Aloha family, friends, and residents of District 43!
Thank you for your involvement in the community, attending our town hall meetings, participating online, and contacting me on the phone or through email to voice your concerns on various legislative bills. The State Legislature makes a lot of decisions that impact your family and your quality of life, which is why it is so important for me to hear your voice. In order to make myself more accessible to your voice, I hold quarterly town hall meetings and host an ongoing online town hall.
We held three town halls in May and April based around community concerns raised by residents: (1) projects that block roads on Farrington Highway, (2) landfills and trucking schedules, and (3) the Māʻili contamination and clean up. When we surveyed the community regarding contamination, 88% responded that they were very concerned and wanted to know who was responsible for the clean up. Our town hall was well attended and the Coast Guard did a thorough job presenting in conjunction with the Department of Health. Please contact our office if you missed the meeting but would like information.
In this legislative wrap up, Iʻve included some online surveys related to bills that passed or failed this session. You can attend our next quarterly town hall meetings in June, sign up for our email updates, or join us on a community project! Mahalo and hope to see you soon!
This session SB2833, SB2566, and SB2561 all PASSED which all improved rental housing or affordable housing goals. SB 2816 FAILED which would have added the offense of criminal trespass onto state lands into the penal code. The bill was proposed to enforce laws on all State lands including Mauna Kea, under the freeways, and on medians. In an online survey, 64% of respondents were against this bill. This year the State awarded Aloha United Way with $5 million. Aloha United Way then awarded grants with this State money to 18 non-profits who directly service the unsheltered population. US VETS and Kahumana Farms are both Waiʻanae based Aloha United Way grant recipients. Please contact them if you or someone you know needs assistance or is facing homelessness.
We are grateful that cooling the schools started in 2015 with businesses and community members donating fans to cool over heated classrooms. This session SB3126 PASSED appropriating $100 million necessary to cool 1,000 classrooms in 2016, and HB2569 PASSED to ensure energy efficiency. Māʻili Elementary, Nanaikapono, and Ka Waihona have almost 100% air conditioned classrooms. Barberʻs Point (31%), Nānākuli Elementary (28%), and Nānākuli HS (16%) are listed by the DOE as priority schools to be cooled in 2016. Please go to the DOE website to see the full list of schools that will be cooled in 2016.
The DOE also partnered with USDA to get FREE SCHOOL LUNCH for ALL students in the 2016-2017 school year at the following schools: Leihoku Elementary; Māʻili Elementary; Makaha Elementary; Nanaikapono Elementary; Nānākuli Elementary,Intermediate, and High School; Waiʻanae Elementary, Intermediate, and High School. Please go to the DOE website for more schools who will be receiving free lunch. Letʻs make it a great 2016-2017 school year!
Land, Water, Energy
In 2014, the legislature appropriated $7 million for the Kalaeloa energy corridor to bring HECO standard electric from Kapolei Parkway and Ft. Barrett all the way to the Hawaii National Guard. This year the legislature appropriated $3 million to continue the corridor over to Yorktown Street and upgrade the electrical infrastructure for many Kalaeloa residents and businesses SB 2535 FAILED after a controversial hearing regarding geothermal energy which resulted in the House of Representatives voting on a “Blank Bill.” In an online survey of 135 responses, 57% said there should never be a blank bill and 39% asked why the legislature was even talking about a blank bill. SB 2501 PASSED which authorized holdover permits for water rights. This was a very controversial bill because of unresolved claims by Maui Taro farmers. Eight Senators and ten Representatives including myself voted down on this bill.
HB 2086 PASSED this legislative session appropriating $37 million into the State Highway fund. There was also $50,000 appropriated for the Ulehawa Stream Bridge and $500,000 appropriated for improvements on Farrington Highway. We look forward to the DOT implementing a contraflow lane this summer! SB 2938 FAILED in committee and would have raised the vehicle registration fee, the weight tax, and the fuel tax. When surveyed, 100% of Westside Traffic Alert members who participated and 80.6% of people who completed an online survey were opposed to these tax and fee increases. Over $100 million was appropriated for infrastructure upgrades and a new fuel pier at the Kalaeloa Harbor. These upgrades will help many Campbell industrial businesses that need better infrastructure to operate.
Connecting Nānākuli Super and Kapolei Commons
From January-March 2016 UHWO Academy for Creative Media interns design and film the new Kapolei Commons Regal theater trailer. Pictured below are two of the student stars in the new theater trailer.
On May 6th, the legislature appropriated 182 million for the University Capital Budget of which 35 million will build a new Creative Media Facility at UHWO.