Archive for January, 2013

Representative McDermott Discusses Hawaii’s Early Childhood Education

January 28, 2013

Honolulu—Following Governor Abercrombie’s State of the State presentation, Representative Bob McDermott quickly reacted to the early education proposal.

“The Governor’s proposals on early education are commendable,” said McDermott.

From Paul Berman’s 1988 outline for Hawaii’s Business Roundtable Legislators already have suggested guidelines. The publication gives a complete and functional plan for education reform while noting that preschool was one of the five components for a reformation of the system.

From the abstract, “the plan calls for a substantial financial investment and a commitment to a long-run program to achieve excellence. It suggested: (1) institute universal early childhood education; (2) reorganize K-12 governance and management; (3) modernize curriculum and instruction; (4) strengthen the teaching and administrative professions; and (5) renew secondary schools. The booklet closes with a summary of a transition plan and overall costs for implementing these recommendations. The others recommendations address reorganizing of governance and management, curriculum and instruction; strengthening the teaching and administrative profession and a renewing of the secondary schools.” The Berman report is supported by Governor Waihee, Cayetano and Lingle.

“I believe comprehensive educational reform can still be done but not with another centralized statewide program,” concluded McDermott.

contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov

Lawmakers see legalized pakalolo as a ‘logical and reasonable’ step

January 25, 2013

ImageFriday, January 25, 2013

Opponents, including House Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson, say the senators have it wrong. They believe legalization might increase crime.

headshot johanson

“I’d rather exercise more caution than have to worry about controlling the extra societal costs,” Johanson (R, Fort Shafter-Moana­lua Gardens-Alia­manu) said.

Ban considered on paper bags, too

January 25, 2013

ImageFriday, January 25, 2013

Lawmakers in both chambers of the state Legislature want to charge a 10-cent fee for paper and plastic shopping bags, and four representatives are sponsoring a bill to ban single-use checkout bags altogether.

All of Hawaii’s counties already have their own bans on plastic shopping bags. But some of their ordinances have yet to take effect, and the proposals being considered at the state level would apply to paper bags, too.

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House Minority Whip Lauren Cheape (R, Mililani-Schofield-Kunia) is one of the lawmakers hoping to ban disposable bags. The newly elected representative says a ban is a more straightforward way of addressing the issue than a fee.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20130125_Ban_considered_on_paper_bags_too.html?id=188324251

Better Government with Representative Gene Ward, Ph.D. January 2013

January 25, 2013

Representative Gene Ward, Ph.D. discusses policy, bills and legislation with Hawaii State House Minority Office policy specialist Sarah Fukumoto, and Marc Takei Legislative Finance Analyst.

Contact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

House Republicans generally agree with proposals; cautions against overcommitting state resources

January 24, 2013

hEADSHOT johansonOn behalf of the House Minority Caucus, Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson made the following statement in response to the State of the State Address:

“The Minority Caucus agrees with the Governor that at its heart, politics exists to do good for people. We are encouraged by the Governor’s call for a new, cooperative tone in legislative dialogue. This legislative session, unlike any year before, may be Hawaii’s best chance to put politics aside and meaningfully focus on reaching common ground.”

“Conceptually, we find common ground with the Governor’s priorities to increase transparency, focus on education, address unfunded liabilities and support our veterans.”

“The Governor’s proposals are part of an ambitious agenda.  The question will be how we pay for all of these initiatives.  We should proceed with cautious optimism and be careful not to overcommit our state’s financial resources during our fragile economic recovery.  It is our responsibility as leaders to ensure that we stay on a path toward long-term financial solvency to best honor our state’s obligation to its people.”

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Read more: http://www.kitv.com/news/politics/Gov-Abercrombie-focuses-on-budget-energy-in-State-of-the-State/-/8905242/18236698/-/xxg3h6z/-/index.html#ixzz2IqrqNH5O

Rep. Thielen Wants to Make Shoreline Access Law Permanent

January 23, 2013

Hawaii reporter Logo

Jan 23, 2013

Hawai‘i State Representative Cynthia Thielen (R, 50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay), in response to the impending expiration of an important shoreline access law (Act 160), co-introduced House Bill 17 on January 17, 2013.  House Bill 17 seeks to make Act 160 permanent.

Act 160 was enacted in response to landowners who purposefully planted, or neglected to trim, vegetation that blocked people from using certain public corridors for lateral beach access. The law requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to maintain beach transit corridors by prohibiting landowners from planting vegetation that interferes with access through them. It also establishes access to the corridors as a policy within the Coastal Zone Management Program.

ImageRepresentative Thielen said, “Access to our beaches is an essential part of living in Hawaii.  We’ve had some property owners who have aggressively cultivated salt-water tolerant vegetation such as hau or naupaka.  The overgrowth restricts public access, as the vegetation reduces the width of passable shoreline.  In some extreme cases, the vegetation completely blocks passage along the completely.  The existence of these “privatized” beaches is hardly consistent with our State Constitution which provides that Hawaii’s shorelines and marine resources belong to the public, with “free and equal” access for all.”

House Bill 17, by making Act 160 permanent, will address this problem by requiring property owners to ensure that beachfront areas abutting their lands “be kept passable and free from the landowner’s human-induced, enhanced, or unmaintained vegetation that interferes or encroaches” upon the public’s ability to transit the shoreline.  In other words, beachfront property owners assume the same responsibility as property owners who live adjacent to sidewalks, or other public property.

“It is extremely important that we pass this bill through the Legislature.  House Bill 17 doesn’t make new laws, but merely preserves the good ones we have already on the books.  If we cannot pass this bill to make Act 160 permanent, we will have lost a very important and valuable law simply through the law’s expiration,” said Representative Thielen.

House Bill 17 is scheduled for its first hearing in the House Committee on Water and Land on Friday, January 25 at 8:30 a.m. in House Conference Room 325.

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/rep-thielen-wants-to-make-shoreline-access-law-permanent/123

HOUSE REPUBLICANS RESPOND TO STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

January 22, 2013

ImageOn behalf of the House Minority Caucus, Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson made the following statement today in response to Governor Neil Abercrombie’s State of the State Address:

“The Minority Caucus agrees with the Governor that at its heart, politics exists to do good for people. We are encouraged by the Governor’s call for a new, cooperative tone in legislative dialogue. This legislative session, unlike any year before, may be Hawaii’s best chance to put politics aside and meaningfully focus on reaching common ground.”

“Conceptually, we find common ground with the Governor’s priorities to increase transparency, focus on education, address unfunded liabilities and support our veterans.

“The Governor’s proposals are part of an ambitious agenda. The question will be how we pay for all of these initiatives. We should proceed with cautious optimism and be careful not to overcommit our state’s financial resources during our fragile economic recovery. It is our responsibility as leaders to ensure that we stay on a path toward long-term financial solvency to best honor our state’s obligation to its people.”

Rep. Thielen Discusses Wave Energy with Jay Fidell Jan. 2013

January 19, 2013

Representative Cynthia Thielen Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP) discusses wave energy with Jay Fidell in January 2013

Contact: repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov

Three House GOP Minority Members Named Vice Chairs

January 17, 2013

 

ImageReps Ward Thielen Johanson - Vice Chairs

 

 

January 17, 2013 –  At the Opening Day ceremonies of the 27th Hawaii State Legislature this morning, the Hawaii House of Representatives voted to include 3 of our Republican members in the State House leadership structure.

For the first time since statehood, Republicans will hold vice-chairmanships in three key committees: Finance, Economic Development & Business, and Energy & Environmental Protection.

 

Minority Leader Representative Aaron Ling Johanson, a former Deputy Chief of Staff at the United States Mint, will serve as Vice Chair of Finance.

 

Representative Gene Ward, a small businessman, will serve as the Vice Chair of Economic Development & Business.

 

Representative Cynthia Thielen, an environmental attorney, will serve as the Vice Chair of Energy & Environmental Protection. We offer our congratulations to the House Republican caucus on this historic achievement!

 

 

 

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/three-house-gop-minority-members-named-vice-chairs/123

Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson’s Opening Day Speech 2013

January 17, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for the privilege of addressing this chamber, filled with so many of our State’s most distinguished leaders of the past, present, and future. Today, I am also honored to have the opportunity to speak to the people, the heart of Hawaii.

 

People all across the country are speaking out and asking for common sense leaders who will work to find common ground. We, here in Hawaii, are answering this call…starting today.

 

With the cost of living rising, the effect of federal spending cuts uncertain, and the burden of unfunded liabilities looming large, we must have a common purpose. The improvement of the lives of all our people is that common purpose.

 

This Minority Caucus recognizes that we have a duty as elected Representatives to work constructively and collaboratively in finding solutions and achieving results that reflect the will of the people. Collective problems require collective solutions.  Thus, where common ground and common cause can be found, your Minority Caucus will work hard to find it.  However, where we must disagree, we…will…respectfully dissent.

 

The upcoming session affords us the opportunity to answer the public’s call to action. The Minority Caucus will advocate for legislation that addresses:

 

–         Quality of Life Improvements, including greater protections for children (particularly in the school setting) and the elderly, and better addressing the health and well-being of veterans.

 

–         Opportunity for All, by guarding against cost of living increases on our most vulnerable populations and promoting small businesses.

 

–         Accountability and Transparency in Government, by reforming the local election process, addressing the PLDC , and encouraging greater public input in the legislative process.

 

On these issues, where common ground and common cause can be found, we will work hard to find it.

 

On behalf of the Minority Caucus, I would like to thank and honor Speaker Say for his historic service to the state as Speaker of the House of Representatives. I would also like to wish Speaker Souki well as he leads our body in this next chapter of the Legislature’s history.

 

Change brings a newness and a different perspective.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Minority Caucus before you today.

 

Four of our seven members are age 32 or younger, and in this next generation of minority members, there is a connection to much of Hawaii’s story.

 

In Minority Floor Leader Beth Fukumoto, we have a granddaughter of a labor leader, who led the union that ultimately became the New York State AFL-CIO.

 

…a fourth generation farmer in Lauren Kealohilani Cheape, whose great-grandfather started Peterson’s Upland Farm in Wahiawa in 1910.

 

…a combat veteran who served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Richard Lee Fale, who grew up in the Kingdom of Tonga.

 

…and a former White House staffer whose great-grandparents immigrated to Hawaii from Okinawa as plantation laborers in your Minority Leader.

 

Youth brings energy and new ideas to the table, but it needs a strong foundation. Our caucus’ foundation has been built by a champion of small business and an international diplomat, a tireless environmental advocate, a veteran fighting hard for the benefit of other veterans, and the generations of leaders who came before us.

 

The Minority Caucus’ diversity is reflective of the broader diversity that exists within our House of Representatives.  It is this diversity, coupled with a common purpose, which enables us as public servants to effectively answer the public’s call to action.

 

This call resonates across ideological and geographic lines. Starting today, recognizing common cause and finding common ground, we are ALL answering the call.  Mahalo and best wishes for a successful 2013 legislative session. Aloha!

 

Video excerpt from Capitol TV January 16, 2013