Update From The Capitol – October 2016

Kapolei Community Leaders, Senator Mike Gabbard
Senator Mike Gabbard

Aloha e friends,

Newsflash! Get ready shop-till-you-drop folks to do some major shopping at Kapolei’s Ka Makana Alii Shopping Center, opening on October 21st. The mall will be anchored by Macy’s and the state’s first Hampton Inn & Suites. More than half of the 100 planned stores will be opening that day.

 World Conservation Congress: a Major Success

Our state hosted the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) from September 1 – 10, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. The WCC is considered to be the Superbowl of conservation events. This was the first time the WCC was hosted in the U.S. in the meeting’s 60 year history. The WCC brings together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges. There were 10,100 delegates from 192 countries who participated. The WCC generated as much as $62 million in total economic impact for Hawai’i. This was an amazing opportunity to showcase Hawai‘i as an island model for integrated green growth and sustainability, and to build lasting global partnerships. I participated and spoke at several events during the Conference.

I was a panelist at the Aha Moku Advisory Committee Forum on Sept. 4th. In 2012, the Legislature passed Act 288, which set up the Aha Moku Advisory Committee, attached to the DLNR, to provide a systematic way for DLNR to incorporate native Hawaiian knowledge of land and water management into its more western based decision-making process. Aha Moku is unique in that no similar entity has been created in the U.S. where other indigenous cultures, like Native Americans and Native Alaskans, live. Aha Moku aims to mesh modern knowledge with the valuable traditional cultural knowledge to better protect and care for our land and water

I also spoke at a luncheon to celebrate Act 125, the wildlife species trafficking law, on Sept. 5th. As background, I introduced SB 2647, which became Act 125, this past session to help address Hawai‘i’s dubious role in the illegal wildlife trade. According to a 2008 study, Hawai‘i has the nation’s third largest market for ivory, after New York and California. Act 125 will go into effect on July 1, 2017 and will ban people selling any part or product from the following animal species: elephant, rhino, hippo, tigers, great apes, lions, pangolins, cheetah, jaguar, or leopard and the following marine species: sea turtles, monk seals, narwhal, whales, walrus, sharks and manta rays. The new law goes after those involved in this illegal wildlife trade and in no way impacts the possession of ivory by the many Hawai‘i families who own these items. Act 125 is considered to be the broadest subnational wildlife trafficking ban in the U.S!

Next “Listen Story”

My next “listen story” meeting will be held at the Ewa Mahiko District Park meeting room on November 5th from 9:00am to 10:00am.