Welcome to Capitol Watch. There’s a month to go at the Hawaii Legislature and the budget crunch is taking center stage. Civil Beat is all over the story.

3:20 p.m. Four More BOE Picks Approved

Senate Eduction has recommended Nancy Budd, Charlene Cuaresma, Cheryl Kupenui and Keith Amemiya be appointed to the Board of Education.

The nominations now head to the full Senate for final confirmation.

3:01 p.m. Gov: Federal Funds Will Help Hawaii Rebuild

Responding to the president’s disaster declaration issued earlier today, the governor said in a statement this afternoon:

“President Obama’s disaster declaration enables the State to make the necessary repairs to our small boat harbors and other public facilities damaged from the tsunami. We have been working quickly and collaboratively to help those affected by the tsunami. This declaration from the President will help us in rebuilding our state and moving forward.”

The declaration, according to the governor’s administration, “will provide 75 percent matching funds for repair or replacement of public infrastructure and not-for-profit facilities in the qualifying counties. The disaster declaration also provides hazard mitigation grant funds statewide.”

FEMA is sending a team to establish a Joint Field Office in the islands. Call 2-1-1 for more information.

12:16 p.m. Obama Signs Hawaii Disaster Declaration

President Obama has declared a major disaster exists in Hawaii and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by tsunami waves on March 11.

The declaration came at the request of Gov. Abercrombie last month. The current estimate of damage to state and county government property is about $30 million.

According to a press release from the White House:

Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the tsunami waves in Hawaii County, Maui County, and the City and County of Honolulu.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Michael L. Karl as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

Second Decking Deadline

The House and Senate must get their respective bills in final form today in order for the measures to be voted on next week and make second crossover April 14.

The deadline to get bills to the House Clerk is 10 p.m., but the Senate Clerk had not announced its deadline as of late yesterday.

Next up: conference committee, which will pretty much consume the last two weeks of the month.

Hearing: BOE Picks

Senate Eduction is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing for Nancy Budd, Charlene Cuaresma, Cheryl Kupenui and Keith Amemiya.

The governor’s other five appointments passed the committee earlier this week.

Resolution: Compassion for Japan

House International Affairs is scheduled to hear a resolution that urges the state “to express the compassion of the Hawaiian People and furnishing financial assistance, basic necessities, and mental health care to the Japanese people.”

The “reso” reads in part:

WHEREAS, the people of Japan have deep historical, cultural and family ties with the people of Hawaii through financial and business inter-connections, and in multi-generational family relationships; and

WHEREAS, the people of Hawaii wish to express their compassion for the plight of the Japanese people and desire to generously offer assistance to them, financially, medically or in other form.

Resolution: Local Grinds for APEC

Two House committees are scheduled to hear a resolution requesting that the state’s APEC Host Committee select Hawaii agricultural products for the international conference this November.


WHEREAS, Hawaii can seize the opportunity of this growing industry by offering dignitaries of APEC Hawaii’s finest agricultural products, which include local artesian confections filled with locally grown papaya, mango, lilikoi, pineapple, Kau orange and other popular products locally grown in Hawaii.

Massaging for Food

As they have done every session for the past 16 years at the Capitol, late yesterday the Massage Therapists Association of Hawaii with the help of Remington College massage students raised money for the Hawaii Food Bank.

For a $5 contribution legislators and staff could treat themselves to a deep tissue back and neck rub and a stretch of the arms.

Pictured on the page is Rep. John Mizuno relieving stress after 45 days of the 60-day legislative session.

Where’s Neil?

Here’s Neil:

Friday: Proclamation Ceremony to honor Hawaii Living Treasure Agnes Kalanihookaha Cope, Senate Chambers, 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Cope, better known as Aunty Aggie, founded the Waianae Coast Culture and Arts Society more than 40 years ago to preserve and perpetuate Native Hawaiian traditions and practices.

She is also a founder of Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center and a member of its Kupuna Council.

Sunday: Kokua for Japan Fundraiser, Hilton Hawaiian Village Great Lawn, noon to 5 p.m. (Gov’s stop-by time is TBD.)

Catch up on previous coverage:

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