Preferring a focus on renewable energy, Representative Cynthia Thielen (District 50 – Kailua, Kaneohe Bay) spoke out in opposition to HB 425 which would require the Public Utilities Commission to consider the costs and benefits of a diverse fossil fuel portfolio. Rep. Thielen pointed out that three of the most respected environmental proponents, Life of the Land, Sierra Club, and Blue Planet Foundation, opposed this bill due to its focus on resources that harm the health of Hawaii’s environment and residents.
“It’s an incredibly pessimistic approach to think that Hawaii will still be locked in to dependency on polluting fossil fuel in the year 2030,” she explained. “This ignores the vast resources that we have on the Big Island with geothermal and it ignores the recently released report from the U.S. Department of Energy stressing the vast potential for wave energy in our oceans.”
In response to the closing of Hawaii Medical Center, Representative Kymberly Pine (District 43 – ‘Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Pu‘uloa) held a town hall meeting to share information and resources with concerned residents. Experts explained that ambulance response time has not suffered with the closing of HMC and that Hawaii Pacific Health and Queen’s Hospital are interested in purchasing the facility.
Representative Corinne Ching (District 27 – Nu‘uanu, Pu‘unui, Liliha, Alewa Heights) advocated for HB 2865 to establish a Diabetes Taskforce within the Department of Health. HB 2865 passed with amendments out of the House Committee on Health. This bill would promote the strengthening and unified efforts of advocacy groups, NGOs and other similar organizations in an effort to fight diabetes.
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The American Diabetes Association estimates that one out of every two children born after 2000 in Hawaii will be directly affected by diabetes. “It’s heartbreaking that this preventable disease is affecting so many of us. We must do everything we can immediately to stop diabetes from killing and disabling any more of our people,” said Rep. Ching.
A retired police captain, Representative George Fontaine (District 11 – Kīhei, Wailea, Makena) spoke in support of the “move over” bill, HB 2030. “It would seem common sense that people would slow down and move out of the way of a public servant doing his duty,” he said. “With this bill, we will ensure the safety and the protection of lives of our law enforcement and service personnel.”