BY BETH FUKUMOTO – The residents of the State of Hawai`i have called on the House Republican caucus (HRC) to ensure their taxes are not raised, control government spending, maintain fiscal discipline, increase government accountability, reduce the size and scope of government, stimulate and accelerate student learning and create an economic environment that will help local businesses thrive, create jobs and attract international investments.
For the benefit of the over 250,000 residents the caucus represents as well as the entire State of Hawai`i, the HRC has developed a comprehensive legislative package that heeds the call of its constituents. Together, based on the core values of the electorate, veteran legislators and freshman colleagues have created a dynamic initiative which links residents knowledge and ideas with sound, common-sense policies that will increase Hawai`i’s competitiveness in today’s ever expanding global economy.
More than ever, the House Republican Caucus is laser-focused on achieving meaningful solutions that position our state for long-term prosperity because it’s not just about who we are now; it’s about investing in the future and ensuring the success of all Hawai`i’s children for decades to come.
Meet the House Republican Caucus
- Representative Gene Ward, Minority Leader (District 17: Kalama Valley, Queen’s Gate, Hawaii Kai) Areas of Influence include: Economic Revitalization, International Affairs and Small Business Development
- Representative Kymberly Marcos Pine, Minority Floor Leader (District 43: Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Puuloa) Areas of Influence include: Community Crime Reduction, Victim’s Rights and Traffic Relief Systems
- Representative Cynthia Thielen, Assistant Minority Leader (District 50: Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) Areas of Influence include: Renewable Energy, Protection of Natural Resources, Developed Legislative Road Show and Kanu Project, a native tree planting program, for schools in the 50th District
- Representative Corinne W.L. Ching, Assistant Minority Floor Leader (District 27: Nuuanu, Puunui, Liliha, Alewa Heights) Areas of Influence include: Small Business Development, Historical Preservation, Health Awareness and Diversified Agriculture
- Representative Barbara C. Marumoto, Minority Policy Leader (District 19: Kaimuki, Waialae, Kahala) Areas of Influence include: Economic Revitalization, Judiciary and Consumer Protection
- Representative George Fontaine, Minority Whip (District 11: Makena, Wailea, Kihei) Areas of Influence include: Public Safety and Human Services
- Representative Aaron Ling Johanson, Minority Whip (District 32: Lower Pearlridge, Aiea, Halawa, Hickam, Pearl Harbor, Moanalua Gardens) Areas of Influence include: Areas of Influence include: Hawai`i Public Schools, Higher Education Administration, Oversight of Hawai`i’s ARRA Federal Stimulus Funds and Federal Government Leadership Structures
- Representative Gil Riviere, Minority Whip (District 46: Kaena Point, Schofield, Mokuleia, Waialua, Haleiwa, Waimea, Pupukea, Sunset, Kahuku, Kunia Camp, Poamoho, Wheeler, Laie) Areas of influence include: Agriculture and Economic Revitalization
2011 Comprehensive Legislative Package
Ensure taxes are not raised
· CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT; TAXATION: This amendment would require a supermajority or two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to raise or create taxes and fees. An increase in the number of votes needed to raise or create taxes and fees will necessitate further collaboration and agreement between legislators and the public on any increases to the cost-of-living in Hawai`i.
Create an economic environment to help local businesses thrive, create jobs and attract international investment
· RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES: This bill puts the “SEE” Hawai`i Work program, which has been successfully operated out of the Department of Human Services, into statute. “SEE” (Supporting Employment Empowerment) Hawai`i Work is a program focused on transitioning welfare recipients into the workforce by subsidizing companies up to the minimum wage when they hire welfare recipients as employees.
· RELATING TO TORTS: This bill works to lower the costs of medical practice in Hawai`i in an effort to limit doctor shortages and avoid further increases in the costs of health insurance in Hawai`i by placing a cap on the amount of non-economic damages that may be recovered in medical malpractice actions in Hawai’i. The cap is contingent on the compliance of all professional liability insurers in Hawai’i with the premium rate limitations also set in this bill.
· RELATING TO TORTS: Protect our farmers by exempting them from liability if a trespasser injures themselves on the agricultural land.
· RELATING TO TAXATION: This bill would extend a temporary tax credit to those businesses involved in the manufacture and export of goods from the State. The credit would be limited to businesses that are new or not currently engaged in the export of manufactured goods from the State, and would not be allowed after 2017.
· RELATING TO CLEAN ENERGY BONDS: This bill would establish a clean energy bond loan program for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements in an effort to stimulate enterprises in the clean energy sector of Hawai`i’s economy and help the State reach its clean energy targets.
· RELATING TO FOSSIL FUELS: This bill would prohibit the construction or operation of new facilities that produce energy solely from fossil fuels. Currently, the State of Hawa`i exports billions of dollars each year for fossil fuels, and a fossil fuel ban would benefit both the economy and the environment, encouraging local and renewable energy sources.
· RELATING TO PAYCHECK PROTECTION: This bill would disallow public employers from withholding any portion of an employee’s paycheck for a political contribution unless the employee has submitted a specific written request.
· A resolution urging the Governor of the State of Hawai`i to invite all participating APEC countries to establish honorary consuls in Hawaii before the summit convenes.
· A resolution urging Congress and the Department of State to host more international conferences in Hawai`i.
Stimulate and accelerate student learning
· RELATING TO THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: This bill calls for a periodic, independent, and comprehensive review of the Department of Education, to increase accountability and encourage efficiency in the largest of our state programs. It would consist of, at a minimum, a financial and management review.
· RELATING TO EDUCATION GOVERNANCE: This bill would enable the appointment of Board of Education members by the Governor, as required by the State Constitution, to increase accountability in education governance. These appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Senate and are also drawn from each of the four counties to guarantee representation of all counties.
· RELATING TO EDUCATION: This bill establishes the rights of a teacher or driver in charge to exclude from the teacher’s classroom or the driver’s school bus any pupil who is disorderly, interferes with an orderly educational process or threatens school employees.
· RELATING TO EDUCATION: This bill provides for more of the education budget to be expended at the school level, allowing principals more control over their budgets. This bill, which will ultimately ensure that 90 percent of funds be spent at the school-level, will be gradually implemented, beginning with the 2013-2015 fiscal biennium to allow the Department of Education time to prepare and adjust.
· RELATING TO EDUCATION: This bill would provide college tuition money for accelerated student learners who can finish their high school education, complete the SAT and/or AP tests successfully before the 12th grade, and are accepted into the University of Hawai’i system.
· A resolution urging the Department of Education to create an incentive for schools to develop new methods of teaching and learning that will better benefit students in the digital age.
· A resolution in support of Teach for America.
· A resolution urging the Department of Education and the Hawai`i public school system to establish STEM/Robotics curriculum or, at a minimum, an extracurricular activity, in every school.
· A resolution to create a legislative committee to collaboratively work with the Charter School Network to raise the cap on charter schools as well as strengthen charter school laws.
Control government spending and maintain fiscal accountability
· CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT; GENERAL FUND EXPENDITURE CEILING: This amendment would repeal the two-thirds vote requirement by which the general fund expenditure ceiling can be circumvented, requiring the Governor and the Legislature to limit spending by removing the loophole that allows these bodies to overspend.
· RELATING TO FISCAL NOTES: This bill would require all bills with a fiscal impact to include an estimate of the impact of the bill on state revenues and taxpayers. These price tags would encourage good decision-making and increase transparency by allowing every legislator and the public easy-access and understanding of the costs and benefits of each piece of legislation.
Reduce the size and scope of government and increase government accountability
· RELATING TO THE COMMISSION ON SALARIES: This bill would make any salary increases for legislators recommended by the Commission on Salaries subject to public hearings.
· A resolution urging the amending of the House rules to provide for the extension of the advance notice for a public hearing from forty-eight to seventy-two hours, excluding the hours on weekends and requiring a vote by the full house of representatives for there to be waiver in the hearing notice requirement.
· A resolution urging the Legislature to post all amendments made to bills and resolutions online immediately in instances when hard copies of the amendments or amended legislation are distributed at committee hearings.
· A resolution requesting the House of Representatives to broadcast more legislative proceedings and post them on the legislative website.
· A resolution to change House rules to require that the Speaker of the Hawai`i House of Representatives be conditionally selected at least 45 days prior to the start of the legislative session. In the event that new leadership is not established by the requisite date, the Representative with the most proportional votes in the General Election would become Speaker, thereby preventing a stalemate.
Beth Fukumoto is the Director of Operations for the House GOP