Update From The Capitol – July 2016

Kapolei Community Leaders, Senator Mike Gabbard
Senator Mike Gabbard

Aloha e Friends,

Happy 4th of July to you and your ohana. I hope you’re able to join with friends and family to remember and celebrate the blessings of liberty and freedom we cherish as Americans!

And as always, please feel free to contact me at 586-6830 or email sengabbard@capitol.hawaii.gov if I can help you or your family in any way. You can also follow me on Twitter @senmikegabbard, Instagram @sengabbard, or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/senmikegabbard.

 H-1 Changes a Good Sign

Kudos to the state Department of Transportation (DOT) for thinking out of the box and making some traffic improvements on the H-1 and Farrington Highway. They will make all of the following changes by the dates identified below:

  • Widening the morning eastbound Zipper Lane to two lanes (early August, 2016)
  • Extending the close of the morning eastbound Zipper Lane to 9am, instead of 8:30am  (June 27,  2016)
  • Expanding hours for the shoulder lane on the H-1 between the Aiea Heights overpass and the Pearl City exit, which will close at 7pm instead of 6pm  (June 27, 2016)
  • Adding an afternoon contraflow lane in the Nanakuli area on Farrington Highway (late August, 2016)

DOT is also proposing a new shoulder lane on the H-1 for eastbound morning commuters in the vicinity of Kualaka‘i Parkway.

Adoption Records Soon to be Opened

I was stoked to finally meet Florida residents, Jeff and Patty Guillemette, in my State Capitol office on June 14th. Jeff had contacted me in 2014 asking that I introduce legislation to make it so adults who were adopted as children could have access to their birth records. Jeff was born in Hawai‘i had been trying to locate his birth parents for many years but wasn’t successful because of our rigid state law. So I worked with Jeff to introduce bills in 2014, 2015, and 2016 to make the needed changes. None of the bills I introduced ended up passing the Legislature. But a bill almost identical to my legislation, House Bill 2082, did finally pass in 2016 and is awaiting Governor Ige’s signature. The bill would allow adopted individuals who are 18 years or older, adoptive parents, and natural parents to have access to sealed adoption records. Unfortunately, both of Jeff’s parents are already deceased. However, Jeff did meet his half-brother, Jeff Tomori, and got to visit his mother’s grave at Punchbowl. This is definitely a heart-warming story that I’m glad I could play a part in.

Aquatic Violations Bill Signed into Law

I participated in a bill signing ceremony for Senate Bill 2453, which became Act 67, on June 16th at the UH Law School. As the Senate’s Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee Chair, I strongly supported this bill to help strengthen our Environmental Court. Governor Ige’s bill signing was held in conjunction with the 2016 India-Hawaiʻi Law Symposium: Environmental Rule of Law, Environmental Courts, Climate, and Constitutions, which was focused on addressing climate trends in Hawaiʻi, India’s climate initiatives and cases, and environmental crimes in Hawaiʻi. Act 67 is a key new law because it will give our judges more sentencing options when it comes to folks who are guilty of aquatic resources violations. Now judges will be able to sentence those offenders to a mandatory educational class or community service. I especially like the community service option, because we could use the extra help in caring for our ocean resources.

Next “Listen Story” Meeting

My next “listen story” meeting will be held at the Kapolei High School Teacher’s Lounge on July 30th from 9am to 10am.