Governor Signs Bills, HGEA Ratification Vote; Homes for Displaced Japanese Families, American Savings Bank Wins Award

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Gov. Abercrombie

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the following bills into law today – report from the governor’s office below:

  • House Bill 112:  Allows the Director of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to designate an access organization to oversee public, educational, and governmental channels on cable television. Promotes use of ‘Olelo, Akaku, and Ho’ike community public communications.
  • House Bill 1540:  Makes permanent the current practice of allowing the Department of Education to hire teachers as “emergency hires” for only three years.  The intent is to motivate emergency hired teachers to obtain their teaching license.  This ensures that emergency hire teachers obtain proper training to meet the federal requirement to be “highly qualified.”
  • Senate Bill 1171:  Allows the Board of Education to grant a waiver if schools want to deviate from the common, single school calendar; and allows the lowest performing schools identified in Race to the Top to be able to add school days for extended learning time.
  • Senate Bill 675:  Repeals state authorization to allow a private not-for-profit corporation to acquire student loan notes.
  • Senate Bill 1484:  Clarifies insurance code for those organizations that primarily provide insurance benefits to members of our armed forces, veterans, and their families.
  • Senate Bill 698:  Eliminates mandate requiring minimum recycled glass content in roadway materials.  Roads should now be better built and glass will be better recycled.

To date, 24 measures have been enacted.  The Governor has until July 12, 2011 to sign into law all measures that are passed out of the state Senate and the House of Representatives.  The Legislature adjourns on May 5th.   For more information on these measures and other legislative bills, please visit


Hawaii Government Employees Association Releases Breakdown of Ratification Vote

The Hawaii Government Employees Association released its voting results for its bargaining units 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9 and 13.

Ratification meetings were held at various sites statewide April 18-21 and April 25 for 7 HGEA bargaining units.

The HGEA said “Units 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 13 ratified a new two-year contract, covering the period of July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013. Unit 9 members voted to reject their contract.”

Aloha Initiative Team Seeking Homes for Displaced Japanese Familes

The Aloha Initiative co-founder Keith Regan today announced that community meetings are scheduled on Sunday, May 1, at 3 p.m. at Kahului Hongwanji Mission social hall and Tuesday, May 3, at 6:30 p.m. at Door of Faith Church to provide information to prospective host families and other volunteers wanting to help with The Aloha Initiative, a project led by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui to provide citizens of Japan who have been displaced by the recent earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis with a warm and welcome home.

The meetings will include a presentation by Dr. Al Arensdorf, a Red Cross trainer in disaster mental health and in psychological first aid, on: (1) what to expect – the “normal emotional reactions” to earthquake/tsunami disasters; (2) how to use an evidence-based intervention called, “Psychological First Aid,” both for host families and disaster workers and for persons displaced by disaster; and (3) tips for both adults and children as to how to cope and how to recover by being resilient.

Regan of Wailuku and Rev. Jeffrey Soga of Kahului, along with Roy Tominaga of Honolulu returned from the Tohoku region last Friday after meeting with government and nonprofit organization leaders, including Fukushima City Mayor Takanori Seto, Miyagi Prefecture Councilor Toshiaki Sugawara, and Sendai City Deputy Mayor Nobuyoshi Inaba to discuss The Aloha Initiative.   A press conference was held in Fukushima City and, since then, the program has received TV and newspaper exposure in Japan.  The tremendous publicity has resulted in The Aloha Initiative phone in Japan ringing off the hook with inquiries and requests to sign up for the program.

To date, over 130 families throughout Hawaii have signed up to open their hearts and homes to the people of Japan, and over $150,000 in pledges has been received to help defray the transportation and insurance costs.  “More host families and donations are needed to meet the demand,” said co-founder Lynn Araki-Regan.

To sign up to volunteer, visit or call 280-1299.

Submitted by Lynn Araki-Regan

American Savings Wins Top Award

For the second year in a row, American Savings Bank (ASB) was named a “Best Place to Work in Hawaii” by Hawaii Business magazine. The bank was recognized in the “Large Companies” category for its employee friendly policies and programs including LifeBalance, ASB’s personal wellness program, which provides employees with free annual health assessments, stress management, fitness and nutrition classes, financial seminars and more.

The Best Places to Work in Hawaii list is compiled annually by an independent workplace-excellence research firm, which evaluates each company based on employee surveys and an assessment of company policies and practices. The program is free and open to all publicly and privately held companies of 15 or more employees working in Hawaii.

Submitted by ASB