Aloha e Friends,
Hope this finds you and your ‘ohana well. We’ve passed the three-quarter mark in the Legislative Session and we’re coming down to the wire in terms of which bills live and which ones die. Please contact me at 586-6830 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org if I can help you or your family in any way. You can also follow me on Twitter @senmikegabbard, Instagram @sengabbard, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/senmikegabbard.
Funding for East Kapolei High School Released!
I’m pleased to announce I got word March 15 that Governor David Ige has released $5 million in funding that the Senate appropriated two years ago for a new high school in Kapolei! Specifically, these funds will be used to provide the design of the planned East Kapolei High School.
Estimated completion date is April 2018. Capital Improvement Project Funds are requested each year on behalf of the residents of each Senator’s District to support infrastructure and contribute to building for the future of our keiki and all the residents of Hawai‘i.
Kalaeloa Professional Center Offices Ready for Leasing
I was invited to tour the model office suite of Kalaeloa’s new professional center at 91-1010 Shangrila Street on March 2. With 27 office suites just minutes from the heart of Kapolei, the opening of the Kalaeloa Professional Center (“KPC”) is another milestone toward the second city becoming an area where we can live, work, and play.
The building was formerly operated by the Department of the Navy as a medical/dental clinic. The Warrior Ohana Medical Clinic, a Tripler Army Medical facility, has occupied a portion of the building since its renovation in 2011. The KPC Pau Hana Open House was hosted and sponsored by Hunt Companies.
World Wildlife Day
Hawai‘i has the dubious distinction of being known as the “Endangered Species Capital of the World” – with less than 1% of the U.S. land mass, 44% of the nation’s endangered and threatened plants live here in paradise. According to a 2008 study (Esmond Martin & Daniel Stiles. (2008) Ivory Markets in the USA), Hawai‘i is the nation’s third largest market for ivory, after New York and California. Both of those states have shut down their in-state market for ivory in 2014 and 2015 respectively. This means we could soon be the largest market in the U.S. ‐ with less than 1% of the U.S. land mass, 44% of the nation’s endangered and threatened plants live here in paradise.
I participated in a panel on “World Wildlife Day” on March 3, and introduced SB 2647 to confront the endangered species issue and our state’s place in this illegal trade. The bill would ban people selling or offering for sale, purchasing, trading, or bartering for any part or product from the following animal species: elephant, rhino, hippo, lions, pangolins, cheetah, jaguar, or leopard and marine species, such as sea turtles, monk seals, narwhal, whales, walrus, sharks, manta rays, as well as mammoth.
It wouldn’t allow the state to come into someone’s home and take their ivory. There are also exemptions for antiques, inheritance, museums, musical instruments, guns & knives, and Traditional Native Hawaiian practices. It will allow the state to partner with federal agencies, like US Fish and Wildlife and NOAA crack down on the illegal ivory trade.
Next Listen Story Meeting
As we near the end of session on May 5, where decisions are being made on hundreds of bills, I won’t be holding my community meeting in April, but will be giving a wrap-up of all the session highlights (and maybe lowlights?) at my next “Listen Story” community meeting on Saturday, May 7 at the Kapolei High School Teachers’ Lounge, next to the cafeteria, 9-10am. If you can’t make it, send me an email, and I’ll send you a summary of the meeting.