REPORT FROM THE SENATE MAJORITY – The Hawaii State Senate Majority Caucus today unveiled its priorities for the 2013 Legislative Session, which begins on January 16. The Senate Majority, whose members are Democrats, is committed to a vision and future for Hawai’i that will stabilize our economy and ensure a high quality of life for all generations.
“The Senate Majority strives to be open, inclusive, and collaborative in its decision-making on initiatives impacting the State of Hawai’i,” said Senate President-elect Donna Mercado Kim. “We look forward to laying a solid foundation to build a stronger economy and move Hawaii forward for all generations.”
In that spirit, this year’s Senate Majority theme is No Na Mamo, which means for all generations.
During this first year of the Twenty-Seventh Legislative biennium, there are three over-arching themes and priorities for legislation that will set forth a forward looking agenda that includes self-reliance and sustainability. They are:
Food and Energy Resiliency
Ensuring a sustainable future for Hawai’i is a priority. The Senate Majority will explore the concept of self-reliance and scrutinize options for food and agricultural resiliency within the State and take steps toward developing a strong foundation that will enhance the food and agricultural self-sufficiency of our State.
“We currently import about 85 percent of our food, but with initiatives focused on food and agricultural resiliency, we hope to reduce our reliance on food imports and increase our food security,” said Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria.
With the State’s overall clean energy goal in mind, the Senate Majority remains committed to meeting the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative’s benchmarks. Boosting resiliency in food and energy will have positive effects on our local job market and economy. With that in mind, the Senate Majority will continue to support Hawai’i’s farmers and small businesses.
• The Senate Majority will continue to advance the Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative. The State has made significant progress towards its goal of increasing the amount of locally produced renewable energy. The Senate Majority will continue to align government regulations and policies with clean energy goals, facilitate processes for developing renewable energy, deploy renewable generation and grid infrastructure, and explore next generation technologies and new applications of existing technologies.
• The Senate Majority will focus on efforts to encourage food resiliency across Hawai’i, such as increasing production and consumption of locally grown food. The Senate will examine the progress and goals of the Hawai’i Clean Energy Initiative and consider replicating those efforts and goals into a workable Food Resiliency Initiative.
Supporting People, Strengthening Communities
When it comes to Hawaii’s residents, the Senate Majority will continue to support the State’s core functions, including programs for those most in need. The Senate will continue to strengthen the social safety net and ensure that our keiki, kupuna, families, and individuals are protected by supporting organizations that provide essential education, health, housing, and welfare services.
• Supporting the education of our keiki will remain a top priority for the Hawai’i State Senate. Collaborating with educational leaders and interested stakeholders to identify and focus on several priority educational needs and opportunities will help prepare our students to reach their potential and encourage them to be successful, productive members of the community.
• The Senate Majority will support and strengthen Hawai’i’s public higher education system, being mindful that each of our ten campuses statewide is helping to prepare our students for college and career success.
Government Efficiency and Accountability
The Senate Majority will work toward greater efficiency across all branches of government by streamlining collaboration and communication at the County, State, and Federal levels. For maximum efficiency, this collaboration will be extended to interested stakeholders, including private businesses and non-profit organizations.
• The Senate Majority supports accountability and transparency of government by insisting on high standards of ethical conduct and open decision-making.
• The Senate Majority encourages long-term planning and efficiency efforts to fundamentally change the character and delivery of government services. The Senate will continue to promote the enhancement of the State’s information technology services and support the Governor’s Chief Information Officer as he works on modernizing business and technology infrastructure for the people of Hawai’i.
• The Senate Majority will draw upon the recommendations of the Senate Special Committee on Accountability for the improvement of the operational and financial management of the University of Hawai’i and continue to support the University of Hawai’i as it carries out those recommendations and initiatives.