Don't allow drunken drivers to repeat their dangerous crime
What frightens me most as prosecuting attorney isn't some crazed axe murderer, drooling ice addict or a burglar entering my house with a gun. What frightens me most are drunken drivers. The reason is because I am a parent and both my children drive.
Dark alleys aren't nearly as dangerous to me as our roadways. I can avoid alleyways. It is difficult to get to work and enjoy all of our islands without using our highways and byways.
In cases I've personally handled, I've learned nobody is immune from this danger. You can be a 19-year-old and be killed by a 48-year-old drunken off-duty policeman (State v. Arakawa). You can be a 46-year-old on-duty policeman and be killed by a drunken 23-year-old (State v. Coulter). You can be a Father and a Grandfather and watch two of your children and one of your grandchildren killed before your very eyes (State v. Steinseifer).
The fact is that about half of the traffic deaths in Hawaii are alcohol-related. And drunken drivers with prior convictions are a greater risk of causing fatal crashes. Under current law, if a person is caught driving drunk four times in ten years, they lose the privilege of driving for life. If someone has been caught driving drunk four times in ten years there is reason to believe that they were driving drunk just about every time they got behind the wheel of a car that decade. This is not a criminal defendant who deserves either sympathy or leniency.
This year the majority of our legislature passed SB946 which will allow a four-time drunken-driving offender whose license has been revoked for life to get their license back. I hope the majority of the legislature will reconsider this beneficence to repeat drunken drivers and not attempt to override any veto by the Governor.
Instead of worrying that four-time drunken drivers can't drive. I hope our elected state legislators will learn from the lessons of 19-year-old student Dana Ambrose who was killed by a drunken police officer, police officer Dannygriggs Padayao who was killed by a drunken 23-year-old and the Nuuanu family that lost two children and a grandchild to a drunken driver. Each of these homicidal drunken drivers had previously been caught driving drunk.
Peter B. Carlisle
City and County of Honolulu
Medicaid chiropractic bill is bad medicine
The governor has stated her intent to veto House Bill 436
, which would mandate that Medicaid and QUEST cover chiropractic services. I support the veto of this bill.
I am concerned that the Legislature intends to override the governor's veto of HB 436. Medicaid and QUEST are intended to be basic medical assistance programs. Chiropractic services are not basic medical services that should be included in this "safety net" state program.
The stated purpose of this bill is to "improve health care access in Hawaii by requiring medical assistance programs such as QUEST and Medicaid to include chiropractic coverage." However, enactment of this law will actually harm access to quality health care.
Physician reimbursement rates under Medicaid and QUEST have remained low. As a consequence, a substantial number of Hawaii physicians have stopped accepting Medicaid or QUEST, and other physicians have left the state. Any additional money that is available for these two programs should be used to increase physician reimbursements.
It would be a bad precedent if this bill became law. If more people use chiropractic services than anticipated, then even more money will have to be appropriated to cover these services. In addition, in tough financial times, other services may have to be cut to ensure funding for these services.
Accordingly, I urge the Legislature to not override the governor's anticipated veto.
Linda Rasmussen, M.D.
Hawaii Medical Association
If bill becomes law adoptees will suffer
While the Infant Abandonment Legalization Act (Safe Haven) may be admirable in trying to save lives, I cannot support this bill. I'm an adoptee from a closed adoption. I never knew who my birth parents were, why I was given up for adoption or what medical and genetic history I had. That lack of information continues to haunt me.
This bill for all its good intentions would try to get information from the persons dropping off the baby, but it would be entirely voluntary. Verification is not required. This child may never even know his birthday, ethnicity, or what kind of potential diseases run in his family. He will have no answers from his birth family because he has none on record.
It's hard enough going through life believing you were unwanted. Let's make sure every baby has all the information he needs to have not just a life, but a great life -- a life filled with answers about the past so that he can have a stable present and a great future.
Treating mentally ill is getting more complex
Gov. Linda Lingle should be thanked for her intent to veto Senate Bill 1004 CD1
, that would give psychologists the power to prescribe drugs.
With increasing awareness of new findings about psychotropic drug risks and benefits, the prescribing of psychotropic drugs has increased in complexity during the past few years. The focus should be further enhancement of training of current group of prescribers, physicians and advanced practice nurses.
Passage of SB 1004 CD1 would be an unnecessary and risky experiment on the most vulnerable of the state's citizens. Instead, work being done by consumers and providers from different mental health disciplines through efforts such as Psychiatric Access Collaboration and the Mental Health Transformation Grant Work Group will help move Hawaii toward better access and overall improved delivery of mental health services.
Iqbal "Ike" Ahmed, M.D.
Let psychologists prescribe medication
The governor should sign Senate Bill 1004
, allowing appropriately trained psychologists to prescribe a limited number of mental health medications in underserved areas. Even opponents of this bill agree that the lack of access to psychiatric care in rural Hawaii is a crisis.
Several letter writers representing the medical community have expressed concerns about safety. SB 1004 does require that psychologists receive the medical education and training to prescribe safely. The bill's requirements are more stringent than the intensely studied Department of Defense program, which clearly demonstrated the safety and efficacy of prescribing psychologists.
SB 1004 is supported by the Hawaii Primary Care Association. It was introduced in the House by the only medical doctor in the Legislature, Rep. Josh Green. The risk of ongoing suffering caused by these problems going untreated is even greater in the rural and native Hawaiian communities due to the long-term shortages of psychiatrists in these areas. Please listen to the community and sign SB 1004 into law.
Bill would harm maritime industry
The six undersigned companies represent many of the maritime companies that serve Hawaii's ocean-going cargo needs, and while we strongly support programs to control the spread of invasive species in Hawaii, we respectfully request that the Legislature not override the governor's impending veto of Senate Bill 1066 CD1
concerning invasive species.
We believe this bill unfairly discriminates against the marine containerized cargo industry and thus our customers. It imposes a new fee only on marine commercial container shipments that are brought into the state, but not on other means by which invasive species can enter our state, such as non-containerized marine cargo, non-containerized automobiles and air cargo.
Additionally, the funds collected via this fee -- again, imposed only on marine container shipments -- may be used for invasive species programs unrelated to marine container shipment, or perhaps used for other purposes altogether due to a technical flaw in the bill.
Invasive species don't discriminate in how they enter our islands; funding to fight them should similarly not discriminate, but instead be derived from broad-based revenue sources. We urge the Legislature to not override the governor's impending veto of this bill and allow us to work together to fight against the spread of invasive species in Hawaii.
Senior Vice President
Matson Navigation Co.
Hawaii Stevedores, Inc.
Robert T. Guard
McCabe, Hamilton, & Renny Co.,Ltd.
Aloha Cargo Transport
Sause Brothers, Inc.