Gov. Ben Cayetano signed a proclamation in his office yesterday related to this weekend's Kikaida Fan Fair in Honolulu. Joining him for the occasion were, from front left, Shunsuke Ikeda, who played Kikaida-01, Hiroshi Miura, dressed as the original Kikaida, and Daisuke Ban, who played the human character Jiro, whose alter ego was the original Kikaida.

‘New era’ for
charter schools

By Pat Omandam

Gov. Ben Cayetano signed several bills into law this week, including one that allows nonprofit organizations like Kamehameha Schools to manage and operate an existing state Department of Education charter school.

Hamilton McCubbin, Kamehameha Schools chief executive officer, told the governor at a bill-signing ceremony yesterday that Kamehameha Schools trustees are excited about the opportunity to reach more native Hawaiian children.

State Board of Education member Donna Ikeda added that the new law is the beginning of a new era for public education.

Legislature 2002 The measure, Senate Bill 2662, Senate Draft 2, requires nonprofits to contribute $1 for every $4 per pupil allocated by the state Education Department.

The governor also signed House Bill 2493, House Draft 1, which allows a homestead lessee who is at least one-quarter Hawaiian to transfer the lease to a brother or sister who is at least one-quarter Hawaiian.

In other news this week at the state Capitol:

>> Hurricane fund dispute: Senate President Robert Bunda (D, Wahiawa) leads a pack of 16 senators who pledged this week not to use the state's $213 million Hurricane Relief Fund to balance the state budget.

Instead, Bunda proposed $90 million could be found through unspent appropriations in past state budgets. But state Budget Director Neal Miyahira said there actually is little money for the state to tap.

Gov. Ben Cayetano added that money is dedicated for contracts and should not be used. Instead, the state House insists using money from the fund is necessary to avoid drastic cuts in programs affecting education, health and social services.

>> No liquor tax: The state Senate just said "no" this week to raising the state liquor tax by 25 percent, which would have generated an extra $10 million in revenue for the state.

Gov. Ben Cayetano had proposed doubling the tax to raise $40 million in revenue to help with the state budget shortfall.

>> Kikaida festival: The Governor's Office brimmed with excitement yesterday when Kikaida, Hawaii's 1970's live-action television superhero from Japan, along with the actors who played Kikaida and Kikaida-01, showed up for a proclamation timed with this weekend's Kikaida Fan Fair.

Actor Daisuke Ban, who played the human character Jiro, told Gov. Cayetano he hopes the TV show's message of good over evil continues to reach viewers in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"Kikaida" aired from 1972 to 1973, while "Kikaida-01" ran from 1973 to 1974. The shows attracted thousands of fans in Hawaii, most of whom are between 30 and 40 years old today.

KIKU-TV began rebroadcasting the series last November.

>> Conference committee rules: The state Senate and House agreed this week on conference committee rules that take away the complete veto power of a chairman over any bill, an issue raised this week by a bipartisan coalition of legislators.

As agreed, a majority of chairmen from each chamber and a majority of the quorum of the committee is needed to pass out a final draft of a bill.

The only provision is that bills with fiscal implications must be approved by both chairmen of the House and Senate money committees.

These committees are convened during the final weeks of the legislative session to work out differences between versions of House and Senate bills.

>> Long-term care: First lady Vicky Cayetano's proposed long-term care plan remains alive but does not have much bite. A bill approved this week by the House creates a long-term care program, but without the proposed $10-a-month tax on Hawaii residents. Instead, a board will be convened to come up with a way to fund the program.

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