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Updates from Sen. Hirono (Nov. 17-20)

MEDIA RELEASE

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, the only immigrant serving in U.S. Senate, released the following statement on President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration enforcement.

“This is a big step toward bringing millions out of the shadows to help strengthen our economy and our national security. Every single President since Dwight Eisenhower, Democrats and Republicans alike, has exercised executive action on immigration. President Obama is no different in this move. Last year the Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill that I was honored to help shape. I will continue to fight for reforms that allow families to stay together, and urge Congress to take action to fix our broken immigration system.”

HIRONO ONCE AGAIN VOTES TO BLOCK KEYSTONE PIPELINE

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono released the following statement after voting against the expedited construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. The Senate defeated the bill by a vote of 59 to 41, with 60 votes needed for passage.

“The fact remains that we as a country should refocus our efforts on developing truly clean and renewable energy that will create jobs and long term economic stability for small businesses and our economy. Climate change and further dependence on fuels that produce greenhouse gases threatens our islands’ economy, our national security and our very way of life. Fast tracking the Keystone Pipeline would only further our country’s addiction to fossil fuels instead of developing a long term strategy to address sustainable energy practices.”

HIRONO COMMENDS PASSAGE OF CHILD CARE BILL WITH MEASURES FOR NATIVE HAWAIIAN CHILDREN

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono voted in favor of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. The Senate passed the bill by a bipartisan vote of 88-1. The bill updates the 1990 CCDBG program, which provides federal funding to states to help parents afford child care while working or in job training programs. The measure now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

“For some parents, not having access to quality child care means they can’t work to support their family. This legislation allows families to balance the need to work with being able to ensure the health, safety, and development of their keiki,” said Hirono. “Each month more than 9,000 Hawaii families rely on federally-supported child care services that allow them to work or to acquire new job skills. Strengthening and renewing the CCDBG program is an important way to keep our families safe and strong, and I’m proud to vote in favor of this bill.”

In December 2013, Hirono partnered with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to send a letter to Senate committee leaders urging them to ensure Native Hawaiian children continue to be served. With the support of Native Hawaiian and national Indian organizations, updated language proposed by Hirono is included in the final legislation. In addition, an amendment by Sens. Al Franken (D-MN), Hirono and Murkowski increases funding for current Native Hawaiian and mainland tribal child care programs.

For its part, The Native Hawaiian Education Council submitted a letter of support for Hirono’s changes to the bill. Native Hawaiian child care programs include Alu Like, Pauahi Keiki Scholars, and Keiki o Ka Aina.

Overall, the CCDBG Act of 2014 makes several improvements to the current child care law, including:

· Comprehensive background checks. Requires comprehensive background checks for all child care providers receiving federal funds, including state criminal and sex-offender registries and state-based abuse and neglect registries. Also adds inspection requirements for license-exempt child care providers.

· Better training for providers. Helps provide increased professional development, including child care college coursework or credentials. Also requires training for providers on business practices, First Aid and CPR, prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), child abuse prevention, and culturally appropriate ways to serve Native Hawaiian children.

· Helps parents choose quality providers. Shares information on quality child care options and how families can access key resources; posts the results of health and safety inspections online.

Parents and military families can search for child care options at PATCH Hawaii: www.patchhawaii.org

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