FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 24, 2002
Contact: Rep. Brian Schatz
MAKIKI LAWMAKER PROPOSES TO EXTEND EMERGENCY ENVIRONMENTAL WORKFORCE
State Rep. Brian Schatz (D - Makiki, Tantalus), House Majority Whip, today said he will introduce a measure to extend the life of the highly successful Emergency Environmental Workforce bill that was overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature during last year's Emergency Special Session to address the immediate impacts of September 11.
"By all indications, this project has exceeded our expectations in all respects. Our economic recovery is not yet at a level where these people are able to return to their previous jobs, so there's good reason to continue this program for six more months," Schatz said.
The original measure, House Bill 4, appropriated $1.5 million to hire over 200 persons displaced from their jobs by the September 11 terrorist attacks or who were previously unemployed. These temporary workers were put on three-month contracts to help in the State's environmental and public health war against dengue fever, miconia, and coqui tree frogs.
"We recognize this program has a fiscal impact at a time when we're battling to balance the State budget," Schatz said. "But we have to ask ourselves not only if we can afford to do it, but also whether we can afford not to do it."