Archive for February, 2013

HEMP BILL CLEARS HURDLE IN THE HOUSE

February 28, 2013

Hawaii reporter Logo February 27, 2013

The House Finance Committee unanimously passed HB154 HD2, to establish an industrial hemp research pilot program, on Monday, February 25, 2013. A primary focus of the research is phytoremediation, the process by which the hemp plant draws toxins out of the soil and processes them safely through its roots, stalk, branches, and leaves, leaving the soil refreshed and ready for the next crop.

Lawmakers are working to expand the scope of the research to include the viability of industrial hemp as a biofuel feedstock, an application that has shown promise elsewhere.

HB154 now goes to the floor of the House for a third reading, after which it goes to the Senate.

“This is great news for Hawaii’s agricultural industry,” said State Representative Cynthia Thielen (R, 50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay), who cosponsored HB154. “Phytoremediation is how the hemp plant actually cleans pesticides, oil, and other toxins from the soil it’s growing in. They planted hemp to clean the soil at Chernobyl — surely our overstressed agricultural lands could benefit from it, too.”

“The bill’s passage through three House committees also is a good sign that people are recognizing that hemp is a really useful plant,” Thielen added. “Not just for phytoremediation, but in making clothing, termite-proof building materials, food products, and biofuel. Hawaii is poised to really take advantage of hemp cultivation, the way that Canada, China, Japan, and several European countries already do.”

HB154 was introduced by Thielen, Speaker Joseph Souki, Representative Derek Kawakami, Representative Sylvia Luke, and Representative Angus McKelvey.

HB154’s companion legislation, HCR3 and HR6, which call on Congress and the President to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, passed the Hawaii House of Representatives earlier in February.

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Hawaii Reporter Article; http://www.hawaiireporter.com/hemp-bill-clears-hurdle-in-the-hawaii-house/123

 

HEMP BILL CLEARS HURDLE IN THE HOUSE

February 26, 2013

ImageThe House Finance Committee unanimously passed HB154 HD2, to establish an industrial hemp research pilot program, on Monday, February 25, 2013. A primary focus of the research is phytoremediation, the process by which the hemp plant draws toxins out of the soil and processes them safely through its roots, stalk, branches, and leaves, leaving the soil refreshed and ready for the next crop.

Lawmakers are working to expand the scope of the research to include the viability of industrial hemp as a biofuel feedstock, an application that has shown promise elsewhere.

HB154 now goes to the floor of the House for a third reading, after which it goes to the Senate.

“This is great news for Hawaii’s agricultural industry,” said State Representative Cynthia Thielen (R, 50th District: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay), who cosponsored HB154. “Phytoremediation is how the hemp plant actually cleans pesticides, oil, and other toxins from the soil it’s growing in. They planted hemp to clean the soil at Chernobyl — surely our overstressed agricultural lands could benefit from it, too.”

“The bill’s passage through three House committees also is a good sign that people are recognizing that hemp is a really useful plant,” Thielen added. “Not just for phytoremediation, but in making clothing, termite-proof building materials, food products, and biofuel. Hawaii is poised to really take advantage of hemp cultivation, the way that Canada, China, Japan, and several European countries already do.”

HB154 was introduced by Thielen, Speaker Joseph Souki, Representative Derek Kawakami, Representative Sylvia Luke, and Representative Angus McKelvey.

HB154’s companion legislation, HCR3 and HR6, which call on Congress and the President to remove hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, passed the Hawaii House of Representatives earlier in February.

Mike Buck with Representative Aaron Ling Johanson – Feb 25 2013 AUdio File

February 26, 2013

Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson talks with Mike Buck about the many House proposals to raise taxes and fees on Hawaii residents. Tune in Monday mornings during the 7 o’clock hour to hear Rep. Johanson on 690 AM.  Call in to: 808-296-5467.  Audio File.

hEADSHOT johansonContact: repjohanson@capitol.hawaii.gov

Mike Buck with Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson Feb 19, 2013 – Audio File

February 22, 2013

The Mike Buck Show with Representative Aaron Ling Johanson Feb 19, 2013 – Audio File

hEADSHOT johansonContact: repjohanson@capitol.hawaii.gov

Better Government with Reps. Ward and McDermott – Preschools

February 21, 2013

Representatives Gene Ward and Bob McDermott discuss legislation on February 20, 2013.

mcdermott and ward olelo feb 2013Contact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov or repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov

Rep. Gene Ward Addresses HB932 – Mineral Resources

February 21, 2013

RELATING TO MINERAL RESOURCES.
Report Title: Mineral Resources
Description: Promotes renewable energy in Hawaii by: (1) providing that all penalties, fees, and costs established and collected by the Department of Land and Natural Resources pursuant to Chapter 182, Hawaii Revised Statutes, be deposited in the Special Land and Development Fund; (2) including geothermal resources within the definition of a renewable energy producer; and (3) clarifying the permitting procedures for regulators and renewable energy developers considering geothermal development. (HB932 HD1)

2/20/2013 H Passed Third Reading with none voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) Fale, McDermott, Ward voting no (3) and none excused (0). Transmitted to Senate.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAContact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov Excerpt from Capitol TV

Hemp plant is exciting agricultural opportunity for Hawaii By Rep. Cynthia Thielen

February 20, 2013

Image February 19, 2013

It is ironic that our country’s Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper, because any mention of hemp today is likely to be met with raised eyebrows.

However, the public perception of hemp, which is not the same plant as marijuana, might be on the verge of a dramatic national shift.

Last week, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “I am convinced that allowing (hemp’s) production will be a positive development for Kentucky’s farm families and economy. The utilization of hemp to produce everything from clothing to paper is real and if there is a capacity to center a new domestic industry in Kentucky that will create jobs in these difficult economic times, that sounds like a good thing to me.”

McConnell is cosponsoring the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013.

For centuries, hemp was a major crop in the Americas, Europe and Asia, where it was — and still is — used in rope, textiles, nets, paper, oils, cosmetics and food. Abraham Lincoln illuminated his home with lamp oil made from hemp seeds. The Puritans grew hemp, as did George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The Founding Fathers promoted a hemp-based economy for the new country. Some of the colonies even required farmers to grow the endlessly useful crop, seeing it as necessary to their survival.

Our state has a chance to lead the nation in this exciting agricultural opportunity. Hawaii’s climate and soil offer ideal conditions for cultivation — and in return, where hemp grows, it cleanses the soil of pesticides, oil, gasoline and other toxins through a process called “phytoremediation.” Industrial hemp phytoremediation works so well, it was used to help clean up and stop further soil contamination after the nuclear power plant catastrophe at Chernobyl.

This soil-cleansing characteristic is the focus of House Bill 154, a bill moving fast through the Legislature, which authorizes the state Board of Agriculture to establish an industrial hemp remediation pilot program. The purpose clause of the bill explains that the “state’s extensive agricultural operations in the past have left toxins in vast tracts of land. Phytoremediation will remove these toxins.”

HB 154 establishes a two-year hemp phytoremediation pilot project to extract toxins such as metals, pesticides, solvents, explosive and crude oil without the need to remove any of the contaminated topsoil. This process will leave a clean, balanced and nutrient-rich soil, which can then be safely used for agriculture or improving conservation habitats.

Today, in Hawaii and the rest of this country, you can buy hemp beer, hemp iced tea, hemp carryall bags, hemp shirts, hemp sheets, blankets and tortilla chips (corn chips sprinkled with hemp seeds). You can even wrap your baby’s bottom in hemp diapers. And hemp-seed oil isn’t just for Honest Abe’s lamps. The oil from this little seed is packed with essential amino acids, essential fatty acids (Omega 3, Omega 6), and magnesium.

We must get beyond the irrational opposition to this valuable plant. We know Hawaii is an ideal place to grow hemp — we did it in 1999, with the Hawaii Industrial Hemp Research Project. We can do it again.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorialspremium/20130218_Hemp_plant_is_exciting_agricultural_opportunity_for_Hawaii.html?id=191580861

Rep. Bob McDermott Addresses Teachers’ Contract

February 20, 2013

Hawaii reporter Logo February 20, 2013 by Rep. Bob McDermott

It is long overdue to settle the teachers’ contract. Making them grovel over less than a 2% increase (when health care costs are factored in), while at the same time proposing an expensive new preschool program is breathtakingly insulting. This reinforces the belief among teachers that they are not appreciated and they are made the perennial whipping boys for all of the systemic shortcomings that produce public dissatisfaction. The teachers are by and large dedicated professionals who feel underappreciated and this preschool maneuver by the Governor offers them solid evidence that they are indeed taken for granted.

I have spoken to many teachers and while pay is an issue, another important issue is that they are also suffering from a morale problem. Aside from antidotal discussion with teachers, one need only look at our absenteeism rate as documented in a report by the Center for American Progress. Written and released in November 2012, it showed about half of Hawaii teachers had more than 10 absences, the second-highest rate in the nation. Or, one could look at our teacher attrition numbers (excluding retirements), we lose about 10% of our full complement each year; the total annual costs associated with teacher turnover in Hawaii alone, excluding retirements, is estimated to be $23,895.228.00 per annum according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. Will Okabe, president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, said “there’s no question” that teacher absences affect student learning. One can also safely assume that high teacher turnover, particularly at our “at risk” schools, lowers our student achievement outcomes. Both of these are indicators of poor morale and lack of job satisfaction.

Morale is affected by many things. However, we know what needs to be done. We must include more professional mentoring time for teachers. Increased planning time is needed because, although we have curriculum standards, we have no standard curriculum. We can reduce their workload by enforcing a hard cap on the number of students per classroom. Teachers need to have a say in school policy. And finally, they need to believe that the school (and Parents) stands with them, shoulder to shoulder, when dealing with problematic student behavior.

In return, the teachers will gladly accept reasonable evaluation standards. They want to be measured so that they can improve as professionals and root out the teachers who do not perform. The loss of good teachers is devastating to the taxpayers, schools, educators, students and the communities that they serve. We need to pay them what they are worth and grant them a 4% raise, and address the morale issues.

The time to settle is now.

Contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov

Article on the Hawaii Reporter on Feb 20, 2013 http://www.hawaiireporter.com/it-is-time-to-settle-the-teachers-contract/123

Kaiser Complex Schools Make History!

February 20, 2013

Rep. Gene Ward (R – Hawai‘i Kai-Kalama Valley) announced that Hahaione Elementary School in Hawaii Kai was authorized to become an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School making the Kaiser complex (Kaiser High School, Niu Valley Middle School, Hahaione Elementary School) the first public school complex in the State to offer the IB World School Programme grades K-12.
The IB Programme is a coveted status for schools around the world. The curriculum emphasizes and highlights the importance of international awareness and responsible citizenship for students. Its world class curriculum prepares students for college that includes the speaking of a foreign language before high school graduation.

“Congratulations to Principal Cindy Giorgis, her faculty, staff and students at Hahaione Elementary for their hard work and dedication in earning their school this designation last week and making Kaiser a full IB complex. I also owe a heartfelt handshake to Mr. John Sosa, Principal of Kaiser High School, for being a prime mover to put the Kaiser complex of schools as the first IB Programme complex in the entire State of Hawaii.” Ward said.
In 2012, Kaiser High School graduated its first cohort of IB Diploma Programme candidates, with 22 earning the prestigious IB diploma.

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Representative Gene Ward and

“Kaiser is now the first complex in the State that will prepare our keiki from kindergarten to high school graduation in intensive academic programs that will guarantee that our graduates are competitive nationally and internationally,” Ward concluded.

Olelo show:  Representative Gene Ward introduces Principal John Sosa to discuss the IB program:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lQC715kpYI

 

 

 

Rep. Gene Ward Addresses HB964 – General Excise Tax

February 20, 2013

RELATING TO GENERAL EXCISE TAX EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN SCIENTIFIC CONTRACTS WITH THE UNITED STATES.
Report Title: General Excise Tax; Exemption; Scientific Contracts
Description: Amends general excise tax exemption for scientific contracts with the United States. (HB964 HD1)

2/19/2013 H Passed Third Reading as amended in HD 1 with Representative(s) Ward voting aye with reservations; Representative(s) McDermott voting no (1) and none excused (0). Transmitted to Senate.

Contact: repward@capitol.hawaii.gov excerpt from capitol TV