In Print

  • Hawai‘i Legislature Passes Industrial Hemp Bill

    Hemp Gazette - July 15, 2020

    A bill to legalize the growing, processing, and sale of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i has headed to Governor David Ige’s desk to sign into law. Hopefully this one will have better luck.

    Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee Senator Mike Gabbard was a happy man last Friday when HB1819 HD2 SD3, championed by Senator Gabbard, passed in the House of Representatives.

  • Hemp bill headed to Ige

    By The Garden Island | Sunday, July 12, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

    HONOLULU — The state House of Representatives passed a bill that legalizes the growing, processing and sale of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i.

    It passed the Senate on Wednesday unanimously, with Sens. Les Ihara, Clarence K. Nishihara and Laura H. Thielen expressing reservations.

    The bill now goes to Gov. David Ige for final disposition.

    Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, applauded the final passage of the bill.

  • Hawai‘i Legislature Passes Bill to Legalize Industrial Hemp

    Maui Now - July 10, 2020

    Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, applauded the final passage of a bill in the House of Representatives today to legalize the growing, processing, and sale of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i.

    It passed the Senate on Wednesday unanimously, with Senators Les Ihara, Clarence K. Nishihara, and Laura H. Thielen expressing reservations.

    The bill now goes to Governor David Ige to sign into law.

  • Youth Challenge cadets graduate after being isolated since January because of pandemic

    Hawaii Tribune-Herald | Friday, June 19, 2020, 12:05 a.m.

    The first class of cadets to be denied all family visits and home passes graduated from the Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy on Thursday.

    Forty-seven cadets from Class 19 took part in their modified, virtual graduation at the Keaukaha Military Reservation before reuniting with friends and family outside the gates afterward.

    The Hawaii Island and Oahu Youth Challenge Academy campuses are two of seven programs that remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • COVID-19 Crisis Could Derail — Or Bolster — Conservation Efforts

    The virus has left environmental funding uncertain, but local groups hope stimulus dollars can create thousands of green jobs.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - June 19, 2020

    Trae Menard and his team spend much of their time building fences in Hawaii’s upper watersheds to guard against feral pigs, goats and other hoofed invaders.

    They sweep for invasive weeds and other plants harmful to the local ecology, stopping them before they can spread.

    “It’s kind of like a virus — early detection, rapid response,” Menard, The Nature Conservancy’s local director of forest conservation, recently noted.

  • Column: Hawaii needs robust plan to feed residents

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 12, 2020

    Hawaii is learning many lessons from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most critical, for the coming months as well as for our future generations, is that local food production is essential to our health, economic prosperity and security.

    While the shipping companies that serve Hawaii — importing nearly 90% of the food we eat — have thankfully provided assurance that there will be no disruptions to deliveries of essential supplies during this current global crisis, what if that weren’t the case? What is our Plan B?

  • Victory (Lanakila) Gardens: A Way To Thrive During A Crisis

    To be pro-active and self-sufficient, the people of Hawaii should grow more of their own food.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - March 25, 2020

    In times of crisis, we as a country put aside our differences, and work together.

    We did it during World War I and World War II, and as the coronavirus continues to rampage its way across the U.S., it is time we roll up our sleeves and do it again.

    During both world wars, because of drastic food shortages here and abroad, Americans were encouraged to start Victory Gardens in their back yards to grow fruits and vegetables.

  • Bill Would Exempt Taro Production From Income Tax

    The cost of poi remains inaccessible to Hawaii families most in need of this staple starch, lawmakers say.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - February 28, 2020

    Senate Bill 3038, which is poised to pass soon from the Senate to the House for its consideration, would exempt taro production from the state income tax.

    The bill reads, “The Legislature finds that the department of agriculture has pointed out that the state is most at risk for staple starches. Taro is a hypoallergenic complex carbohydrate that plays a critical role in the health of the family, particularly Native Hawaiians.”

    It continues: “Yet, the cost of poi remains inaccessible to families most in need of this important staple starch food.”

  • Why Hawaii Continues To Keep Fluoride Out Of Its Drinking Water

    Nearly 70% of the U.S. population receives fluoride through public water systems. Hawaii remains an outlier, thanks to long-standing opposition.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - February 26, 2020

    This legislative session, two fluoride-related bills cycled through the Hawaii Senate, each with the opposite intention.

    The first was a proposal to fluoridate Hawaii’s public drinking water, something that has failed over and over in previous legislative sessions. The other was the first of its kind: a bill that would place an outright ban on water fluoridation in Hawaii.

    Both bills died. But their fates shed light on why Hawaii, whose population has some of the worst oral health in the nation, isn’t likely to get fluoridation anytime soon.

  • Red Hill fuel storage deadline in doubt

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 19, 2020

    Hopes to shut down the Navy’s underground fuel tanks at Red Hill in 2028 were in doubt Tuesday after the chairwoman of a critical Senate committee removed the revised version of Senate Bill 2774 from scheduled decision making on Thursday.

    State Sen. Rosalyn Baker (D, West Maui-South Maui) did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday about why she deleted the bill from upcoming decision making.

  • New Rules Would Protect Farm Animals Transported By Sea in Hawaii

    Animal Welfare Institute - February 19, 2020

    Honolulu, HI—Following the recent deaths of 21 pregnant cows on a barge traveling from Oahu to Kauai, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) formally committed last week to adopting regulations to better protect farm animals on sea vessels traveling to, from, and between the Hawaiian Islands. The HDOA’s commitment comes on the heels of the state legislature introducing companion bills SB2715 and HB1898, which would have required the department to promulgate regulations for the care of animals shipped by sea.

  • Proposal to put fluoride in Hawaii water systems quickly dies

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 12, 2020

    Lawmakers heard hours of testimony Wednesday on a proposal to add fluoride to Hawaii water systems to help prevent tooth decay, but the proposal quickly died when members of the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected the idea.

    Water fluoridation has a long and controversial history in Hawaii, in large part because the state has very high rates of tooth decay in children.

  • How to solve Hawaii’s solar and storage problems

    “Smart imports” could be the solution Hawaii needs. Two new bills that would allow smart imports are pending this month in Hawaii’s 2020 legislative session.
    PV Magazine - February 5, 2020

    The pace of solar installations in Hawaii has plummeted in recent years due to policy changes that ended net metering. The residential and commercial solar sectors are still hurting and installations are far too slow to reach the goal of 100 percent renewable energy for electricity generation by 2045, Hawaii’s official goal since 2015.

    Hawaii is also lagging when it comes to battery storage.

    “Smart imports” could be the solution Hawaii needs. Two new bills that would allow smart imports are pending this month in Hawaii’s 2020 legislative session.

  • Hawaii bills would ban more sunscreens in the isles

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 30, 2020

    Hawaii legislators today announced the introduction of bills that restrict the sale of sunscreens with anything other than those deemed safe for the coral reef as well as human health in the state.

    The companion bills – Senate Bill 2278 and House Bill 2248 — propose sweeping legislation that would only allow sunscreen products with ingredients that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration generally recognizes as safe and effective, to be sold or distributed in Hawaii, starting Jan. 1, 2023.

  • Interagency task force provides update on fight to eradicate invasive species

    Lawmakers have been updated on a 10-year inter-agency plan launched two years ago to help manage biosecurity risks. The annual budget's about $60 million, and the task force wants the budget raised to nearly $100 million.
    KITV - January 21, 2020

    The "Hawaii Invasive Species Council" believes more agriculture inspectors and pest control staff are needed in the fight against Hawaii's hurting economy and natural resources.

    Lawmakers have been updated on a 10-year inter-agency plan launched two years ago to help manage biosecurity risks. The annual budget's about $60 million, and the task force wants the budget raised to nearly $100 million. 

  • Environmental Caucus Tackles Climate Change, Clean Energy

    Maui Now - January 18, 2020

    To encourage legislative action on pressing environmental issues, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature has formed an Environmental Legislative Caucus.

    The inaugural meeting of the caucus was held on Tuesday, January 7, where members discussed legislative priorities for the 2020 session.

    The caucus is co-chaired by Representative Nicole Lowen, Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, and Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment.

  • Kapolei’s second affordable housing tower to rise

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - August 29, 2019

    It’s not done yet, but the tallest building in Kapolei is slated to soon connect with a sister tower providing homes for Hawaii residents with low incomes.

    A development partnership held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for a second tower in the $130 million Kulana Hale project providing 297 apartments with rents as low as $632 a month made possible largely through low-interest and tax-free state financing.

  • Danny De Gracia: It’s Time For A Convention Of States

    Hawaii is well-qualified to lead other states in a national convention.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - August 26, 2019

    Having marked 60 years of statehood, despite challenges, our islands have been a place where one can find some of the newest ideas and innovations in policy, culture and social progress.
    Hawaii’s state constitution, as a case in point, is one of the most modern, elegant and even poetically written social compacts in the United States.

    The lessons Hawaii has learned as the newest state to enter the Union lend our people a unique perspective on the future of governance and the changing American experience since 1776.

  • PHOTOS: More Officials Call for End to Emergency Proclamation

    Big Island Now - July 23. 2019

    The weather atop Mauna Kea has cooled off, but the heat on Gov. David Ige to rescind his emergency proclamation tied to the protest over the Thirty Meter Telescope continues to ratchet up.

    Following calls from US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawai‘i—District 2) and the Hawaiian Caucuses in both the Hawai‘i State Senate and House of Representatives to kill the emergency declaration and seek another path forward, 10 elected officials at both the state and county levels doubled down on that request in a statement released Monday, July 22, 2019.

  • Climate Change Proposals Headed For Second Round In Hawaii Legislature

    State officials are fine-tuning proposals that aim to mitigate the effects of climate change in the state.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - July 18, 2018

    The Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission needs to step up its game in several areas when it comes to pitching ideas to the Legislature next session.

    That was the message Wednesday from a 10-member advisory group, co-led by Rep. Nicole Lowen and Sen. Mike Gabbard, that included state and county planners and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

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