Early Report From This Legislative Session
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Mahalo to everyone who came out to participate in our recent talk stories at Kahaluu, Laie and Waialua. I was honored to be joined by Representatives Kitagawa, Quinlan and Matsumoto, and Councilmember Tsuneyoshi. We gave updates on our personal initiatives, shared observations of pending legislation, and answered some very good questions from the audience.
Several of my “good government” bills are moving through the legislative gauntlet. One bill requires executive directors of large, autonomous government agencies to publicly disclosure their financial interests. Disclosure of financial interests have been required for most government officials for years; yet certain directors have been exempt. Another bill would establish voter pamphlets to explain the pros and cons of all ballot measures and provide statements from candidates. A third bill would require the Governor to make public the names of those who are pardoned.
My land management bills include giving the Land Use Commission more enforcement options to hold developers accountable for their commitments, and a measure to allow county permitting departments more authority to investigate illegal structures on agricultural lands. We continue to boost the budget for the Department of Land and Natural Resources so the state can continue to advance important conservation programs.
Never far from our thoughts are the deplorable conditions of our highways and the traffic jams at Laniakea. Although the Dept. of Transportation has dragged its feet for years, the State Traffic Improvement Program does finally include some funding for the early stages of a Laniakea Realignment. We will see. Even when the department is in motion, projects take time to complete.
As for highway resurfacing, there is a plan to resurface Wilikina Dr, Kamananui Rd and Kamehameha Hwy to Weed Junction. Planning is underway and the project will hopefully be complete by next year. Farrington Hwy and Kaukonahua Rd to Weed Junction is on roughly the same schedule. Kamehameha Hwy from Kapuhi Rd to Waialee is due to begin within the next month. Boy, is that section overdue for repair!
Back at the legislature, some of the big issues still in discussion are legalization of recreational marijuana use, increasing the minimum wage to $17 an hour, and red light traffic cameras. One measure that I strongly opposed three years ago was an end run of a court ruling on state permits involving water diversions. The proponents said they needed three years to secure leases as required by law. They have not done so and they now want an additional seven years.