With the anticipation to reopen our State’s economy, the recent spikes throughout the country have caused reason to pause and reflect. Throughout my week on O’ahu, the reports for increased confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been disheartening and further supported the notion that in order to get things right – we need to do it right the first time. There are no second chances to recover safely, should we reopen the State of Hawai'i prematurely. As of today, the United States has set a record for newly confirmed COVID-19 cases for the third time in three days, eclipsing the 40,000 mark for the first time. And although we have not seen such drastic spikes on the Big Island, we must stay vigilant and do our part to flatten the curve.
Although the country has reeled various results in State’s reopening - we can continue to set precedence in the fight to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 like Hawai’i’s 14-day self-quarantine mandate. Therefore, please continue to incorporate general physical precautions into your daily routine – wear a face mask or covering when in public, and maintain proper sanitization and social distancing,
Over the course of this modified Legislative Session, in lieu of concerns with Unemployment Insurance and other state programs, please continue to contact my office at (808) 585-9385 or email email@example.com.
Stay safe, connected and prepared.
Me ka ha‘aha‘a,
Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha
Senate District 3 | Kona, Kaʻū
HAWAI‘I STATE SENATE RECONVENES FOR THREE-WEEK SESSION
On Monday, June 22, the Hawai‘i State Senate honored the late Sen. Breene Harimoto before reconvening the 2020 Legislative Session
On Monday, June 22, the Hawai‘i State Senate reconvened to address a limited number of critical bills and other important budgetary measures, including the allocation of additional federal funding from the CARES Act that were put on hold when the Senate was forced to recess on March 19 due to the spread of COVID-19.
Due to the pandemic, the State Capitol building remains closed to the public. To allow public access to legislative proceedings, the Senate has been providing live streams of all Senate hearings and floor sessions in real time, on YouTube and/or ‘Ōlelo Community Media and neighbor island cable networks, with live closed captioning. To access these proceedings, please see ‘Ōlelo Community Media’s list of upcoming and archived Senate hearings.
Residents are encouraged to participate by submitting written testimony. No in-person testimony will be allowed at this time due to COVID-19. To submit testimony, please visit the Hawai‘i State Capitol website.
The Hawai‘i State Senate’s 2020 session was originally scheduled to take place from January 15 to May 7, however, the Senate was forced to recess in mid-March due to COVID-19 emergency. The Senate held a two-week reconvene on May 11 to pass time-sensitive budget bills and nominations from the Governor.
STATE TO LAUNCH COVID-19 PRE-TRAVEL TESTING PROGRAM FOR OUT-OF-STATE TRAVELRS AUGUST 1
On Wednesday, June 4, Governor David Ige announced that, beginning August 1, all travelers arriving in Hawaii from out-of-state will be required to get a valid COVID-19 test prior to their arrival, and to show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine. Out-of-state travelers arriving in Hawaii must get a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test from a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) laboratory prior to arrival from any testing location approved by the Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH). Travelers will be required to provide printed or emailed pre-test certification as evidence of a negative test result. Travelers will be responsible for the cost of the pre-travel test.
Evidence of a negative test result must be provided upon arrival in Hawai‘i. Without this, passengers arriving from out-of-state will be subject to the 14-day quarantine. Please note—no testing will be provided upon arrival at the airport. The current precautionary measures – travel declaration forms, temperature checks, mandatory masks and increased sanitization by airport staff – will continue.
HAWAIʻI TOURISM AUTHORITY (HTA)
Yesterday, 1,722 people arrived in Hawai‘i. This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of State yesterday and does not include interisland travel. This data was collected by in the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Mandatory Travel Declaration Form.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS (DLIR)
On Thursday, June 25, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) reported that it has paid out $1,727,662,401 in unemployment insurance (U.I.) claims since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on March 1. According to DLIR Deputy Director Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, “93-percent of the valid unemployment insurance claims that have come in since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have been processed and paid out by the DLIR. We still have 11,405 clean claims ready for payment of benefits by filing weekly claim certifications.” DLIR has worked to hone and refine U.I. data to more strategically target those with pending claims as well as to evolve processing operations, including at the Hawai‘i Convention Center and Hawai'i State Library. DLIR reports that one of its biggest challenges in contacting employers and claimants is unanswered phone calls. Please note that both (808) 762-5751 and (808) 762-5752 are DLIR phone numbers.
As of June 24, DLIR has blocked $76,644,808 in possible fraudulent PUA payments and detected a potential $15,829,889 paid out in benefits. Investigations are ongoing and will confirm the exact total of erroneously paid benefits. Since June 4, 5,989 victims have reported identity theft after receiving a letter about eligibility for PUA benefits.
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES (DHS)
On Tuesday, June 26, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Hawai‘i Child Nutrition Programs under the Hawai‘i Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today that families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals will receive temporary cash assistance for food, due to the impact of school closures during the COVID-19 public health crisis under the newly-established Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program. This temporary assistance program will provide Hawaii P-EBT Pandemic School Meals Replacement Benefits to more than 93,000 students receiving free or reduced-price school meals in Hawaii, including almost 48,000 students already receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Eligible SNAP households will have their March, April, and May P-EBT benefits automatically deposited to their existing Kokua EBT card. Students who receive free or reduced-price school meals but do not receive SNAP benefits will automatically receive a Hawaii P-EBT card in the mail. The Hawaii P-EBT card will be issued under the name of the oldest student in the household. Benefits for all eligible school-aged children in the home will be loaded onto this one Hawaii EBT card. Eligible families can receive up to $360 in benefits per child. Please note, the P-EBT payment is a one-time supplement.
Purchase and distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) to hospitals, childcare facilities, elderly care facilities, businesses, non-profits, and schools;
Improve airport screening and health assurance security initiatives;
Support retraining and workforce development programs;
Provide grants to support the development of a supply chain for cleaning supplies and PPE;
Provide food assistance to families in need;
Support the commercial fishing industry;
Support public high school seniors who were adversely affected by school closures;
Provide additional weekly unemployment benefits to eligible recipients; and
Other eligible programs as determined by the Governor.
This measure also provides Governor Ige the option of using funds available in the Hawai‘i hurricane relief fund.
SB785 SD1 HD1 CD1 – RELATING TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
Appropriates monies to meet collective bargaining requirements under emergency medical services contracted for collective bargaining units, including the cost of salary adjustments negotiated between the State and the bargaining unit representative, for fiscal biennium 2019-2021.
The Senate Committee(s) on Water and Land (WTL) and Housing (HOU) met at the State Capitol on Tuesday, June 23 with HOU Chair Sen. Stanley Chang participating remotely.
MAYOR HARRY KIM ISSUES EMERGENCY RULE NO. 9
On Thursday, June 25, Mayor Harry Kim signed Emergency Rule No. 9, allowing bars, public swimming pools and campsites in Hawai‘i County to reopen, along with the resumption of organized outdoor team sports. Beginning today, June 26, Hawai‘i Island bars can reopen under most of the same guidelines as restaurants, however, groups will be limited to 10 people and must remain 6 feet away from other groups with no intermingling. Swimming pools will be permitted to reopen on or after July 13, with modified operating hours. Campsites will also be permitted to reopen on July 13; however, campers will be responsible to sanitize common areas (showers, picnic tables, water faucets, etc.) and set up at least 20 feet away from other groups. Organized outdoor team sports will resume in phases, beginning today, June 26.
Please remember as you venture into public to wear your face mask, practice general physical precautions such as social distancing, proper sanitization of common areas and frequently used surfaces, and consider supporting local businesses.
FOOD RESOURCES FOR SENATE DISTRICT 3
During this state of emergency, in Senate District 3, many organizations have stepped up to provide assistance to those experiencing hunger. For the next week, locations to pick-up food for your ‘ohana can be found here:
Saturday, June 27
Rotary Club of Kona at Kahakai Elementary and Kealakehe Intermediate School(s) from 11am-11:30am.
Salvation Army Kona Corps. At 75-224 Kalani Street, Kailua-Kona beginning at 6pm.
Tuesday, June 30
The Food Basket Ohana Drops at Ka‘ū District Gym from 10am-12pm.
Thursday, July 2
La‘i‘opua 2020 at 74-5210 Keanalehu Drive, Kailua-Kona, beginning at 5pm.
Salvation Army Kona Corps. At 75-224 Kalani Street, Kailua-Kona beginning at 6pm.