Categorized | Government, News

Updates from state House of Representatives


Big Island legislators secured more than $200 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the House proposed budget.

The proposed budget includes funding for various highway improvements, monies for Big Island schools, plans for a new hospital in Kona, and continued financial support to complete the Kona Judiciary Complex.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

· $55 million in continued funding for the design and construction of a Judiciary Complex in Kona

· $1.2 million for the plans and design of a new hospital in Kona

· $2.35 million for the design and construction of a Kamuela post-harvest facility and vacuum cooling plant

· $330,000 for improvements to the research campus in the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park

· $30.212 for the construction of a new combined support maintenance shop complex for Hawaii Army National Guard at the Keaukaha military reservation

· $1.675 million for Youth Challenge Academy renovations and improvements at Keaukaha military reservation

· $2 million for the design of Building A phase 1 renovations at Hilo Intermediate School

· $1 million for the construction of bleachers at Honokaa High School

· $230,000 for the construction of drainage improvements and a raised covered walkway at Mountain View Elementary School

· $450,000 for a new baseball batting cage at Waiakea High School

· $1.58 million for the design of a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School

· $300,000 for parking improvements at Kealakehe Elementary School

· $8.5 million for the land acquisition, design, construction and equipment for a multi-purpose workforce development processing facility

· $1 million for the design and construction for Puu Waawaa structure improvements and dam compliance

· $400,000 for the plans and design for improvements at the North Kawaihae small boat harbor

· $600,000 for the land acquisition and design for a community center in Waiakea Uka

· $200,000 for building renovations and improvements at the Paauilo slaughterhouse plant

· $3.5 million for airfield improvements at Hilo International Airport

· $61 million for the design and construction of a new airport rescue firefighters regional training facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole

· $1.425 million for physical modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies at Hilo Harbor

· $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements by mile post 10.60

· $8 million for the rehabilitation of Ninole Bridge along Mamalahoa Highway (Route 11)

· $15 million for repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for Highway 130

· $660,000 for land acquisition to extend the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway

· $1.5 million for the construction of portable trailers at Hawaii Community College

· $350,000 to renovate the tennis court at Honokaa High and Intermediate School

· $2.46 million lump sum for renovations at Hilo High School

· $1.23 million lump sum for renovations at Konawaena Middle School

· $780,000 lump sum for renovations at Kohala High

· $4.99 million for photovoltaic projects for East Hawaii HHSC region

· $3.492 million total for renovations at Kona Community Hospital

· $750,000 for an 80 bed intake unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center to address overcrowding



As the 2015 Legislature reached its midway point this week, a number of bills introduced by Puna Rep. Joy San Buenaventura are now up for consideration by the Senate after being passed by the full House of Representatives.

“I’m pleased that we’ve been able to keep these bills alive halfway through the very rigorous process of creating legislation,” Buenaventura said. “They represent real solutions to everyday issues and problems faced by the people of Puna in the aftermath of life changing natural disasters, and I will continue to push for them even as they move to the Senate chambers.”

Among the bills are several measures that seek to address concerns raised by residents affected by the recent natural disasters that have impacted the Puna region.

· HB737, HD2 helps current and future homeowners who reside in lava zone areas that has been declared to be in a state of emergency to obtain and renew property insurance policies. This Act also enables a homeowner, in such a lava zone, who had no prior property insurance coverage to purchase insurance coverage to be effective within six months from the date of policy acceptance. (Co-introducer)

· HB1314 HD1 establishes the emergency home relocation special fund to assist persons dispossessed of their homes as a result of a natural disaster by providing for infrastructure development, grants, and loans. (Primary Introducer)

· HB376 HD2 makes specific changes to the Chief Election Officer including designating the position as an at-will employee; and requires the State Elections Commission to conduct a performance evaluation and to hold a public hearing on the performance of the Chief Elections Officer. (Primary introducer)

Others bills introduced by Rep. San Buenaventura and passed by the House include:

· HB847, HD1 appropriates funds for an Interdisciplinary Hawaii Health Systems Corp. (HHSC) Primary Care Training Program at Hilo Medical Center to address the shortage of primary care physicians—particularly on the neighbor islands and in rural communities. (Co-introducer)

· HB851, HD1 appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance based in Puna. (Co-introducer)

· HB1107 appropriates funds for the establishment and maintenance of a bookmobile that will serve the rural areas of the island of Hawaii. (Primary introducer)

· HB1370, HD1 provides statutory authority for the Employees’ Retirement System Administrator to make direct payment to a former spouse of a member of benefits or portion thereof pursuant to valid court judgment, order or decree. (Primary introducer)

· HB87 shields process servers from prosecution under criminal trespass statutes when performing their duties. (Primary introducer)

A full list of measures proposed by San Buenaventura is available at



The House provided $220,812 for four new positions within the Pesticides Branch of the state Department of Agriculture to monitor and enforce pesticides use.

“Agriculture is vital to our state and as such the budget for the Department of Agriculture focuses on key areas at helping the industry and the department in its mission,” said Rep. Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano), who is vice chair of the House’s Agriculture Committee and spoke in support of the budget.

“One of the current major topics of discussion in our islands today centers around pesticide use and regulation by the state. HB500, HD1 addresses this problem by providing $220,812 and four pesticide enforcement specialists to assist the department with their pesticide regulatory use and surveillance activities, as well as the pesticide use certification and education pursuits.”

Onishi also noted the budget included monies to support a number of other important agricultural initiatives, including $1.2 million to repair and maintain the Molokai irrigation system, which was built in the early 1970s, and $2.3 million for the design and construction of the Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant.

“Farmers require water to survive,” Onishi said. “Due to the age and current condition of many of our irrigation systems, most are in dire need of repair and maintenance.

“Once farmers grow their crops, they need a facility where they can take their produce and prepare it for sale. The Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant is that type of post-harvest facility. It enables farmers to quickly bring down the temperature of their produce which then ensures a longer shelf life, increase product quality and lessens the potential of product degradation.

“The facility will be built in line with new standards that are being determined by the rules governing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Plans for this facility will also include up to a 100kw photovoltaic system as a means of an environmentally friendly renewable energy source and will lessen the plant’s future expenses,” Onishi said.



State Representatives have recognized the top teachers of the year for 2015 with presentations on the floor of the House, as part of Education Week at the Capitol.

Among those honored were Catherine Caine, the 2015 Hawaii State Teacher of the Year; Jamie Takamura, the 2015 Central District Teacher of the Year; Masaru Uchino, Leeward District Teacher of the Year; Elizabeth Frilles, Windward District Teacher of the Year; David Huitt, Hawaii District Teacher of the Year; Richard Arase, Maui District Teacher of the Year; and Marly Madayag, Kauai District Teacher of the Year.

“It goes without saying that education is the linchpin that connects the present to our collective future,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki. “The contributions that these outstanding teachers make to their students and the state cannot be overstated. Through their extraordinary efforts, they are making a difference in both the lives of their young students and in the society that they will help shape. We owe all of them our heartfelt congratulations and thanks.”

The awardees were selected by the Hawaii Department of Education, which honors each year the state’s best educators with its Teacher of the Year awards.

* CATHERINE CAINE, a teacher at Waikiki Elementary School, is the 2015 State Teacher of the Year and is one of four finalist for the 2015 National Teacher of the Year. She was selected because of her exemplary commitment to teaching and her innovative, student-based inquiry approach to secondary education, which sets high expectations and has yielded exceptional results. She creates a classroom environment in which her students can shine, feel comfortable asking questions, and learn and grow from their experiences. Her genuine concern for students extends to the entire school community, demonstrated through integrating technology to motivate her students to tackle relevant issues that engage them, which makes learning meaningful, memorable and fun.

* JAMIE TAKAMURA, a curriculum coordinator at Red Hill Elementary School, is the 2015 Central District Teacher of the Year. She was selected because of her outstanding team-building and leadership skills. She was instrumental in making Red Hill one of only three schools statewide to be recognized for high performance and closing the achievement gap in the last school year.

* MASARU UCHINO, a third grade math teacher at Momilani Elementary School, is the 2015 Leeward District Teacher of the Year. He was selected because of his commitment to excellence in education and the instrumental role he plays in integrating standards-based learning into an original musical he writes, directs and produces each year. He also founded an afterschool running and fitness group, The Momilani Fit Factory. His recipe for success: create a culture of belief, optimism and perseverance, and students will achieve excellence.

* ELIZABETH FRILLES, a science teacher at Olomana School, is the 2015 Windward District Teacher of the Year. Her efforts to transform her class into a safe haven for at-risk students resulted in individuals who consistently earn science, engineering and robotics awards. She incorporates project, cultural and problem-based education to engage students in complex and relevant lessons. Despite already serving as department head and in other leadership roles, she can often be seen coaching and mentoring student teachers and peers in her spare time.

* DAVID HUITT, a history teacher at Kealakehe High School, is the 2015 Hawaii District Teacher of the Year. He has inspired his own students to pursue their dreams while teaching them humility through community service, which is a hallmark of David’s curriculum. Huitt’s students have raised approximately $50,000 for orphans in India, cooked over 6,000 meals for the needy, and collected hundreds of bags of trash from roads, parks, and beaches. His co-workers have praised his relationships with students, his creative lessons, his patience and his true spirit of service.

* RICHARD ARASE, a social studies teacher at Maui Waena Intermediate School, is the 2015 Maui District Teacher of the Year. He was selected for his proactive education method of turning students into classroom performers who take charge of their education. He believes his students can thrive with a safe learning environment and memorable experiences by transforming the curriculum into something exciting.

* MARLY MADAYAG, a fifth grade teacher at Kalaheo Elementary School, is the 2015 Kauai District Teacher of the Year. She was chosen because of her organizational and creative skills which, combined with training in special education and the gifted and talented program, allow her to meet the needs of all learners. Madayag encourages her students to hunt for information and to find answers to their own questions. She believes teaching is about fostering students’ ability to think for themselves.

As part of Education Week, the House also recognized winners of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for their commitment to community service.

They included:

* KAYTLEN AKAU, of Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, and ALEXANDRA SKROCKI, of Admiral Arthur W. Radford High School, as the Hawaii State Honorees for the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for their altruistic actions and their demonstration of peer leadership and exemplary community spirit. The pair will represent Hawaii at the national competition.

* JASMINE DOAN, of Seabury Hall School, and JILLIAN MADANAY, of Lutheran High School of Hawaii, were named the Hawaii Distinguished Finalists for the 2015 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards for their impressive community service activities and for demonstrating community pride.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards is presented by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), and honors young volunteers across America who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to serving their communities.

The program chooses one honoree from the middle school and high school levels from each state and the District of Columbia for their hard work and dedication to volunteering.

The National Association of Secondary School Principals is the leading organization of, and national voice for, middle and high school principals, assistant principals, and all other school leaders from across the United States.


Future Waiakea: Contest organizer Rep. Mark Nakashima and Hawaii Future Caucus member Honolulu Councilman Brandon Elefante with Kiani Nishimoto and Kaydee Rapozo of Waiakea High School. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Future Waiakea: Contest organizer Rep. Mark Nakashima and Hawaii Future Caucus member Honolulu Councilman Brandon Elefante with Kiani Nishimoto and Kaydee Rapozo of Waiakea High School. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)


“Hawaii is nearly a perfect place to live; yet it still faces some problems,” wrote Dallas Kuba, a fourth grade student at Manoa Elementary School. “Homelessness is one of our island’s biggest threats.”

“I love living in the state of Hawaii, but there are certain aspects that are starting to make me worry about the future,” stated Lindsey Millerd, an eighth grader at Waipahu Intermediate.

“In the next 50 years, Hawaii must focus on sustainability to continue to be the best place to work and live,” wrote Kiani Nishimoto, a sophomore at Waiakea High School.

Kuba, Millerd and Nishimoto are the three top essay winners of the Hawaii: Next 50 Contest.

The contest challenged the up-and-coming generation to become stakeholders in shaping the future of Hawaii.

Last December, lawmakers invited students across the state to create an essay, poster or video which answers the question, “What do you think needs to happen in the next 50 years for Hawaii to be the best place to work and live?”

If the winning essayists’ visions were clouded with concerns for Hawaii, they were also filled with optimism and solutions for the issues they saw facing the state. In identifying homelessness as the biggest threat to Hawaii’s future, Manoa Elementary’s Kuba saw more jobs, better pay and hotels for the homeless as solutions to the problem.

“If we can solve these issues, then Hawaii can probably be the best place to work and live,” Kuba wrote. “I love living in Hawaii and will try to make this the best place for everyone.”

A total of 456 entries from 16 schools were received from across the state. Winning entries were selected in each of the two categories: essay and visual arts, with winners selected for 4-5, 6-8 and 9-12 grade brackets.

Contest entries were judged by members of the Pacific Century Fellows, the Hawaii Future Caucus and the aio Foundation.

All student winners and their teachers were recognized at the State Capitol during a floor presentation in the House Chambers and were invited to attend a luncheon with Gov. George Ariyoshi and the Hawaii Future Caucus in the Lieutenant Governor’s conference room.

The Hawaii: Next 50 Contest is inspired by former Gov. George Ariyoshi’s book, ‘Hawaii: The Past Fifty Years, The Next Fifty Years,’ which provided a retrospective look into the state’s history and prompts the next generation to think about what social, cultural and economic roads can be taken to keep Hawaii moving forward in the next century.

Hawaii: Next 50 Student Winners

Grades 4-5

1. Manoa Elementary – Dallas Kuba, Ms. Darcie Kajioka

Visual Arts
1. Lanakila Elementary – Teyshaun Rosales, Ms. Camille Sismar

Grades 6-8

1. Waipahu Intermediate – Lindsey Millerd, Ms. Cynthia Tong

Visual Arts
1. Waipahu Intermediate – Bryson Manuel, Ms. Cynthia Tong

Grades 9-12

1. Waiakea High School – Kiani Nishimoto, Ms. Donna Tanabe

Visual Arts
1. Waiakea High School – Kaydee Rapozo, Ms. Donna Tanabe


Hawaii Island Representative Contact Information:

Representative Richard Creagan (Naalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakekua, Kailua-Kona)
(808) 586-9605

Representative Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala)
(808) 586-8510

Representative Joy San Buenaventura (Puna)
(808) 586-6530

Representative Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau)
(808) 586-8400

Representative Mark Nakashima (Hamakua, North Hilo, South Hilo)
(808) 586-6680

Representative Richard Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Volcano)
(808) 586-6120

Representative Clift Tsuji (Keaukaha, parts of Hilo, Panaewa, Waiakea)
(808) 586-8480

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