Kusaka urges hearing on bill to support water safety

CIRA de CASTILLOTGI Staff Writer

LIHU’E — Mayor Maryanne Kusaka is urging State Rep. Eric Hamakawa, chair of

the House Judiciary Committee, to schedule a hearing on a bill (SB 2001) that

will give the counties the same protection the state has against lawsuits

related to drowning and other accidents at State parks.

If the bill is

passed, the county would be able to place lifeguards at state beach parks and

provide much needed protection for visitors and residents who get into trouble

while swimming in Kaua’i’s deceptively dangerous waters.

This request is

highlighted by the loss of another visitor who drowned last week at Polihale

State Park, the second drowning at a Kaua’i beach this year.

Thirteen

people lost their lives in waters off Kaua’i last year giving the county the

dubious reputation of recording the most drownings statewide.

“There is no

more compelling reason to move forward quickly on this matter than to spare

other families such devastating heartbreak,” Kusaka said in her request to

Hamakawa.

The bill is supported by counties throughout the state and has

met with resistance from the Attorney General.

If the bill is not heard by

April 7 it will be dead for this legislative session.

Rep. Hamakawa

(South Hilo-Puna) can be reached toll free at 274-3141 ext. 68480 or by E-mail

rephamakawa@capitol.hawaii.gov.

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