Archive for October, 2013

Invocation by Representative Lauren Kealohilani Matsumoto

October 30, 2013

House of Representatives October 30, 2013
Invocation by Representative Lauren Kealohilani Matsumoto

Contact: repcheape@capitol.hawaii.gov
repmatsumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov 808-586-9490

History teaches a rush to legislate could backfire By Rep. Gene Ward and Rep. Bob McDermott

October 28, 2013

ImageOct. 28, 2013

Stirred by the governor’s unilateral proclamation for a special session, public debate regarding same-sex marriage has raged in Hawaii for barely more than a month now. While debate has (rightly) focused on the merits of same-sex marriage, there has been no conversation about the possible outcome of the special legislative session that the governor and other proponents desire.

The five-day special session is an exercise that procedurally neuters public input by: a) Reducing the number of committee hearings from four to one joint; b) Drastically shortening the vetting period for legislation from 60 to only five days; and c) Ignoring all public comment on substantive ways to improve the current language. History has shown great distrust in government when they take shortcuts around public testimony, and this same history shows breeches of this trust becoming more habitual.

When did this last happen? State Rep. Mark Takai said that the most recent occurrence ” … undermin(ed) democracy by overriding existing procedures and safeguards and cuts out participation by the public.” Kauai Councilman and former state legislator Gary Hooser commented that it “was created by the Legislature in a manner that at best was unprincipled and at worst corrupt and illegal.” He was particularly critical of controversial language that received one (rather than four) public hearing(s).

Columnist David Shapiro observed, “Incredibly, legislation of such magnitude passed with little notice and without full public hearings.” Against public wisdom, Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Legislature created the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC), only to repeal less than two years later.

Perhaps a fairer comparison would be to examine the special session surrounding the infamous Hawaii Superferry. The administration attempted to exempt the Superferry from environmental review and the Legislature went into special session to save the Superferry. The courts later found that the rash actions of the governor and the Legislature were unconstitutional — and the Superferry literally sailed off into the sunset.

The lessons of the past were summed up well when Shapiro wrote, “And the elected officials responsible for this ham-handed exercise in back-door democracy wonder why the public doesn’t trust them.”

While the Superferry and the PLDC technically followed the rules of procedure, they failed to benefit from a proper vetting by the public. Regardless of how you feel regarding the issue of same-sex marriage, our current course shows that we are doomed to repeat history. Whether our churches are trampled upon, or proponents must wait longer for same-sex marriage, no one stands to win from this special session. Let’s learn from history before we repeat it.

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State Rep. Gene Ward (R, Hawaii Kai Kalama Valley) is a former Democracy Officer at USAID, Washington, D.C.; state Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach) is a former Marine captain who served in the Gulf War.

Byrone Babione ADF Senior Counsel Briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii

October 28, 2013

Byrone Babione ADF Senior Counsel Briefing at the House of Representatives, Hawaii
discusses his legal experiences from O’Reilly’s Bed and Breakfast case in Vermont.

Contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov and repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Phil Lees Ontario, Canada Teacher Briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii

October 28, 2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeTGD1X30XwPhil Lees Ontario, Canada Teacher and Marriage Advocate – Briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii Oct. 2013

Contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov or repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Professor Mark Regnerus Briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii

October 28, 2013

Prof Mark Regnerus Briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii discusses “The Sociology of Family and Children” Oct 2013

Contact: remcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov or repward@capitol.hawaii.gov.

William Duncan Briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii

October 28, 2013

William Duncan, Director of “Marriage Law Foundation” briefing the House of Representatives, Hawaii Oct. 23, 2013.

Question and Answers by members attending experts in the field of same-gender marriage issues.

Contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov or repward@capitol.hawaii.org

Same-gender marriage briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii

October 27, 2013

Prof. Lynn Wardle, BYU Law School: “Family Law + Marriage Impacts”

Hosted by
Representatives Bob McDermott and Gene Ward

October 23, 2013; Hawaii State Capitol, Room 329, 5:30 pm
Contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov or repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

Same-gender marriage briefing House of Representatives, Hawaii

October 27, 2013

Hosted by
Representatives Bob McDermott and Gene Ward

October 23, 2013; Hawaii State Capitol, Room 329, 5:30 pm

(Background: On September 9th, Governor Neil Abercrombie issued a Proclamation calling for the State House and State Senate to reconvene for a Special Session for consideration of legislation his administration authored concerning same-gender marriage. The Special Session will commence on Monday, October 28, 2013.

Testimony by Experts in the Field:
• Prof. Lynn Wardle, BYU Law School: “Family Law + Marriage Impacts”
• Mr. Phil Lees: Ontario, Canada Teacher and Marriage Advocate
• O’Reilly’s Bed and Breakfast: legal experiences from Vermont
• Prof. Mark Regnerus: “The Sociology of the Family and Children”
• William Duncan, Director, “Marriage Law Foundation”

Contact: repmcdermott@capitol.hawaii.gov or repward@capitol.hawaii.gov

HECO’s outdated corporate model leaves state with old technology

October 23, 2013

ImageOctober 23, 2013

by Representative Cynthia Thielen

 

Clinging to an outdated business model, Hawaiian Electric Co. (HECO) is “doomed to obsolescence.” This term surfaced in Bloomberg Business Week (Aug 22) and is used to describe electric utilities that cling to a model used since the invention of the light bulb. Think of the land-line telephone, a virtual monopoly for over a century, which is now being replaced by cell phones and digital communication devices.

HECO’s corporate culture is fighting a losing battle and moving toward unplanned obsolescence. In the foreseeable future, green energy won’t need HECO or its antiquated transmission lines to deliver power to most households. Technical advances in microgrids and battery storage soon will enable residents to install a complete, stand-alone, renewable energy system and get off the excessively-priced HECO grid.

Nationally, grid-transmitted electric power peaked in 2007, as noted in the Bloomberg article. HECO, seeing its customer base switching to photovoltaic, slammed on the brakes. Basically, as of Sept. 6, 2013, HECO announced a halt to all PV connections until it assessed the safety of circuits. This left residents, solar companies and their employees stranded.

protection held a joint informational briefing on Oct 14 to receive an update from HECO on its changed policy for solar photovoltaic grid interconnection. The conference room was filled to overflowing with employees from PV companies, others from the environmental sector who support green energy, and some HECO officials.

Calling a halt and defending an antiquated corporate business model, HECO said it would do four studies in different Oahu regions, but gave no time frame for completion of the work. In the meantime, customers wanting to hook up their PV systems, or those thinking of installing PV, have been put on hold by HECO.

Leslie Cole-Brooks, executive director of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association, declared at the legislative briefing that HECO was reactive rather than proactive. Its reaction could cause solar companies to shut doors, leaving a significant number of workers unemployed.

This is a crisis in the making, created by a monopoly which clings to the old way of doing business. HECO could be part of reinventing Hawaii’s electric system, thereby protecting its income stream —or they could cling to an outdated corporate culture and be bypassed by technological innovation and advancements.

Choosing the latter course, HECO is notifying PV customers that their applications to hook up are “pending our internal technical review to identify any other requirements. Please do not proceed with PV installation until you have received approval from Hawaiian Electric.”

HECO won in Round One. But technology is in the consumer’s corner for Round Two. As noted in Bloomberg Business Week, the microgrid’s ultimate potential is in turning every person, company or institution with a renewable energy power system into a self-sustaining utility.

Hawaii’s sun enables us to control and manage our own power needs. HECO could change course and become part of this emerging energy market. Sadly, at the legislative briefing, all we heard were excuses and denials. HECO’s corporate message was clear: Delay. Thomas Edison would do better.

In response to the outcry, the state House and Senate committees on energy and consumer protection held a joint informational briefing on Oct. 14 to receive an update from HECO on its changed policy for solar photovoltaic grid interconnection. The conference room was filled to overflowing with employees from PV companies, others from the environmental sector who support green energy, and some HECO officials.

Calling a halt and defending an antiquated corporate business model, HECO said it would do four studies in different Oahu regions, but gave no time frame for completion of the work. In the meantime, customers wanting to hook up their PV systems, or those thinking of installing PV, have been put on hold by HECO.

Leslie Cole-Brooks, executive director of the Hawaii Solar Energy Association, declared at the legislative briefing that HECO was reactive rather than proactive. Its reaction could cause solar companies to shut doors, leaving a significant number of workers unemployed.

This is a crisis in the making, created by a monopoly which clings to the old way of doing business. HECO could be part of reinventing Hawaii’s electric system, thereby protecting its income stream —or they could cling to an outdated corporate culture and be bypassed by technological innovation and advancements.

Choosing the latter course, HECO is notifying PV customers that their applications to hook up are “pending our internal technical review to identify any other requirements. Please do not proceed with PV installation until you have received approval from Hawaiian Electric.”

HECO won in Round One. But technology is in the consumer’s corner for Round Two. As noted in Bloomberg Business Week, the microgrid’s ultimate potential is in turning every person, company or institution with a renewable energy power system into a self-sustaining utility.

Hawaii’s sun enables us to control and manage our own power needs. HECO could change course and become part of this emerging energy market. Sadly, at the legislative briefing, all we heard were excuses and denials. HECO’s corporate message was clear: Delay. Thomas Edison would do better.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorialspremium/20131023__HECOs_outdated_corporate_model_leaves_state_with_old_technology.html?id=228876031&c=n

Rep. Beth Fukumoto Calls for Civility and Kindness in Political Debates

October 12, 2013

Rep. Beth Fukumoto calls for civility and kindness in ongoing debates over government shutdown, debt ceiling crisis and same-sex marriage.