Your testimony is needed now, today on – Cannabis, Pesticide Drift, Minimum Wage, Automatic Voter Registration

It’s time to rock and roll my friends.

Important bill’s are being scheduled at the legislature and your testimony, both in person and via email is important.  Trust me on this.  While some think that just a little ole email won’t make a difference, it does and it will – but only if you take the few minutes it takes to send it off.

If you have not yet completed the Issue Survey , please do so ASAP, prior to January 31st!

The below 5 issues have not yet been scheduled but I encourage you to become familiar with and support them in the future.  Scroll down to see 4 very important measures that are being heard in the next few days and need your immediate attention and support

1. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) – This straightforward measure has the potential to both improve voter turnout, increase election security and save the state money.  It is a no brainer IMHO.  Please read my recent blog piece “Automatic Voter Registration – save money and improve access to voting”  .  HB4 is a good bill to watch for now, but has not yet been scheduled.

2. Audit the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC).  The ADC manages over 22,000 acres of publicly owned agricultural lands yet they have no mandate to actually produce food for local consumption, nor are their financial transactions held to the same level of transparency as regular state agencies.  Watch SB482 and HB871

3. Increase enforcement actions and penalties for pesticide drift.  At the present time, the State of Hawaii’s efforts at enforcing incidents of pesticide drift are lackluster at best.  HB929 is the one to watch.

4. Ban the use of herbicides on all public school grounds.  HB872

5. Increasing the minimum wage in Hawaii to $17 per hour, phased in over 4 years and including an automatic annual cost of living increases.  Several bills have been introduced on this topic but none have yet been scheduled for a hearing.  SB476  and HB727 both accomplish this.

Check out – “Living Wage Legislation – radical, leftist concept or essential, centrist thinking”

The below four important measures have been scheduled and hearings will be held in the next few days.  Please consider testifying in support!


It’s purpose is to amend the criteria for granting a solar water heater system variance. The hearing notice is HERE.   The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday January 29th at 8:30am at the State Capitol in Conference Room 325.

Why support HB557? Current state law requires all newly constructed single family homes to install a solar hot water system. When the law was first passed, a provision was included that allowed for exceptions in areas where solar systems were not practical (way back in the mountains perhaps where there is constant cloud cover).  HB557 is a reasonable measure that closes a loophole that has been abused ever since this original law was passed. It goes without saying that solar hot water heaters use zero carbon based fossil fuel, while all other options are fossil fuel based.

SB375 RELATING TO AGRICULTURE.  It’s purpose is to require the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Office of the Governor, to develop a strategic plan to double local food production and increase food exports by 2020. The hearing notice is HERE. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday January 30th at 1:15pm at the State Capitol in Conference Room 224.

SB686 RELATING TO MARIJUANA. It’s purpose is to Legalizes the personal use, possession, and sale of marijuana.  The hearing notice is HERE ()   The hearing is scheduled for Thursday January 31st at 9am at the State Capitol in Conference Room 016.

Why support SB686? This measure is long, long over due.  Eleven other states have legalized it already. With a well established medicinal program already in place, and the ability to learn from the experiences of other states who have already legalized it – the time is now. It is the right thing to do, plus we need the income that will be generated.

IMPORTANT – OAHU RESIDENTS – Honolulu City Council Resolution #19 -1 Asking the State Legislature to make Hawaii’s minimum wage a living wage.Hearing will be held and testimony is needed by Wednesday January 30th at 10am.  Go here to submit testimony online!    The full agenda is HERE :

New to the process?  Testimony basics for State measures:

1. Go to the Hawaii State Legislature website

2. Sign In (top right hand corner)

3. Submit Testimony (left center on page)

4. Enter Bill or Measure (left toward top)

5. Click Continue and the rest is self explanatory

This website provides a wealth of information. Please explore it if you can.

If you have read this far, I thank you. Please know that your participation and your testimony is vitally important to the passage of the above measures.

Please also know, that yes…funds are indeed needed so that we can continue the work, especially during the coming 4 months and the legislative session.  If you are able to contribute any amount, whether $20 or $200 – now would be a good time to help.  As always new contributors of any amount are most welcome.  You may contribute securely via credit or debit card HERE.  Due to the political nature of our work, contributions to Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI) are NOT tax deductible.

Thank you in advance for your help and support!   Together, working hard and pushing all the way through until the end of the legislative session – we can improve the lives of our residents, friends and neighbors, AND we can set an example for all as to how democracy is supposed to work.


Gary Hooser -Executive Director, Pono Hawaii Initiative (PHI) (

About garyhooser

This blog represents my thoughts as an individual person and does not represent the official position of any organization I may be affiliated with. I presently serve as volunteer President of the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (H.A.P.A.) I am the former Vice-Chair of the Democratic Party of Hawaii. In another past life, I was an elected member of the Kauai County Council, a Hawaii State Senator, and Majority Leader, and the Director of Environmental Quality Control for the State of Hawaii - in an even earlier incarnation I was an entrepreneur and small business owner. Yes, I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet. Please visit my website AND sign up for my newsletter (unlike any email newsletter you have ever gotten, of that I am sure) - “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We’re afraid.” “Come to the edge.” “We can’t. We will fall!” “Come to the edge.” And they came. And he pushed them. And they flew. - Christopher Logue (b.1926)
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