Thursday, February 26, 1998



Legislature '98


Funds sought
to bring Miss Universe
pageant to isles

The price tag to host the contest
is $3.3 million, which would generate
an estimated $9 million

By Pat Omandam
Star-Bulletin

The clock is ticking to secure $3.3 million in state funds to host the Miss Universe Pageant this May in Hawaii, say state officials involved in the event.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday heard a bill that funds the internationally televised pageant, but put off a decision on it. Organizers are requesting the emergency appropriation be released by March 15 since work already is under way for the event.

The panel has until March 6 to decide whether the bill will move forward to a vote on the Senate floor.

Joseph Blanco, executive assistant for economic development for Gov. Ben Cayetano, said getting the pageant for Hawaii is a major coup, and he's confident the committee will pass the measure.

"But if not, I need to know right away," he said.

Blanco and state Office of Planning Director Rick Egged are part of the state's negotiation team that brought the event to Hawaii.

The state's push to host the pageant was boosted by Hawaii resident and current Miss Universe, Brook Lee.

Committee Co-Chairwoman Rosalyn Baker (D, West Maui-Lanai) questioned whether there were enough incentives for organizers to keep the event under budget.

She also wondered why the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau doesn't directly pick up the $3.3 million tab, as the bill's title relates to tourism marketing.

Blanco said there is every incentive for the bureau to keep costs under budget, and any overruns will be borne by the bureau, which has a contract with the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism to coordinate the event with pageant officials.

Since the pageant will be held in the current fiscal year, Egged said the bureau couldn't directly fund it because its budget was already committed.

The committee is leaving the amount of the appropriation blank to let the Senate money committee decide the level of funding.

The Senate Economic Development Committee, in its Feb. 18 report on Senate Bill 3033, SD 1, said hosting the pageant would present a valuable marketing opportunity for Hawaii.

The 46-year-old pageant will be televised in 74 countries during a two-hour live special that state officials say will showcase the diversity and beauty of Hawaii.

The event is expected to generate more than $9 million in immediate economic benefits, as well as millions of dollars more as tourists are lured here as a result of the broadcast.

Isle pageantry

The Miss Universe Pageant will be televised live in 74 countries during a two-hour special. Officials say it will showcase Hawaii's diversity and beauty.

The event is expected to generate more than $9 million in immediate economic benefits, as well as boost tourism as a result of the broadcast.


Land department seeks
authority to set fishing rules

By Craig Gima
Star-Bulletin

Garrett Young has been fishing since he was 3 years old and remembers when weke, mullet and moi were plentiful.

Not so, anymore.

"If there's no rules, people would just catch them all," he said as he baited his hook and waited for the fish to bite at Kewalo Basin yesterday.

About a mile away at the state Capitol, senators had just finished listening to testimony on a bill to allow the Department of Land and Natural Resources to make the rules governing fishing rather than leave it in the hands of the Legislature.

"This is our chance to change the future so we don't have a declining resource," Mike Wilson, chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, said after the hearing.

Wilson testified that there is a need to systematically review and update the state's fishing regulations.

He cited the law that allows opakapaka and onaga to be caught before they can spawn as something that needs to be changed.

Since the department works with fishermen and scientists year-round, Wilson said the department would be better able to make the rules than the Legislature.

Fishermen testifying at the hearing agreed.

"Hawaii is in the dark ages when it comes to fisheries management," testified Bob Endreson of the Hawaii Fishermen's Foundation. "Hawaii is the only state left in the United States where fisheries regulations is by statute."

The Senate Economic Development Committee passed the measure yesterday, but the House Judiciary Committee is still considering the measure and is scheduled to decide on it next week.

During hearings Tuesday, Judiciary Chairman Terrance Tom (D, Kaneohe) expressed concern over the precedent that would be set by turning legislative functions over to the administration.


LEGISLATURE UPDATE

Legislature '98


A calendar of tomorrow's hearings -- to be held at the state Capitol, 415 S. Beretania St., unless noted:

HOUSE

Human Resources and Housing: Hearing on resolutions requesting management and program audit of Child Protective Services, and private and public agencies serving children to adopt a state policy for improving well-being of children, youth and families, 9 a.m., Room 329.

Finance: Hearing on bills relating to land use, tourism and taxation at 12:30 p.m. Hearing at 2 p.m. on bills relating to marriage, family therapists and long-term care. Hearing at 2:45 p.m. on bills relating to transportation and the Hawaii Maritime Authority. Hearing at 4 p.m. on bills relating to West Hawaii regional fishery management area, underwater attractions, freshwater fishing reserves, refuges and public fishing areas and state bonds. Decision-making only to follow on bills relating to general excise taxation and taxation. Decision-making to follow each hearing if time permits, Room 308.

Judiciary: Hearing on bills relating to criminal trespass, penal code, sentencing, family court and firearms. Decision-making to follow, 1:30 p.m., Room 325.

Higher Education: Hearing with House Education Committee on bill relating to the University of Hawaii College of Education. Higher Education only hearing on bill relating to admission into public institutions of higher education. Decision-making to follow, 2 p.m., Room 309.

SENATE

Commerce, Consumer Protection and Information Technology: Hearing on bills relating to occupational therapy, psychologists, motor vehicle repairs, massage therapy and dental care. Decision-making to follow if time permits, 9 a.m., Room 016.

Judiciary: Decision-making on short-form bill relating to the Judiciary at 9:15 a.m. Decision-making to follow at 9:30 a.m. on bills relating to sentencing, repeat offenders, sexual assault and civil rights. No public testimony, Room 229.

Ways and Means: Hearing on bills relating to cash management of state funds, emergency and budget stabilization fund, emergency medical services, insurance and the insurance code. Decision-making to follow if time permits, 9:30 a.m., Room 211.




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