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Hawaiʻi House majority outlines top priorities for 2024 legislative session : Maui Now


In advance of the start of the Hawaiʻi State Legislature on Jan. 17, the House Majority Caucus has outlined its top priorities for the upcoming session.

“As we embark on the second year of the 32nd Legislature, the House Majority Caucus will continue to address key community issues, including affordable housing and homelessness, renewable energy, mental health needs in our community, and the shortage of healthcare workers across our state,” said House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura (D-15) in a press release.

“Additionally, we remain committed to addressing the impacts of the Maui wildfires, and helping all of Hawaiʻi’s residents thrive.”

The House Majority Caucus, comprised of 45 House Democrats, established the legislative priorities they will champion this upcoming session:

Wildfire Prevention

Hawaiʻi is facing a growing wildfire crisis. Significant transitions in large-scale land use, combined with the impacts of climate change, have dramatically increased the size and intensity of wildfires across the state, raising risks for vulnerable communities.

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The House Majority remains committed to identifying the causes of wildfires, implementing preventative action to reduce the risk of wildfires throughout the state, and preparing recommendations for appropriate legislative action.

Review the Final Report of the House of Representatives Lahaina Wildfire Interim Working Groups here.

Red Hill and Clean Drinking Water

The House Majority stands in solidarity with State, City, and regulatory agencies in calling for aquifer remediation and an integrated approach to resolving the water crisis. Immediate action needs to happen to ensure clean water now and in the future for Hawaiʻi’s residents.

Review the Red Hill Water Alliance Initiative Report here.

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Affordable Housing

The House Majority continues its work in the Act 279 Working Group to provide oversight of the $600 million appropriated by the Legislature to deliver housing to native Hawaiians on the waitlist.

As we make investments in native Hawaiian housing, we aim to ensure the funds appropriated are maximized to assist the greatest number of beneficiaries. Additionally, the House Majority will continue to support funding to build more affordable rental and for-sale housing for low and moderate-income families in Hawaiʻi.

Renewable Energy

The House Majority supports the State’s commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy, leading by example for the rest of the country. As Hawaiʻi progresses toward achieving its renewable energy and decarbonization goals, the House Majority recognizes that energy efficiency reduces emissions associated with electricity generation and consumption, while providing financial benefits for customers.

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Healthcare Delivery

Hawaiʻi’s kūpuna population is on the rise, and more than ever, an increased workforce in the healthcare sector is needed to support this growing population. Recognizing this demand, the House Majority recognizes the importance of healthcare workforce development programs and expansion of programs aimed at bolstering the healthcare industry, which will encourage the delivery of quality care for our residents.

Mental Health Services

The House Majority sees the growing need for mental health services and will continue to support efforts to improve and expedite treatment for those experiencing severe mental health crises, improve crisis response services, address critical mental health workforce needs, and increase access to services across the state.

Recruitment and Retention of Public Workers

Since the onset of the pandemic, vacancies throughout state agencies have persistently risen, resulting in numerous unfilled positions across the state. Furthermore, a recent report indicates that 30% of current state civil service employees will become eligible for retirement within the next five years.

The House Majority is committed to addressing these vacancies, examining strategies for retaining public workers amidst retirements, and exploring recruitment approaches to attract high-quality individuals to pursue careers in public service within the State of Hawaiʻi.

For more information on the House Majority, visit www.hawaiihousedemocrats.com.

Source: Maui News

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