Originally published by Hawaii Business magazine; click here to read the article on hawaiibusiness.com.
Each year, the Hawaii region of the federal Small Business Administration gives out awards that celebrate some of the state's best small businesses and small-business advocates. Senator Russell Ruderman was named the 2015 Small Business Person of the Year for Hawaii and was featured in Hawaii Business magazine by LIANNE YU.
Last weekend senators from the Water, Land and Agriculture committee participated in a day-long site visit on Hawaii Island hosted by DLNR's Division of Forestry and Wildlife to view work on watershed forest protection, public hunting opportunities, rare species restoration, and timber management.
The group was shown projects in the Waikea Forest Reserve, the Hilo Forest Reserve and Nene recovery site, and the Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve. Mahalo to DNLR staff Kekoa Kaluhiwa, Emma Yuen and Jim Cogswell for organizing.
Senator Russell Ruderman and his staff are proud to host the Pahoa Boys Varsity Basketball Team, Big Island Division II Champions for lunch today. They are visiting Oahu to play in the State Tournament. Senator Ruderman introduced them on the Senate Floor and Representative Joy Sanbuenaventua introduced them on the House Floor! Go Daggers! We wish them the best of luck in their tournament here on Oahu.
Senator Russell Ruderman introduced two animal welfare related bills this session. He was interviewed by the Hawaii Tribune Herald; below is a excerpt from the article, which can be read in its entirety at the following link: Numerous animal welfare bills before Legislature
Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, introduced both the cockfighting bill and the measure banning the commercial take of reef fish for aquarium collectors.
Ruderman said Saturday aquarium fish collecting needs "to be phased out over the next five years, because it's a big change for people who make their living at it."
"I think it's important to protect our reefs, to protect our fisheries in general," he said. "We have so many people come to Hawaii to snorkel and dive, and I think taking the fish off the reefs, they're taking a resource that's important to the reef's health and the health of our overall fisheries."
It's not the first time Ruderman has introduced the bill, but he's optimistic this time "because a couple of things have changed." He noted the introduction in the legislature, as well as the County Council, of bills "to make how they handle the fish more humane."
Related links: SB322 Relating to Wildlife | SB590 Relating to Cruelty to Animals
Senator Russell Ruderman has introduced a number of bills this session to address Puna/Big Island's unique issues. "These bills need your support," said Senator Ruderman. "Big Island endured serious damage from a tropical storm last year and faces uncertainty due to the impending lava flow. Many of the bills I have introduced could help our district to be better prepared for disasters in the future. I am also committed to focusing on food and agricultural sustainability this session."
Several of the bills have already been scheduled for hearing. It is hoped that constituents in the Puna area begin tracking the bills on their individual Capitol webpage and submit testimony in support when a Bill is scheduled.
Below is a list of bills that Senator Ruderman has introduced that relate to Puna and/or Big Island issues:
SB 319: RELATING TO SANDALWOOD.
Conservation; Department of Land and Natural Resources; Sandalwood; Penalties; Fees
Prohibits the sale, export, and possession with intent to sell or export raw or unprocessed sandalwood timber, including whole or partial raw logs. Establishes penalties for the sale, export, or possession with the intent to sell or export raw or unprocessed sandalwood timber and establishes a violation as a misdemeanor.
SB 322: RELATING TO WILDLIFE.
Aquatic Life; Aquarium Permits; Fish; Sale of Aquatic Life for Aquarium Use Prohibited
Criminalizes the sale of aquatic life for aquarium use and establishes the penalties for first and subsequent violations. Amends existing aquarium fish permit law to conform to the ban. Takes effect on 1/1/2016.
SB 576: RELATING TO HEALTH.
Mobile Health Unit; Appropriation
Appropriates a grant to the Bay Clinic, Inc., for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.
SB 578: RELATING TO ELECTIONS.
Elections; Voting; Elections by Mail; Absentee Voting; Appropriation
Enable the office of elections to implement elections by mail in any interested county, beginning with the 2016 primary election. By 2018, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail. Enables absentee walk-in voting to continue prior to election day. Ensures limited polling sites in each county remain open on election day for absentee walk-in voting and to receive mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.
SB 580: MAKING AN EMERGENCY APPROPRIATION FOR THE PUNA COMMUNITY MEDICAL CENTER.
Puna Community Medical Center; Mobile Health Unit; Annex Medical Clinic; Emergency Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds as an emergency appropriation to the Puna Community Medical Center for a mobile health unit to service the Puna district due to the threat of inaccessibility from the lava flow.
SB 586: RELATING TO THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII.
Rat Lungworm Disease; Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds to the University of Hawaii at Hilo for programs and studies related to rat lung worm disease.
SB 589: RELATING TO INSURANCE.
Property Insurance; Hawaii Property Insurance Association; Renewal
Requires the renewal of property insurance, but permits insurers to deny renewal for nonpayment of an undisputed premium by a policyholder.
SB 591: RELATING TO THE ENVIRONMENT.
Invasive Species; Albizia Trees; Appropriation ($)
Makes an appropriation to the Hawaii invasive species council for the coordinated management of albizia trees on Hawaii island and throughout the State.
SB 594: RELATING TO COFFEE.
Coffee; Labeling; Geographic or Regional Origins; Percentage of Content Requirement; Hawaii-grown Coffee
Requires a specific listing of the geographic origins of various Hawaii-grown coffees and the geographic or regional origins of the various coffees not grown in Hawaii that are included in a coffee blend to be listed on the front panel of a label. Increases the minimum percentage requirement for coffee blends to use geographic origin in labeling or advertising to 80 per cent coffee by weight from that geographic origin. Effective January 1, 2016.
SB 597: RELATING TO ELECTIONS.
Emergencies and Disasters; Postponed Elections; Distribution of Voting Results
Requires the chief election officer or county clerk to exercise existing powers to postpone an election in affected precincts when the right to vote is substantially impaired due to an emergency or natural disaster. Prohibits the distribution of results from any precinct, whether or not designated for postponement, until after the final closing of the polls for an election postponed due to an emergency or disaster.
SB 1013: MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR A COMMUNITY CERTIFIED KITCHEN IN PUNA.
Hooulu Lahui; Appropriation; Grant ($)
Appropriates funds to Hooulu Lahui to complete construction of a community certified kitchen in lower Puna.
SB 1016: RELATING TO HEALTH.
Emergency Medical Services; Advanced Life Support Ambulance; Puna; Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds to establish an advanced life support ambulance to be based in Puna on the island of Hawaii, including the acquisition of a vehicle and equipment and personnel costs for state-certified emergency medical services personnel.
SB 1200: RELATING TO A SMALL BOAT HARBOR IN SOUTH PUNA.
Puna Small Boat Harbor; General Obligation Bonds; Appropriation ($)
Authorizes the director of finance to issue general obligation bonds to finance the design and construction of a small boat harbor in South Puna.
SB 1257: MAKING AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF AN AIRPORT IN PUNA.
Airport; Appropriation ($)
Appropriates funds for construction of a small airport in South Puna due to the threat of inaccessibility from lava flow.
For assistance in submitting testimony online or for outer island residents who want to testify by video, contact the Public Access Room at lrbhawaii.org/par.
A complete list of bills Introduced by Senator Ruderman can be found here.
All bills introduced this session can be found here.
View the press release.
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