HB1326 water theft, minimum wage trojan horse, sticky wickets and asking for help.

Aloha Friends,

I wanted to share with you a few updates, some interesting reading I hope you enjoy, learn from and perhaps find provocative.  And I wanted to also ask for help, which I don’t want to get in the way of the other important stuff, so will place at the bottom of this page 😉

First: The corporate water theft bill HB1326 introduced by Representative Ryan Yamane has passed the House, and now is in the hands of Senator Kai Kahele.

I want to mahalo plenty the House members who voted No yesterday on the House floor –  Be sure to take a moment today and send them your gratitude for standing up to corporate exploitation and for Hawaiʻi’s water rights!

Kitagawa, Lisa, 808-586-8540, repkitagawa@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Perruso, Amy, 808-586-6700, repperruso@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Eli, Stacelynn, 808-586-8465, repeli@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Wildberger, Tina, 808-586-8525, repwildberger@Capitol.hawaii.gov

DeCoite, Lynn , 808-586-6790, repdecoite@Capitol.hawaii.gov

McKelvey, Angus, 808-586-6160, repmckelvey@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Gates, Cedric Asuega, 808-586-8460, repgates@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Kobayashi, Dale, 808-586-8475, repdkobayashi@Capitol.hawaii.gov

Thielen, Cynthia,808-586-6480 repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov 

The below blog link will bring you up to speed both on the bill but also on the process of “crossover and conference”.

”HB1326 is the proverbial “sticky wicket” with Hawaii legislators caught between the interests of the corporate elite, and those who put protection of the environment ahead of corporate profits.Read the entire piece HERE on the Hooser blog  

There are two minimum wage bills still alive that will need your help in the future.

SB789 introduced by Senator Brian Taniguchi proposes to phase in increases to achieve a $15 per hour level by 2023 – FOR ALL WORKERS (both full time and part time). This measure also includes tax credits to help small businesses.

HB1191 introduced by Representative Aaron Johanson proposes a two tiered minimum wage with most full time workers who are provided health insurance by their employers entitled to receive a $12.50 per hour by 2024.  Part-time workers and those who do not receive employer health care coverage would be entitled to a $15 per hour minimum wage, also in 2024.

My personal preference is a blend of the two measures that provides phased in increases to $17 per hour, with continuing incremental small annual increases above the rate of inflation until a true living wage is achieved PLUS a tax credit to support those small businesses who provide health care coverage.  This ensures that ALL workers are paid a decent wage, AND ensures that small businesses are incentivized to provide ALL workers with full time work and health care benefits.

RED FLAG  HB96 also introduced by Representative Johanson proposes to “authorize each county to establish a minimum wage that is a higher wage than the state minimum wage…” I am very concerned that this measure will be used as a way to “punt” the minimum wage issue to the counties and provide a political “out” for the State legislature to claim they took positive action on the minimum wage issue.  Giving the counties this authority does not result in increasing the standard of living for working people in Hawaii, but risks further delays and ultimately finger pointing between the state and county as to who is responsible.  If the state established a living wage “floor”, then to allow the counties to exceed that living wage floor would be acceptable (in my humble opinion).

Heads Up! The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is a powerful force at the legislature and they are fighting hard to block any and all increases to the minimum wage.  PHI President Josh Frosts blog is must reading! Check it out HERE Let’s be clear – The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii is Lying to You


If you are rooted in your community, share the core values of putting people and the planet first, and aspire to serve in government at a leadership level…then consider the Kuleana Academy. This is a statewide nonpartisan program and residents from all islands are encouraged to apply.

Go HERE for more information and to view a short video featuring recent graduates of the program! Please watch the video!

Now for my request for help:

As described in the past, I wear several hats – President of the Board for the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action (HAPA), and Executive Director for the Pono Hawaii Alliance (PHI) – Each has a separate Board of Directors and each has a separate administrative structure and budget.  This is necessary due to the laws governing political activity and the tax treatment of contributions.

HAPA does not engage in any campaign work nor does it support any persons election to public office.  HAPA does educate and train aspiring leaders who want to get more involved and possibly serve in public office.  HAPA is nonpartisan, does not restrict participation in its activities based on party affiliation and extends invitations to all political parties in its training programs. HAPA’s work on legislative issues is also limited. Thus contributions to HAPA are tax deductible and may be made HERE.

Contributions to PHI are NOT tax deductible, however its legal structure allows it to engage in unlimited lobbying on legislative issues plus it may provide some support of candidates who are running for public office.

As you can imagine, fundraising for PHI is more challenging because the contributions are NOT tax deductible.  At the same time the work PHI does is valuable and needs to be sustained.

We are now in the middle of the legislative session and frankly we need your help to continue the work. The PHI “mother of all data bases” project needs to be kicked up a notch NOW which translates to aggressively targeting various districts in Hawaii with issue based surveys – thus recruiting residents from those districts to join the movement and engage those very same issues.  In addition we are funding other communications related efforts in support of our key issues, and there are the never ending costs of inter-island travel that have to be dealt with.

In summary, PHI needs to raise at least $10,000 within the next 24 days, or an average of $416 per day.  This will allow us to maintain and grow momentum, plus put us in a strong position for the final month of the legislative session.  Can you help?  Whether it is funding one day of work, or one hour, any and all contributions are welcome and much needed.  Especially helpful are those contributions that can be received by the end of the day Friday, March 8.

Online contributions may be made securely HERE.

Or checks may be mailed to: Pono Hawaii Initiative, P.O. Box 871, Honolulu HI 96808

Thank you in advance for all of your help –


Gary Hooser, Executive Director – Pono Hawaii Initiative – 808-652-4279

PS. It goes without saying that if you want to meet personally to talk about how you might get further involved in supporting the work, please do not hesitate to call or email.  If you are willing to join in our effort by offering testimony at the legislature, or support our work with funding or in other ways – I would love to speak and or meet with you in person or a small group.  I am also available to speak to political science classes, or any groups or organizations interested in learning more about the political process in Hawaii (without charge of course).

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.) www.hapahi.org 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) - http://www.garyhooser.com/#four “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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