The good news for Waimanalo is that two major Capital Improvement Projects are included in the Budget. The first for $2,035,000 for the Waimanalo Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvements for Fiscal Year 1995-96 and the second for Drainage Improvements to the Waimanalo Irrigation System, $350,000 for 1995-96, and $500,000 for 1996-97. The funding was made possible by the joint efforts of Representative Anderson and myself. The good news for Homeowners is the passage of two bills that will help relieve the burden of Hurricane Insurance. One bill will result in a reduction of premiums and the other will allow the payment of premium in quarterly installments. I know that this insurance has been a financial hardship of many of those who must carry it and I believe that these bills will afford some measure of relief.
Speaking of insurance premiums, I know that we are all aware of the high cost of automobile insurance and the bill that was passed is an attempt to significantly reduce these high premiums. It is not a perfect piece of legislation and it is quite possible that the Governor will veto it. If he does, I would hope that it will be viewed as a friendly veto and that the Legislature in Special Session (which it now appears we will have) can amend it based on the objection in his Veto Message and some of the concerns voiced by some members of the public. I do not think we should ask the people to wait another year for a reduction in premiums. The largest insurer in the State, State Farm Insurance, has publicly said that under this bill they are willing to roll back automobile premiums.
All of us on the Windward side should applaud the large appropriation to the Windward Community College. This campus affords all of us the opportunity for education at a very modest cost. This is particularly important for our high school graduates because it gives them an opportunity to attend a fine school for a very reasonable tuition. A bigger and better WCC is a great asset to our community.
Representative Eve Anderson
What goals were I able to accomplish this session? On the Community level being accessible to the public is a goal I've accomplished. I've been holding monthly meetings in Waimanalo and Kailua to meet with the community. There I can answer questions, or hear suggestions. It's a way to keep the public informed and to keep me in touch with the public opinion. In the legislative session I served in committees where discussion is encouraged, and I've had an opportunity to support bills I have felt were worthy.
What challenges did I face? Learning the legislative process, understanding the issues and seeing how certain bills "benefit" our community were all important challenges to face. Staying current on the many issues we had to vote on is difficult as often a bill started out in one direction and then veered off into another direction. A lot of bills pass through committees I am not on, so it's important to keep up on the current version.
What gave me the most satisfaction this session? Being able to follow through on community concerns to a point of resolution. Finishing the session with a smile.
What bills benefit the Windward side? In the area of Capital Improvements Projects: Windward Community College will receive $22 million to upgrade their facilities. Kailua High School will be able to build gymnasium bleachers. Moneys have been set aside to bring Waimanalo Homes up to current codes and standards. Improvements to the Waimanalo irrigation system will be possible.
What issue need to be resolved but remain a problem? One of the biggest issues remains the openness of government, or rather lack of openness in government. All committee hearings must be held using microphones, so that everyone in the room can hear what is being discussed. Discussion must be supported in conference committees.
How can community members can show their support for bills and resolutions next session. We receive phone calls and letters supporting or opposing legislation. The ones that I found to be most useful are the ones with facts, figures, reasons, personal experiences. A bill goes through many changes over the course of a session, and it may be a very different bill after amendments are added to it. Therefore, it is great to have the reasons people support or oppose a bill so that their input can be weighed in the decision making process.
How can the general public stay up on issues? `Olelo is a great resource. They tape the hearings and sessions and broadcast at various times on Channel 24. The newspapers report on the major issues, but smaller issues fall through the cracks. The Public Access room at the Capitol is open to the public; there people can use computers to find information on bill subjects, or specific bills. Also the libraries have computer terminals that access the Public Access system. Call our office if you have a question and we can steer you in the right direction.
Goals for next session: To continue to learn the facts about issues that concern our community and to share the information with our members.