Full text of legislativeCalvin Say | Barbara Marumoto | Whitney Anderson
leaders' speeches for opening day
What to watch, key dates
Welcome to the convening of the Senate of the Year 2000 session of the 20th State Legislature.
Norman Mizuguchi, Senate President
For the past several sessions, in what has become a Senate tradition, we have used the occasion of Opening Day to pay tribute to one or more of our citizens for their outstanding contributions.
Today, we honor two citizens. One has become a household name in just a short year. The other is not yet a household name but deserves no less to be honored.
The household name, of course, is Coach June Jones. His love for Hawaii brought him back to the islands as coach of the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. His job was to turn around a football program deeply in trouble, and he has succeeded beyond anyones wildest dreams: from 0 wins, 12 losses a year ago to a 9-4 record, the biggest comeback in college football history; winner of the WAC championship; winner of the Oahu Bowl.
More importantly, Coach June Jones instilled faith in his players and encouraged them to believe in themselves. He, his fellow coaches, and his players have brought admiration, pride, and respect to our university and our State. Coach June Jones has been recognized as WAC Coach of the Year, the national Coach of the Year of Sporting News as well as CNN/Sports Illustrated, and Honolulu Magazines Islander of the Year. To these honors we humbly add our personal tribute. Coach June Jones, please stand so that we may show our gratitude and aloha for you.
The second person we honor is Margaret (Maggie) Ulm, not yet a household name but youll soon agree that she should be. We all know that many of our teachers dig into their own pockets to buy classroom supplies and other items which the schools dont provide. They make these sacrifices out of concern and love for their students. Maggie Ulm recognized this and wanted to help. She decided to adopt Louise Nagata, a first grade teacher at Gus Webling Elementary, and provided supplies for her classroom.
From that gem of an idea, Maggie Ulm used her energy, resourcefulness, and ingenuity to form the Adopt A Teacher Foundation. Today, after just a short time, scores of teachers have been adopted by many caring and concerned citizens, but there are hundreds of teachers waiting to be adopted. Maggie Ulm reminds us that by adopting a teacher, we also adopt all of the teachers children. I am in the process of adopting a teacher, and I hope many of you will do the same and spread the word about this noteworthy program. Maggie Ulm, may your generous spirit spread throughout the islands and reach into every classroom. Please stand so that we may thank you on behalf of the teachers and children of Hawaii.
As we begin the session, let us quickly get down to legislative business. Earlier, I offered the advice that the Legislature should not try to cover the entire landscape and stretch itself thin. Instead, the Legislature could be more productive by concentrating on a limited number of issues. I now share with you my thoughts about a preliminary agenda.
One of our first actions should be to meet with the House of Representatives as soon as possible to reappoint Marion Higa as State Auditor. She has served with distinction, and she has shown the professionalism, independence, integrity, and fearlessness required for the office. We need her to continue as the State Auditor and we are fortunate that she is willing to serve.
There are other important positions that should receive early consideration. We expect the Governor to formally submit his nominations to fill key positions in his cabinet. As executive departments require the certainty of stable leadership, I recommend that the respective Senate committees schedule early hearings on the nominations, and report the matters for consideration and action by the full Senate.
Another priority is to put the fireworks issue behind us. This issue has been fully debated in past sessions and there is little need to gather more facts. We know that there is a great cultural divide on the issue, but the public demands that we make a decision. My position is that the publics health and safety requires a statewide ban on fireworks, except for religious and cultural events. Some of you may not agree, but lets work with the House of Representatives to move a fireworks bill from the conference committee to the floor and vote the bill up or down.
In spite of the substantial changes that have recently been made to reform our procurement laws, I believe that more should be done to restore the publics confidence in how government does business. The need is especially apparent in the award of nonbid contracts for professional services, such as architects and engineers. I propose that we strengthen ethical conduct in the award of personal service contracts by requiring full public disclosure. The routine disclosure may include such details as the principal officers of the firm awarded the contract, any relationship of the principals to the official making the award, and identification of the other finalists. The disclosure should be placed on the Internet or published in our newspapers.
In our continuing efforts to improve the economy, we must capitalize fully on the opportunity presented by the Navys relinquishment of Barbers Point Naval Air Station. We have long visualized Kapolei and the Ewa plain emerging as Oahus second city. With the addition of Barbers Point, the potential is there to build a powerful economic engine and the formation of a "Silicon Valley West," a vital center to create jobs and new economic opportunities.
We should assign the existing Hawaii Community Development Authority the responsibility for the development of Barbers Point. At the same time, I believe that jurisdiction over Kakaako should be returned to the City and County of Honolulu which can then integrate the preservation, enhancement, and development of the entire waterfront area from Waikiki to Kakaako.
Another aspect of the local economy which can be expanded is agriculture. We must assist agricultural producers in the areas of product development and marketing. We also need to create greater demand for Hawaii products and forge partnerships with large institutional buyers, such as the military. For example, we can work with the Hawaii Coffee Association and determine whether building a freeze-dried coffee processing plant would open up new opportunities to sell Hawaiis coffee to military bases here and abroad.
Turning to the management and personnel policies of government, the State administration has moved civil service reform to the top of its legislative agenda and we should keep an open mind on most of the items in the "Governors Civil Service Reform Agenda." I would be less than candid if I were not to declare, here and now, my opposition to the proposal to eliminate binding arbitration for public employee unions and "go back to giving the unions the right to strike."
My goal has always been to ensure the continuation of government services regardless of the nature or duration of labor disputes. I first worked with the fire fighters and then the police officers, and both agreed that the public interest required relinquishing the right to strike and accept, instead, binding arbitration. Other unions followed. Now, we are being asked to return to an earlier time and expose ourselves to government strikes and the disruption of services. Be warned. I oppose strikes by public employees when binding arbitration is available to settle disputes.
I also believe that while the personnel system should include incentives to improve performance by employees and managers, there must be a means to hold managers accountable for their operations. That is why I am proposing that the State Auditor conduct managerial accountability audits to determine how well managers in the executive departments and the judiciary are performing.
While most government employees are hardworking and competent, management and the public unions need to refine the process to quickly take corrective action, or if necessary, expedite the removal of managers and employees that fall below established job performance standards.
While government efficiency and accountability, service to the public, and fairness will guide our decisions on civil service reform, let us improve the conduct of our own legislative affairs. Session after session we drown ourselves in a sea of paperthousands of bills, many of which will never be read again. It is time to impose a strict limitation on the introduction of bills. I am proposing a statutory requirement for both houses to limit the number of bills each member can introduce, and I am calling for quick action on this issue.
I would now like to devote my remaining remarks to an urgent issue in public education. For as long as Ive been in the Legislature, our most enduringbut elusivegoal has been the attainment of a quality public school system. Over the years, programs in the name of educational reform have come, and most have gone. Few reforms have shown results, and it is too early to tell what impact the more recent innovations, such as charter schools, will have on student achievement.
When the present State Superintendent of Education came on board, he proposed that the Hawaii public school system join the nationwide reform movement which proposes that rigorous and specific standards be set for educational content as well as student performance. The premise is that strict standards will bring about higher achievement and greater accountability.
Our Legislature has backed the Superintendents initiative, and I personally support it. Standards based education is now the centerpiece of the effort to improve Hawaiis public schools. Therefore, it is critical for us to know whether the Hawaii effort is on track.
The Fordham Foundation conducts a continuing study on the development of educational standards by the states. The report on Hawaii is alarming. If we are to believe the results, the overall grade for Hawaii is "D-minus," ranking Hawaii number 44 in its standards for English, History, Geography, Science and Math.
As legislators, what are we to make of this? The alarm bells have sounded, and the issues are too urgent and the stakes too high for us to ignore. Therefore, I am recommending that the State Auditor review and assess DOEs development of educational standards to ensure they meet national standards for competency in the basic educational skills and report her findings to the Legislature.
In addition, I propose to include the remaining legislative service agencies in educational reform. With the concurrence of the House of Representatives, our legislative service agencies can help us lay the groundwork to fully understand and possibly implement a controversial concept aimed at improving the educational system.
Twenty-four years ago, I had a radical idea that in order to improve the public school system in Hawaii, competition amongst the schools would have to be introduced. This became the basis of my philosophy for advocating school choice.
We must first have an understanding as to why families seek geographic exceptions and choose to enroll their children in specific schools outside their neighborhoods. I am requesting that the office of the Ombudsman be the repository for requests for geographic exceptions and to report to the Legislature basic information relating to shifts in enrollment and why.
I am also requesting that the Legislative Reference Bureau design a school choice system that encourages and enables competition to occur among schools for both resources and students. This system would allow families other options besides charter schools. This system could make the school-community-based management movement more meaningful, and schools could configure themselves to attract students and families.
Radical concepts have little chance of passing within the next sixty days, but I intend to open a full discussion on these issues with hopes of continuing dialogue and action in the coming year. We owe our children nothing less.
So, from simple and clear-cut issues, like fireworks, to far-reaching and complex matters, like educational standards, and school choice, let us quickly come to grips with the issues and move forward.
Senators, let us work together to make this a very productive session. Mahalo and aloha!
Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes
Norman Mizuguchi | Barbara Marumoto | Whitney Anderson
Speaker Calvin K. Y. Say
Into A New Millennium"
INTRODUCTIONGovernor Cayetano, Lieutenant Governor Hirono, our honorable Congressional delegation, Chief Justice Moon, family, guests, and friends:
Before I begin, I'd like to introduce my pillars of support, my wife Cora, and our two sons, Geoffrey and Jared.
Also with us this morning is our former House colleague but our friend always -- Paul Oshiro, who after 16 years of distinguished public service decided to share his talents and knowledge with the private sector.
Visiting us today are government officials from two countries. From Japan, we have Senators from the Fukuoka Prefectural government. And from Canada, we have the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr. Gilbert Parent, and his wife, Sarah. Welcome to our islands!
INVITATION TO A VOYAGE OF DISCOVERYToday, I invite you to take a voyage of discovery with me. And in so doing, I ask you to bring three essential items:
Courage. Faith. And the Spirit of Aloha.
These are the provisions we will need as we embark on our voyage of discovery. I imagine these are the provisions that the brave Polynesian voyagers brought with them when they embarked on their own journey of discovery and set sail over an unknown sea more than a millennium ago.
Bring courage because courage is a necessary part of taking risks. As a French philosopher once noted: "You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shores."
Bring faith because faith is the anchor we will need when we face the seas of opposition and the unknown. Faith is the hope in a child's eyes. Faith is the touch of an elder's hands. Faith is the smile on the face of the poor and the sick.
And bring the Aloha Spirit because taking a voyage of discovery together requires teamwork, respect, and self-discipline. It is the same Aloha Spirit I asked you to embrace when I gave you Nana Veary's book as a gift last year. I hope her words instilled in each of you its true meaning and significance, that you live the Aloha Spirit by listening not just with your ears -- but like the Hawaiians of yesteryear, with your eyes, your mind, and your heart.
A voyage of discovery requires action.
As with any action, there are risks and costs. But just imagine where we would be, if not for the bold action of the early Polynesians who set sail for places not yet on the map!
Our voyage of discovery will take us to many places in the days ahead. Let us discover the possibilities that await us! Let us take the bold actions required of us.
UNIVERSITY'S NEW COURSEWe know from our own experience that bold actions and change, however difficult, also bring opportunity and renewal.
Nowhere else is that more evident than at the University of Hawaii. When faced with unprecedented budget cuts, the University went through a painful process of deciding which programs were core to the University's mission and cutting those that weren't. They did what was required to balance their budget and developed innovative ways to enhance their own sources of revenue.
But the University wasn't done yet. They dared to dream big and they went after people who could make that dream a reality.
Four of them are with us today. These are the mavericks, the visionaries, the motivators -- the kind of people who try to do more than they're expected to do -- to help the University regain its international stature and help drive Hawaii's economy forward.
First, we have Dr. Edwin Cadman. This former Yale physician, educator, and hospital administrator is now the new Dean of the Medical School and the interim Dean of the School of Public Health. Dr. Cadman has a vision that Hawaii can lead the rest of the nation in medical research and innovative teaching techniques. To fulfill that vision, he is creating partnerships with other groups, both locally and nationally. Among other things, he envisions that biomedical research is an industry that can generate enormous economic activity for Hawaii.
Next is Dr. Wai-Fah Chen. He left his prestigious post as the Goodwin Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Purdue University to become the new Dean of the College of Engineering. He is known as an imaginative leader in engineering and his leadership is welcomed here. Our future will depend heavily on strong, vibrant, and creative technological and industrial bases. Dr. Chen's work will help train Hawaii's students to work in many fields of technology, including a share of E-commerce, which is predicted to be a trillion dollar industry by 2003.
Next is Dr. David McClain. Dr. McClain was the Henry Walker Distinguished Professor of Business Enterprise and is now the new Dean of the College of Business Administration. He has been instrumental in bringing together the University and entrepreneurs to nurture the development of high tech firms in Hawaii. High technology is almost a two billion dollar industry in Hawaii. His leadership can help transform our State into THE high tech center of the Pacific.
Finally, we have Coach June Jones. He left a high paying professional coaching job to take on a winless college team. He said he took it because it was a challenge. We all know how that turned out. In one season, the University went from worst to first place, won a bowl game, and turned a budget deficit into over a million and a half dollar profit for the Athletic Department. But most impressive to me is the attitude and confidence he inspired in his student-athletes. He is the kind of leader that former Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian said "will make his players see what they can be... rather than what they are."
It is often said that knowledge is the new strategic resource and education is the best way to attain it. We are all excited at what you will bring, not only to the University but to the rest of the State. You represent the kind of visionaries that the University -- the entire State -- needs. Not only will you be educating and inspiring our future leaders, but you have set in motion plans to ensure that the University is an integral part of the economic engine of our State.
It is this kind of excitement that attracts international attention to the University. Just recently, I had the privilege of receiving a delegation from the National Assembly of Taiwan. They told me that the Taiwanese private sector is very interested in investing in educational and cultural enterprises in Hawaii. They have already started discussing a joint venture with the University of Hawaii at Hilo. These are the kind of innovations that the University can further draw upon to become a leader in the Pacific-Asia arena.
President Mortimer -- I thank you -- and please convey my thanks to the regents, the faculty, the students, and the administration -- for showing us the way, that the difficult fiscal seas that the University has been navigating through has resulted in unprecedented opportunities for everyone in the State. It is not just about the money; it is about having a vision -- and the courage, faith, and the Aloha Spirit to make it a reality.
PREPARING FOR THE VOYAGEIt is not only the University that has been establishing a new course. Our own House members, have been busy preparing for the voyage into the future.
At the end of last session, I asked our House members to continue working, especially on our troublesome issues:
Civil service;Some members examined whether our tax dollars were properly spent on projects we approved. Others educated themselves about our schools, farms, and alternate energy ventures.
Public employees health fund;
Employees' retirement system;
Hawaii State Hospital; and
Children's mental health system.
These issues dominated the last session, will dominate the session before us, and will probably continue to be with us for the next few years.
This was a very busy year. I know that as a part-time Legislature, you all have jobs and commitments outside of the Capitol. Thank you for taking the time to participate in these work groups. Your work will play an essential role in our journey ahead.
ROUGH SEAS AHEADAlthough our economy is slowly growing, we still face rough fiscal waters. While the Council on Revenues predicts a moderate growth for the next few years, the Council has issued a negative one point one percent growth rate for this fiscal year. It is still a time of budgetary caution and constraints.
But, unlimited demands are being placed on our limited resources.
Some of the demands are being placed by the courts, notably the federal courts. I respect highly the role of our courts in our system of government. But on too many occasions in recent years, courts have interpreted state laws beyond what we intended, and applied federal laws beyond what Congress intended.
No doubt each court felt its decision was justified. But the sum total of these decisions has been to place enormous fiscal demands on our limited state resources. That is clearly wrong.
We are the ones elected by the public and entrusted by them to create laws. We have the big picture. We know where the greatest needs are. We have the constitutional power to make these decisions and set the policy direction for the State, not the courts.
We will work in good faith with all concerned to carry out our own intent and the Congress' intent. We ask for judicial appreciation of the enormous tasks we face, and for judicial restraint.
Even with these court decisions, we cannot -- must not -- shirk from the responsibilities that surround us.
Let us discover the opportunities that can be done even with these tight fiscal reins.
Let us closely examine the regulatory burdens placed on our businesses. We must ensure that the administrative rules are not outdated, that the rules meet their intended purposes, and that the rule-making process is more flexible and responsive.
Let us remain committed to the tax reductions we provided in the last two years to ease the burden on our businesses and consumers.
Let us spur construction, and assist our tourism industries at the same time, through a properly established hotel and resort construction tax incentive.
Let us keep our streets safe through adequate prison space, treatment and rehabilitation alternatives to incarceration, and better gun control.
Let us give the Department of Education the needed fiscal and administrative authority and accountability to improve educational governance.
While these initiatives will help us stay the course on our voyage, let us boldly explore new routes.
We should explore ways of assisting tourism without using more of our tax dollars. We should develop more partnerships with this industry since increased tourism not only helps the State but provides profits for the stakeholders in the industry. One possibility is to work together with the large passenger cruise lines to improve our inadequate State terminals. Rather than issuing general obligation bonds and incurring debt for the State, why not offer the passenger cruise lines long term leases and allow them to pay for upgrading the terminals through their own special purpose revenue bonds?
We should explore our growth policies and consider their overall, long term impact on the entire State's quality of life. I am troubled by directives issued by established communities not to increase densities in their neighborhoods. So, where is the growth going to take place in the next ten to fifteen years? Does it make sense to spend moneys to accommodate new growth when there are areas where the infrastructure already exists? What will happen to the beauty of our State when our green belt disappears? What will happen when political power and resources shift to the growth areas? We need to look at growth in terms of our environment, our revenues, and our overall quality of life.
We should explore our advantages as the "Health State". We should create opportunities,
not only with the Western methods and medicines, but with our specialized know-how of Hawaiian, Pacific, and Asian healing methods and medicinal herbs. Consumers spent more than six point five billion dollars in dietary supplements in 1996 alone. We suffer because of time delays waiting for approval of these products from the Mainland.
Let's share our knowledge and invite the federal Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health to set up a pilot project in Hawaii to test these products.
We can lead the way for the rest of the nation in testing, developing, and promoting safe medicinal herbs and products.
We should explore land policies to help us become more self-sufficient. Land is both sacred and scarce in Hawaii. Our rich soil, year-round growing climate, and strong agricultural traditions, including well established irrigation systems, mean we can grow most of the food we need. With the decline of the large sugar and pineapple plantations, more land is now available for entrepreneurial farmers. But our farmers need help. They need to count on land and water being available to them at a reasonable cost.
Perhaps we should also look at tax and other incentives to make it attractive for both landowners and farmers to use fallow agricultural lands productively. Businesses which lease lands also deserve some assistance. Many, facing huge rent increases, may be driven out of business. A few years ago, when single family homeowners faced similar problems during their lease rent renegotiations with the large landowners, the Legislature did not look the other way. Perhaps we have another opportunity to help.
These are just a few of the many opportunities for us to explore in the voyage ahead.
Let us be bold. In adversity, there is much opportunity!
GOVERNMENT REFORMAt the same time that we are exploring new routes, let's also take a close look at government services.
We will continue our work at making systemic changes. As times change, so must government. We need a new government for a new millennium. As has been evident in the past years, government cannot solve all of the problems for us. We need a new style of government that will provide the tools for us to solve our own problems. That means a government that is smaller, lives within its means, and provides public services efficiently.
We will look at modernizing our State's personnel policies. Our statewide civil service system was created over sixty years ago and needs to be scrutinized to ensure that it responds to the needs and resources of Hawaii today. We will look at performance-based pay, collective bargaining, classification flexibility, and benefits.
Government will have a new role in the coming millennium. But, Government alone cannot do all the work. Each of us must share in the responsibility with the new government. Parents and guardians must make sure their children are ready for school.
Businesses must hire people off of the welfare rolls. Each of us must work with our neighbors to keep our streets safe. We must learn to share responsibility for our family, our neighbors, and our community, and not simply rely on government to do all the work.
THE VOYAGE CONTINUESThe twentieth century is ending. A new century is beginning. A new millennium is dawning.
This is the time in our history for us to use the wisdom that an ending provides,
and to ponder our dreams that only a beginning can offer.
Discovery for the people of Hawaii did not end the day that the early Polynesians landed their canoes here. We still have much to discover.
Let us launch our new voyages and face the turbulent seas of change.
Together, with courage, faith, and the Spirit of Aloha, let us cast off our own canoes and make our own discoveries.
Our future awaits.
Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes
Norman Mizuguchi | Calvin Say | Whitney Anderson
House Minority Leader Rep. Barbara Marumoto
Aloha Kakahiaka. Good Morning! We are at the dawn of a new Millennium! It is an exciting time to take bold initiatives, strike out in new directions, and take some risks. Yes, we can do it! In fact, we must do it!
"Let's Turn Our State Around"
Though economists tell us our economy is looking up, it is still structurally very small and very weak, overly dependent on tourism, government expenditures and outside forces. Our regulatory apparatus stifles formation of new businesses and expansion, and our antiquated civil service system requires modernization. And high taxes remain a formidable barrier to capital formation
Forty years ago, John F. Kennedy looked out over a nation mired in economic stagnation and proclaimed, "We can do better." Twenty years ago, Ronald Reagan, facing even greater economic stagnation along with high inflation, said America needed "a government as good as its people."
Well, Hawaii needs a government as good as its people.
The U.S. mainland is enjoying the longest period of uninterrupted prosperity in its history. But, Hawaii is the state the boom forgot. Politically we are frozen in a past generation and a one-party state; the aging old boy network is alive and well.
But I think people are disenchanted with political power plays and tired of excuses for non-performance.
Our people want to work. They want good jobs. However, Hawaiis high cost of living, especially high taxes on everything, including food, rent, and medical services, is driving our friends and families into bankruptcy - or to the mainland. If we lower the cost of government, lower taxes, increase efficiency, and ease up on illogical regulation, then we make Hawaii more attractive for investment, and will eventually see more prosperity and increased revenues to the state. New revenue will then pay for government services that are necessary.
How do we turn things around?
Experts tell us we need "structural reform," something the mainland economy went through over a decade ago. We have no reason not to believe them. Republicans have great hope for Hawaii if we are willing to make some necessary changes take some risks.
This Caucus knows that state government can create a business-friendly climate, a simplified tax filing system, lower taxes, and increased opportunities for privatization. We can also enact strong legislation to promote clean government and clean elections. We can push for safer streets and increased drug programs - in prison and out - since Hawaii is in the grip of a crystal meth or ice, epidemic that is tearing our families apart. We can construct a privately-built and privately-run prison - in Hawaii.
And because we believe that it is more effective to spend money on prevention than punishment, Republicans support full use of the tobacco settlement money (100 %, not just 60%) to pay for health programs that are investments in prevention. Why spend only 60% on important programs? Why save the remainder of the settlement money for a rainy day fund? As one senator said, "it is raining now!" We can use the money for substance abuse and mental health programs and programs that prevent child abuse in order to give families a good start. Many studies confirm that prevention programs reduce future costs to government.
Randolph Court, from the Democrat-supported Progressive Policy Institute, said recently that the new economy requires of us "less stability, more risk and opportunity". To compete in the new economy, Hawaii must produce public school graduates who can read, write, handle math, speak English, speak one other language, andknow how to take chances.
The most important "structural change" Hawaii needs is a public education system that works. Its time to take some real risks for the benefit of Hawaiis children. The solution lies with granting decision-making authority closer to communities, educators, parents and students. Local boards of education, student-centered and charter schools are part of the solution as are small schools and "schools within schools."
The current Board of Education system has few supporters. Democrats favor a centrally controlled statewide appointed board, but voters have not once, not twice, but three times rejected that option. Hawaiis people want to vote for their board of education. Regional, elected boards would encourage greater district involvement.
Republicans are concerned that Hawaii has by far the largest high schools in the country. Our high schools are 20% larger than high schools in #2 Florida. Teachers teach better if they know their students. Students learn better when they are valued members of an educational team. It helps, therefore, to divide large schools into smaller schools on the same campusso-called "schools within schools", or multiplex schools. Teachers, parents and students who then select a small school have a bigger stake in making the program work. And it goes without saying that we should preserve our current stand-alone small schools that are perennially threatened with extinction.
We applaud the new support for charter schools. But current practice violates a basic charter school principle by allowing only one entity to grant charters. Republicans recommend that in addition to the BOE, the University of Hawaii and even the counties be considered as chartering authorities.
The school principal is perhaps the most important job in Hawaii. Here is the person most able to lead Hawaii public schools in a new, positive direction. We should, therefore, consider paying Hawaiis principals substantially more, provided they are willing to work under a limited-term contract tied to performance outcomes.
Superintendent LeMahieu deserves credit for his emphasis on accountability. He offers the promise of a public school system that measures performance, and uses those measurements to reward and assist schools. It is an important starting point.
I am also heartened by the news that the Department of Education and Kamehameha Schools will work cooperatively for the benefit of Hawaiis keiki.
We should further encourage Kamehameha Schools to follow the suggestion of former trustee Oswald Stender. He invited Kamehameha to take over running of public schools in areas with heavy concentrations of ethnic Hawaiians. Using existing public school facilities would save Kamehameha millions of dollars in construction costs. And the DOE would save millions of dollars for not having to pay for students under the tutelage of Kamehameha. It is a win/win situation for all concerned.
Finally, if we want to take our state rapidly into the knowledge era, we must ensure adequate funding and sufficient autonomy for the University of Hawaii. A strong state university and community college system is our surest route to economic success and a ladder to success for its students.
Hawaiis future is a bright one, if we follow our instincts to change public education "for the sake of the children." Let us take some risks to make structural reforms in our government. To continue to do things the same way is to be blind to the opportunities of a new century and a new millennium. Let us see, instead, the light of a new day in Hawaii, and work together to let it shine for our children and our childrens children.
Mr. Speaker, your Republicans are anxious to get to work!
Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes
Norman Mizuguchi | Calvin Say | Barbara Marumoto Mr. President, distinguished guests, colleagues, family and friends, people of Hawaii, aloha!
Whitney T. Anderson
Today is a very historic landmark in our legislative history. It is the first legislative day of the 21st century. We are the first legislature of the new millennium-a new beginning, a time, I sincerely hope, for a fresh start. Let us not dwell on past failures, but move forward not with just vision and dreams, but with plans and priorities and most of all, the courage to act on them. We cannot-we must not-just react or procrastinate on issues; we must set a course of action that makes for drastic change for both financial stability and growth. Only then will we have a prosperous future.
The only way to make this happen is with strong and effective leadership-leadership that can make decisions based on principles and facts-not on friendships and party lines. Our leaders must be willing to meet challenges head-on. My fellow colleagues, the people of Hawaii are counting on us to lead them into the next century. You and I, their elected officials, have failed in the past o provide true reform. We have failed to make the tough decisions that we know were based on what was right for all of the people we represent. Many of those decisions that were made right here in this very chamber were based not on what was right, but what was good for the Democratic party or certain individuals' reelection. This is happening every two, four and six years-the election years. Legislation passed depends on who is running. This is fact, not fiction.
The administration and the majority leaders, because of recent Council of Revenues report, have stated that our economy is turning around. Things are more or less back to normal-at least that is what the majority wants us to believe. However, the Council's report is based on small indicators of economic improvement. After reviewing the recovery figures, the projections are also based on the payroll lag, user fees deposited into the general fund, selling lands and homes for less than their actual worth, and holiday spending, to name a few. Look around your and you'll see people who are unemployed, you'll see businesses that you have frequented are closed. You'll also see there are far too many bankruptcies and foreclosures. This is the real Hawaii and it's going to take creativity, imagination, priorities that are well planned out but most of all, it will take decisive action from us here in this legislature to bring true economic stability to Hawaii.
All 25 of us will be introducing legislation this year. I expect that most will be good, thoughtful legislation that should benefit our state. Unfortunately, if things continue as in the past century, many of the good bills will not be heard, either because of party discrimination or because a Democrat has fallen out of step in some way with the party and he or she has been closed out.
Senator Slom and I honestly believe that many of the bills we are introducing this year either as our Senate package or individually are crucial and will be good for economic stimulation. Some solutions to help improve our state's economy include:
Supporting small business, the backbone of our communities.These are just a few solutions to help improve our state and our economy. This year, the Senate Minority will continue to push for a unicameral legislature. A unicameral legislature with one house consisting of 51 members will be both cost-effective and time-efficient. Last year, I enumerated the many benefits of unicameralism and at the risk of seeming repetitive, I will do so again. Departmental administrators and others will save time testifying before one committee in a single house rather than wasting countless hours standing at the railing waiting to give the same testimony they gave just weeks ago in the opposite house. Government will be more open because decisions will no longer be made in the secrecy of conference committees. And, of course, there will be far less duplication of bills. Do not think that it cannot work; it has worked for years in Nebraska, and it can work in our state, too.
Providing more tax relief such as removing the GET off of food and over-the-counter drugs.
Utilizing state lands-the people's lands.
Encouraging more diversified agriculture and forestry.
Building cultural parks that work with all communities or ethnic Chambers of Commerce-Chinese, Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Portuguese, etc. Such parks would put all the businesses to work-architects, construction, landscapers, restaurants-just to name a few. We could be a better attraction than anywhere else in the entire Pacific rim.
Hawaii is one of only two states that doesn't have some type of legalized gaming. I am again proposing a non-binding referendum to give the people of this state the opportunity to vote for or against gaming once and for all. In addition to the referendum, I am proposing provisions in the legislation for support programs for problem gamblers, as well as capping the amount of prize monies awarded to individuals. The majority party proposes the same old solutions year after year-raising taxes and increasing user fees to fund education and social programs. The people of our state can't afford continuous tax and fee increases. I want to hear what the people think-not just what the members of this good legislature think-about legalized gaming as a potential source of much needed and significant revenue for our state. And if you-the people-are truly in favor or any or all types of gaming, we must listen to you. Our elected representatives must follow the wishes of their constituents, not just to the special interest groups who flock to the legislature in droves every year to protest any form of legalized gaming. If we open our minds to the possibility of gaming in hawaii, we will have a viable solution to this never ending need for general funds.
Some might question why I don't take amy own advice and listen to my constituents-that I didn't listen last year. My vote was not a vote on legislation-it was a vote resulting from years of working with someone. These same issues and concerns that I repeatedly voiced are no before the state courts because the Attorney General's office sat on an investigation from 1992 to 1997 and it was not until the governor felt it politically expedient to act was any action taken. It was purposely timed for maximum political benefit. This and other concerns that I have spoken on are now costing you and I valuable tax dollars that should be better spent elsewhere.
We must also take action to reform our collective bargaining laws. I believe that unions are needed and necessary, but when it comes to bargaining, it should not be for across the board raises, but rather for medical, retirement benefits, etc. I feel the legislature made a big mistake when it allowed almost all government employees to be paid on an even scale. Good work and superior unionized employees should be rewarded more.
Because general funds are low, the administration is again asking us to look at legislation to divert monies from the employees retirement fund for investment in high risk ventures. Let me be absolutely clear, Senator Slom and I are opposed to this type of legislation. There is already enabling legislation that allows their board to do so if desired.
This session we must consider where to build a new prison; we can no longer delay; as you well know, our prisons are overcrowded. It is poor economic planning, to say the least, to even consider a mainland option. A new prison should be built here at home; it will help the economy. Twenty-five short years from now if we go ahead and build on the mainland, we won't be left with anything to show but an expired lease. Building in Hawaii means we'll have the building and the infrastructure right here in our islands.
Mr. President, I want to say that I am very proud of my ancestry-Portuguese, Hawaiian, Norwegian, Irish and Scotch. But Mr. President, today as I stand in this Chamber I am the only member left with any Hawaiian blood. Yes, there are other single ethnic groups, but it was the Hawaiians who said "Hui, E Komo Mai." And now, many of our colleagues in both houses, as well as other individuals or groups, incorrectly feel there are too many Hawaiian programs subsidized by the state. But I must stress that most programs are not funded, and even worse, more and more programs are being eliminated. We need everyone's help to protect these programs. We must once and for all, address Native Hawaiian rights and claims. The current executive leadership has continually denied or tried to undermine claims and settlements to avoid fiscal responsibility to the Hawaiian people. For example, a recent auditor's report noted that the Department of Land and Natural Resource and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands still fails to give adequate attention to the revenue entitlements for sugarcane lands and water licenses. Don't let leadership fool you when they offer a song and dance that native Hawaiian claims are responsible for the state's economic woes. We must let everyone know that the government of Hawaii has a fiduciary duty to native Hawaiians to process their Hawaiian Home individual claims in a timely manner, complete an inventory of lands subject to the public trust imposed by the Admissions Act, and to give the Office of Hawaiian Affairs its share of revenues from ceded lands. Leadership's delay in addressing ceded land issues has divided not only our communities, but reduced our state bond rating, and will continue to be a gray cloud over our state economy.
Disputes over ceded lands is nothing new to Hawaiians. Land has always had a deep symbolic meaning for them. In the Apology Resolution, Congress noted that the health and well-being of native Hawaiians are tied to their deep feelings and attachments to their land. I will work hard for a resolution toward settlement of past revenues due. I call out to all island residents, we should not allow judicial intervention to charter the course of our rights and we should keep our focus to preserve and protect native Hawaiian culture.
My family home has been on the windward side for the past 54 years. The plantation in Waimanalo was running at the time we first moved there. I have taught my children and grandchildren to respect the past, but to live in the present and to prepare for the future.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I have been told many times not to make waves. But without waves, Mr. President, our people would never be able to surf. The bigger the waves, the bigger the competition. This leads me to believe that those who don't want us to make waves really don't believe in competition. Mr. President, the Senate Republicans-both of us-will continue to make waves not only this session, but well into the new century and millennium.
Mahalo nui loa. Malama pono. A hui hou.
Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes