The Legislature is pau, but the talk is of a special session to take care of unfinished business.

5:25 p.m. Inouye in the News

Dan Inouye today tweeted (@Daniel_Inouye) that he met at Blair House with Joe Biden to talk about deficit reduction. Here’s a photo of the senator walking to the meeting.

Bloomberg reports that Tim Geithner was at the Blair House meeting.

CNN Money noted that Inouye doesn’t like John Boehner‘s “hard line” ideas for a debt ceiling.

And Inouye is in a Market News story about Max Baucus arguing that Social Security should not be part of the debt talks.

Inouye today also tweeted that he met with members of the U.S. Army’s War College Class of 2011.

And, he recently lectured to members of the U.S. Naval War College, too, about “American Security Interests in the Pacific.”

Phew!

3:30 p.m. Cuts Coming to Med-QUEST Programs

Up to 4,500 people currently enrolled in the state’s QUEST-ACE and QUEST-Net health care programs will no longer be eligible to receive help because of state budget cutbacks.

“As we develop our (eligibility) systems going forward, we are very concerned that we are able to provide meaningful, accessible health care to the community,” Pat McManaman said at a forum addressing changes to Medicaid because of the new federal health care act set to go into effect in 2012.

In the case of the 4,500 Med-QUEST members, she said, “Employers need to step up to the plate and provide health care services.”

The forum, held at the Queen’s Conference Center, was streamed live across the state.

Among the participants was a man named Jack who said he was a patient at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. He warned forum participants, “Health care is not an entitlement program, it is a right. … These cost-cutting measures will lead toward rationing health care, and that is really wrong.”

3:06 p.m. Nakamura Joins HTA

Wailuku resident Craig Nakamura has replaced hotelier Kyoko Kimura on the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Nakamura, who was confirmed by the state Senate on May 3, is an attorney with Carlsmith Ball.

According to an HTA press release, Nakamura currently serves on the board of Kapalua Maui Charities, Wailuku Heights Community Association and other community organizations.

1:50 p.m. Neighbor Island Gov’t News

The Maui News reports that members of the Maui County Charter Commission, sworn in yesterday, are embarking on an “intense 16-month process” to propose major changes to how the county operates:

Mayor Alan Arakawa said the commission’s work would be “very critical and very important.” He urged panelists to think about the potential long-term effects of their decisions and to use “common sense” as they review potential changes to the county’s charter.

The Garden Island reports that, after weeks of departmental reviews, the Kauai County Council has started making final decisions on Mayor Bernard Carvalho‘s proposed budget for fiscal year 2012:

“It’s not time for discussion, it’s time for decision-making,” Council Chair Jay Furfaro said. “Obviously, if we can’t get to a decision point, we’re just going to accept the March 15 submittal as the budget and go from there.”

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports that Hawaii County Council Chairman Dominic Yagong is “not happy” with the outcome so far from the state and counties collective bargaining with government employee unions, and he’s proposing “an alternative” for county workers under council jurisdiction:

Yagong is asking the 40 or 45 nonunion county legislative employees to take one unpaid furlough day a month, down from the two they currently take. He’s also asking County Council members to continue the two unpaid days a month they volunteered last year.

11:11 a.m. Gov Takes Star-Advertiser to Task

At a forum this morning addressing upcoming Medicaid challenges, Neil Abercrombie said his administration would hire a health care coordinator to help align the state with the federal Affordable Care Act.

The governor said the health care coordinator will serve in a similar capacity as the administration’s coordinator on homelessness, Marc Alexander.

That gave the Abercrombie the opportunity to respond critically to a recent article in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser titled “Initiative to help homeless falters.”

The article noted:

A 2-week-old statewide effort to identify the homeless and give residents the opportunity to direct medical, mental and housing services their way has not led to getting a single person off the streets or beaches.

“The Star-Advertiser is very disappointed that we have not been able to solve the homeless challenge in two weeks,” the governor said, sarcastically.

Continuing in that vein, he added, “We should be able to solve this (Medicaid challenges) in three and a half days — anything to appease editorial writers who don’t have anything to do except to comment on what we should be doing.”

10:48 a.m. Town Hall: Hawaii Kai

Sam Slom, Gene Ward, Pohai Ryan and Mark Hashem will be on hand tonight from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Hahaione Elementary in Hawaii Kai to talk about what happened in the 2011 Legislature.

Issues includes taxes, education, transportation and economic development.

8:49 a.m. Gov Calls for ‘Action’ … Again

Neil Abercrombie‘s weekly address this week is titled “A Call for Action.”

Although it’s dated May 9, it’s actually word-for-word identical to a press release issued by the administration on May 5, the last day of the 2011 Legislature. In the accompanying video, the governor only slightly departs from the script

Excerpts from the address:

We have found that support for the political status quo, abetted by private interests, remains strongly in place. It will take time and action by the executive to change this culture.

While we did not get all we wanted in this legislative session, we have made meaningful strides forward.

Note: The governor did not deliver a weekly address last week.

Gov, DHS Talk Medicaid

Neil Abercrombie and the Pat McManaman will outline planned changes to Medicaid programs for the next two fiscal years.

The presentation, at 10 a.m. at the Queen’s Medical Center Conference Center downtown, will also be linked in at video conferencing sites statewide and streamed live here.

Town Hall: Kona

Angel Pilago, Dominic Yagong, Cindy Evans and Denny Coffman will present an update on the 2011 Legislature and the County Council.

The Kona Town Meeting runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. 8 at Makaeo Events Pavilion, which is located at the old Kona Airport Park. Click here for more info.

Sign Waving for Publicly Funded Elections

Voter Owned Hawaii will lead a sign-waving rally from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Hilo in support of a public funding pilot program for Big Island county elections.

The event will be in front of the Kamehameha Statue on Kamehameha Avenue, between the intersections of Pauahi and Manono streets.

Four out of nine Hawaii County Council candidates are now publicly funded under the state’s Act 244.

Fund Raising for Waianae Seniors

Waianae High School seniors are raising money for “Project Graduation” to help them spend a final night celebrating with classmates in an all-night, substance-free party.

“It is urgent that we support this is post-graduation party, which is scheduled for May 20,” said Maile Shimabukuro, who represents the area. “I encourage the community to support Waianae’s graduating seniors so that they can celebrate in a safe, adult-supervised environment.”

Two-hundred fifty students are expected to participate in the event. Contact Waianae High School to help out.


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