REP. THIELEN DELIVERS MEMO TO MAYOR DECLARING LANDFILL CANNOT LEGALLY BE LOCATED AT AMERON QUARRY

Hawai‘i State Representative Cynthia Thielen (R, 50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) submitted a memo today to Mayor Peter Carlisle stating that the Ameron Hawaii Quarry in Kailua should be not be on the City & County of Honolulu’s new landfill site list. The memo is a legal analysis which outlines five reasons why the Ameron Hawaii Quarry should be removed from the landfill list, citing Federal law and the impact on area residents and the construction industry.

“Installing a new Oahu municipal solid waste landfill site at Ameron Hawaii Quarry in Kailua would negatively impact the water quality in Kailua’s watershed and marsh lands, interfere with the U.S. Endangered Species Act’s purpose, threaten the health and safety of Kailua residents, and irreparably damage the construction industry,” stated Thielen.

The memo details the detrimental impact that a landfill would have on the Kawainui and Hamakua Marsh Complex, a designated Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention which recognized the Marsh as a core wetland habitat for endemic and endangered birds and containing significant cultural and environmental resources. Citing the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the high quantity of rainfall in the area, Representative Thielen points out the negative impact that runoff and leaching from a landfill would have on this significant wetland. Thielen also notes the proximity of five schools, a hospital, and numerous residences, all within one mile of the proposed landfill site.

“The best way to ensure that the environment and residential areas surrounding the Ameron Hawaii Quarry are protected from health and safety concerns is to avoid building a landfill at the Ameron site,” Thielen reiterated.

Representative Thielen observed that placing a landfill at the Ameron Hawaii Quarry site would have a significant impact on Hawaii’s construction industry. “Without Ameron Hawaii Quarry in Kailua we would not have enough Grade A rock to meet the local demand. This lack of material would have a significant impact on much-needed infrastructure upgrades and material costs.”

Currently, Ameron Hawaii Quarry is in the top 5 on the list of potential new landfill sites for Oahu. Thielen’s memo is a pointed, evidentiary statement that the quarry should not be on the list at all.

RepThielen Memo to Mayor re Landfill 5 7 12

Rep Ward addresses the state budget – May 3, 2012

Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 131-12 H.B. No. 2012, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, C.D. 1
RELATING TO THE STATE BUDGET. (State budget.) AS AMENDED, PASS FINAL READING

Rep Ward addresses the state budget – May 3, 2012

Hawaii’s fiscal year begins July 1 and runs through June 30. This is different from the Federal Fiscal year with runs from October 1 and ends September 30.

The total operating budget for FY 2012 is $10.8 billion.

The Department of Budget and Finance outlines the State budget process as such:

“The Governor shall submit a six-year program and financial plan, budget, and program memoranda to the Legislature in each odd-number year. The six-year program and financial plan and the budget are usually combined in a single document.

The budgets of the judicial and the legislative branches are submitted by their respective leaders to the Legislature for its consideration.

In each regular session in an even-numbered year, the Governor may submit to the Legislature a bill to amend any appropriation for operating expenditures of the current fiscal biennium, to be known as the supplemental appropriations bill.

Contact: Repward@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

MARUMOTO STILL OPPOSES ADMINISTRATION’S PRISONER RELEASE PLAN

I have been in opposition to this bill, and I still am opposed to this measure.  Although the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Act contains some good features, I think this is primarily a cost-saving measure for this Administration and not true prison reform.  Let me just mention the parts that I like.

First, and long overdue, attention will be paid to increase restitution paid to victims of crimes.

Second, bringing back prisoners from the mainland to be closer to their families.

Third, released prisoners will be offered more programs to help them re-integrate back into society.

Fourth, releasing prisoners will save money.  Since housing them now costs $190 M, any savings would be appreciated.  And considering that we spend only $8,000 per public school student, we can prioritize the money into our educational system.

However, there are features in this bill that may be detrimental and even dangerous to public safety. This bill is based on recommendation of the justice reinvestment working group working with the Council of State Governments Justice Center.  It aims “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”.

It will do this by reducing (and I quote Part I of the bill) “the current incarcerated population and generate savings of approximately 500 beds and $9 Million by the end of fiscal year 2013, 850 beds and $19 M in fy 2014 and  1,050 beds and $26 M in fy 2015.”  That means the first year of the program 500 prisoners will be released, year 2, 350 more prisoners, and 200 more in year 3!

In my humble and uneducated estimation, this is kapakahi!  I think we should start out small and enlarge the program gradually.  Why start the first year with 500 releases?  I also question whether we will have the necessary programs and personnel in place for Year 1.  Will drug and alcohol treatment, counseling, vocational training, or halfway houses be ready?  Will there be jobs for these people?  The plan outlines releasing 1 050 prisoners in the first three years of the program, and it will sunset in 2018 – 6 years.  2018 is when this Administration hopes to exit the scene, so that’s why I wonder whether this is prison reform or a cost-saving device.

The program, as described in the Working Group Plan and in earlier versions of this bill, called for the release of Class A felons 18 months before the end of a their terms.  Class B and C would not be released as soon.  Why is this?  I would release Class C felons sooner than Class A felons.  This may increase the danger to public safety.  Even with programs supporting released prisoners, the recidivism rate approaches 50%.

I share Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s skepticism.  We should “go slow” in releasing prisoners and have people and programs in place to better the chances of success.  This is critically important – for the sake of the released prisoners, their families and the community.  I believe my constructive criticisms this session will help shape a better program.  We should go back to the drawing board to re-examine the features of this release program.  Job 1 is to consider long-term reform and public safety – not short term cost savings.

Rep. Marumoto addresses SB 2776 – Public Safety; Parole Excerpt from Capitol TV 

Contact: repmarumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov


House Republicans reclaim the legacy of “Teddy” Roosevelt

In keeping with the legacy of Republican President and staunch environmentalist Theodore Roosevelt, Republicans in the State House of Representatives successfully led the way in opposing a series of bills that would have resulted in lasting damage to our environment.

 

“This year, the Republican caucus defended Hawaii’s environmental laws against many attempts by the Majority to erode our longstanding environmental protections. With the support of our communities and many coalitions, we successfully defeated many bills that would have endangered the quality of life for our residents and their children. We are very proud to end the 2012 session knowing that we helped to preserve the State of Hawaii for future generations.”

 

A few of the bills that House Republicans successfully opposed were:

SB 2927 SD2 HD1 CD2 could have resulted in unrestrained development near train stations planned for the controversial 20-mile elevated railway project from Kapolei to Ala Moana.

SB 2235 SD2 HD2 would have required state and county agencies to review all commercial broadband-related permit applications within 60 business days, or else the projects would automatically gain approval. The Department of Land and Natural Resources called this time limit far too restrictive – especially for projects in State Land Use Conservation Districts requiring public hearings.

SB 755 SD2 HD3 would have “temporarily” exempt certain airport construction projects from environmental reviews and public involvement. Testifying in strong opposition, the Hawaii Audubon Society said this bill “is not in the public interest and is not protective of Hawaii’s native flora and fauna or cultural resources.” Rep. Corinne Ching warned this measure would create an “open season on the treasures of the land…and health of the people.”

HB 2250 HD2 SD1 would have appropriated funds for the establishment of an emergency environmental workforce for short-term employment to maintain watersheds, eradicate certain plants and animals. The bill had myriad unintended opportunity costs and negative consequences including threats to already effective watershed projects, the loss of dollars vital for match for federal grants, and potential reduction in staff.

Rep. Ward Addresses HB 2347 – General Obligation Bonds

Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 49-12 H.B. No. 2347, S.D. 1, C.D. 1RELATING TO GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR REVENUE-PRODUCING UNDERTAKINGS.(General Obligation Bonds; Revenue-Producing Undertakings) AS AMENDED, PASS FINAL READING

Description
The purpose of the bill is to allow counties to issue general obligation bonds that may be secured by a pledge of certain receipts including any rates, rentals, fees, charges, taxes, state and/or federal grants in addition to real property taxes. Furthermore, counties may agree with holders of bonds secured with other receipts to continue to collect receipts in amounts necessary to cover the repayment of the principal and interest of such bonds. The bill also allows counties to agree with holders of bonds secured by a pledge of the revenue of the undertaking, loan program, or other purpose for which the bond was originally authorized to continue to collect such revenue in amounts necessary to cover the repayment of the principal and interest of such bonds. Bill amends section 47-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, HRS.

Bill passed FIN without amendment.

Usage of alternate receipts as pledges may lead to more bond issuance creating greater debt and future obligations for the counties as securing bonds is easier. Alternate receipts may also deprive other programs or functions that rely on those receipts their source of funding or sustainability. However, ideally the county would not need to use the alternate receipts when repaying the bonds and instead just use them as pledges.

Contact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov  Excerpt from Capitol TV

Rep. Ward Addresses SB2347

for the 2nd time

Rep. Marumoto addresses HB 2347 – General Obligation Bonds

Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 49-12 H.B. No. 2347, S.D. 1, C.D. 1RELATING TO GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR REVENUE-PRODUCING UNDERTAKINGS.(General Obligation Bonds; Revenue-Producing Undertakings) AS AMENDED, PASS FINAL READING

Description
The purpose of the bill is to allow counties to issue general obligation bonds that may be secured by a pledge of certain receipts including any rates, rentals, fees, charges, taxes, state and/or federal grants in addition to real property taxes. Furthermore, counties may agree with holders of bonds secured with other receipts to continue to collect receipts in amounts necessary to cover the repayment of the principal and interest of such bonds. The bill also allows counties to agree with holders of bonds secured by a pledge of the revenue of the undertaking, loan program, or other purpose for which the bond was originally authorized to continue to collect such revenue in amounts necessary to cover the repayment of the principal and interest of such bonds. Bill amends section 47-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, HRS.

Bill passed FIN without amendment.

Usage of alternate receipts as pledges may lead to more bond issuance creating greater debt and future obligations for the counties as securing bonds is easier. Alternate receipts may also deprive other programs or functions that rely on those receipts their source of funding or sustainability. However, ideally the county would not need to use the alternate receipts when repaying the bonds and instead just use them as pledges.

Contact: repmarumoto@Capitol.Hawaii.Gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

Rep. Riviere Addresses HB 1875 – Mortgage Foreclosures

Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 63-12 H.B. No. 1875, H.D. 2, S.D. 2, C.D. 1
RELATING TO FORECLOSURES. (Mortgage Foreclosures; Homeowner Association Liens and Assessments) AS AMENDED, PASS FINAL READING

Legal Aid Society of Hawaii: They oppose HD1 because it would repeal HRS §667-60 which states that any violation of the mortgage foreclosure laws an automatic UDAP violation. This waters down protections for consumers; they prefer the original version.
Hawaii Bankers’ Association (HBA): Repeal of HRS §667-60 should be permament, not temporary; allowing filing of an action to void the foreclosure sale, up to 6 months after the sale is recorded, will chill the real estate market; the provision requiring lenders to hold 2 open houses is unrealistic, as the lender does not have any legal right to take possession of the property and could be liable for trying to do so.
Requesting amendments (1) during nonjudicial foreclosure process, we are required to do 2 open houses—please strike this. (2) planned community association. The documents suggested that they have priority over everyone else . We’ve come up with wording to address this.
Community Associations Institute Legislative Action Committee: Condominium associations perform quasi-governmental services. It would be detrimental to prohibit foreclosure based on nonpayment of association fees; associations need money to maintain their level of services to homeowners. Paying homeowners would need to pay more, to make up for the delinquent homeowners’ share.

Contact: repriviere@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV