Representative McDermott Discusses Hawaii’s Early Childhood Education

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

Ban considered on paper bags, too

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

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

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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Rep. Thielen Wants to Make Shoreline Access Law Permanent

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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

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.”