Tag Archives: senate

Hawaii Reapportionment Committee Interactive Map

Curious to see where House and Senate districts are now?  The state Reapportionment Committee has recently released their approved map of house and senate districts.  The west side of Oahu have seen the most drastic changes.

Click here for the link to the map.

The map is not final and will go through public hearings beginning on August 30th in Kapolei.

Click here for a complete list of public hearings.


Walk About the Capitol with Kanu Hawaii

Kanu Hawaii’s Rotunda Roundup series is nearing an end.  As the legislative session comes to a close, the folks at Kanu Hawaii and Common Cause Hawaii are ramping up efforts to get the public involved.  Thursday, April 28th, will be the “Walk About the Capitol.”  Guests will be show around various parts of the capitol which culminates with a visit to both the House and Senate chambers.  Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland will be on hand to discuss bills being heard in conference committee as well.

Visit Kanu Hawaii for more details.

My Legislative Experience

Cross-Posted with Fluffy2Fit.com

Today I was lucky enough to shadow a State Legislator for the day.  It was part of Shadow the Legislature hosted by Sen. Jill Tokuda.  There was a mix of college students within the University of Hawaii system.  We were all paired with either a Senate or House member.  The day was intended for us to get a glimpse into an average day of lawmakers as well as to get an understanding of how the Legislature operates.

Hawaii State Legislature

I had the honor to be paired with Senate President Shan Tsutsui.  Sen. Tsutsui represents Maui’s 4th District and was named Senate President for this session.  He takes over the role from now United States Congresswoman, Colleen Hanabusa.  The day started with an 8am entrance into Sen. Tsutsui office.  The spacious office featured two conference rooms and a few large couches.  I was introduced to the staff and was told the Senator was actually en route to Oahu on a flight from Maui.  I then saw my Ewa District Senator, Will Espero.  We chatted for a moment before he was asked by Sen. Tsutsui’s office if he would be willing to introduce me during the Senate’s session.  He agreed and we spent a few more minutes enjoying the continental breakfast which had been prepared for us.

Desperate America Report Founder, Ryan Adverderada

Sen. Espero and I have spoken often in the past as I have been a sign waver for him as well as interviewed his son Jason when he ran for office in December.  Sen. Espero is a nice man and a sharp dresser!  After the breakfast, Sen. Espero left for a few meetings while I went to an informational meeting.  The meeting provided an introduction to the Public Access Room which allows people to research bills as well as to get any info on legislators or legislation.  By 10am a few of us decided to take a tour of the Capitol.  Our tour guide, Carolyn, was funny and very informative.  We viewed both chambers from the gallery as the workers prepped for the upcoming session.  We then visited the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s offices.  The Hawaii State Capitol is quite a sight.

I returned to Sen. Tsutsui’s office and was formally introduced to the Senate President.  We chatted a bit as we made our way to the Senate floor.  Since Sen. Tsutsui convenes the session, I sat next to Sen. Espero.  Introductions were called and Sen. Espero stepped forward to introduce me.  He noted my work on his campaign as well as other campaigns in the area.  He even dropped a mention of my Desperate America Report website!  The Senate Chamber itself is an awe-inspiring area.  From the Senate floor, the ceiling lights resemble a spaceship preparing to land.  Sen. Espero and I joked about Sen. Sam Slom being the only Republican in the Senate and his need to run to various committees to serve as the minority member.

Sen. Tsutsui then took me to lunch.  We enjoyed a feast at a local chinese restaurant called Little Village with his aide, Ross.  There we chatted about sports and some of the issues of my area.  The day ended with a Senate Education Committee hearing.  The hearing went as usual with Sen. Slom racing into the room for a vote before speeding away to another committee hearing.

The day was amazing at every turn.  I hope to one day return to the Senate floor, this time as an elected Hawaii State Senator!

Mahalo to Sen. Tokuda for hosting the event, Sen. Espero for the kind introduction, and finally, Sen. Tsutsui for he and his staff’s hospitality and kindness.  The experience gained was priceless and I am a better person for it!



Some Bills to Follow

Here are a few bills of note which will be reviewed in hearings this coming week organized by committee.  Click on the bill name for full language.  Click on the committee for notice of hearings.



SB 218: Requires hospitals to provide survivors of sexual assault with medically and factually accurate and unbiased information regarding emergency contraception.


SB 120: Repeal special and revolving funds and transfer balances to state general fund.




HB 241: Increases penalty for promotion of prostitution.


HB 904: Prohibits the sale or distribution of caffeinated beer beverages unless labeled as an “intoxicating liquor” and accompanied by a warning about potential harmful effects of consumption.


SB232: How they voted/Signing ceremony announced

Wednesday was a monumental day for gay rights activists.  The passage of SB232 and the promise Gov. Abercrombie made to sign the legislation has many supporters feeling giddy.  The bill would extend the same rights, benefits, and protections to homosexual/heterosexual couples, as those extended to couples from a traditional marriage.  This would serve as strictly a state recognized law.  Sen. Sam Slom, who voted against SB232,  asked that the Senate focus on economic issues rather than social issues.  Another no vote came from Sen. Mike Gabbard who told colleagues to consider amendments which would include blood relatives.  Support came from Sen. Clayton Hee who held Associate Justice, Sabrina McKenna, as an example of justice being served by SB232.  McKenna is openly gay and was confirmed to the position of Associate Justice minutes before the civil-unions vote.  The legislation passed by a 18-5 vote.

Here is a breakdown of how the Senate voted on SB232:


Rosalyn Baker

Suzanne Chun Oakland

J. Kalani English

Carol Fukunaga

Brickwood Galuteria

Josh Green

Clayton Hee

David Ige

Les Ihara Jr.

Gilbert Kahele

Michelle Kidani

Clarence Nishihara

Pohai Ryan

Maile Shimabukuro

Malama Solomon

Jill Tokuda

Shan Tsutsui

Glen Wakai


Donovan Dela Cruz

Will Espero

Mike Gabbard

Donna Mercado Kim

Sam Slom


Ronald Kouchi

Brian Taniguchi

A signing ceremony will take place on Wednesday, February 23rd to begin at 1pm located at Washington Place.  The ceremony will be streamed live.

Civil-Unions on the Verge

UPDATED: 2/16/2011 1:28PM

By a 18-5 margin. Senate Bill 232 passed the Hawaii State Senate.  Roars from the rafters were heard as the final tally was confirmed.  The bill is now slated to reach Gov. Abercrombie’s desk in a few days where he is expected to approve the measure.  Supporters of the bill will be hosting a “Thank you” sign waving session in front of the Capitol at 4pm.

We’ll have a full write-up on the proceedings of the vote on Friday.


The Hawaii Senate decided to hold off on a final vote on Senate Bill 232 until today.  The Senate was scheduled to vote on Tuesday, however,  Sen. Clayton Hee explained the senior body used the extra day to ensure all legal notice requirements were observed.

SB232 would grant all couples, same-sex or heterosexual, the ability to enter into a civil-union, a legal status with all the rights, benefits and protections of a traditional marriage.

There is much anticipation leading up to the vote.  Supporters and opponents alike are waiting for the final tally.  Many supporters are excited to see the quick movement with the incentive that Gov. Abercrombie has stated he would sign the bill.

Desperate America Report will have live updates on Twitter as the vote nears.  If you are personally in attendance please tweet us the events as they happen.

House Republicans Pose Threat to Pell Grants

The election night results from the previous November have left many wondering what the implications would be.  We now seem to have an answer to that question as House Republicans are in the news.

In a recent budget proposal, the GOP has proposed cuts to Pell Grants.  Pell Grants are federal financial aid monies given to qualifying students attending college.   Unlike loans, these grants do not need to be repaid.   According to Mark Kantrowitz of FinAid, the cuts would mean a reduction in Pell Grant amounts by as much as $845.  The cuts, if they were to pass, would be the largest cuts to financial aid funds in the history of the Pell Grant program.  President Obama previously increased the payout for Pell Grants.

House Republicans point to their proposal as a downpayment on their pledge to cut more than $100 Billion from the budget.  It is believed that House members will begin discussion on the budget proposal as early as this week.

Time will tell how many GOP Senate members come out to support the measures put forth by their House colleagues.

How do you feel about these proposed cuts?  Are they a necessary evil or should they be the last resort?

Stay with Desperate America Report for the latest!

Updated: House Votes on Civil-Unions

Updated 2/11/2011 6:03pm

The Hawaii State House voted to pass Senate Bill 232 by a 31-19 margin.  The bill will now move back over to the Senate where the senior legislative body will vote on the House amendments.  It is expected that the Senate will pass the bill with little resistance.  For more on Bill 232 stay tuned to Desperate America Report for all the updates.


As previously reported, the Hawaii State House is expected to hold a floor vote on SB232, the Civil-Unions bill.  It is expected to pass and be moved back to the Senate to vote on the amendments.

The hearing is set to begin at 12:00Pm.

We will be having updates throughout the day on Twitter.

House Committee To Hear Civil Unions Bill

The Hawaii State House will hold a Judiciary committee hearing on Senate Bill 232.  SB232 passed over to the House after passing a third reading in the Senate on Friday, January 27th.  Representative Gilbert Keith-Agaran (D-19) currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee. 

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, February 8th @ 2:15PM in the Capitol Auditorium.  A large crowd is expected similar to that of the gathering from the Senate hearing a few weeks ago.  The committee is currently accepting written testimony with a deadline of 4Pm on Monday, February 7th.  Testimony can be submitted here or for more info visit the Judiciary web page.

For more information on the bill’s progress, keep your browsers on Desperate America Report.  Follow us on Twitter for up to date news and events!

SB232: Another Go at Civil Unions

Update: Jan. 26, 2011; 10:55Pm

Friday, Jan. 27 is the expected full Senate floor vote on SB232.  The bill passed out of the Judiciary and Labor Committee on Tuesday by a 3-2 margin.  Follow us on Twitter for updates on the proceedings.


On Tuesday, January 25, the Hawaii State Senate’s Judiciary and Labor Committee will hold the first hearing of the session on Senate Bill 232.  SB232 was introduced by Sen. Brickwood Galuteria (D-12) on the Friday, January 21.  The bill past the first reading and was sent to the JDL for hearings.  This marks the Senate’s first attempt to get the ball rolling on the much anticipated Civil Unions battle.  Last session ended with a fury unseen in most final days as proponents of the House’s version of a Civil Unions bill, HB444, finally got their wish have holding a floor vote.  After lengthy discussion, HB444 passed with much applause from supporters and dismay from opponents.  It was a feel good moment for many in the capitol that day that would be short lived after a veto by then governor, Linda Lingle.  With Neil Abercrombie now at Washington Place, supporters of Civil Unions have a renewed sense of purpose as the governor has already pledged to sign a Civil Unions bill into law should it arrive on his desk.

If you want to get involved in this issue you may do so in written testimony which will be submitted as “public testimony” for the hearing.  This is your chance to get your voice heard by the committee as well as the legislature at large.

Here are the details of the hearing:

Date: Tuesday January 25, 2011

Time: 10AM

Location: RM 016

For more information visit the SB232 information page.

The page provides links on when testimony must be submitted as well as contact info for inquiries.