Press Releases

Hawaii’s Electrical Rates to be Discussed

Honolulu – The Senate Committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection and Energy and Environment will be holding a joint informational briefing on Tuesday, January 29 at 8:30 a.m. in the State Capitol’s Auditorium.

The purpose of this informational briefing is to receive information on factors that impact electric rates, the rate- making process and to identify potential solutions to reduce the adverse impacts of increasingly high electric rates on consumers statewide.

As electrical rates continue to climb, it is important for us to look for ways that could reduce rates and help lessen the burden of high utility costs on our constituents,” said Senator Roz Baker, chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

The Committee is interested in information about efforts to create an integrated electrical grid using available renewable energy and firm power to benefit consumers with lower rates and reach our green energy goals efficiently and cost-effectively.

We want to hear the strategies the PUC and the utilities plan to use to incorporate more renewable energy onto the grid,” said Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Environment.

The Committee is also interested in hearing what potential challenges may arise and the strategies that will be used address those challenges.
The following organizations are invited to participate:
• Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Hermina Morita, Chair
• Jeffrey Ono, Executive Director, Division of Consumer Advocacy, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs,
• Robbie Alm, Executive Vice President, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.
• Sharon Suzuki, President, Maui Electric Company, Ltd.
• Jay Ignacio, President, Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.
• David Bissell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Kauai Island Utility Cooperative

The briefing will be broadcast live on Oahu on Olelo channel 53. For neighbor island broadcast information, please call the following public access organizations:
• Kauai: Ho’ike Community Television (, phone (808) 246-1556 (no web-streaming).
• Maui: Akaku: Maui Community Television (, phone (808) 871-5554 (web-streaming available).
• Big Island: Na Leo O Hawaii (, phone (808) 935-8874 (Hilo) or (808) 329-9617 (Kailua-Kona) (web-streaming available).


HONOLULU – January 10, 2013 – The Senate Committee on Energy and Environment, with Senator Mike Gabbard as the Chair, will host an informational briefing on invasive species issues on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. in Conference Room 229 in the State Capitol.

The briefing will feature live animals from the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch as examples of invasive species interceptions. A ball python, a tarantula, coqui frogs, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a bearded dragon, a Cuban knight anaole, and a Madagascar Giant Day Gecko will be on display.

Legislators and the public are invited to view the animals and hear presentations about the impacts of invasive species in their communities. The Departments of Land and Natural Resources and Agriculture will discuss their priorities for preventing and managing invasive species. Additionally, the Invasive Species Committees and the Watershed Partnerships will present priority projects, successes, and challenges in each county.

In 2003, the Hawai‘i State Legislature declared invasive species the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s environment, agriculture, economy, health and way of life. In 2005, the State Legislature created the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC) to provide state-level coordination, direction, and planning across departments. HISC Co-Chairs, William Aila (DLNR) and Russell Kokubun (DOA) will speak on the legislative goals for their departments.

Here is a link to the hearing notice:

For more information, please contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.


Honolulu – November 12, 2012 – Senator Mike Gabbard (West Oahu), Chair of the Senate's Energy and Environment Committee, will honor nationally renowned physician and health expert, Dr. John McDougall, at the Ala Wai Golf Course Clubhouse (404 Kapahulu Avenue) on November 13th at 7pm. Dr. McDougall is in town to make a presentation sponsored by the Vegetarian Society of Hawai‘i called "The Diet Wars: The Time for Unification is Now."

Gabbard said, "Dr. McDougall is doing great work by helping thousands of people across the country improve their health through a vegetarian diet. He deserves this recognition for giving people the tools and knowledge they need to heal both our environment and themselves."

Dr. McDougall has been studying, writing and speaking out about the effects of nutrition on disease for over 30 years. He is a veteran of the natural wellness movement and a best-selling author who has helped thousands improve their quality of life by helping them switch to a low-fat vegetarian diet primarily consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.

When he was 18 years old, Dr. McDougall suffered a massive stroke which he attributed to his standard American diet high in animal protein and fat. In the mid 1970s, while practicing medicine in Hawaiʻi, he noticed that his elderly Asian patients, who lived mainly on rice and vegetables, were trim and healthy compared to their offspring who adopted the American diet. In response, Dr. McDougall switched to a traditional Asian, heart-healthy diet for himself and became his own positive testimonial after shedding many unwanted pounds of harmful fat.

Dr. McDougall is currently the Medical Director of the McDougall Program, a highly successful residential program of over twenty years located in Santa Rosa, California.

For more information, contact Vegetarian Society President Lorraine Sakaguchi at 255-4117.


Honolulu – September 10, 2012 – Senator Mike Gabbard (West Oahu), Chair of the Energy and Environment Committee, presented a certificate from the State Senate to Oka's Body Shop in Waipahu today.

Senator Gabbard recognized Oka's for being one of three companies in the nation to receive the FIT Sustainability Award from the AkzoNobel Automobile & Aerospace Coatings Americas in San Antonio, TX on July 19, 2012: Other winners were Keenan Auto Body of Clifton Heights, PA and Enterprise-Rent-A-Car of St. Louis, MO.

Gabbard said, "When we think of auto body shops, we don't necessarily think of green practices. That makes it even more impressive that Oka's has taken such a huge step in generating all their power with solar PV panels. They're truly a leader in helping our state become more sustainable."

This was the third annual FIT Sustainability Award, an industry recognition program devoted to honoring businesses and organizations actively engaged in practices that advance the concepts of sustainability through “Focus, Innovation and Talent”, the three key principles of FIT.

Eddie Okahara, the owner of Oka Auto Body for the last 47 years, has been dedicated to recycling the cardboard and other materials from his shop for many years. They also use car refinishes that are waterborne and gentler on the environment. In 2010, Oka’s Auto Body and contractor Hawaiʻi Energy Connections, LLC worked together to install a photovoltaic system that allows the shop to operate 100% off the grid.

Senator Mike Gabbard presented a certificate from the State Senate to Oka's Auto Body owners, Eddie & Marlene Okahara, and their team in Waipahu on September 10th to recognize them for receiving the FIT Sustainability Award.


HONOLULU - April 17, 2012 - The Capitol Idol 2012 talent show at the State Capitol on April 16, 2012, raised $1391 for the Hawai‘i Foodbank. Members of the state Senate and House squared off in the hopes of winning the perpetual individual and team trophies. Senator Mike Gabbard organized the fundraiser, while local comedian Augie T volunteered as emcee.

The House of Representatives came away with the team trophy, and Representative Marcus Oshiro performed a number in drag to the tune "I Will Survive" to win the individual prize.

Gabbard said, "We got our okoles kicked by the House, but we’ll be back next year. I mean how can you compete with a House Finance Chair who slinks, bumps and grinds around the stage like a woman of ill repute belting out “I Will Survive”? Seriously, this was a great way to let off a little steam as we approach the busiest part of the session and raise money for a very worthy cause. We hope to make this an annual event to showcase legislators' hidden talents."

The five Senate acts were Senators Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria, Josh Green, Pohai Ryan and Malama Solomon. House contenders were Representatives Tom Brower, Cindy Evans, Ken Ito, John Mizuno and Marcus Oshiro.


Senator Mike Gabbard is organizing and hosting “Capitol Idol 2012” aka “Senate vs. House Talent Smack-down!”, a showcase of Legislators’ hidden talents, at 5pm on Monday, April 16 at the State Capitol Auditorium with Augie T as a guest host.

Five Senate acts and five House acts will display their talents in dancing, singing, slam poetry, juggling and more in individual and team competitions to benefit the Hawaii Foodbank. Senate contenders are Senators Mike Gabbard, Brickwood Galuteria, Josh Green, Pohai Ryan and Malama Solomon. House contenders are Representatives Tom Brower, Cindy Evans, (to be named), John Mizuno and Marcus Oshiro. The winners will earn a perpetual trophy. Admission is free. State employees may purchase scrips to vote for their favorite acts. There is no limit on the amount of scrips that one can purchase to vote.

After the competition, there will be an open mic segment of the program for legislators, staff or anyone else to perform while voting and counting occurs. This promises to be an epic showdown that you won’t want to miss! See who earns bragging rights and who slinks away in defeat!

Senator Mike Gabbard Introduces Bill to Reserve Domain Names for Hawai‘i

HONOLULU – January 31, 2012 – Senator Mike Gabbard (West Oahu) has introduced Senate Bill 2985 to direct the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), in cooperation with the state chief information officer, to apply with the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the generic top-level domain names (gTLD) “.hawaii”, “.hi” and “.aloha”.

“It’s very important for us to apply for these top-level domain names to prevent someone from misappropriating them and possibly tarnishing the name, acronym and nickname of our state,” Senator Gabbard said.

ICANN has jurisdiction over gTLDs, such as “.com”, “.gov” and “.org”. ICANN is drastically expanding the realm of gTLDs. The application period began on January 12, 2012, and ends on April 12, 2012. The application fee is $185,000 per gTLD. In addition, state Chief Information Officer Sanjeev “Sonny” Bhagowalia has informed Senator Gabbard's office that the ongoing costs would be $165,000 annually per gTLD.

Because the application period ends on April 12, 2012, this would require an emergency appropriation from the 2011-2012 budget. DBEDT would then develop licensing procedures for approved vendors to use those gTLDs after paying a licensing fee to the state.

Senator Gabbard continued: “This could be a much-needed revenue generating measure allowing us to license the appropriate use of those top-level domain names and also help with marketing the state both on the mainland and internationally. In the near future, we could end up seeing domain names like ‘weddings.hawaii’, ‘hotels.hi’ or ‘honeymoons.aloha’.”

The text of SB 2985 can be found at this link: For more information, contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.

Legislative Informational Briefings on Climate Change and Invasive Species

HONOLULU – January 9, 2012 – The Senate Committee on Energy and Environment and the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection will be holding joint informational briefings on invasive species and on climate change. On Thursday, January 12, 2012 at 10 a.m. in the State Capitol’s room 325, the committees will be updated on invasive species threatening our environment and resources by various agencies that deal with combating invasive species. Participants will include: Coordinating Group on Alien Pet Species, Watershed Partnerships, Big Island Invasive Species Committee, Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee, Maui Invasive Species Committee, Moloka‘i Invasive Species Committee, O‘ahu Invasive Species Committee, state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources, state Department of Agriculture Plant Pest Control, state Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch and the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council. “It is vital to our ecosystem that we receive the most updated information on invasive species so that we can better understand how we can prevent invasive species from entering Hawai‘i and to combat those that get through in order to bring them under control,” said Senate Committee on Energy and Environment Chair Mike Gabbard.

On Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at 1 p.m. in the State Capitol’s room 325, the committees will be briefed on climate change and its impact on Hawai‘i. The following departments have been invited to provide information: UH School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, UH Center for Island Climate Adaptation and Policy, NOAA Climate Services Division and State Office of Planning. “Climate change affects our environment, our native species, our infrastructure and our very way of life. It’s crucial for us to learn the scope and ramifications of climate change in the foreseeable future so that we can plan to reduce and mitigate the resulting impacts,” said Senate Committee on Energy and Environment Chair Mike Gabbard. No public testimony will be accepted at both informational briefings.

For more information, contact Senator Gabbard's office at 586-6830.

Senator Gabbard Holds Tennis Clinic for Hawai'i Foodbank

HONOLULU – April 1, 2011 – Senator Mike Gabbard (West Oahu) is holding a beginning tennis clinic to raise money for the Hawai'i Foodbank tomorrow, Saturday, April from 2:00pm to 4:30pm. The tennis clinic will take place at the Governor's tennis court at Washington Place, which is very rarely open to the public. Gabbard said, "Mahalo to the Gov and the First Lady for making the tennis court available for such a worthy cause. I thought this would be a creative way to teach people the great game of tennis and also raise money to help feed needy families. Those signing up won't get into Wimbledon or the U.S. Open, but will learn the mechanics to enjoy this wonderful sport for a lifetime. I'm hopeful we can make this an annual event."

Senator Gabbard played collegiate tennis at California State University at Sonoma and was the former head tennis pro at Kuilima Resort (now Turtle Bay Resort) in the 1970s. He also coached/played tennis throughout the South Pacific during the 1970s and 1980s. The tennis clinic is limited to 20 people and is open to people of all ages. The registration deadline is 2pm today. For any last minute registrations, please contact Senator Gabbard's Office at 586-6830. The minimum donation is $100 and all proceeds will benefit the Hawai'i Foodbank.

If you’re interested in covering this story, please contact Senator Gabbard’s office so we can let the Washington Place Security Office know. Senator Gabbard’s Statement on Civil Union Signing

Senator Mike Gabbard (West Oahu) made the following statement to the media today on Governor Abercrombie’s signing of SB 232 (civil unions bill) into law:

HONOLULU – February 23, 2011 – "It's a sad day for the people of Hawai’i. Politicians have shown that they just don’t care about the views and values of the majority of Hawaii’s residents.

Civil unions is same sex marriage with a different name. Even Tim Earhart, one of the civil unions advocates, president of Dignity USA/Honolulu said the other day, “No doubt about it, it’s the equivalence of marriage.”

The people of Hawai'i made it clear that they're against civil unions and same-sex marriage and the politicians have basically said 'To hell with you.'"