Residents of Rural South Hilo and Keaukaha will be briefed on landmark legislation passed by the 2011 State Legislature to formally recognize Native Hawaiian people and boost the economy at two back-to-back community meetings this Wed., May 18, 2011.

Sen. Malama Solomon, District 1, Rep. Mark Nakashima, District 1 and Sen. Gil Kahele, District 2 will attend the Rural South Hilo Community meeting at 6 p.m. at Kalanianaole School Cafeteria.  When finished there, Sen. Solomon and Sen. Kahele will go to the Keaukaha Community Association monthly meeting, which starts at 6:30 p.m., at Keaukaha Elementary School Cafeteria.

Sen. Solomon, who served as chief negotiator for Sen. Bill 1520 – known as the Native Hawaiian Recognition Bill — will discuss the purpose of this measure, which has been sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for final review and signing.  Sen. Solomon will explain the measure’s intent, which is to begin a process of creating a list of people who are of Native Hawaiian descent.  Funds have been committed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to underwrite creation of a commission that will collect and register such names.

Sen. Solomon and Sen. Kahele, who served on the important Senate Ways and Means committee, also will discuss several other key measures and decisions made by the 2011 Legislature to support job creation and avoid increasing the General Excise Tax.

Major Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) totaling $125 million for Sen. District 1 will also be reviewed, including Lower Hamakua Ditch System improvements to support diversified agriculture, healthcare, affordable housing, roads, airports and most significantly, both lower and higher education.  This includes $8 million in CIP that has now been released by Gov. Abercrombie to build a new full service kitchen in Keaukaha Elementary School cafeteria as part of his administration’s New Day Work Projects to accelerate Hawai’i’s economic recovery by decreasing unemployment and jumpstarting business activity.

While both meetings have full agendas, Sen. Solomon will be asking community leaders present to begin thinking about priorities and concerns that should be addressed during the 2012 Legislative Session.

For more information about Sen. Bill 1520 or to contact Sen. Solomon, Hawai’i Island residents may call toll free: 974-4000 Ext. 67335, or emailSenSolomon@capitol.hawaii.gov.  To contact Sen. Kahele, call toll free: 974-4000 Ext. 66760, or email SenKahele@capitol.hawaii.gov. To contact Rep. Nakashima, call toll free: 974-4000 Ext. 66680, or email RepNakashima@capitol.hawaii.gov.

Submitted by the Hawaii State Senate majority communications department

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