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Update from Rep. Coffman

In his latest e-newsletter, Rep. Denny Coffman said:

I am happy to report that our Manta Ray Bill has passed through its final committee and it is moving on to the chamber floor for a full vote by the House of Representatives. The Manta Ray Bill (HB366) creates administrative penalties for any person who captures or kills manta ray within state waters. The manta rays are a threatened species and this bill will enforce their protection against poachers and commercial fisherman.

As a freshman legislator, I am extremely honored to have been assigned as the Vice Chair of the Environmental Protection Committee. Our main focus this year is legislative policy that facilitates the Hawaii Clean Air Initiative; our drive to reduce our fossil fuel consumption by 70 percent by 2030.

As a member of the Finance Committee, I participated in the Department Budget briefings that were conducted in the first three weeks of January. Those budgets were based upon a much higher revenue projection than is currently forecast. Based upon the updated revenue forecast, the submitted budget for 2010 is in deficit by 315,400,000 and the 2011 budget is in deficit by 549,800,000. We now face the challenge of producing a balanced budget for FY 2010 and FY 2011. We must find a source for more revenue or cut expenses.

The House Finance Committee is also working on legislation that will facilitate and support obtaining funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Federal Stimulus Bill).

I am working on Phase 1 of the Ane Keohokalole Highway Extension Project. It is also known as the Midlevel Road. We are attempting to qualify for stimulus funding. In addition, since this is a high priority project, we are also trying to obtain funding for House District Six – North Kona, Keauhou, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau this project through the State’s Capital Improvement Project funding.

This road will provide access to two major affordable housing projects, the Hawaiian Homeland Development (DHHL) Villages of Laiopua, which will provide 700 homes and HHFDC’s Keahuolu Project, which is projected to provide 2,200 affordable homes. It will also serve the new West Hawaii Civic Center and the Laiopua Community Center.

At the other end of the mid-level road lies the Palamanui Development project. This section of the road will support access to the West Hawaii Community College. We are actively working with the Developer, County and State to keep the road and college projects moving forward.

 

Contact Coffman at: repcoffman@capitol.hawaii.gov

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