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Thursday, January 20, 2022
VIDEO: Day One Speeches at Hawaii Legislature
By Video @ 4:37 AM :: 1408 Views :: DHHL, Hawaii State Government

PDF: Day One Senate Agenda

PDF: Day One House Agenda

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Opening Day Speech by House Speaker Scott K. Saiki

News Release from Office of Rep Scott Saiki, Jan 2022

JUSTICE

Over the past two years, Hawaii has worked together to overcome great challenges. It is a reflection of the public's resilience and sense of community. It is also a reflection of your work here in the Legislature and in your neighborhoods.

I know that the past seven months have not been easy for you and your constituents. Just when we thought the pandemic was over, the surge overcame all of us. I know that you have worked in your communities to vaccinate and test thousands and thousands of people.

On September 17, 1959, one month after statehood, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Hawaii and spoke here in the House of Representatives. He spoke of his work in other states, and recognized Hawaii as a "noble example . . . in the area of racial harmony and racial justice."

It has been 62 years since that speech. As you know, Dr. King's teachings extended beyond race, and included economic and environmental justice. It is time to re-assess Dr. King's observation about Hawaii and to articulate what we can do to advance his call for justice.

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

In January 2020, we were prepared to enact a proposal that would have increased the minimum wage and provided more tax relief to working families. This proposal followed a report conducted by the Aloha United Way that found that 47 % of Hawaii's families were financially distressed and simply could not make it here. But six weeks later, the legislative session was suspended when the state was shut down, and we were forced to defer action on our ambitious agenda.

Since that time, I stated publicly that the House would re-visit a wage proposal when conditions improved. Well, conditions have improved and it is now time for us to act.

Through the work of Representatives Onishi and Sayama, the House will advance legislation to increase the hourly minimum wage to $18, increase the food tax credit, and make the Earned Income Tax Credit refundable and permanent.

This package will give a family an additional $33,600 in income.

But we know that wages alone will not lift working families.

Families cannot afford housing and need help.

And regrettably, the demographic group that has been hardest hit and most priced out of housing is Native Hawaiians.

We will appropriate $600 million to enable beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homelands trust to acquire their own homes.

Through Representative Holt and Representative Eli, who is the only Hawaiian Homelands beneficiary in the House, the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus will play a leading role on this historic piece of legislation.

It is time to give the Department of Hawaiian Homelands the resources it needs to fulfill its fiduciary duty.

CULTURAL JUSTICE

Cultural justice requires the restoration of cultural practices.

The House will expand community-based efforts to restore fish ponds and lo'i; repatriate cultural artifacts; teach financial literacy; and provide cultural training to the military.

Related to this is the issue of tourism management. We need to take action now before our visitor count again reaches 10 million. We need to better incorporate culture into tourism because by doing so, this will also protect our natural resources. We will do this by relying on initiatives and organizations that can assist the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Last year, the House created a working group to propose a new governance structure for Mauna Kea. Through the work of Representatives Nakashima, Tarnas, Cullen and Eli, and 11 community members, the House will advance a proposal that will create a management structure that will care for Mauna Kea above the 6,500 foot elevation line, through an integrated culturally and environmentally-conscious approach.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE

When it comes to the environment, just two words exemplify the need for environmental justice: Red Hill.

In December, the House called for the defueling and decommissioning of Red Hill. We will reiterate that call for action. The House will not allow the military to put the aquifer that supplies water to all of Oahu's residents at risk.

Representatives Yamane, Lowen, Tarnas, Ohno, Ichiyama, Johanson, Ganaden and Matsumoto began work a few weeks ago to monitor state and military progress on Red Hill. We will continue that work through the formation of a Special Committee on Red Hill. Its emphasis will be the containment, remediation and prevention of contamination.

And we will continue to insist that the federal government must be responsible for Red Hill costs. State taxpayers should not be asked to pay for this clean up.

CONCLUSION

This year, the House is proposing unprecedented legislation that, taken together, will help over 100,000 households, provide homes, and restore cultural practices that ordinary people have fought for, and even died for, throughout their lives. As I have said before, the House of Representatives is a leader on policy. We must continue to be that force for needed change. Like Dr. King, we cannot hesitate to institute reform so that we can achieve justice. Thank you and have a productive session.

The full letter is attached: LINK

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DHHL NEWS RELEASE: CHAIR AILĀ STATEMENT ON HOUSE SPEAKER’S INTENT TO FUND DHHL

News Release from DHHL, Jan 19, 2022

(Kapolei, Oʻahu) – Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Ailā, Jr. issued the following statement following Speaker Scott Saiki’s opening remarks to the 31st Legislature of the State of Hawaiʻi on January 19, 2022. In his speech, Speaker Saiki indicated the intent to introduce a bill that could appropriate $600 million to serve beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

“An investment of $600 million toward the implementation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act would be a historic infusion of resources to address the needs of potentially thousands of beneficiaries on the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Waiting List. DHHL continues to be open to all measures that would return native Hawaiians to the land, as intended by Prince Kūhiō. We appreciate this legislature for hearing our calls for funding and their commitment to fulfilling the state’s obligation to our community.”

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“Rep. McDermott Challenges Speaker Saiki's Opening Day Speech Regarding Red Hill”

News Release from Office of Rep Bob McDermott, Jan 19, 2022

HONOLULU, HAWAIʻI – Representative Bob McDermott (R – Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point) challenges Speaker Saiki's speech regarding Red Hill.

Rep. McDermott appreciates Speaker Saiki's talk about justice but found his talk about Red Hill to be disingenuous.  As the Speaker clearly knows, any state action or committee resolutions would be futile as the Red Hill Facility is exempt from State regulations.

The Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility would be considered to be "grandfathered in" to exemption from adherence to regulations such as 42 U.S.C. §6961, which directs that solid or hazardous waste be disposed of in compliance with Federal, State, Interstate, and Local requirement.  Additionally, Red Hill is likely to be eligible for a National Security Waiver preventing them from being required to adhere to a new regulation being applied to an existing structure.

So while providing the public with some red meat, it is meaningless as Red Hill is solely a Federal issue dealt with the Feds at their convenience.  Speaker Saiki is speaking to the wrong audience…

"We have a united Democrat congressional team, a Democrat Governor, and a Democrat President and they can't get it done! Clearly, we need to send a serious message to our Democrat leaders to stop attacking imaginary enemies – stop beating up the nameless, faceless, Navy bureaucrats that are not the enemy nor the problem – while there is still diesel dripping in our water.  That achieves nothing.  The Democrats are in charge and they own Red Hill," quotes Rep McDermott.

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COVERAGE:

House Plans To Commit A ‘Historic’ $600 Million To Hawaiian Homelands

CB: … Lawmakers in the state House will introduce a “historic” piece of legislation in the days ahead to commit $600 million to help develop Hawaiian homelands for affordable housing, and will also propose a bill to increase the state minimum wage from $10.10 to $18 per hour.

House Speaker Scott Saiki announced those plans in an unusually specific, brief speech Wednesday marking opening day of the Legislature this year.

State Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson also outlined a plan by the Democrats to amend state law to require the U.S. Navy to close its Red Hill bulk fuel storage facility.

read … House Plans To Commit A ‘Historic’ $600 Million To Hawaiian Homelands

HNN: As new legislative session kicks off, lawmakers eye minimum wage of $18 an hour

HNN: Minimum wage, affordable housing at top of legislative agenda this session

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