Press Releases

SENATE HOLDS INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING ON REVOCABLE PERMIT PROGRAM

MEDIA ADVISORY – for immediate release
July 6, 2016

Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact: Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261

WHO: Senate Water, Land and Agriculture (WLA) Committee, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)

WHAT: Informational Briefing

WHEN: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Conference Room 224
State Capitol

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Committee (WLA), will hold an informational briefing on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 10:30 a.m., in Conference Room 224 to get an update on the Report and Recommendations of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Revocable Permits Task Force.
“It's important for legislators and the public to learn more about the changes being implemented to improve the DLNR's revocable permit program,” said Senator Gabbard, chair of the Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee. “The use of public land should be handled in a fair and transparent way.”

In February of this year, media outlets, such as the Honolulu Star Advertiser, shined a light on the fact that the DLNR's revocable permit program was fraught with inconsistencies and lacked clear, logical protocols and criteria.

In response, DLNR convened a Task Force to improve its revocable permit in February 2016. On May 27, 2016, the Task Force issued its report and recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources on June 24th. The Task Force report, their recommendations, and DLNR's plans for implementation will be addressed at this informational briefing.

Presentations will be made by:
• Department of Land and Natural Resources Revocable Permits Task Force
• Department of Land and Natural Resources

More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/hearingnotices/HEARING_WLA_07-...

LAWMAKERS PASS RESOLUTION TO PRESERVE KAPUA LANDS

NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
May 4, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Members of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture today voted to pass Senate Resolution 46.

SR46 requests the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to engage in negotiations with the current land owners of the makai lands of Kapua to acquire the lands on behalf of the state or to lease those lands in perpetuity on behalf of the state.

“Our late colleague, Senator Gil Kahele, had the dream of the state purchasing the Kapua makai lands. This resolution will make it possible to see this dream become reality,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Water, Land and Agriculture committee, in recommending the resolution be passed.

As one of his last actions as a state legislator, the late Senator Gilbert Kahele signed SB3071 for its introduction during the 2016 session, which would have required the DLNR to engage in negotiations to acquire the Kapua makai lands. Kaiali‘i Kahele was appointed to the seat vacated by his father, following his death in January. SR46 was drafted by Sen. Kahele who was determined to ensure the process to preserve the lands would continue, despite the SB3071 being stalled in conference.

“This is not just for my dad, but for generations of keiki,” said Sen. Kahele. “This area has significant archeological and culturally historical value and must be preserved.”
SR46 is the final resolution to be heard this legislative session and will be voted on the floor on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

SEN. GABBARD APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP BILL

NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
May 3, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee, applauded the passage of SB 2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 today. The bill received unanimous support in both the House and Senate.

This historic bill, authored by Sen. Gabbard, would establish a five-year industrial hemp pilot program under the Department of Agriculture to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp for agricultural and academic research, which would include the commercial sale of hemp as marketing and industry development. The provisions of this bill are consistent with the federal Farm Bill.

"We already know from a recent UH hemp study that this incredible crop will grow well in our islands," said Sen. Gabbard. “My vision is to see farmers in Hawai‘i growing hemp and the Hawai‘i branding that comes with that."

The hemp plant is part of the cannabis family, which includes marijuana, but it contains less than 1% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) so it is unable to provide any physical or psychological effects. It is currently used in over 25,000 products. Hemp seed is used to make bread, granola, protein powder, medicine, fuel, lubricants, ink, paint, and cosmetics. Hemp stalks are used in clothing, construction materials, such as hempcrete, paper, and biofuel.

"The Hemp Industries Association estimated last year that the retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. was $620 million," said Sen. Gabbard. "Incredibly, all that hemp is being imported from countries like China and Canada. This makes no sense, given that we could be growing this wonderful crop here."

In 2014, Sen. Gabbard also authored SB 2175 which was signed into law as Act 56. This law authorized UH's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to establish a two-year hemp study. The study was an overwhelming success with the hemp growing from seed to 10 feet tall in just 16 weeks with no fertilizers or pesticide.

With this bill, Hawai‘i joins eight other states, including Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont, in growing industrial hemp.

The text of SB 2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=...

UPDATE ON INVASIVE SPECIES THREATS TO HAWAI‘I PRESENTED TO LAWMAKERS

MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release
January 12, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The Senate Committees on Water, Land and Agriculture (WLA), Economic Development, Environment, and Technology (EET), and House Committees on Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP), Water & Land (WAL), and Agriculture (AGR) are holding an informational briefing on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 10 a.m., in conference room 325 to get the latest updates on invasive species threats to Hawai‘i. The committees will hear from state departments, along with government and non-profit agencies on what pests and plant diseases have become established in Hawai‘i and what is being done to prevent and control them from spreading.

Several live invasive species, including a snake, lizard, and noxious plants, which endanger the island’s natural biodiversity will be on display during the briefing.
“Our state faces huge issues, including the outrageously high cost of living, homelessness, the need for affordable housing, and inadequate school, road, & park infrastructure,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, Chair of the WLA committee. “What we’re trying to do here today is to make sure that invasive species stays front and center in discussions here at the Legislature. The challenges we face with invasive species like rapid ohia death, little fire ants, mosquitoes spreading dengue fever, and coqui frogs are no less important and have the potential to devastate our way of life and our economy if we don’t take this fight seriously.”

“The spread of invasive species has significantly impacted our local businesses and communities. Hawaii Island alone has been devastated by alien pests such as the coffee berry borer and little fire ant,” added Rep. Clift Tsuji, Chair of the AGR committee. “It’s important that the Legislature hears from all on the front lines of this battle so we can collaboratively and effectively stop the spread of invasive species. We have been unable to set up a successful line of defense, and until we do invasive species will continue a relentless destructive path.”
Presentations will be made by:

· The Nature Conservancy
· Hawaii Invasive Species Council
· Department of Agriculture - Plant Quarantine Branch
· Department of Agriculture - Plant Pest Control Branch
· Invasive Species Committees
· Department of Land and Natural Resources - Division of Forestry and Wildlife
· Watershed Partnerships
Department of Land and Natural Resources - Division of Aquatic Resources

More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/hearingnotices/HEARING_WLA-EET...

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SENATORS, TOP STATE EDUCATION OFFICIALS TO PARTICIPATE IN WEST O‘AHU TOWN HALL MEETING

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – An update on public K-12 school facilities, including upgrades and AC, planned new schools, and curriculum is on the agenda for tomorrow’s West O‘ahu Town Hall Meeting on Education. The evening will also include a discussion on the long range plans for UH West O‘ahu, its innovative programs, and its role in serving the broader community. This will be the first time the public will hear from Dr. Doris Ching, recently appointed Interim Chancellor for the UH West O‘ahu campus.

The Town Hall meeting is Tuesday, December 1st from 7-9 p.m. in the UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room. The event is co-Sponsored by State Senators Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), Will Espero (Dist. 19 - ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) and Clarence Nishihara (Dist. 17 - Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, Pacific Palisades).

Other the invited speakers include Suzanne Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support – Department of Education, Dann Carlson, Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services – Department of Education, and Kathy Wong-Nakamura, Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration – UH West O‘ahu.

The public is invited to attend the event that will allow time for Q & A from the community.
# # #

TOWN HALL MEETING ON WEST O‘AHU EDUCATION

MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release
November 16, 2015

Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact: Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261

TOWN HALL MEETING ON WEST O‘AHU EDUCATION
WHO: State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu)
State Senator Will Espero (Dist. 19 - ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages)
State Senator Clarence Nishihara (Dist. 17 - Waipahu, Crestview, Manana, Pearl City, Pacific Palisades)

WHAT: West O‘ahu Education Town Hall Meeting

WHEN: Tuesday, December 1, 2015
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

WHERE: UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room
91-1001 Farrington Highway
Kapolei, HI 96707

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – All things education in West O‘ahu is what is on the agenda at the Town Hall meeting on December 1st from 7-9 p.m. in the UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room. Co-Sponsored by State Senators Mike Gabbard, Will Espero and Clarence Nishihara, the evening discussion will focus on the Ewa, Kapolei, and Waipahu communities and will include an update on public K-12 school facilities, including electrical upgrades and AC, planned new schools, and curriculum. Leaders from UH West O‘ahu will talk about the long range plans for the university, its innovative programs, and its role in serving the broader community.

Some of the invited speakers are:

• Suzanne Mulcahy, Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support – Department of Education
• Dann Carlson, Assistant Superintendent, Office of School Facilities and Support Services – Department of Education
• Kathy Wong-Nakamura, Interim Vice Chancellor for Administration – UH West O‘ahu
• Doris Ching, Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs – UH West O‘ahu

The public is invited to attend the event that includes time for Q & A from the community.

PlantPure Nation Premieres on Oahu at State Capitol plus Additional Hawaii Screenings

HONOLULU -- July 24, 2015 – Senator Mike Gabbard and Transition O’ahu, are hosting the premiere screening of the documentary feature film, PLANTPURE NATION, on Tuesday, July 28 at the Hawai‘i State Capitol Auditorium and Thursday, July 30 at Kahala Theaters. Both Oahu showings are at 7pm. It will also play at Aloha Theater in Kainaliu on Hawai‘i Island on July 30. Tickets are at www.plantpurenation.com/upcoming-screenings/. PLANTPURE NATION was written and directed by Nelson Campbell, son of Dr. T. Colin Campbell (Co-author, The China Study), the 95-minute film examines the political and economic factors that suppress information on the benefits of plant-based nutrition, while making the connections to larger issues such as medical practice, farming, and food deserts. The film’s story follows three people working to spread the word about one of the most important health breakthroughs of all time.

The filmmakers plan to use PLANTPURE NATION to create a broad grassroots movement across the nation. PLANTPURE NATION FOUNDATION, a nonprofit organization, will establish local chapters called PLANTPURE PODS in cities and towns across the United States and Canada. Members of these chapters will help to plant seeds of change around the message of plant-based nutrition in their communities. One tool they will use in this effort will be the same 10-day Jumpstart program featured in the film, which gives people the experience of a whole food, plant-based diet.

Senator Gabbard, Chair of the Water, Land & Agriculture Committee, will introduce the Capitol and Kahala Theater screenings. Having lived a plant-based lifestyle for over 40 years, Senator Gabbard feels the film’s time has come. “Transitioning to a plant-based diet has been shown to have immense health and environmental benefits,” said Gabbard, who has worked to promote a healthy diet, including introducing legislation to support plant-based school lunch options in public schools.

After the showings, the PLANTPURE PODS will be explained and information will be given on how people can participate in the local pod that will provide needed support in moving towards a whole food, plant-based lifestyle.

PLANTPURE NATION was filmed across the USA and features Steve Forbes, Jr. (Editor-in-Chief Forbes Magazine,) Dr. T. Colin Campbell (Co-Author, The China Study,) Dr. Neal Barnard (Founder and President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,) Dr. Michael Greger, (Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture, and the Humane Society of the United States. The Production team includes Producer John Corry & Writer Lee Fulkerson from the acclaimed documentary film FORKS OVER KNIVES.

www.plantpurenation.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PlantPureNation
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlantPureNation

PlantPure Nation is theatrically distributed by Evan Saxon Productions

Publicity Contact:
Donna Lay, Transition Oahu 808-224-2462
donnarlay@gmail.com
www.transitionoahu.org

Firefly Media 323-874-0776
Penny Guyon penny@firefly-media.net

Film Distribution Contact:
Evan Saxon Productions (323) 570-0130
Evan Saxon Evan@EvanSaxonProductions.com

STATE LAWMAKERS STAR IN “CAPITOL IDOL III”

HONOLULU, HI (April 17, 2015) – Brave members of the Legislative and Executive branches of our state government will showcase their hidden talents when they take the stage for a good cause.

Capitol Idol III kicks off on Monday, April 20 from 5-7 p.m. in the Capitol Auditorium. The public is invited to the show where members of the Senate and the Ige Administration vie for the audience’s support in the hopes of winning the perpetual individual and team trophies, not to mention major bragging rights. This year’s show will be emceed by radio show host, actor and former State Representative Devon Nekoba.

The event is FREE, but state employees will be voting for their favorite acts by purchasing $1 for a scrip worth one vote. Per the State Ethics Commission, only state employees can purchase scrip. The winner of Capitol Idol III will be the act with the most votes (scrip). There is no limit to the number of scrip a state employee can purchase.

In 2012, Capitol Idol raised $1400 for the Hawai‘i Foodbank and in 2014, $1700 was collected. “This is the time of the year when my fellow colleagues voluntarily offer themselves up for public scrutiny and possible embarrassment all to support an incredibly important agency in our community, the Hawai‘i Foodbank,” said Senator Mike Gabbard, the show’s organizer. “We want to encourage everyone to join us in supporting this worthy cause and have a good time smiling and laughing with us as well.”

Past performances have been a lineup of Legislators singing original songs, juggling, dancing hula and more. Previous winners have been Representative Marcus Oshiro dressed in drag, dancing and belting out “I Will Survive” and Blake “Disco” Oshiro of the Governor’s office. With his Executive branch dancers, Oshiro stole the show last year.

So who will be the next champion in Capitol Idol III? Join us to find out!

Senators Josh Green and Mike Gabbard to hear Bills on the Health Impact of Pesticides

Honolulu (February 9, 2015) - Senator Josh Green, M.D. (D - Kona, Kau), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, and Senator Mike Gabbard (D - Kapolei, Makakilo), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, have scheduled a joint hearing on SB 793, RELATING TO THE HEALTH IMPACT OF PESTICIDES, which would establish mandatory notice, reporting, and use requirements when pesticides are applied outdoors near sensitive areas.

The hearing will be held on Thursday, February 12 at 3:00 PM in Room 414 of the State Capitol, and will include SB1037 and SB797, which also deal with the health impact of pesticides by requiring notice, reporting, and disclosure of pesticide use near sensitive areas.

“Exposure to pesticides has been linked to diseases from autism to cancer,” Green said, "and may be especially harmful to children and pregnant women, so it is very important for us to take steps to protect Hawaii's most sensitive populations from the risks of pesticide exposure.”

Children are the most vulnerable to toxic exposure of pesticides because it can disrupt critical development processes, and pesticide exposure early in life has been linked to long-term health effects including cancer, serious diseases, decreased cognitive function, and behavior problems. According to a recently published report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, their main concerns for children are increased risk of childhood cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, adverse birth outcomes, and asthma all due to pesticide exposure.

Pregnant women who lived in close proximity to fields and farms where chemical pesticides were applied experienced a two-thirds increased risk of having a child with autism spectrum disorder or other developmental delay, a study by researchers with the UC Davis MIND Institute has found. The associations were stronger when the exposures occurred during the second and third trimesters of the women’s pregnancies.

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/publish/news/newsroom/8978

"The people of Hawai‘i have the right to decide that the risks of toxic pesticides are unacceptable, and to take action to reduce and prevent their potential negative impacts,” Green said. "The State has the legal authority to address local pesticide use and its impacts on our keiki and kupuna."

At least 26 schools in Hawaii are located within a mile of large agricultural companies that spray restricted-use pesticides. Many residents, including children, have complained about sickness they attribute to pesticide drift. Hawaii is one of 19 states that does not have regulations addressing the impacts of pesticide use on or near schools.

Senators Green and Gabbard have both made environmental health a policy priority, particularly the health impact of pesticides.

“I’m very pleased that we’re hearing these important bills that seek to better regulate pesticide use in our islands,” Senator Gabbard said. "In addition to the big impacts that pesticides have on human health, we also have to focus on the damage that pesticides wreak on our lands and water supply. It’s time for the state to take this more seriously.”

“Our children deserve to grow up, go to school, and play outside without being exposed to toxic pesticides,” Green said, “and these bills will prevent unnecessary exposure to our most sensitive populations around schools, hospitals, and child care facilities. There’s no reason for us to risk our children’s health by exposing them to toxic chemicals, when we can protect Hawaii's kids without hurting farmers.”

Green is an Emergency Room doctor with 15 years of experience caring for Hawaii’s families.

“The courage to do the right thing is all that matters," Green said. "It’s time for us to make the right choice for Hawaii’s kids."

http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/hearingnotices/HEARING_HTH-AGL...

HECO TO UPDATE LAWMAKERS ON BACKLOGGED SOLAR INTERCONNECTIONS

HONOLULU (January 15, 2015) - State lawmakers will hold a joint Senate-House informational briefing on Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 1 p.m. in Conference Room 329 to get an update on Hawaiian Electric Company’s (HECO) recent policy changes to solar interconnection. The new policy, which went into effect on September 6, 2013 requires approval from HECO before any solar photovoltaic (PV) installation. Since the policy change, many solar customers have been facing delays in getting their PV systems connected to the grid.

Topics of the briefing will include the status of the solar interconnection queue, non-export solar PV systems, and plans for the future integration of distributed generation. Presenting will be Hawaiian Electric Company, Hawai‘i Solar Energy Association, Hawai‘i PV Coalition, and The Alliance for Solar Choice.

In October, HECO announced a plan to start clearing the backlog of customers awaiting connection to the grid by April 2015, and along with solar installers, funded a study to find out how residential solar can continue to grow in the state. An update on HECO’s progress and results of the study will be discussed during the briefing.

“As we kick off the 2015 session, this is a perfect time to hear where we are on roof top solar", said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Committee on Energy and Environment. “Policies that make it easier for people to get solar PV continues to be one of my top legislative priorities.”

The briefing is hosted by Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, Senate Committee Commerce and Consumer Protection, House Committee on Energy and Environmental, and the House Committee on Protection and Consumer Protection and Commerce.

Hearing Notice: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2015/hearingnotices/HEARING_ENE-CPN...
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*For media inquiries and interviews, please call the office of Sen. Mike Gabbard at 808-586-6830.

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