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State, county leaders formalize joint sustainability commitment

(Photo courtesy of The Governor’s Office)

(Photo courtesy of The Governor’s Office)

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Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Hawaii’s four county mayors, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) leadership jointly launched the Aloha+ Challenge: A Culture of Sustainability – He Nohona Aeoia at a declaration signing held Monday at the Hawaii State Capitol.

The statewide joint leadership commitment sets clear targets for clean energy transformation, local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction, smart growth, climate resilience, green jobs and education by 2030.

“The Aloha+ Challenge brings us all together across jurisdictions, agencies, sectors and communities to build a sustainable Hawaii for current and future generations,” said Gov. Abercrombie, who as a member of President Obama’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is in a strong position to provide recommendations on how the federal government can support local efforts.

“The targets transcend political timelines with a longer-term vision that also calls upon us to take bold action now. As a microcosm of the world’s sustainability challenges, it is time for Hawaii to become a global model of how to develop innovative and collaborative solutions,” he said.

The Hawaii State Legislature unanimously passed the Aloha+ Challenge through resolution this year. Hawaii Green Growth, which brings together key leaders from federal, state, county, business and nonprofit organizations, hosted the declaration signing to show broad support.

Hawaii’s commitment to the Aloha+ Challenge is already creating international attention. With the U.S. Department of State, Hawaii has been invited to announce the Aloha+ Challenge on the world stage at a high-level Global Island Partnership event in Samoa this September, during the United Nations’ International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which focuses on sustainable development.

“Alternative energy sources like H-Power, solar and wind, combined with fewer car trips and reduced energy consumption, will help us sustain our island for future generations,” City and County of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said. “We have to invest in our future, and now is the time to do it.”

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said: “The Aloha+ Challenge is about protecting our Hawaii and maximizing our resources to improve the quality of life for our communities. It reinforces that our decision-making as a state must focus on sustaining our resources for generations to come, and must be rooted in aloha.”

“The Aloha+ Challenge is about leading by example,” Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “Our goal is to provide a higher quality of life for our children, and to build a community for our grandchildren that they can be proud of.”

“We are a state separated by ocean, but we are connected in so many ways – by families, by businesses and by shared values and traditions,” said Mayor Bernard Carvahlo of Kauai County. “It is important for us to always remember that. When our leadership focuses on one vision, we are united.”

“We must honor our past while also preparing for our future,” said Kamanaopono Crabbe, chief executive officer for OHA. “The active participation of the community partners in this effort will also play a major role in bringing about a better, brighter future for all people of Hawaii.”

In addition to sharing tools and knowledge and expanding partnerships, Hawaii’s top elected officials have agreed to develop a joint system of tracking progress and to increase long-term financing mechanisms for conservation and sustainability programs geared towards reaching the 2030 targets.

The Aloha+ Challenge commits Hawaii to reaching six targets by 2030:

* Clean Energy: 70 percent clean energy – 40 percent from renewables and 30 percent from efficiency (reinforcing the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative)

* Local Food: At least double local food production – 20 to 30 percent of food consumed is grown locally

* Natural Resource Management: Reverse the trend of natural resource loss mauka to makai by increasing freshwater security, watershed protection, community-based marine management, invasive species control and native species restoration

* Waste Reduction: Reduce the solid waste stream prior to disposal by 70 percent through source reduction, recycling, bioconversion and landfill diversion methods

* Smart Sustainable Communities: Increase livability and resilience in the built environment through planning and implementation at state and county levels

* Green Workforce and Education: Increase local green jobs and education to implement these targets

In 2011, Gov. Abercrombie signed Act 181, which established sustainability as a priority in the Hawaii State Plan and incorporated the definition, goals and principles of sustainability from the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan into Chapter 226. More than 10,000 citizens participated in the Hawaii 2050 planning process.

Governor Signs Bill Establishing Resilience and Sustainability Partnership

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has signed Senate Bill 2742 (Act 229), a measure that formally establishes an innovative public-private partnership to be known as the Pacific-Asia Institute for Resilience and Sustainability.

The institute will provide the structure and opportunity for a new generation of leaders to address Hawaii and the Pacific-Asia region’s risks from natural and manmade hazards and develop solutions for sustainable economic growth within the region’s unique physical and cultural diversity. It will focus on three core initiatives:

1. Sustainability and the environment, including issues concerning energy, water, food security, and climate change adaptation;

2. Global leadership and capacity building, including international leadership, disaster risk reduction, and public health systems; and

3. Critical community continuity, including cyber security, information assurance, security technology business and policy, and all levels of security awareness.

“Hawaii has an important role in resilience and sustainability in the Asia-Pacific region and is at the center of serious discussions, possibilities and responsibilities,” Abercrombie said. “This revolutionary and innovative public-private partnership will help to address not only the region’s challenges, but the world’s most difficult challenges.”

Using a multi-sector integration approach, the institute may facilitate its three core initiatives by establishing:

* A fellowship program for resilience and sustainability that provides a graduate-level course study for accomplished mid- and senior-level professionals from Hawaii and the Pacific-Asia region

* An interdisciplinary executive master’s degree program to exemplify an approach that is inclusive of all of society to address the three core initiatives

* Innovative hubs to provide a platform for applied research and analysis, consensus building, and problem solving on a wide variety of issues as may be identified from time to time by the institute.

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Governor Signs Bill to Improve Hawaii’s Juvenile Justice System

Highlighting collaboration between the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed House Bill 2490 (Act 201) into law.

This measure aims to reduce Hawaii’s secure juvenile facility population by half over the next five years and directs investment in community supervision and treatment programs that will be more effective at steering troubled youth toward productive, law-abiding lives.

“This legislation is the result of extensive research, collaboration and consensus by stakeholders and policymakers across Hawaii,” Abercrombie said. “By using our resources more effectively, we will be able to reduce juvenile crime and achieve better outcomes for youth, families and communities across our islands.”

In 2013, the state spent $199,000 a year for each bed at the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF), yet 75 percent of youth released from HYCF were re-adjudicated or convicted as an adult within three years.

To improve those results, Abercrombie, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, House Speaker Joseph Souki and Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald last year launched a bipartisan, inter-branch working group that analyzed the Hawaii’s juvenile justice system and recommended the policy reforms contained in this legislation.

“The working group studied Hawaii’s data and research on proven practices,” said Rep. Mele Carroll, who served as co-chair of the working group. “With this information in hand, we designed policies that will transform our juvenile justice system. This law equips our state to protect public safety and effectively rehabilitate youth – part of a solution that our families and communities have long been seeking.”

The new law focuses HYCF beds on serious juvenile offenders – a practice shown to produce the best public safety returns and reductions in recidivism.

By diverting the placement of youth with lower-level offenses from HYCF, the policies are projected to cut the facility’s population by 60 percent over the next five years, saving an estimated $11 million in the facility’s budget.

Through this measure, the state also invested $1.26 million of the anticipated savings this year to expand proven programs, including mental health and substance abuse treatment, in Hawaii’s communities.

Just prior to Abercrombie signing this new law, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) announced a partnership with Hawaii to support the implementation of the new policies.

OJJDP will fund a technical assistance team over the next year to provide wide-ranging training, planning activities, education, assessment assistance and other tools for the state in recognition of Hawaii’s forward-thinking adoption of this new law.

The partnership is expected to commence in the fall of this year.

“This partnership will ensure smooth implementation of these new policies in Hawaii and maximize positive outcomes for the state,” said Gov. Abercrombie.

“As a family court judge, I see youth in critical need of these treatments far too often,” said working group co-chair and First Circuit Senior Family Court Judge R. Mark Browning. “HB2490 will allow us to address these needs and keep young people from slipping through the cracks.”

“A young person in the juvenile justice system almost without fail is involved with other state services,” said Department of Human Services (DHS) Deputy Director Barbara Yamashita, who also served as a co-chair of the working group. “This new law empowers state agencies to work together to best help Hawaii’s youth succeed.”

“Through this package of policies, we can focus HYCF primarily on public safety issues, while expanding treatment and rehabilitation in our communities so that more youth can have a better shot at getting their lives on track,” said David Hipp, executive director of the DHS Office of Youth Services.

The working group and the state received technical assistance from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Public Safety Performance Project and its local partners.

At the same ceremony, the governor also enacted House Bill 2116 (Act 202), a measure that eliminates sentences of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders.

Governor Signs 2 Bills on Maui

In a rare bill signing ceremony on Maui at the Matsui Building in Makawao, Gov. Neil Abercrombie last week enacted House Bill 2560 (Act 210), a measure that permits family child care homes in agriculturally designated districts if located in a farm dwelling.

“This legislation makes it easier for farm families to access child care,” Abercrombie said. “Keiki in rural areas like Upcountry Maui can now have a child care setting that provides open space and opportunities to learn about caring for animals and living off the land.”

Act 210 also changes the definition of “family child care home” to allow for care of one to six unrelated children.

In a separate bill signing ceremony at Maui Brewing Co. at Maui Research & Technology Park in Kihei, the governor enacted Senate Bill 3042 (Act 211), which removes a 30,000-barrel-per-year manufacturing cap for malt beverages for class 14 brewpub licensees.

Act 211 also increases the manufacturing limit for class 16 winery licensees to not more than 20,000 barrels of wine on the licensee’s premises during the license year.

In addition, Act 211 establishes a new class 18 liquor license class for small craft producer pubs, prohibits brewpubs from selling intoxicating liquor from class 1 manufacturer licensees for consumption on the premises, and makes conforming amendments relating to liquor license classes and federal labeling and bottling requirements.

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