Ward Opposes Speaker Souki’s Pension Tax on Seniors

Representative Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) says he vehemently opposes a call made by Speaker of the House Joseph M. Souki to tax Hawaii’s wealthy, retiree population as outlined in the Speaker’s opening day speech.

“Speaker Souki’s call for a pension tax on older, well-off residents of Hawaii is like Governor Abercrombie’s Pension Tax of 2011. It’s simply unfair and a bad idea,” Representative Ward said. “People work their entire lives to build a retirement nest-egg. Increasing taxes for older members of Hawaii’s community who have worked hard for their financial success sends the wrong message to our youth and discourages the kind of activity that leads to economic prosperity,” the Representative added.

ImageRepresentative Ward feels we should reward, not punish, people who have worked hard all their lives and are now retired. The Representative serves as Vice Chair for the House Committee on Economic Development and Business.

McDermott says ‘Pono Choices’ is medically inaccurate, inappropriate for middle school

Image January 09, 2014

A state House lawmaker claimed today that Pono Choices, a pilot sex education curriculum aimed at public middle school students, is not medically accurate or age appropriate and deliberately minimizes the risks of homosexual behavior.

State Rep. Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) said he wants the state Board of Education to either pull the curriculum from public schools or make revisions to the content.

Pono #2McDermott said the curriculum, which the state Department of Education had initially withheld from him, includes the anus in its description of male and female genitals. He said genitals are more properly defined as reproductive organs.

McDermott also said the curriculum omits a reference to anal sex without a condom in a description of low- and high-risk sexual behaviors.

“It is unhealthy at best and lethal at worst,” he said at a news conference at the state Capitol. “This is not age-appropriate for an 11-year-old student.”

The Department of Education put Pono Choices on hold in late November after complaints by McDermott and other conservatives about its content. The department lifted the hold in December after confirming that the curriculum is “medically accurate, appropriate and aligned with health education, state law and DOE policy.”

Twelve schools are using Pono Choices this semester, according to the department. Eight other schools are expected to receive training on the curriculum. Parents who object to the curriculum are able to opt their children out of the instruction.

McDermott, who believes homosexuality is “aberrant,” has challenged the state’s gay marriage law in court. He and others have warned, among other things, that gay marriage would lead to homosexuality being taught in public schools as a normal and acceptable behavior.


KHON Video: http://www.khon2.com/news/lawmaker-complains-about-content-of-sex-education-program

Ward Introduces Bill to Get More Kids into College


January 09, 2014

Rep. Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai – Kalama Valley) introduced a bill today that could potentially change the way students at the University of Hawaii system pay for their tuition, easing the burden of climbing tuition rates and student loan debt that is curbing students’ appetite for higher education.

According to a 2012 report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) , the United States is now the only major economy in the world where the younger generation (25 years old and below) will not surpass the preceding generation in terms of schooling.

Image“Parents have always been less educated than their kids, but now it’s dangerously opposite in Hawaii; the parents are the smart ones; there are a number of reasons for this, but an important one is simply that the amount of debt that a college student has to absorb discourages them from going to college, ” Ward said.

Ward’s Bill would task the UH system with examining the feasibility of a pay-forward, pay back pilot program to replace the current tuition fees model.

In lieu of paying tuition or fees, students would enter contracts to pay back the university a certain percentage of their income after graduation. A similar piece of legislation already passed in Oregon last year. The Bill has garnered interest from both Republican and Democrat House members.

With out-of-state tuition costs ranging from $25,000 to $50,000 per year, many students simply cannot afford to attend their college of choice. The amount of student debt in the United States has surpassed a staggering $1.2 trillion.

Other students are completely forgoing a college education altogether.
“It is time to act to incentivize higher education. Education is the great equalizer in Hawaii and we need to put our young people into jobs, not into debt,” Ward concluded.

KHON – Video: – http://www.khon2.com/news/lawmaker-proposes-new-way-for-students-to-pay-for-uh