Releases
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October 6, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Senate Committee on Education and Housing (EDH) and the House Committee on Education (EDN) informational briefing, on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 1:15 p.m., will be broadcast live on Channel 49 on Oahu and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing will be to provide an update to the Legislature on the issue of Teacher Furlough Days. The following have been invited to participate:

I. Board of Education
II. Department of Education
III. Hawaii State Teachers Association
IV. Hawaii State PTSA
V. Hawaii State Student Council

Please Note: Rebroadcasts of this event will be announced when the information becomes available.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100


October 6, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Rebroadcast Schedule


The Senate Ad Hoc Committee (AHC) informational briefing that was originally broadcast live on Wednesday, September 30, 2009, at 5:00 p.m., will be rebroadcast on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 2:28:33)

o     10/7/09 Wed  12:00 am  Channel 54 (VIEWS) [HITS feed]
o     10/9/09  Fri    12:00 pm  Channel 54 (VIEWS)

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was to gather information relating to the potential impacts on the community and the State Foundation on Culture & the Arts, arising from the significant reduction in staffing and the consequent reduction in service as the result of Governor Linda Lingle's announced implementation of Reduction in Force (RIF).

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100


October 6, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Rebroadcast Schedule


The Senate Committee on Energy and Environment (ENE) informational briefing that was originally broadcast live on Thursday, October 1, 2009, at 1:00 p.m., will be rebroadcast live on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 1:53:42)

o     10/7/09    Wed   2:28 am  Channel 54 (VIEWS) [HITS feed]
o     10/12/09   Mon  3:30 pm  Channel 53 (NATV)

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was to gather information related to the current operations of the Environmental Council, and the council's ability to perform its statutory functions pursuant to Chapter 341, Hawai'i Revised Statutes, in light of recent reductions in support provided by the Hawai'i State Department of Health.

Presentations were made by representatives from the following:

      o  The Environmental Council

      o  University of Hawai'i William S. Richardson School of Law

      o  Life of the Land

      o  Office of Environmental Quality Control

      o  Hawai'i State Department of Health

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100




October 9, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Rebroadcast Schedule


The Senate Committee on Education and Housing (EDH) and the House Committee on Education (EDN) informational briefing, which was originally broadcast live on Wednesday, October 7, 2009, at 1:15 p.m., will be rebroadcast on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 2:06:19)

o   10/13/09  Tue  12:00 am  Channel 54 (VIEWS) [HITS feed]
o   10/14/09  Wed   8:00 am  Channel 49 (FOCUS)

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was to provide an update to the Legislature on the issue of Teacher Furlough Days. The following were invited to participate:

I. Board of Education
II. Department of Education
III. Hawaii State Teachers Association
IV. Hawaii State PTSA
V. Hawaii State Student Council


Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100


October 13, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The House Committee on Human Services (HUS) and the Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS) informational briefing on Thursday, October 15, 2009, at 12:30 p.m., will be broadcast live on Oahu on Channel 49 (FOCUS) and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.  Rebroadcast times and dates will be announced when the information becomes available.

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing is review Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division, under the Department of Human Services.  The focus will be on services for the blind under the Ho'opono program.

Vocational Rehabilitation is a State-Federal partnership program that provides services to help people with physical or mental impairments to attain successful employment outcomes.

The Ho'opono Program provides services to the blind.  The program's goal is to enable visually impaired adults attain maximum vocational and functional independence with its team of skilled professionals providing varied services to meet the participant's individual needs.

Under the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act[1] it is intended to "provide blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarge the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulate the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting."

The Ho'opono program is one of the most successful programs in the country, with graduates from the program securing approximately $20 per hour in employment wages in Hawaii (according to advocates this is the highest rate in the country).  However, Ho'opono participants and advocates for the blind have suggested that four positions under the program will be abolished and eight others eliminated via reduction in force.  The abolished positions are as follows:  One rehabilitation - communication skills teacher, one counselor position, one vocational rehabilitation specialist position and one employment specialist position.  According to the advocates for the blind, the abolished positions are mostly funded with federal funds on a percentage basis.

Finally, advocates for the blind and disabled have asserted that the visually impaired in Hawaii want to contribute to their community by being employed and being tax paying citizens thus helping Hawaii's economy.  However, should these positions be eliminated, the services for the Ho'opono program will be severely affected and many believe this would lead to more visually impaired relaying on state and federal assistance rather then being gainfully employed.  A review of the significant impact as well as the adverse consequences, not only to the visually impaired, but also to the state, will be discussed.



HUS/HMS informational briefing
Page two of two


Presenters will discuss the importance of the positions in question for Ho'opono and determine if such cost reducing measures are justified.

The following organizations or individuals have been invited to participate:

o     Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division and the Ho'opono Program

o     The Blind Vendors Association

o     Organizers of the White Cane Safety Awareness Day

o     Association for the Home Rehabilitation Teachers

o     Individual participants of Ho'opono

o     Other organizations or individuals representing the visually impaired.

Please Note: Rebroadcasts of this event will be announced when the information becomes available.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (8008) 536-2100


October 16, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS), the House Committee on Human Services (HUS), the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs (PSM), and the House Committee on Public Safety (PBS) informational briefing, on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., will be broadcast live on Channel 53 on Oahu and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.

Agenda:
This is an informational briefing to discuss the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility's consent decree.  A presentation will be made by a representative from the Office of Youth Services.

Please Note: Rebroadcasts of this event will be announced when the information becomes available.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100


October 16, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The House Committee on Human Services (HUS), the House Committee on Tourism, Culture, and International Affairs (TCI), the Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS), and the Senate Committee on Transportation, International and Intergovernmental Affairs (TIA) informational briefing, on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 11:00 a.m., will be broadcast live on Channel 53 on Oahu and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing is to discuss the possible termination of State provided health benefits for persons in Hawaii under the Compact of Free Association not previously enrolled in State-funded health plans, and the elimination of many benefits to COFA residents and other individuals under a new health plan called "Basic Health Hawaii," originally to become effective September 1, 2009.  The “Basic Health Hawaii” program would have eliminated coverage for life saving dialysis or chemotherapy treatments for approximately 7,500 Pacific Islanders.  According to the State, this new plan sought to cut $15 million annually from the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services' budget.   Effective August 1, 2009, the State had also been denying COFA residents' applications for State-funded health benefits based on their alienage.

Basic Health Hawaii was announced less than a month before it was to go in effect, without public hearings.  Many of the recipients do not speak English, however the notification to terminate their life saving dialysis or chemotherapy treatments failed to provide in their language or in English that such life saving coverage would no longer be provided.

On the day the plan was to go in effect, United States District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order, preventing the State from instituting the new health plan.  In ruling against the State, U.S. Judge Seabright stated, "It appears the state made a unilateral decision to decrease benefits with little or no notice."

The ruling keeps in place the current healthcare coverage as it was prior to Sept. 1, 2009, for dialysis, chemotherapy, brand name prescription drugs and doctor visits for Pacific Islanders.  The 7,500 Pacific Islanders that would have been affected by the new plan are from nations that are parties to the Compact of Free Association, or former U.S. Trust Territories that include the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

The author of "News Zero," Beverly Ann Deepe Keever will also share her perspective on the Marshallese saga of human suffering and sacrifice, which according to her has been largely untold in the media.

The legal team representing the Pacific Islanders will discuss the impact of the Federal Court's decision to enjoin the State and explain the "Stipulation for Extension of Temporary Order" which extends the TRO until the State follows rulemaking procedures as required by State law and provides constitutionally adequate notice to benefit recipients impacted by any cuts.  The discussion will also provide possible future options.

The Department of Human Services will be asked to comment on the proposed cuts, the adverse impact on healthcare for Hawaii's vulnerable adults and families, and whether an extension will be granted to provide life saving dialysis and chemotherapy treatment coverage to Hawaii's Pacific Islanders.

The briefing will also discuss the Federal obligation to provide for adequate healthcare for all migrants under the Compact of Free Association.

The following organizations and/or individuals have been invited to participate:
     o  Members of Hawaii's Congress or their designee
     o  The President of the Federated States of Micronesia or his designee
     o  The Consulate General of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
     o  Will Swain of Pa Emman Kabjere Marshall Islands
     o  Governor Linda Lingle or her designee
     o  The Department of Human Services
     o  Lawyers for Equal Justice
     o  Beverly Ann Deepe Keever
     o  Liberty Dialysis
     o  Fresenius, Inc.
     o  Micronesians United
     o  PHOCUSED
     o  Representatives from the Community Care Health Centers
     o  Affected Dialysis and Chemotherapy patients
     o  American Cancer Society, Pacific Chapter
     o  National Kidney Foundation, Hawaii Chapter
     o  Hawaii Disability Rights Center
Other individuals or organizations that provide essential public services on behalf of the State of Hawaii who will be affected by the funding reduction in the State Department of Human Services' budget.

Please Note: Rebroadcasts of this event will be announced when the information becomes available.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100


October 22, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS) and the House Committee on Human Services (HUS) informational briefing, on Friday, October 23, 2009, at 2:00 p.m., will be broadcast live on Channel 54 on Oahu and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing is review services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind under the Department of Human Services.

The following organizations or individuals have been invited to participate:

o  Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind         Division

o  Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind

o  Hawaii Centers for Independent Living

o  Aloha State Association of the Deaf

o  American Sign Language/Interpreter Education Program, Kapiolani Community College

o  Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii

o  Other organizations or individuals representing individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

Please Note: Rebroadcasts of this event will be announced when the information becomes available.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100


October 23, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - Rebroadcast Schedule


The House Committee on Human Services (HUS) and the Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS) informational briefing which was originally broadcast live on Thursday, October 15, 2009, at 12:30 p.m., will be rebroadcast on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 2:07:20)

o   10/27/09  Tue    8:00 am  Channel 49 (FOCUS)
o   10/28/09  Wed 12:01 am  Channel 54  (VIEWS) [HITS Feed]


Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was review Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division, under the Department of Human Services.  The focus was on services for the blind under the Ho'opono program.

Vocational Rehabilitation is a State-Federal partnership program that provides services to help people with physical or mental impairments to attain successful employment outcomes.

The Ho'opono Program provides services to the blind.  The program's goal is to enable visually impaired adults attain maximum vocational and functional independence with its team of skilled professionals providing varied services to meet the participant's individual needs.

Under the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act[1] it is intended to "provide blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarge the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulate the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting."

The Ho'opono program is one of the most successful programs in the country, with graduates from the program securing approximately $20 per hour in employment wages in Hawaii (according to advocates this is the highest rate in the country).  However, Ho'opono participants and advocates for the blind have suggested that four positions under the program will be abolished and eight others eliminated via reduction in force.  The abolished positions are as follows:  One rehabilitation - communication skills teacher, one counselor position, one vocational rehabilitation specialist position and one employment specialist position.  According to the advocates for the blind, the abolished positions are mostly funded with federal funds on a percentage basis.

Finally, advocates for the blind and disabled have asserted that the visually impaired in Hawaii want to contribute to their community by being employed and being tax paying citizens thus helping Hawaii's economy.  However, should these positions be eliminated, the services for the Ho'opono program will be severely affected and many believe this would lead to more visually impaired relaying on state and federal assistance rather then being gainfully employed.  A review of the significant impact as well as the adverse consequences, not only to the visually impaired, but also to the state, was to be discussed.

Presenters discussed the importance of the positions in question for Ho'opono and determine if such cost reducing measures are justified.

The following organizations or individuals were invited to participate:

o     Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division and the Ho'opono Program

o     The Blind Vendors Association

o     Organizers of the White Cane Safety Awareness Day

o     Association for the Home Rehabilitation Teachers

o     Individual participants of Ho'opono

o     Other organizations or individuals representing the visually impaired.

Contact: Glenn Booth (808) 536-2100



October 23, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Rebroadcast Schedule


The Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS), the House Committee on Human Services (HUS), the Senate Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs (PSM), and the House Committee on Public Safety (PBS) informational briefing which was originally broadcast live on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 9:00 a.m., will be rebroadcast on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 2:22:47)
o   10/27/09  Tue     9:00 am  Channel 53 (NATV)
o   10/29/09  Thu   12:00 am  Channel 54  (VIEWS) [HITS Feed]

Agenda:
This is an informational briefing to discuss the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility's consent decree.  A presentation was made by a representative from the Office of Youth Services.

Contact: (808) 536-2100


October 23, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Rebroadcast Schedule


The House Committee on Human Services (HUS), the House Committee on Tourism, Culture, and International Affairs (TCI), the Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS), and the Senate Committee on Transportation, International and Intergovernmental Affairs (TIA) informational briefing, on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, at 11:00 a.m., will be broadcast live on Channel 53 on Oahu and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 2:31:52)
o   10/27/09  Tue  11:30 am  Channel 53 (NATV)
o   10/29/09  Thu    2:22 am  Channel 54 (VIEWS) [HITS Feed]

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was to discuss the possible termination of State provided health benefits for persons in Hawaii under the Compact of Free Association not previously enrolled in State-funded health plans, and the elimination of many benefits to COFA residents and other individuals under a new health plan called "Basic Health Hawaii," originally to become effective September 1, 2009.  The “Basic Health Hawaii” program would have eliminated coverage for life saving dialysis or chemotherapy treatments for approximately 7,500 Pacific Islanders.  According to the State, this new plan sought to cut $15 million annually from the State of Hawaii, Department of Human Services' budget.   Effective August 1, 2009, the State had also been denying COFA residents' applications for State-funded health benefits based on their alienage.

Basic Health Hawaii was announced less than a month before it was to go in effect, without public hearings.  Many of the recipients do not speak English, however the notification to terminate their life saving dialysis or chemotherapy treatments failed to provide in their language or in English that such life saving coverage would no longer be provided.

On the day the plan was to go in effect, United States District Judge J. Michael Seabright granted plaintiffs' motion for a temporary restraining order, preventing the State from instituting the new health plan.  In ruling against the State, U.S. Judge Seabright stated, "It appears the state made a unilateral decision to decrease benefits with little or no notice."

The ruling keeps in place the current healthcare coverage as it was prior to Sept. 1, 2009, for dialysis, chemotherapy, brand name prescription drugs and doctor visits for Pacific Islanders.  The 7,500 Pacific Islanders that would have been affected by the new plan are from nations that are parties to the Compact of Free Association, or former U.S. Trust Territories that include the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.

The author of "News Zero," Beverly Ann Deepe Keever also shared her perspective on the Marshallese saga of human suffering and sacrifice, which according to her has been largely untold in the media.

The legal team representing the Pacific Islanders discussed the impact of the Federal Court's decision to enjoin the State and explain the "Stipulation for Extension of Temporary Order" which extends the TRO until the State follows rulemaking procedures as required by State law and provides constitutionally adequate notice to benefit recipients impacted by any cuts.  The discussion also provided possible future options.

The Department of Human Services was asked to comment on the proposed cuts, the adverse impact on healthcare for Hawaii's vulnerable adults and families, and whether an extension will be granted to provide life saving dialysis and chemotherapy treatment coverage to Hawaii's Pacific Islanders.

The briefing also discussed the Federal obligation to provide for adequate healthcare for all migrants under the Compact of Free Association.

The following organizations and/or individuals were invited to participate:
     o  Members of Hawaii's Congress or their designee
     o  The President of the Federated States of Micronesia or his designee
     o  The Consulate General of the Republic of the Marshall Islands
     o  Will Swain of Pa Emman Kabjere Marshall Islands
     o  Governor Linda Lingle or her designee
     o  The Department of Human Services
     o  Lawyers for Equal Justice
     o  Beverly Ann Deepe Keever
     o  Liberty Dialysis
     o  Fresenius, Inc.
     o  Micronesians United
     o  PHOCUSED
     o  Representatives from the Community Care Health Centers
     o  Affected Dialysis and Chemotherapy patients
     o  American Cancer Society, Pacific Chapter
     o  National Kidney Foundation, Hawaii Chapter
     o  Hawaii Disability Rights Center
Other individuals or organizations that provide essential public services on behalf of the State of Hawaii who will be affected by the funding reduction in the State Department of Human Services' budget.

Contact: Glenn Booth (808) 536-2100


October 28, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Rebroadcast Schedule


The Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS) and the House Committee on Human Services (HUS) informational briefing which was originally broadcast live on Friday, October 23, 2009, at 2:00 p.m., will be rebroadcast on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 1:19:20)
o   11/1/09    Sun  10:30 am Channel 49 (FOCUS)
o   11/3/09    Tue  12:00 am  Channel 54 (VIEWS) [HITS feed]

Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was to review services for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind under the Department of Human Services.

The following organizations or individuals were invited to participate:

o  Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind         Division

o  Hawaii School for the Deaf and the Blind

o  Hawaii Centers for Independent Living

o  Aloha State Association of the Deaf

o  American Sign Language/Interpreter Education Program, Kapiolani Community College

o  Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii

o  Other organizations or individuals representing individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100




October 28, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Special Senate Committee To Consider Approaches To Teacher Furloughs (SCTF) informational briefing, on Friday, October 30, 2009, at 12:30 p.m., will be broadcast live on Channel 49 on Oahu and live to the Neighbor Islands via HITS.

Agenda:
The purpose of this meeting is to receive public input regarding the options available to address the issue of teacher furloughs and the loss of instructional days in our public schools.

Please Note: Rebroadcasts of this event will be announced when the information becomes available.

Contact: Glenn Booth • (808) 536-2100



October 28, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  - Rebroadcast Schedule -REVISED


The House Committee on Human Services (HUS) and the Senate Committee on Human Services (HMS) informational briefing which was originally broadcast live on Thursday, October 15, 2009, at 12:30 p.m., will be rebroadcast on the dates and at the times listed below.

Rebroadcasts (Total Running Time: 2:07:20)

o   10/30/09  Wed 12:00 am  Channel 54  (VIEWS) [HITS Feed] - NEW DATE AND TIME


Agenda:
The purpose of this informational briefing was review Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division, under the Department of Human Services.  The focus wa on services for the blind under the Ho'opono program.

Vocational Rehabilitation is a State-Federal partnership program that provides services to help people with physical or mental impairments to attain successful employment outcomes.

The Ho'opono Program provides services to the blind.  The program's goal is to enable visually impaired adults attain maximum vocational and functional independence with its team of skilled professionals providing varied services to meet the participant's individual needs.

Under the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Stand Act[1] it is intended to "provide blind persons with remunerative employment, enlarge the economic opportunities of the blind, and stimulate the blind to greater efforts in striving to make themselves self-supporting."

The Ho'opono program is one of the most successful programs in the country, with graduates from the program securing approximately $20 per hour in employment wages in Hawaii (according to advocates this is the highest rate in the country).  However, Ho'opono participants and advocates for the blind have suggested that four positions under the program will be abolished and eight others eliminated via reduction in force.  The abolished positions are as follows:  One rehabilitation - communication skills teacher, one counselor position, one vocational rehabilitation specialist position and one employment specialist position.  According to the advocates for the blind, the abolished positions are mostly funded with federal funds on a percentage basis.

Finally, advocates for the blind and disabled have asserted that the visually impaired in Hawaii want to contribute to their community by being employed and being tax paying citizens thus helping Hawaii's economy.  However, should these positions be eliminated, the services for the Ho'opono program will be severely affected and many believe this would lead to more visually impaired relaying on state and federal assistance rather then being gainfully employed.  A review of the significant impact as well as the adverse consequences, not only to the visually impaired, but also to the state, was to be discussed.

Presenters discussed the importance of the positions in question for Ho'opono and determine if such cost reducing measures are justified.

The following organizations or individuals were invited to participate:

o     Department of Human Services, Vocational Rehabilitation and Services for the Blind Division and the Ho'opono Program

o     The Blind Vendors Association

o     Organizers of the White Cane Safety Awareness Day

o     Association for the Home Rehabilitation Teachers

o     Individual participants of Ho'opono

o     Other organizations or individuals representing the visually impaired.

Contact: Glenn Booth (808) 536-2100