LIHUE — Thursday marked a wrap for the 2019 state legislative session.
Prison reform, bolstering voter turnout, funding kupuna caregivers and community college students, and continuing efforts to end homelessness were all among topics in measures passed.
State Rep. Nadine Nakamura said she thought it was an especially fruitful session for Kauai.
“I’m proud that we were able to get flood-relief funding extended one additional year and allow funding for mitigation purposes,” Nakamura said Thursday. “I couldn’t be more thrilled that the concerns of residents of Kauai were heard at the state Capitol.”
She pointed out bills that fortify parking zones along state highways and will deter illegal parking along the road in Haena; dedicate more than $15 million in homeless funds; and extend Wailua-Kapaa contraflow on Sunday and holidays.
“I’m also very excited to receive funds so that the area between the Kapaa High School gym and the Kapaa Boys and Girls Club can be repaved and drainage improved, a multi-use recreational center in Anahola can be planned, and improvements can be made at Mahelona Hospital for a CT scan room,” Nakamura said.
On Thursday, the House passed 16 different bills.
“The House took the lead in taking on the big initiatives this year, which were successful,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. “The House has re-defined the Legislature’s role as the policy-making branch of state government. There is more to be done, and we will use this interim to develop priorities for next year.”
Saiki said at the beginning of the session lawmakers prepared to reaffirm their oversight role and ensure transparency and accountability by closely scrutinizing the administration’s budget, carefully listening to public testimony, and approaching bills with a receptive mind ready to compromise.
“This past election cycle made it clear that Hawaii needed an automatic recount law,” a press release said.
“Without one, the integrity and confidence in our election process could easily be shaken.””
Jessica Else, The Garden Island