Rep. Marumoto address SCR 97 – Uninsured Motorists

Stand. Comm. Rep. No. 1819-12 S.C.R. No. 97, S.D. 1


Contact:  Excerpt from Capitol TV

Marumoto says Early Release bill “kapakahi”

Marumoto says the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative – SB 2776, the early release bill, is ‘kapakahi”.  The plan is to bring mainland prisoners back and also save money by releasing, according to Department of Public Safety answers in the House Finance Committee, 1100 prisoners in the first three years of the program.

“The program is ill-designed,” according to Marumoto.  “Will programs to help the prisoners adjust be in place the first year when most of the prisoners are let out?  410 will be released the first year, 384 in the 2nd year, 257 in the 3rd year, 111 in the 4th year, 29 in the 5th year, and 4 in the 6th year for a total release of 1,195 prisoners over 6 years.

“Why not start out with a small number of prisoners – low-risk prisoners – and increase it every year to ensure that the programs are ready?  By the time the kinks are worked out, the number of prisoners will have declined to a manageable number.”

“There will be many people who will be hired in the Judiciary, Parole Board and in Probation to carry out this program, but the number of releases decline sharply by Year 6.  There is definitely a need to relieve the overburdened probation officers, but why hire so many others for what looks like a “temporary” release program?”

Rep. Marumoto urges that the conferees “go slow” in designing this early release program.  Earlier she had criticized the Justice Reinvestment Act for not specifying that the program start out with low-risk, Class C felons to reduce the risk to public safety.



Why SB 755 is Terrible Policy


April 26th, 2012 |

BY REP. GIL RIVIERE, R-NORTH SHORE  Senate Bill 755 SD2 HD2 is terrible policy for the State of Hawaii.  This omnibus bill includes several bad ideas that personify an unprecedented assault on Hawaii’s environmental protection laws by the 2012 Hawaii State Legislature.

SB755 exempts airports and other state lands from SMA permits and shoreline setbacks, exempts harbors from any permit and site plan review, and allows the Governor to exempt state projects from Hawaii’s environmental review process.  Many variations of these measures passed out of the House, only to die in the Senate.

Proponents of this bill claim that billions of dollars in construction projects are held up because of cumbersome environmental laws, but specifics on where projects are held up, i.e., planning, design or construction phases, have not been forthcoming.  Proponents of this bill have referred to Kahului Airport as an example, but they offer no specifics on what is the hold up.  I did some research.

Taking from six to nine months to complete, four Special Management Area (SMA) Permits were approved for Kahului Airport in 2009.  Exemptions from Environmental Assessments were granted.  The value of the work is approximately $34 million and nothing has been built.

The SMA process for a fuel storage tank revealed that it was going to be built in the Tsunami Inundation Zone, so the permit requires the tank to be built outside of this zone and appropriate spill mitigation measures to be installed to keep fuel out of the storm drains and ocean.

In other words, environmental laws are not holding up any current projects at Kahului Airport and the SMA Permit process improved the design of the fuel storage facility.  Yet, three years later, nothing has been built.

Proponents of this bill argue that the Governor could only exempt projects that are not likely to have significant environmental impacts.  However, SB755 would allow him to do so without approval of the Environmental Council, compliance with the Council’s procedures or rules of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, and exempt from any legal challenge afforded in the Hawaii Administrative Procedures.  Why the Governor would be better at making these decisions than the experts, and why his decisions should be beyond appeal, remains a mystery.

Special Management Area Permits and environmental reviews allow public participation.  Early community involvement is essential to successful implementation.  Who understands impacts and design elements better, the residents in the affected area, or government employees in downtown Honolulu?

An environmental exemption process already exists and the Office of Environmental Quality Control has no backlog of exemption list requests.  Throughout this session, in numerous hearings, I have seen no detailed evidence of how particular state laws are tying up any projects or how many people might be put to work with this new law.  “Trust us, the state would do not harm” is not reassuring to me, nor to most everyone I know.

Public participation, early disclosure and review of potential impacts make projects better and avoid costly mistakes.  Somebody needs to take a look before any exemption is granted.  Giving the state automatic exemptions for SMA permits and the Governor exemption list authority through SB755 is terrible policy!

Representative Gil Riviere, R-House District 46, North Shore, Oahu