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.
Senator Russell Ruderman was happy to host an exchange student Intern, Roy Atallah, in the Honolulu office for the day. Roy is from Lebanon and is spending his junior year at Waiakea High School through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program. Roy and 6 other students from Russia, Serbia, Indonesia, Philippines, Pakistan, Palestine were introduced on the Senate floor.
Senator Ruderman's legislative staff 2015 with YES student intern (left to right): Michael Greenough, Maigee Chang, Roy Atallah (YES intern), Senator Russell Ruderman, Raina Whiting and Eliza Wilcox.
The Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i (FLH) has awarded Senator Russell Ruderman, representing legislative District 2, with the Mahalo Award as the FLH Legislator of the Year. The award was presented at the FLH Legislative Breakfast held January 14th at Washington Place in Honolulu.
Governor David Ige was the featured speaker with First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige welcoming invited guests from the Hawai‘i State Legislature, Board of Education, Hawai‘i State Public Library System, and Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i Affiliates and volunteers.
The Mahalo Award is presented annually to a State legislator who has demonstrated exemplary support of Hawai‘i's public libraries during the prior legislative session. Senator Ruderman continues to advocate for a regional library in his Puna district of the Big Island of Hawai‘i and his office has worked closely with library staff.
In the past year, Senator Ruderman's office has worked tirelessly with many agencies, including the Hawai‘i State Public Library System, to ensure the continuation of service for his area in the midst of a number of natural events including Hurricane Iselle and the Kilauea lava flows. Library services were expanded to include 24/7 wireless-internet access during hurricane clean-up and extending through today at the Pahoa Public Library for residents effected by the lava flow.
Elected in 2012, Senator Ruderman serves on the Agriculture, Health, Water and Land, as well as the Ways and Means committees.
The Legislative Breakfast provides a unique opportunity for supporters of the Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i State Public Library staff to discuss the needs and concerns of Hawai‘i's public libraries with their legislators and to thank them for their support.
The Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i was founded in 1879 as a nonprofit organization to support and promote Hawai‘i's public libraries, encouraging literacy and providing educational programming outside of the normal State budget. FLH provides this important funding through fundraising events such as our three major booksales including the Annual Booksale at McKinley High School cafeteria and an annual Links to Literacy golf tournament.
For more information call 808-536-7174 or visit our website www.friendsofthelibraryofhawaii.org.
Please join us at our next Town Hall Meeting next Wednesday, January 9, 2015, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Kea‘au Girl Scout Center.
Please be advised that these pages may contain links to external Internet sites
established by other entities. The Hawaii State Legislature does not maintain, review,
or endorse these sites and is not responsible for their content.
We make every effort to comply to ADA standards, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation
Visit our ADA page here. If you have any problems with any of these pages, please
contact the webmaster with the page address and problems encountered.