatives was the passage of Senate Bill 2776.  The measure establishes a statutory structure to improve the criminal justice system, relying on the Department of Public Safety, Hawaii Paroling Authority, and Adult Probation Services to effectively implement changes to policies and practices.

Senate Bill 2247, Known as Kelsey’s Law, Act 94 (2012)

Senate Bill 2247, which was signed into law by Governor Abercrombie in April, will require cell phone or communication service providers to assist law enforcement agencies in determining the location of a cell phone in emergency situations.  The bill was named in honor of Kelsey Smith, an 18-year-old Kansas woman who was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 2007. It is believed that if Verizon Wireless had turned over cell phone records on the day Smith was kidnapped, she may be alive today.

House Bill 2030, Relating to Emergency Vehicle; Move Over

House Bill 2030 requires motorists to move over and slow down their vehicles when passing a stationary emergency vehicle on a highway.  If this measure becomes law, a violation against it will result in a civil fine, which will not impact the driver’s car insurance rates.

Hawaii State Senate Lends a Helping Hand to the Hawaii Foodbank

Senate President Shan Tsutsui presents the Hawaii State Senate’s donation to Linda Takayama, Hawaii Foodbank Chairperson

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate today helped Hawaii’s residents in need by donating to the Hawaii Foodbank.  Senate President Shan Tsutsui presented a $9,400 check to the organization this morning.

The Hawaii State Senate raised the money through a drive for the Hawaii Foodbank, which began mid-February and wrapped up at the end of April.  This year, a couple of unique fundraisers were held, including Senator Mike Gabbard’s “Capitol Idol” and Senator Clayton Hee’s “Dunk-a-Senator.”  Other offices held bake sales, sold bento, waffle sundaes, eggs and gandule rice breakfast, etc.

It’s important to us that we do our part to help our residents who are going through a tough time, and through our donation, it brings us comfort that a handful of people will not go hungry,” said Senator Shan Tsutsui.

Senator Gabbard raised a total of $2,113.60, which was the most money raised among the 15 offices that participated in the fundraiser this year.   The Senate Clerk’s and support staff offices came in second at $1,400.00. In total, more than $9,400 was raised for the Foodbank.

HI Foodbank Sen Ryan

“I am really proud of the aloha the Senate offices shared in raising money for this great cause. I commend them for volunteering their time and for their efforts in supporting the Hawaii Foodbank,” said Senator Pohai Ryan, chair of the Senate’s Hawaii Foodbank drive.

 

Hawaii State Senate Confirms Maui Resident Adrianne N. Heely as District Family Court Judge

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Adrianne N. Heely as judge for the District Family Court of the Second Circuit, located on Maui.

Judge Heely’s diverse professional experience as an attorney in various aspects of government operations and within the Judiciary is highlighted by her strong integrity and credibility,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui, who represents District 4 (Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului, Paia, and Lower Paia).  “I am confident that she will serve with honor and fairness on the bench of Maui’s Family Court.”

Judge Heely has demonstrated the ability to analyze complex issues from all sides, which is a characteristic fundamental to a fair and just jurist,” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents District 6 (Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, L?na‘i, and Kaho‘olawe).   “She is highly respected in our community and I have no doubt that she will serve Maui proudly.”

Judge Heely’s attitude, intellect and leadership will serve her well in handling the demands of district court.  Also, over the course of her career, she has displayed decisiveness and fairness in her decision making that will serve her well as a judge, and bodes well for the community,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents District 5 (South and West Maui).   “Maui County is fortunate to have someone so well-qualified and interested in public service as Adrianne.”

A Kamehameha Schools graduate, Heely earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara.   She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Heely currently serves as a Deputy Corporation Counsel for the County of Maui, where she is team leader for the Counseling and Drafting Section’s Finance, Public Safety, and Human Resources Team.  Active in providing pro bono services to the legal community and the community as a whole, she was recently appointed to the Board of Examiners of the Hawaii Supreme Court.  Heely serves as Vice President for the Maui County Bar Association and was the immediate past chair of the Hawaii State Bar Association’s Government Lawyer’s Section.

 

Maui Residents Confirmed to Hawaii State Commission on Water Resource Management

Maui Senators congratulate Jonathan Starr as a newly confirmed member of the Hawaii State Commission on Water Resource Management. (L-R)Senator J. Kalani English, Jonathan Starr, Senate President Shan Tsutsui, Senator Roz Baker)

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate today confirmed Maui residents Jonathan Starr and Ted Yamamura to the Hawaii State Commission on Water Resource Management. Yamamura and Starr were both nominated by Governor Abercrombie and were subject to Senate confirmation.

Both Mr. Yamamura and Mr. Starr are highly qualified individuals who will contribute to the Commission with their background and expertise,” said Senate President, who represents District 4, encompassing Wailuku, Waihee, Kahului, Paia, and Lower Paia.

I feel confident that Mr. Yamamura and Mr. Starr understand the complexities of water issues and will serve the Commission and State effectively,” said Senator J. Kalani English, who represents District 6, encompassing the areas of Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe.

Mr. Starr and Mr. Yamamura have demonstrated knowledge and experience in working with our natural resources and I believe those qualities will make them good stewards of our water resources,” said Senator Roz Baker, who represents District 5, encompassing South and West Maui.

Starr has over forty years of experience in water source development and resource management projects. Additionally, he studied and has expertise in traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian water resource management techniques. He is also active in his community, having served a four-year term on the Maui Board of Water Supply and a five-year term on the Maui Planning Commission, including two years as the Commission’s Chairperson.

Yamamura is one of the founders of ACM Consultants, Inc., which is one of the largest and most experienced independent real estate consulting, valuation, and research companies in Hawaii. In addition to his work experience, Yamamura is actively involved in his community. He has been a past member of the Board of Land and Natural Resources from 2001-2006, former president of the International Right of Way Association, Hawaii Chapter No. 30 in 2004, member of the County of Maui Board of Water Supply since 2008, and the past president of the Hawaii Chapter of the Appraisal Institute in 2010.

Maui Memorial Medical Center Among State Facilities Slated for Repair and Maintenance

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Senate is expected to vote on House Bill 2145 tomorrow. The bill includes the Senate’s flagship initiative, known as “The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012.” The measure is an aggressive $500 million general obligation bond-funded Capital Improvement Program package aimed at creating jobs by investing and stimulating our local economy from all corners of the state.

Ahead of the Senate’s floor vote, Senate President Shan Tsutsui visited Maui Memorial Medical Center last Friday to look at much needed repair and maintenance projects that would be funded by the measure. If the bill is ultimately signed by Governor Abercrombie, Maui Memorial Medical Center will be among state owned facilities that will be receiving funding for shovel-ready projects.

Under this bill, Maui Memorial Medical Center, along with other State hospitals in the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, would potentially receive $40 million dollars for repair and maintenance projects,” explained President Tsutsui.

This measure allows us to invest in our facilities, our people and our economy,” he said. “The money appropriated through this measure would go towards projects that would extend the useful life of our aging facilities, like Maui Memorial Medical Center.”

Other facilities within Maui County that are currently identified as part of the Program to receive funding are: Baldwin High, Haiku Elementary, Hana High & Elementary, Iao Intermediate, Kahului Elementary, Kalama Intermediate, Kamehameha III Elementary, Kaunakakai Elementary, Kekaulike High, Kihei Elementary, Kilohana Elementary, King Kekaulike High, Kualapuu Elementary, Kula Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate, Lahainaluna High, Lanai High and Elementary, Lihikai Elementary, Lokelani Intermediate, Makawao Elementary, Maui Community, Maui High, Maui Waena Intermediate, Maunaloa Elementary, Molokai High, Nahienaena Elementary, Paia Elementary, Pukalani Elementary, Puunene, Waihee Elementary, Wailuku Elementary, Hana Community School Library, Wailuku Public Library, Kahului Library, Lanai Public & School Library, Molokai Library, Hoapili Hale, Maui Community Correctional Center, UH Maui College, Lahaina Small Boat Harbor, Mahinahina Deep Monitor Well, DLNR Maui Office Annex, Kula Hospital, and Lanai Community Hospital.

The Invest in Hawaii Act of 2012 would give a big boost to the economy and put people to work by appropriating funds for shovel-ready jobs for all trades in the construction industry – from carpenters to consultants. According to estimates by DBEDT’s job multiplier, this measure could create or sustain more than 5,000 jobs.

The time is right to invest in our State’s infrastructures and facilities. Hawaii is currently experiencing the lowest interest rates in recorded history and significant savings have accrued from the State’s most recent bond issuance. Many bids for construction work are coming in significantly below budget. This means taxpayers are currently getting an excellent value for construction projects now being implemented,” said Senate President Tsutsui.

Settlement Regarding Ceded Lands Heading to Governor’s Desk

HONOLULU – Senate Bill 2783, relating to public trust lands, was passed out of the House of Representatives today.  The bill will make its way to the Governor next.

This is an historic day for the State of Hawaii, as many have waited decades for a resolution to this issue regarding ceded lands,” said Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  “I commend all parties involved for their hard work and commitment to shepherding the passage of this bill.”

“The passage of this landmark legislation is a major step in the right direction for the Native Hawaiian community and Hawaii as it brings closure to a long-standing dispute,” said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, chairperson for the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs.  “I thank the House for moving this bill forward and for supporting this measure.”

Senate Bill 2783 would convey Kaka‘ako Makai lands to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).  The State and OHA agreed that an approximately $200 million settlement represents a reasonable compromise of the disputed claims.  To satisfy that $200 million amount, the State is conveying contiguous and adjacent parcels in Kaka‘ako Makai.   The parcels are near Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park, including Fisherman’s Wharf.

If the measure is approved by the Governor, all disputes and controversies relating to OHA’s portion of income and proceeds from the public trust lands will be extinguished and discharged as well as bar all claims, suits, and actions for the period November 7, 1978 through June 30, 2012.

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