Wednesday, April 18, 2018

LEGISLATURE PROVIDES KAUA‘I WITH $100 MILLION FOR IMMEDIATE DISASTER RELIEF


Lawmakers also allocate an additional $25 million for other statewide emergency repairs


Honolulu, HawaiʻiTo provide disaster relief following devastating flooding on Kaua‘i and other affected areas statewide, House and Senate Legislators today allocated a total of $125 million to make road, bridge and other infrastructure repairs for the stricken communities.
"Kaua‘i residents need our help immediately," said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (McCully, Kāheka, Kakaʻako, Downtown). "The rains and flooding have decimated roads, bridges, power lines and other infrastructure. With the ground soaked and more rain predicted, we cannot wait to act. We need to move quickly on funding repairs and give those in need some hope for the future."
“I am in complete agreement with Speaker Saiki and additionally, I would like to thank my legislative colleagues for their support in recognizing the dire needs of Kaua‘i residents,” said Senator Ronald D. Kouchi (Kaua‘i, Ni‘ihau).
The House Finance and Senate Ways and Means committees added wording to Senate Bill 192 during a conference committee hearing to appropriate $100 million in general funds to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people, and provide relief from disaster damages, losses and suffering caused by the flooding on Kaua‘i.
The committee also provided $25 million for flood-related repairs statewide.
"This tragedy is very personal for me because I have many friends and family in the flooded areas, and critical because I represent these communities in the Legislature," said Representative Nadine K. Nakamura (Hanalei, Princeville, Kīlauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa, Wailuā). "I want to thank Speaker Saiki, President Kouchi, Chairs Luke and Dela Cruz and all my colleagues in the Legislature for their compassion and quick action to make this relief funding happen."
“Many of us have spent the last few days witnessing the utter devastation that has once again struck our family and friends on the island of Kaua‘i,” said Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz (Mililani Mauka, Waipi‘o Acres, Wheeler, Wahiawā, Whitmore Village, portion of Poamoho), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Rather than sit and wait, it’s clear that the Legislature must commit our efforts to the rebuilding process for those impacted by the floods in these final days of session.  In this joint effort by both chambers, we wish to offer our kokua through the adoption of this conference draft for Senate Bill 192.”
Because of the desperate circumstances, this Senate bill was selected as the best way to quickly authorize this emergency funding.
"We all know when it is important to take action quickly, and clearly this is one of those times," said Finance Committee Chair Representative Sylvia Luke, (Makiki, Punchbowl, Nu‘uanu, Dowset Highlands, Pacific Heights, Pauoa). "While State and Counties officials work to get a complete assessment of the damages, we know it is important to supply this immediate infusion of cash support to the people of Kaua‘i in their time of need."
The funds will be allotted to the State Department of Defense for disaster relief this fiscal year for the repairs and will lapse at the end of the next fiscal year.

Photo caption

House Speaker Scott K. Saiki (from left), Senator J. Kalani English, Finance Committee Chair Representative Sylvia J. Luke, Finance Committee Vice Chair Representative Ty J.K. Cullen, Kauai Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., Ways and Means Chair Senator Donovan M. Dela Cruz, Representative Nadine K. Nakamura, Representative Dee Morikawa, Representative James Kunane Tokioka, and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi.

HOUSE AND SENATE CONFERENCE COMMITTEE BEGINS NEGOTIATIONS ON STATE BUDGET


Early agreements include funds for foster children, kupuna services, libraries


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – House and Senate conferees began negotiations today on a final version of HB1900 HD1 SD1, the state budget bill. 
Early agreement on a number of budget items included $7.1 million to increase payments supporting foster children and resource caregivers; $1.7 million for services at Aging and Disability Resource Centers; $3.4 million for rescue and fire fighting staff and vehicles at Lihue Airport; and $500,000 for repair and maintenance projects and $500,000 for books and materials for public libraries statewide.
Lawmakers will continue to meet to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions through April 27, the deadline for all fiscal bills to pass out of conference committee. A final conference draft will then be voted upon by the Legislature and if approved, will be sent to the Governor for his signature.

Among the operating budget items agreed upon to date are:

Department of Accounting and General Services
·         $265,000 to Hawai‘i State Digital Archives for server infrastructure and network-attached storage to support archival processing and preservation.
Department of the Attorney General
·         $95,000 for the Hawai‘i Integrated Justice Information System.

Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
·         $142,400 to establish an in-house attorney to provide legal expertise for the Division of Financial Institutions.

Department of Defense
  • $146,200 for the Homeland Security Office.
  • $1,646,200 in general funds for renovation, repair, and maintenance projects at facilities statewide.
  • $150,000 for the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
  • $200,000 for repair and maintenance of building and structures at the Hawai‘i State Veterans Cemetery.

Department of Education
·         $20,000 for Professional Learning System
·         $65,016 for two positions for the Early Learning Board and the Executive Office on Early Learning.

Department of Human Services
·         $7,129,680 to increase payments supporting foster children and resource caregivers across the state.
·         $240,000 for programs to encourage rehabilitation of youths in the juvenile justice system.

·         $94,894 to fund a program for youth who are at risk of mainland placement.
·         $1,700,000 to fund continued services at Aging and Disability Resource Centers.
·         $27,546 to fund one Information Specialist to assist in providing support for online and web-based resources to Hawai‘i residents.

Department of Land and Natural Resources
·         $92,100 for two program managers to oversee the Division of Aquatic Resources.
·         $26,478 for one fire response coordinator for the Division of Forestry and Wildlife's ‘Oahu Branch.
·         $84,730 for one position to oversee the state's water audit program.
·         $53,010 to establish 24/7 dispatch communications for the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.
·         $450,000 to establish a data management system for Historic Preservation.
·         $73,422 for three positions to monitor nearshore aquatic resources.
·         $188,820 for ten positions to improve visitor experience and preserve State Parks across the state.

Department of Public Safety
·         $142,144 for psychological screening of applicant Deputy Sheriffs and Adult Corrections Officers.
·         $93,101 for the Narcotics Enforcement Forensic Drug Laboratory.

Department of Taxation
·         $86,170 to establish one investigator position for the Special Enforcement Section.

Department of Transportation
·         $200,000 for automated passport control kiosk maintenance.
·         $3,414,352 for airport rescue and fire fighting staff and vehicles at Līhu‘e Airport.
·         $400,000 towards the Hawai‘i Statewide Transportation Master Plan update.

University of Hawaii
·         $79,000 for an Instruction and Student Support Coordinator at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.

Hawaii State Public Libraries
·         $500,000 for repair and maintenance projects for public libraries statewide.
·         $500,000 for library books and materials.


The conference committee will reconvene on Friday, April 20, at 2 p.m. in room 309.