Wednesday, February 3, 1999

Hawaii State Seal

Hawaii has ‘horrible
track record’ in school
sports gender equity

Legislature Directory
By Crystal Kua


Girl softball players wear the hand-me-down uniforms that were worn new by boy baseball players.

The girls' basketball season is delayed to the spring, when no other girls' hoop teams in the country play, so the boys can use the facilities first in the winter.

1999 Hawaii State Legislature Men far outnumber women coaches, athletic directors and league secretaries -- even in sports that are played only by females.

These are examples of why Hawaii is at the bottom when it comes to gender equity in school athletics, a gender equity advocate told lawmakers yesterday.

"We have a horrible track record," Jill Nunokawa, a University of Hawaii civil-rights counselor, told the House Education Committee.

The discussion came over a bill that would create a new statute that provides for gender equity in public school athletics and alignment with Title IX, a federal law which guarantees girls the same opportunities as boys in athletics.

Nunokawa said she went to the Legislature because she's tired of waiting for change to come through the male-dominated school athletic system. The bill would hold the Department of Education accountable, she said, by hitting it where it's most vulnerable -- in the pocketbook -- if school athletics continue on the same course of noncompliance.

State Superintendent Paul LeMahieu told lawmakers that the department has been moving toward gender equity in sports by forming more girls' sports teams and encouraging girls' participation in athletics. As a result, the number of girls playing school sports has more than doubled within the past two decades, he said.

Nunokawa said that although more girls are participating in sports, more needs to be done to bridge the gap.

Funding for boys' sports accounts for an estimated $200,000, while girls' sports teams receive about $95,000, she said.

It's the kind of inequity experienced firsthand by Nunokawa, a student athlete who graduated from Kaiser High School in 1981, and Lea Kanehe, a law student who played volleyball, softball and basketball at Punahou until she graduated in 1994.

Kanehe said her softball team wore hand-me-down uniforms from the boys. If they wanted new uniforms, they had to organize a fund-raiser, she said.

Expensive cars may
be taxed more

By Pat Omandam


Hawaii drivers who prefer expensive cars will have to pay more taxes, under a Cayetano administration bill that sets annual vehicle taxes based also on value, not just the weight of the car.

The bill -- which the counties have pushed for in recent years -- is "socially and philosophically correct" in the view of Gov. Ben Cayetano.

"We wanted to put in a tax on cars that was more progressive, that was based on the person's ability to pay," Cayetano said yesterday.

"Those who drive the expensive cars costing $70,000, $80,000 or $100,000 should pay more than the average person on the street who has an old clunker that has a big engine," he said.

As written, House Bill 1055 would allow Hawaii counties to impose a tax in proportion to value on all vehicles located in the county. The tax would be assessed at the rate of 1 percent of the value of the vehicle, as established in the Kelly Blue Book or other nationally accepted vehicle price guides.

Exempted from the tax would be any vehicle more than 10 years old. Also excluded are ambulances, limousines, rental or U-drive motor vehicles, buses, taxi cabs, and vehicles that weigh more than 26,001 pounds.

The annual tax must be paid by April 1 before the vehicle can be registered in the county.

Once received, the counties would give a yet-to-be determined share of the revenue to the state, which would put the money into the state highway fund and in the state general fund.

The new tax would be in addition to the current county and state vehicle weight tax, which bring in about $20 million each to the county and to the state, said Dennis Kamimura, director of the city Motor Vehicle and Licensing Division.

Kamimura estimates there are about 500,000 vehicles on Oahu, but said it would take a computer program to calculate how many cars would fall under this tax.

Based on the bill, however, Kamimura estimates he would have to pay an additional $130 a year on his own car.

HB 1055 is pending before the House Committee on Transportation. Chairman Kenneth Hiraki (D, Ala Moana) yesterday said he has until next week to decide whether to hear the measure.

Hiraki questions why a change in the vehicle tax is needed now, and wonders how the tax would be administered. Also, the "wildly fluctuating" values placed on each car based on their usage and maintenance is another concern, he said.



Tam wants state's copying fee down to 6 cents per page

If Senate Government Operations Chairman Rod Tam has his way, the state's copying fee of 50 cents per page will be slashed -- perhaps even as low as 6 cents per page.

Tam (D, Pauoa) revealed his inclination yesterday after his panel heard testimony on two bills proposing changes to the copying fee.

One measure would return the copying charge to 25 cents per page, the fee before lawmakers decided last year to double the charge.

Another bill would charge 10 cents a page for administrative rules but retain the 50 cents per page charge for reproducing other government documents.

"We're not out to make money off of copying charges," Tam said. "It's not fair to latch onto fees, whereby the revenue is used to provide other services."

Tam said he would go as low as 6 cents when he was reminded of a recent Legislative Reference Bureau study; the study concluded it would cost about 5.7 cents a page if the governor, whose salary is $94,780 annually, were to make copies of state documents.

No bonuses for officials unless workers get raise

Gov. Ben Cayetano won't give any appointed officials year-end bonuses unless state workers first receive pay increases agreed to last year.

When questioned yesterday about a Senate bill that allows the governor to include a performance bonus for any appointed official based on job excellence, Cayetano said it would be a good thing for a governor to have.

But he said there will be no bonuses unless the Legislature approves funding for retroactive pay raises for state workers, which he included in his state budget.

House Republicans looking for electoral reforms

State House and Senate Republicans are singing the same song: Tax reform is key to Hawaii's economic revival.

But House Republicans have added a new chorus: electoral reforms.

Republicans unveiled their legislative packages last week.

To prevent influence in the awarding of contracts, House Republicans want people who make campaign contributions to elected officials with contractual authority to be ineligible to receive government contracts for two years.

They also said they want automatic manual audits of any election won with 1 percent or less of the vote.

Hearing on various fireworks measures set for tomorrow

Two state Senate committees will hold a joint hearing on a dozen measures to increase restrictions on fireworks sale and usage in Hawaii tomorrow night.

The Judiciary and Transportation and Intergovernmental Affairs committees will hear testimony on the bills Feb. 4 at 6 p.m. in the state Capitol auditorium.

The bills range from partial bans to increased penalties for fireworks violations to a measure to give counties the authority to restrict fireworks usage. One bill would increase the general excise tax on fireworks to 150-percent.

Senate Judiciary Committee Co-Chairman Avery Chumbley (D, Kihei) said if there is a large turnout, the committees may impose a time limit on speakers.

Breaches of the Homestead trusts prompts various bills

A state-created panel that has reviewed claims of mismanagement from native Hawaiians who are on the Hawaiian Home Lands waiting list is pushing a bill that awards $16.4 million in damages.

The Cayetano administration, however, favors another measure that significantly narrows the criteria on what claims qualify for possible damages.

Peter L. Trask, chairman of the Hawaiian Lands Trust Individual Claims Review Panel, told a state Senate committee Monday it supports a bill that would pay damages to Hawaiian beneficiaries for breaches of the homestead trust between Aug. 21, 1959 and June 30, 1988 by an act or omission of a state employee working for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Senate Bill 567 would pay $16,434,675 from the state general fund in fiscal year 1999-2000 to claimants whose claims have been heard by the review panel. The amount stems from 509 cases by 387 people whose claims were reviewed by the panel.

But Jobie M.K.M. Yamaguchi, deputy director of the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, asked the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee to defer Senate Bill 567 in favor of Senate Bill 1316, an administration bill that defines the types of claims that qualify for redress.

Textbook-deposit bill revamped, then approved

A bill that would have set up a textbook deposit revolving fund was gutted before approved yesterday by the House Education Committee.

Instead of the fund, students who failed to return or pay for replacement of assigned textbooks would be prohibited from participating in some school activities, the amendment said

The committee also killed another bill, which would have assessed fees for so-called laboratory classes and for broken or damaged school property.

In a different matter, the committee passed a measure changing the state Constitution to make the Board of Education an appointed instead of elected body.

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