Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (HI-2) today issued the following statement on the decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the Affordable Care Act:
“This ruling means that Americans can now count on secure and stable insurance coverage. If you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll be able to get health care; if you become seriously ill, there will be no annual limits on your care; if you’re a woman you won’t be charged higher premiums; and if you don’t have coverage, you will be able to buy affordable coverage.
“The Affordable Care Act has already had a positive impact on the lives of Hawaii’s families and seniors. An estimated 6,000 young adults in Hawaii now have access to health insurance. Nearly 25,000 people on Medicare have saved over $14.5 million in prescription drug costs. More than 200,000 people helped control long-term health costs by gaining preventative health service coverage. And Hawaii has received millions of dollars for critical investments including the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and the West Hawaii Community Health Center.
“While today’s Supreme Court ruling in support of the Affordable Care Act is good news for our families in Hawaii, I will continue to work to make sure everyone has access to quality health care.”
HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health has suspended the permit for Kanemitsu Bakery, located at 79 Ala Malama Street in Kaunakakai on the island of Moloka‘i, for producing baked goods manufactured at the facility under unsanitary conditions. State health officials met with owner George Kanemitsu on June 25, 2012 and issued the suspension which closes bakery operations until a plan of correction is completed and approved.
On June 15, 2012, the DOH received an anonymous public complaint alleging that insects and foreign substances were found in bread rolls purchased from Kanemitsu Bakery. This led to an investigation of the facility by health officials on June 20, 2012. The facility also has pending violations that resulted in the DOH issuing a $90,000 penalty for unsanitary conditions found during routine inspections conducted in March of this year.
The inspection on June 20 revealed serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices conducted at the facility including: visual sighting of rodents during the inspection, no water available at the rinse compartment of the sink, unclean food preparation surfaces, no soap and hand towels at hand washing sinks, and general unsanitary conditions.
In order to assist Kanemitsu Bakery in correcting the conditions that led to the permit suspension, the DOH is working closely with the owner and providing a check-list of concerns that need to be addressed by the facility in order for their permit to be reinstated. The bakery portion of the Moloka‘i facility will remain closed while an intensive mitigation plan developed with the DOH is completed, and measures are taken to ensure consistent and lasting compliance with all food safety regulations. The restaurant portion of the facility remains open and was not included in the permit suspension as it operates out of a separate, permitted kitchen.
The DOH Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawai‘i residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine inspections of facilities where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed or sold. The branch also investigates possible food safety violations that may be the cause of food borne illnesses, and allegations of adulterated foods. Health inspectors work with business owners, workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation and sanitary conditions.
This morning DLNR’s Maui aquatic resources and conservation enforcement staff, along with Maui County Ocean Safety lifeguards checked out the nearshore waters of Kahana beach.
There was no sign of any sharks or anything that could attract them to the area.
The warning signs were removed at 12 noon today, and the area is again open to the public.
A 16-year-old female was injured in a possible shark attack in Kahana Tuesday morning.
The incident took place fronting a condominium located at 4401 Lower Honoapiilani Road at around 10 a.m., Tuesday, a third of a mile north of the surf area known as “S-turns.” Maui County Ocean Safety and Maui Fire Department officers reported the victim having lacerations to her lower left calf, and described the wound as a three to five inch missing “flap” or avulsion.
Ocean Safety and State Department of Land and Natural Resources officials are treating this incident as a possible shark attack and closed the beach, even though no shark was actually sighted.
The family refused on-site medical treatment, instead choosing to drive their daughter for medical attention. They are visiting from Livermore, CA.
HONOLULU – Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed into law bills that are aimed to move Hawai’i forward in reducing its dependence on imported oil. Two of the measures enacted today are Senate Bills 2785 and 2787, which were among the Governor’s priority bills this past session.
“I want to thank the Legislature for recognizing the commitment that is needed to act now to move ahead with renewable energy projects that will benefit the State of Hawai’i,” stated Governor Abercrombie. “These measures are critical in addressing our sustainability. We must view our islands as interdependent and remain open to all renewable projects. My Administration is seeking long-term infrastructure investments that ensure our electric grids are stable, reliable and modern enough to integrate all available alternative and renewable energy technologies.”
Senate Bill 2787 authorizes the Public Utilities Commission to develop, adopt and enforce reliability standards and interconnection requirements, as well as contract for the performance of related duties with a party that will serve as the Hawai’i electricity reliability administrator.
Senate Bill 2785 establishes a regulatory structure for the installation and implementation of an interisland high-voltage electric transmission cable system and for the construction of on-island transmission infrastructure.
In January, Governor Abercrombie announced the State will look at every option while being respectful to its approach to our island environment. The Governor assigned Lt. Governor Brian Schatz to coordinate and support the State’s energy priorities and to ensure that the state stays the course.
“These two new laws push us forward with the Governor’s plan for clean energy,” said Lt. Governor Schatz. “We are now leading the nation in this area, and although there’s lots of work ahead, we are on the path to reducing our dependence on imported oil.”
The Governor also signed into law SB 2150 and SB 2746. SB 2150 allows renewable energy systems on land designated for agriculture when the energy is used for the agricultural activity of that parcel. This will help further our clean energy goals while helping farmers implement more sustainable operations. SB 2746 authorizes the Department of Transportation to adopt rules for the issuance of license plates for electric vehicles and clarifies the conditions under which electric vehicles are exempt from parking fees.
Governor Abercrombie also enacted the following bills related to economic development:
SB 490 increases the maximum allocation of transient accommodations tax revenue to the tourism special fund from $69 million to $71 million until June 30, 2015; it also requires $2 million to be expended until June 30, 2015, for initiatives for international tourism.
SB 2281 authorizes an agency or an applicant to bypass the preparation of an environmental assessment and proceed directly with an environmental impact statement for proposed actions that are determined to require an environmental impact statement.
HB 2319 establishes a venture accelerator funding program under the Hawai’i Strategic Development Corporation to assist the State’s technology businesses to compete for investment capital.
HB 2265 makes permanent the amendments made by Act 175, Session Laws of Hawai’i 2009. It requires performance and payment bonds for procurements for construction greater than $50,000 and raises the ceiling for small purchase procurement for construction from $100,000 to $250,000.
HB 2873 transfers the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems (PISCES) from the University of Hawaiꞌi to the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism’s Office of Aerospace Development, and establishes a PISCES board of directors and appropriates funds.
“The economic vitality of our State requires out-of-the-box approaches,” stated Governor Abercrombie. “These measures related to economic development allow for greater opportunities for Hawai’i as a prime business location.”
Richard Lim, director of the Department of Business of Economic Development and Tourism, said, “These laws demonstrate the Abercrombie Administration’s commitment to positioning Hawai’i as an international leader in renewable energy and business development.”
Governor Abercrombie has enacted more than 160 bills. Tomorrow the Governor will be signing into law a measure that will establish the Early Learning Advisory Board, another priority bill. For a list of the bills signed into law so far, visit capitol.hawaii.gov.
The Hawaii Tribune Herald reports the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems plans to start signing contracts in August with companies and space agencies to locate at the research park, which may be established at the W.H. Shipman Industrial Park near Hilo. The newspaper reports that PISCES, which is currently run through the University of Hawaii at Hilo, will be transferred to the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism and will have its own director and board of directors.
(Report Provided by Pacific Business News)
A groundbreaking ceremony for the MEO Transportation Center in Puunene, Maui was held on June 26, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. to mark the start of construction for the $23,180,000 project.
The center will be built on a 10-acre parcel partially donated by Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. located at the hub of Hana, Mokulele, and Kuihelani Highways and Puunene Avenue and Dairy Road.
In her opening remarks, Chief Executive Officer Lyn McNeff said, “We are very grateful to Alexander and Baldwin and for the support of our State and County Legislators, Mayor Arakawa and his administration and community partners. Without all of these groups working together, none of this would be possible.”
MEO annually provides over $5 million of specialized transportation services, funded by the County of Maui, in addition to the federal Head Start program and Medicaid transportation and gurney transport services for Maui Memorial Medical Center. MEO vehicles travel over one million miles annually, and were used to provide almost 300,000 trips last year.
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