At the end of the November 24 session, those present were invited to vote on which subjects they felt were most important. Kokua Council uses these votes to formulate its priorities for the next legislative session.
This year, Housing issues including homelessness, affordable housing, and Housing First were the overwhelming concerns of attendees (see votes, below).
Notes by Laura Manis
In spite of hurricane warnings, changed date, a required retreat for State Senators, a full house attended the Forum “Tell it to the Governor”. Below is a compilation of issues discussed and the balloting of those attending.
Rep. Chris Lee: Chair, Energy & Environmental Protection Co.: The expected increase of 2-3 feet of water in the ocean is expected to cause a 30% increase in acidity which will affect the reefs leading to changes in decreasing numbers of tourists effecting income to the state. “Will we have a permanent drought, become more dependent on a food supply from the mainland?”
Sen. Chun-Oakland: (Sent written Report): Supports Housing First, Building more affordable housing, Mental Health training for teachers, Suicide prevention, Create a safer environment for LGBTQ youth.
Pam Lichty: Dispensaries for legal sale of marijuana although approved by Legislature is not happening. A task force is working to develop a more detailed bill.
Kathy Xian: Homeless: people in shelters need more protection, prison records need to be wiped clean if arrested for sidewalk blocking so they can be employed.
Tony Lenzer: Caregivers should be notified sooner of patients discharge and get training on home care. Family leave should be offered by employers with less than 100 employees.
Jenny Lee, Appleseed: Tax reform, Hawaii has highest tax on the lowest income people. Tax credit not updated since 1981.
Lisa Mitchell: Downsizing Army. The other services will still be here. Downsizing will open up more housing in communities. Put pressure on legislature to pressure Congress to pressure Department of Army.
Votes of those present:
Housing Issues: Homelessness, Affordable housing, Housing First (21)
Caregiving: Kupuna Care: Training (9)
Tax Reform to help low income people (7
Long Term Care Ombudsman support in basic state budget (5)
Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, LGBT Youth (4)
Keiki Abuse (foster child sent back to abuser parents) (4)
Subsidies to Health System Corporation Hospitals, GMO’s labeled (3 each)
Physician Aid in Dying, Help seniors sign up for health care (2 each)
Energy independence, Sustainable agriculture, News media owned by one Corp. (1 each)
COMMENTS: More on environmental issues (3) Tastier lunches (1)