HONOLULU — When the Legislature opens today, a slew of key issues await Kauai legislators.
Rep. Nadine Nakamura’s platform of mitigating the Kapaa crawl, finding solutions to affordable housing and preserving Kauai’s culture and national resources hasn’t changed since her election.
“I’ve realized the issues important to District 14 — affordable housing and transportation are issues for the state,” Nakamura said. “The state has the same concerns about how do we finance transportation improvements. And housing is at the forefront for everyone.”
When it comes to traffic congestion, she promises to partner with key stakeholders to finance projects like adding a lane on Kuhio Highway in front of Coco Palms and a southbound lane on Kapaa Bypass Road, between the roundabout and Kuhio Highway.
“It’s about how can we give the resources to the Hawaii Department of Transportation to get all of these projects done,” she said.
Rep. Jimmy Tokioka’s priorities are health care, invasive species eradication, school maintenance, family support, equal protection and fair collective bargaining.
Tokioka will serve as vice chair of the Veterans, Military & International Affairs and Culture of the Arts and Tourism committees. He is also on the Finance and Intrastate Commerce committees.
He promises to support the county’s efforts to obtain funding for an additional ambulance and support a measure to ensure county lifeguards are insured.
He also plans to introduce a bill that would make abusing a family or household member younger than 14 or abusing a family member in front of someone younger than 14 a class C felony.
Rep. Dee Morikawa said her priority is getting the Waimea High School baseball field up to par.
“My focus this session trying to get funds to help high school renovate baseball field. The community is stepping up and doing repairs,” she said. “The field belongs to county.”
As chair of the Human Services Committee, Morikawa has been meeting with advocates about child care, cost of living, health issues, infrastructure and grant funding initiatives.
“There’s a concern about how the Department of Human Services monitors licensed child care facilities and some are worried that these facilities may not be following the rules,” she said. “The department needs help in staffing to enforce rules and inspect care facilities.”
Morikawa was named assistant majority leader for the House of Representatives. She will also serve on Health and Judiciary committees.
Nakamura, who was named vice chair of the Housing Committee and will serve on the Finance and Transportation committees, said her fellow Kauai representatives played a large role in getting her get acclimated to her new role.
“They have been helpful with tips, advice and connections,” she said. “From the time you actually get elected and the time legislature starts isn’t a lot of time to get up to speed.”
The legislative session at the Hawaii State Capitol Building begins at 10 a.m. this morning.