Archive for January, 2011

Help Us Fight For Our Flag – HB1468 Will Be Heard Wed!

January 31, 2011

Rep. Pine introduces a new and improved bill that will allow homeowners to freely display the American Flag

Aloha!
HB 1468 – Most of you are familiar with the issue of our home owner/residential community association boards limiting their members display of American and State Flags on their own private property – despite the federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005. This bill, HB 1468, brings Hawaii into compliance with the federal law as well as ensuring that these home owners may display their American Flag continuously 365 days a year despite any association board’s regulation, covenant, or similar binding agreement to the contrary. It also removes any fee you would have to pay to display our Flag.

ACTION NEEDED:
HB1468 IS BEING HEARD WED FEB 2, 8:30AM IN CONFERENCE ROOM 325 AT THE CAPITOL.

COME TO THE HEARING and give your testimony. Be sure to submit your testimony via email immediately to:

Rep. Rida Cabanilla at repcabanilla@capitol.hawaii.gov and HSGtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov, and call 586-6080 and urge her to pass this bill for which we have worked so hard.

If you cannot make it to the hearing, PLEASE EMAIL YOUR TESTIMONY to Rep. Cabanilla’s office. Please copy our office on your testimony in either case, and let us know if we can expect you at the hearing.

House Bill 1468 will be heard by the Committee on Housing on Wednesday, February 2, 2010 at 8:30am in State Capitol Conference Room 325.
Persons wishing to offer comments should submit testimony at least 24 hours prior to the hearing with a transmittal cover indicating:
• Testifier’s name with position/title and organization;
• The Committee the comments are directed to; (The Committee on Housing)
• The date and time of the hearing; (Wednesday, February 2, 2011 – 8:30am)
• Measure number; and (House Bill 1468)
• The number of copies the Committee is requesting.
Submit testimony in ONE of the following ways:
PAPER: For comments more than 5 pages in length; 25 copies (including an original) to Room 404 in the State Capitol;
FAX: For comments less than 5 pages in length, transmit to 586-9496.
EMAIL: For comments less than 5 pages in length, transmit to HSGtestimony@capitol.hawaii.gov and repcabanilla@capitol.hawaii.gov.
See a sample of testimony that was submitted last year:

http://capitol.hawaii.gov/session2010/Testimony/HB2311_TESTIMONY_HSG_02-03-10_.pdf

Testimony submitted will be placed on the Legislative Web site after the hearing adjourns. The public posting of testimony on the Web site should be considered when including personal information in your testimony.
Similar legislation has already been passed to allow different alternative energy exemptions, and most notably allow residents to hang their laundry on clotheslines, despite any association rules to the contrary.

Many of you are the ones who have brought this issue to the forefront, and we have fought very hard to obtain this basic right for people on their own property. We believe we have a better than ever chance of seeing this accomplished this year, and I need your help

To get your copy of HB1468 – Click Here:

http://capitol.hawaii.gov/session2011/getstatus.asp?query=hb1468&currpage=1&showstatus=on&showtext=on

Please contact us with any questions!

Mahalo,

Senator Slom and Rep. Ward Discuss the Opening of session 2011

January 29, 2011

Part 1 Senator Sam Slom and Representative Gene Ward Discuss the Opening of session 2011

Senator Slom and Rep. Ward Discuss the Opening of session 2011 Part 2

January 29, 2011

Senator Sam Slom and Representative Gene Ward Discuss the Opening of session 2011

Rep. Thielen attended the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Change of Command ceremony

January 29, 2011

Admiral Patrick M. Walsh (Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet) and Representative Cynthia Thielen sharing ideas at the Military Partnership Conference.
(Photo courtesy of http://www.davemiyamoto.com)

It’s been a busy week in the 50th District! A few of Representative Thielen’s community activities over the past week include:

January 21st, 2011: Rep. Thielen attended the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Change of Command ceremony for outgoing Commanding Officer Col. Robert D. Rice and incoming Commanding Officer Col. Jeffrey R. Woods. Rep. Thielen, on behalf of herself and fellow Kailua Representatives Chris Lee and Pono Chong, presented Col. Rice with a certificate commending him for his 29 years of military service and dedication to the Windward community.

January 28th and 29th: Rep. Thielen and her staff will participate in the Kokua Foundation-sponsored ‘AINA In Schools Garden Party at Kainalu Elementary School and the Ramsar Wetland of International Importance sign dedication for Kawainui Marsh (Rep. Thielen was instrumental in obtaining this important designation).

Representative Thielen continues to serve on the following Committees:

Judiciary (JUD), Ranking Member
Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)
Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP), Ranking Member
Water, Land, & Ocean Resources (WLO), Ranking Member
Housing (HSG), Ranking Member

REP. THIELEN DRAFTS LEGISLATION TO PREVENT PUPPY MILLS

January 28, 2011

Representative Cynthia Thielen (50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) has drafted two bills which will help regulate large scale commercial dog breeders as well as provide consumer protection to those buying dogs from pet stores and commercial breeders.
“Unfortunately Hawaii is one of the few states where puppy mills are allowed to flourish because of lack of permitting and buyer re-courses. Just recently there has been several media reports of large scale breeders who continue to raise hundreds of puppies in unsanitary and substandard conditions,” said Representative Thielen.
She noted that, “I have been told that some breeding facilities are facing animal abuse court cases and are also a being fined daily for zoning and permitting violations, yet they remain in operation.”
HB 1148 requires pet stores and large scale breeders to provide dog purchasers with written medical histories and allows purchasers to return dogs within a limited time frame for an exchange or refund if the dog is determined to have a preexisting condition.
HB 1192 requires large scale dog breeders to be permitted on an annual basis. Included in the permitting process are reasonable standards of care and socialization which are outlined in the bill. The permit is contingent on yearly, or as needed, site inspections by an animal control officer.
“The intent of this legislation is not to discourage or limit hobby breeders but to prevent large scale breeding of dogs in conditions which are unhealthy, unsafe, and a nuisance for neighbors as well as the community,” said Representative Thielen.
Thielen said that “There are a majority of responsible and caring hobby breeders whose purpose is to improve their breeds while providing healthy pets to local families. Sadly, there is also an overabundance of dogs waiting to be adopted which are desperately waiting for loving homes.”
Legislation such as HB 1148 and HB 1192 will limit large scale commercial breeders not providing adequate care and socialization to their dogs and puppies while not impacting small hobby breeders or rescue groups.

Rep. Johanson hosted an exchange student from Russia

January 28, 2011

Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson hosted Tatyana Zasheva, an exchange student at Aiea High School, for a day at the Capitol. She was one of twenty students that took part in the Freedom Support Act Shadowing program. Tatiana is from Russia and is in Hawaii for the 2010-11 school year.

The one of the main purposes of the program is for students to gain an in-depth understanding about American government and its rules of law. Rep. Johanson helped Tatiana understand all the steps a bill takes on its way to becoming law. She and her co-participants were introduced during the House Session on Friday, January 7th.

Tatyana Zasheva, Aiea High School, meets lawmakers from her district Senator Ige and Representative Johanson.

Representative Riviere tours flood damage areas in the North Shore

January 28, 2011

Representative Gil Riviere drove through his district last week following up on constituents’ concerns regarding the torrential rains on the North Shore.  Flooding, roof damage, erosion, and property damage were major concerns for the residents. Representative Rivere went personally to homes of affected residents,
listened to the details of their situation. He made recommendations for action whether in City or State jurisdiction, and called on private citizens and community organizations to reach out to their neighbors to lend a hand.

Homes in Kukea Circle have the plantation farming fields behind them, so run-off from frequent down-pours threatens them annually. Otake Camp is at sea-level even though it’s a mile inland. Homes there are repeatedly flooded. A large tree fell threatening a constituent residence. Large trees on Kaukonahua Road also appeared ready to fall.

Representative Rivere contacted Civil Defense to bring their attention to threats,  and to have the fallen tree in Otake Camp safely removed. The housing along Long Bridge is usually damaged by heavy rains, but this time they were lucky. Representative Riviere’s moto this year is “Gill gets it done!” and he is living up to it. Constituents appreciate his personal approach and sincere desire to know the needs of his
constituents and to address them effectively and with aloha.

MARUMOTO CLAIMS TOO MANY DUPLICATE CAMPAIGN SIGNS

January 27, 2011

In response to continued community irritation at the proliferation of candidate signage during political elections, 19th District House Representative Barbara Marumoto (R) is introducing a bill to restrict duplicate signs posted indiscriminately on private property. House Bill 1260

“We’re don’t want to curtail the public’s freedom of speech,” says Marumoto. “But instead address the visual blight of multiple signs for multiple candidates. In 2008, Kalanianaole Highway was an ugly corridor of numerous candidates each with a profusion of signs from Aina Koa to Hawaii Kai.”

The bill restricts property owners to one sign per street frontage for each candidate or issue. If the property has very large street frontage, then the owner may place one sign per 1,000 linear feet.

“I think it’s important to not set unreasonable or unconstitutional limits on what residents can do on their property. They can continue to put up signs for many candidates, but only one per candidate. Plastering signs repeatedly along yards and fences, practically into the street, is distracting and dangerous to drivers,” said Marumoto.

State of Hawaii House of Representatives – Gene Ward Opening Day speech

January 26, 2011

Opening Day at the House of Representatives – State of Hawaii – Representative Gene Ward Ph.D. opening Day remarks. See full printed speech at http://www.gophawaii.com/leader-wards…

Excerpts from Capitol TV

 

TOP 10 QUESTIONS TO GOVERNOR ABERCROMBIE FOLLOWING STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

January 26, 2011

The House Republican Caucus sent a letter today to Governor Abercrombie following his State of the State speech yesterday Monday, January 25, 2011.

The contents of the letter are found below:

Aloha Governor Abercrombie,

Thank you for your State of the State address yesterday outlining your vision and expectations for the coming legislative session. We greatly appreciate your commitment to moving our state forward, and we look forward to working with you on many of the issues that you outlined.

Your address indicated your desire to prioritize two of the values our caucus recently outlined in our caucus package: 1) Stimulate and accelerate student learning and 2) Create an economic environment to help local businesses thrive, create jobs and attract international investments. These two issues are extremely important to our constituents, and we support, in particular, the streamlining of permitting processes for small businesses and the fast-tracking of a bill to enable you to appoint the school board which you mentioned in your address.

In going through your bills and the other priorities you outlined in your speech, we have a few questions that will help us as we move forward. While we understand more questions and answers will arise as we go through the legislative process, these are the top 10 questions we would like to have discussed as soon as possible.

QUESTION #1 (COLLECTIVE BARGAINING):  In your address, you mentioned that you intended to “achieve savings without disrupting service to the public” through the collective bargaining process.  Labor costs account for 70 percent of the State Budget, how much are you prepared to increase or decrease this expenditure?

QUESTION #2(CUT IN HTA FUNDS) Tourism is Hawaii’s #1 industry, and our infrastructure is a major component of that industry. Will your redirection of funds from marketing to infrastructure partner with HTA’s ongoing outreach to visitors in our still recovering economy?

QUESTION #3(NEW DAY WORK PROJECTS) A major component of your economic recovery plan included a initiative labeled New Day Work Projects. What specific projects have you identified, and how are they different from the $1.8 billion CIP project already in the works?

QUESTION #4(TAXING PENSIONS) You’ve estimated that you will gain over $100 million in revenues by taxing pensions without taxing “those who are most dependent on their pensions.”  House Bill 1092’s progressive tax structure calls for taxing the pensions for those with a federal AGI of $37,500 and above for single persons, and $75,000 for married couples.  How many seniors, and working seniors, will this impact?

QUESTION #5(ANY RIFS COMING?) In your address, you mentioned the need for modernization, upgrading information technology systems, and restructuring the executive branch departments to increase savings.  How will these improvements save money other than labor savings, or are you planning personnel cuts?

QUESTION #6(CRITICAL SERVICES TO BE CUT BACK) You mentioned “restoring critical government services,” but which critical services in particular are you intending to restore? You also mentioned cutting TANF funding where federal funds no longer exist and cutting MedicaidQuest benefits. Which benefits/programs do you intend to cut, and what will the savings be?

QUESTION #7:  (INCREASED INTERNET SPEED) The Hawaii Broadband Initiative was previously unable to make progress because the legislature turned down a request for funding and implementation of a plan. How much do you estimate this will cost, and where do you plan to get the money, or is this simply piggybacking with the University of Hawaii federal grant?

QUESTION #8(INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS) You mentioned “a backlog of work to improve our roads, airports and harbors” within the Department of Transportation.  How is your plan to improve our infrastructure different from the current multi-million dollar harbors and airports plans, or is this a continuation of the those two plans and the highway modernization project previously turned down by the Legislature?

QUESTION #9(PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION AND RENEWABLE ENERGY) What is the time frame for the restructuring of the Public Utilities Commission and/or the creation of a Hawaii Energy Authority, and will its impact be soon enough to help close the $844 million budget deficit for this biennium?

QUESTION #10  (BALANCING THE BUDGET) Looking at your overall revenue enhancement proposals as well as likely budget increases, it is difficult to ascertain how the existing $800+ budget deficit will be closed.  Could you provide the detailed numbers explaining how you will present a balanced state budget to the legislature?

Mahalo for your assistance with answers to our questions.