Welcome to Capitol Watch. We’re well past the halfway point at the Hawaii Legislature and hundreds of bills are still moving. Meanwhile the state’s budget shortfall is getting worse. Civil Beat is reporting on all of it.

4:53 p.m. Gov Names UH Regents, EWC Board

Neil Abercrombie has appointed members to the UH Board of Regents and the East-West Center board of governors.

The five regent vacancies will be filled by former Red Cross CEO Coralie Matayoshi, Oceanit executive Jan Sullivan, scholar Sandra Scarr, former UH administrator Patrick Naughton and fashion designer Saedene Ota.

The regent appointees require state Senate confirmation.

The appointments to the East-West Center board are former Gov. George Ariyoshi,, economist and businessman Puongpun Sananikone, PR executive Barbara Tanabe (her firm worked on Abercrombie’s gubernatorial campaign), attorney Corianne Lau, lawyer and lobbyist R. Brian Tsujimura and attorney and erstwhile political candidate Richard Turbin.

4:09 p.m. Gov Tweets for Help

Neil Abercrombie — or perhaps someone who works for him — tweeted this tweet this afternoon:

Do you have any ideas on how to best restore a functional government given our economic challenges? We’re listening.

@neilabercrombie has 8,171 followers and is following 6,497 people.

In other news, the governor today announced the appointment of Mary Alice Evans as deputy director of DBEDT. Evans has been a state employee for more than 35 years, including eight at DBEDT’s Office of Planning.

3:01 p.m. DCCA Ends Furloughs for Employees

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will no longer observe the state’s six scheduled furlough days from April through June.

That’s because of an agreement in February between the state and the Hawaii Government Employees’ Association that, “among other things, the discontinuance of furloughs for employees whose positions are 100% funded by special funds,” according to a press release.

DCCA, which generates its own revenue through fees, is the only state agency that does not receive money from the state’s general fund.

2:40 p.m. House Honors Tetris Visionary

No April foolin’: The state House today recognized the work of Henk Rogers, philanthropist, founder of Blue Planet Foundation and the video-game “visionary} who brought the game Tetris from Russia to the United States.

That’s according to the House resolution approved in Rogers’ honor by lawmakers.

Among other accomplishments, Rogers “has contributed to the sustainability awareness and positive, energy-saving lifestyle changes of Hawaii residents through educational programs, legislative efforts, and a multitude of public events.”

1:04 p.m. Tennis With Sen. Gabbard

Mike Gabbard will hold a beginning tennis clinic to raise money for the Hawaii Foodbank tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 4:30 pm. at the governor’s tennis court at Washington Place.

“Mahalo to the Gov and the First Lady for making the tennis court available for such a worthy cause,” Gabbard said in a press release, adding that he’d like to hold the event annually.

The minimum donation is $100; all proceeds will benefit the Hawaii Foodbank. Call 586-6830 to register.

Gabbard played collegiate tennis at California State University at Sonoma and was the former head tennis pro at Kuilima Resort (now Turtle Bay Resort) in the 1970s.

Senate WAM Decision Making

Senate Ways and Means is scheduled to plow through dozens of bills requiring decision making.

They include measures OHA’s budget, the Judiciary’s budget, more money for Hawaiian Home Lands, extending the 5 percent salary cut for all three branches of government, limiting EUTF benefits after June 30, institute a moratorium on ERS benefits and taxing pension income above $100,000.

No testimony will be accepted.

Marathon for House FIN

**House Finance has broken its afternoon and early evening of bill hearing into four sections: Agenda No. 1, Agenda No. 2, Agenda No. 3 and Agenda No. 4.

Bill topics include mortgage foreclosures, biofuels, public lands and disabilities.

Testimony will be accepted, and decision making will follow.

Resolution: Ceded Lands

Three House committees are scheduled to hear a resolution that encourages discussions so that the Legislature can resolve outstanding claims owed the Office of Hawaiian Affairs over ceded-land revenues.

OHA’s proposed bill to settle those claims — in in cash payments, parcels of land, or a combination — died this session.

Where’s Neil?

Here’s Neil:

Friday: Hawaii Business Magazine “Best Places to Work Reception,” brief remarks, Edition, Ilikai Hotel, 5 to 6 p.m.

Saturday: HSTA Convention, brief remarks, Sheraton Waikiki, noon to 12:30 p.m.

Sunday: Hawaii National Guard Recognition Ceremony, Hickam AFB, 1 to 3 p.m.

Art at the Capitol

The Legislature will open its doors for April’s First Friday event with the 3rd Annual “Art at the Capitol,” an opportunity for the public to view over 460 works of art that are part of the state’s Art in Public Places Collection.

Meet legislators! Talk with artists!

It’s from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with a short program on the third floor lanai to start at 4:45 p.m.


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