Lawmakers Highlight Need for More Affordable Housing and Statewide Coordination at Informational Briefing with State and City Agencies

With the shortage of affordable housing options for the moderate income workforce, Hawaii lawmakers today held a joint Senate and House informational briefing to learn more about affordable housing needs in Hawaii. Senators and representatives heard from various government agencies to learn about the status of existing and planned affordable housing projects, and their plans to address the growing need for affordable housing as the state’s population and housing demands increase. “We convened this informational…

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Tranquility Base Day in Hawaii

This Sunday (July 20) will mark the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in 1969, when Astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans in history to walk on another world. This seminal event helped launch humankind’s first steps beyond Earth, and the State of Hawaii played an instrumental role in both training the Apollo astronauts for their historic mission (at multiple lava fields on the Big Island of Hawaii) and…

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Senator Will Espero Calls Upon Governor To Convene Special Ad Hoc Committee to Address Prison Problems

The recent prisoner escapes and ongoing problems with Hawaii’s prison system has prompted Ewa Beach Senator Will Espero to call upon Governor Abercrombie to convene an ad hoc committee made up of experts, policymakers, and stakeholders to address the operational inefficiencies within the Department of Public Safety. The committee would be tasked with identifying strengths, weaknesses and opportunities to improve the operations of Hawaii’s prison system. In addition to the escapes, the Department of Public…

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Senator Espero Expresses Opposition to Attempts to Stop Construction on PM Zipper Lane

In response to the headline in today’s Start Advertiser, Senator Will Espero has expressed his opposition to any attempt to stop the construction on the PM zipper lane.  He believes that it would be short-sighted to not build the zipper lane at this time. “The zipper lane is about better mobility for West Oahu commuters.  It is about quality of life issues and handling the projected future growth slated for this region.  The DOT would…

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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…

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Ewa Beach Schools to Receive $4.3 Million for Air Conditioning Upgrades

Students at James Campbell High School (JCHS) and Ilima Intermediate in Ewa Beach are set to have cooler days because of capital improvement project funds earmarked to make improvements to their school’s air conditioning system, announced Sen. Will Espero, who was instrumental in securing funding for the area. The schools will receive a combined total of $4.3 million to help upgrade their cooling systems. Ilima Intermediate will get $1 million and JCHS will get $2.3…

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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…

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Progress in Hawaii’s Prison System

The Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental Affairs and Military Affairs, and the House Committee on Public Safety held a joint informational briefing on the status of the implementation of the Hawaii Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) yesterday. Senators and representatives meet to hear  from the Council of State Governments Justice Center on the status of the State’s JRI. JRI is a data-driven initiative that aims to reform the criminal justice system by making it more…

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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…

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Hawaii Could Be Ground Zero For Improving NASA Communications With Next-Generation Spacecrafts

Senator Will Espero, along with officials from NASA, today held a press conference urging the approval of Senate Bill 2583 Senate Draft 1, a bill related to launching Hawaii’s aerospace industry through investment in a laser optical communications ground station. The measure is awaiting a hearing in the House Finance committee. The purpose of the measure is to appropriate funds, on a matching fund basis, for an engineering assessment of a proposal to establish a…

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