Let’s give credit where credit is due

Dear Editor:

Re: Find fair way to stop Kawamoto’s blight –  Honolulu Star Advertiser – June 14, 2012

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I am flattered that Rep. Hashem copied my Kahala bill, and my Dog Detection bill and my Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease resolution.

HB 2852-12, the Kahala Landowner Liability bill, is almost a word for word copy my HB 257-11 Real Property Blight.  It was researched and drafted by the late Eric Maehara of the Legislative Reference Bureau.  Another bill of Eric’s, that was not copied or passed, would have made it a misdemeanor for landlords who egregiously flaunt property maintenance.   Kawamoto has compiled dozens of citations since 2006 and jumps into action when the City threatens liens on his lots.

Let’s give credit where credit is due.  Though Richard Turbin is to be commended for his persistence in pursuing Kawamoto’s destruction of the neighborhood, but Lucinda Pyles, Kahala resident, should be recognized for her diligence in testifying before the Legislature for several years in favor of my Kahala bills.

Mahalo for the compliment in copying my bills, but perhaps I should be thanked for the ideas.

Rep. Barbara Marumoto, Kaimuki/Waialae/Kahala, 19th House District

Request to Veto – Re: S.B. No. 2424 — Professional Employer Organizations

June 12, 2012

The Honorable Neil Abercrombie
Governor of Hawai’i Executive Chambers,
Hawai’i State Capitol
Honolulu, Hawai’i 96813

Re: S.B. No. 2424 — Professional Employer Organizations

Dear Governor Abercrombie:

A total of 19 representatives voted against S.B. No. 2424 on final reading including all Republican representatives. This bill would have catastrophic consequences for many professional employee organizations (PEOs), also known as employee leasing companies. Many small PEOs were not aware of this measure until very late in the legislative session. Otherwise they would have opposed the bill much earlier.

If enacted, it would be difficult, perhaps impossible, for these small businesses to comply with the bonding and registration requirements. Any PEO company that handles 100 employees must purchase a minimum $500,000 bond, and it is questionable whether these bonds are obtainable.

Registration fees run from $2,500/biennium for PEOs that handle only 100 of their clients’ employees. Fees are $10,000 for 500 employees. These fees are far in excess of what other states charge for registration which is around $100 according to testimony. $100 would be a more rational fee to do business in Hawai’i.

Please veto this measure. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Bye, Bye Miss American Liberty: Rep. Barbara Marumoto

BY STATE SEN. SAM SLOM – The news today that Hawaii State Rep. Barbara Marumoto, (R-Kahala, Kaimuki) is retiring from office this year was a surprise to all who know Barbara. She is one of a kind – and will be missed – but not forgotten.

Marumoto will leave a real vacuum in the State House after 34 years of outspoken leadership and integrity.

After serving in the 1978 State Constitutional Convention (the last Con Con held in Hawaii)—the session that put then young John Waihee on the political map and later Governor of Hawaii—Marumoto ran for the State House and was elected the same year. She has been re-elected every two years since, representing the Waialae Kahala and East Honolulu area with distinction. She currently serves as Minority Policy Leader in the 8-member Republican House Minority.

Marumoto has proposed numerous positive bills for Hawaii’s taxpayers and families. Many have been enacted—under a Majority Democrat’s name. A usual practice. Marumoto has always smiled and gets along with everyone. But Marumoto’s legislative imprint is clear.

During the 2011 Legislative Session, new Governor Neil Abercrombie gave a budget briefing in the packed Capitol Auditorium. His message was full of harmful new and expanded tax proposals.

Marumoto questioned him, politely, on his plan to tax pensions and further burden fixed income senior citizens. The aggressive Abercombie, lashed out at Marumoto, attacked her personally, and stated she was wrong in her conclusions of the impact of the new tax.

Marumoto respectfully stood her ground and didn’t quit. Later, the Administration was forced to admit publicly that the Governor had misspoken and Rep. Marumoto had been correct.

Rep. Barbara Marumoto and Sen. Sam Slom

Marumoto is a steadfast and loyal Republican in the bluest of blue Democrat states. Years ago, when two high profile women Republican lawmakers, Donna Ikeda and Ann Kobayashi, were convinced to switch parties and gain leadership positions, Marumoto remained with the Republicans.

The University of Hawaii grad (BA Sociology), also attended UC Berkeley, UCLA and San Francisco State University. She has always been an advocate for better education in Hawaii.

Marumoto, a long time member of Smart Business Hawaii (SBH), championed many causes but was probably best known for her support of small business issues, safety for children (especially those riding in the back of trucks), patriotism, health concerns, tax reduction and fiscal reforms.

PAYCHECKS HAWAII, the non-partisan, independent, political action affiliate of SBH, has ranked each of the 76 state legislators annually on business climate support and improvement. The top ranking is “1.” Marumoto has racked up more top spots—including the 2012 Session completed May 3—than any other lawmaker.

Marumoto is known for her community support and participation. It is amazing how many meetings and events she attends. She is a member of many organizations including: Honolulu Japanese Chamber of Commerce; AARP; Oahu YWCA; SBH; The Outdoor Circle; Kaimuki Lions; Junior League of Honolulu; Historic Hawaii Foundation; UH College of Arts & Sciences (Board), and State Director, Women in Government.

She has won numerous leadership awards including: Presidential Leadership Award; Hawaii Women Lawyers President’s Award; Legislator of the Year—National Republican Legislators Association; Legislator of the Year, Hawaii Medical Association; Certificate for Patriotic Civilian Service (US Army);, and OWLS Outstanding Women Leaders.

Marumoto is married to Richard Coons and has five children, two stepsons and eight grandchildren.

A signature Marumoto identity for nearly two decades has been her donning a full Statue of Liberty costume, which she has worn  in the Kailua 4th of July and other parades, civic events and educational programs. She originally rented the costume, but it proved so popular—especially among kids who called her, “Miss Liberty,” and “Miss America,”— that she bought the costume. She sure got her money’s worth and along the way made all of us very appreciative.

Bye, bye Miss Liberty. All the best for what you have given Hawaii.

MARUMOTO STILL OPPOSES ADMINISTRATION’S PRISONER RELEASE PLAN

I have been in opposition to this bill, and I still am opposed to this measure.  Although the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Act contains some good features, I think this is primarily a cost-saving measure for this Administration and not true prison reform.  Let me just mention the parts that I like.

First, and long overdue, attention will be paid to increase restitution paid to victims of crimes.

Second, bringing back prisoners from the mainland to be closer to their families.

Third, released prisoners will be offered more programs to help them re-integrate back into society.

Fourth, releasing prisoners will save money.  Since housing them now costs $190 M, any savings would be appreciated.  And considering that we spend only $8,000 per public school student, we can prioritize the money into our educational system.

However, there are features in this bill that may be detrimental and even dangerous to public safety. This bill is based on recommendation of the justice reinvestment working group working with the Council of State Governments Justice Center.  It aims “to improve the criminal justice system, relying on the Department of Public Safety, Hawaii Paroling Authority, and Adult Probation Services to effectively implement changes to policies and practices”.

It will do this by reducing (and I quote Part I of the bill) “the current incarcerated population and generate savings of approximately 500 beds and $9 Million by the end of fiscal year 2013, 850 beds and $19 M in fy 2014 and  1,050 beds and $26 M in fy 2015.”  That means the first year of the program 500 prisoners will be released, year 2, 350 more prisoners, and 200 more in year 3!

In my humble and uneducated estimation, this is kapakahi!  I think we should start out small and enlarge the program gradually.  Why start the first year with 500 releases?  I also question whether we will have the necessary programs and personnel in place for Year 1.  Will drug and alcohol treatment, counseling, vocational training, or halfway houses be ready?  Will there be jobs for these people?  The plan outlines releasing 1 050 prisoners in the first three years of the program, and it will sunset in 2018 – 6 years.  2018 is when this Administration hopes to exit the scene, so that’s why I wonder whether this is prison reform or a cost-saving device.

The program, as described in the Working Group Plan and in earlier versions of this bill, called for the release of Class A felons 18 months before the end of a their terms.  Class B and C would not be released as soon.  Why is this?  I would release Class C felons sooner than Class A felons.  This may increase the danger to public safety.  Even with programs supporting released prisoners, the recidivism rate approaches 50%.

I share Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s skepticism.  We should “go slow” in releasing prisoners and have people and programs in place to better the chances of success.  This is critically important – for the sake of the released prisoners, their families and the community.  I believe my constructive criticisms this session will help shape a better program.  We should go back to the drawing board to re-examine the features of this release program.  Job 1 is to consider long-term reform and public safety – not short term cost savings.

Rep. Marumoto addresses SB 2776 – Public Safety; Parole Excerpt from Capitol TV 

Contact: repmarumoto@capitol.hawaii.gov


Rep. Marumoto addresses HB 2347 – General Obligation Bonds

Conf. Comm. Rep. No. 49-12 H.B. No. 2347, S.D. 1, C.D. 1RELATING TO GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS FOR REVENUE-PRODUCING UNDERTAKINGS.(General Obligation Bonds; Revenue-Producing Undertakings) AS AMENDED, PASS FINAL READING

Description
The purpose of the bill is to allow counties to issue general obligation bonds that may be secured by a pledge of certain receipts including any rates, rentals, fees, charges, taxes, state and/or federal grants in addition to real property taxes. Furthermore, counties may agree with holders of bonds secured with other receipts to continue to collect receipts in amounts necessary to cover the repayment of the principal and interest of such bonds. The bill also allows counties to agree with holders of bonds secured by a pledge of the revenue of the undertaking, loan program, or other purpose for which the bond was originally authorized to continue to collect such revenue in amounts necessary to cover the repayment of the principal and interest of such bonds. Bill amends section 47-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, HRS.

Bill passed FIN without amendment.

Usage of alternate receipts as pledges may lead to more bond issuance creating greater debt and future obligations for the counties as securing bonds is easier. Alternate receipts may also deprive other programs or functions that rely on those receipts their source of funding or sustainability. However, ideally the county would not need to use the alternate receipts when repaying the bonds and instead just use them as pledges.

Contact: repmarumoto@Capitol.Hawaii.Gov Excerpt from Capitol TV