Legislative highlights for Kauai are many

Kauai is blessed to have a strong team of legislators representing it at the Legislature.

Senate President Ron Kouchi, and Rep. Dee Morikawa, Jimmy Tokioka and Nadine Nakamura are sharp, bright and dedicated to doing their best to see to it that Kauai is well served. This recently completed session, that is what happened.

While it may seem at times that not much is happening, not much is being done, it is, in fact, just the opposite. There is much going on at the Legislature. We don’t hear of every nuance that goes on but rest assured, there is no lack of effort on the part of our legislators. They have hearts for Kauai and its people. And they know what it takes to get a law considered and passed. It’s not as easy as you might believe. Experience is huge at the Legislature, just as are hard work, smarts and abilities to work well with others, gaining both their support and confidence.

How do we know this?

The House of Representatives recently adjourned their 2018 session and passed many important bills on flood relief, emergency services and pesticide control that will directly benefit the people of Kauai.

The House also passed more than $85.3 million in Capital Improvement Project funding for Fiscal Year 2019 for projects across Kauai County.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Kauai County include:

• $200,000 for renovations of locker rooms at Kauai High School

• $500,000 for renovations of the library at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School

• $2.5 million for a new library at Kapaa Elementary School

• $500,000 for the Agricultural Learning Center at Kapaa High School

• $110,000 for air conditioning and photovoltaic panels at Waimea Canyon Middle School

• $500,000 for renovations of the library at Waimea High School

• $2 million for a new gymnasium at Waimea High School

• $250,000 for parking area improvements at Wilcox Elementary School.

• $500,000 for a food service facility at Kauai Economic Opportunity Inc.

• $500,000 for a photovoltaic system at the Kauai Philippine Cultural Center

• $1 million for clearing the Waimea River mouth

• $2 million for site improvements at Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor

• $17.2 million for a ticket lobby and additional parking facilities for Lihue Airport.

• $2.5 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements on state highways

• $7 million for the repair of Hanalei Bridge on Kuhio Highway

• $36.6 million for repairs along Kuhio Highway

• $2.6 million for Traffic Operational Improvements to existing highways

Kauai lawmakers were able to secure $35,000 in Operating Grants-In-Aid projects for Kauai nonprofit organizations. These grants are provided to local organizations serving the public and working to improve the state of Hawaii.

Some of the important bills that will benefit Kauai Island residents this session include:

• Emergency services HB1900 HD1 SD1 CD1

The state budget includes $4.5 million for three new ambulances and staff on Kauai, Hawaii Island and Oahu.

• Disaster Relief, SB 192 SD1 HD1 CD1

Provides $100,000,000 to Kauai and $25,000,000 to other areas statewide for flood relief.

Provides immediate money to cover the upfront costs of needed road repairs, clearing rock slides and infrastructure improvements.

• Voting by mail, HB 1401 HD1 SD1 CD1

Pilot program for the 2020 primary and general election on Kauai conducted by mail.

Office of Elections to submit a report to the Legislature.

• Rose Ringed Parakeet, HB2081 HD1 SD2 CD1

Conducts field studies to reduce the rose-ringed parakeet population

• Pesticides, SB 3095 SD1 HD1

Prohibits the application of restricted use pesticides within 100 feet of a school during school hours.

Prohibits the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos as an active ingredient beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Allows exemptions.

• Homeless, SB 2401 SD2 HD1 CD1; SB 2027 SD2 HD1 CD1

$30 million for Ohana Zones on three Oahu sites, and one each on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island. Public lands will be selected by the Governor for the zones.

$1 million for an Emergency Department Assessment pilot program.

$1 million for a Medical Respite Pilot Program.

$800,000 for a new Family Assessment Center.

$400,000 for two new Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) programs on Maui and Hawaii Island.

1.5 million for a Coordinated Statewide Homeless Initiative.

• Cesspools, SB2567 SD2 HD2 CD1

Establishes a Cesspool Working Group to develop a comprehensive plan for the conversion of all statewide cesspools by 2050.

• Lifeguard Services, HB2097 HD1 SD2 CD1

Requires Attorney General to defend any civil action against the county to provide lifeguard services at a designated state beach park.

Appropriates funds to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to contract with the counties for county lifeguard services at designated state beach parks under an agreement between the state and a county.

• Restraining Orders, B1614 HD1 SD1 CD1

For parties filing for annulment, divorce, or separation, preserves the financial assets of the parties and maintains the current island of residence and school of enrollment of a minor child of the parties.

Despite this lengthly list, does that mean they got everything they wanted? No. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. Our legislators vow to continue to press for more education funding, including to improve pay for teachers and entice the best into this critical field.

In case you were wondering, Morikawa represents Niihau, Lehua, Koloa, Waimea. Nakamura presents Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaa, Wailua. Tokioka represents Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao.

Our legislators don’t get a lot of thanks and appreciation, but they deserve it.

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