A lot happening on the legislative front:
As we close out the week let me start by apprising you of a few key legislative updates.
Yesterday at Honolulu Hale the City Council’s Public Health, Safety & Economic Development Committee heard Bill 6 (2018) which aims to amend Section 29-16.6, revised Ordinances of Honolulu, to exclude the public nuisance exception of having objects such as rolling kiosks on the sidewalks in the Waikiki Special District. The bill, introduced by Waikiki Councilmember Trevor Ozawa, passed through the committee with all present councilmembers voting in support of the measure. There were many stakeholders from our Visitor Public Safety Conference that attended this hearing submitting testimony of support, and I would like to especially thank those from our membership who heeded the call and came in person to share their own experiences and accounts in dealing with illegal kiosks.
In the legislature one of our key bills, SB2963 which addressed the issue of transient vacation rentals, appeared to be stalled. However, thanks to the support from Senate Tourism Chair Wakai, we were able to revive language from this measure in House Bill 2605 that went through his joint committee hearing with Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. The proposed Senate Draft, which included language addressing transparency, accountability, tax collection, and county enforcement, garnered a lot of support from the visitor industry, government bodies, business organizations, and the general public and passed through both committees with all members voting “aye”. As the bill moves through the final steps of the legislature it will eventually cross back to the House where we will need the support from all stakeholders in advocating for its passage.
Lastly, let me update you on our priority issue of Homelessness. On Monday, the Senate Committees on Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology held a joint hearing with the Committee on Human Services to deliberate and discuss House Bill 2012 HD2. As a refresher, this measure would allocate up to $2 million from the general coffers of the TAT to the Hawaii Tourism Authority to implement initiatives, in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas. The funds from this measure would only be available as matching monies to private sector contributions which lends a prime opportunity for us to match donations from our Visitor Industry Charity Walk, across the state, to homelessness projects. The measure was passed out of the joint committee hearing with all members in attendance voting in support. The measure now heads to the Committee on Ways and Means before going to third reading.
The issue of homelessness has single-handedly been one of the most pertinent issues at the forefront of our association, our state’s administration, and the legislature this year. Alongside our advocacy efforts for measures dealing with homelessness, we have also been engaged with the homelessness summits that Health & Human Services Chair, Representative John Mizuno, has been hosting. This morning, I was invited to speak to the House and Senate Committees on Health & Human Services, and the Committees on Housing. I focused the discussion on reiterating our industry’s support of non-profits, with proven track records, that are dealing with the gamut of homelessness services and speaking to the success of the privately funded repatriation programs across the state. The Committees were all very receptive of our initiatives and have explicitly vocalized heavy support for programs dealing with repatriation.
HLTA Kaua‘i’s 21st Annual Malama Awards:
Each year, the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association hosts the statewide Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards which honors individuals who have contributed to the visitor industry through their exceptional service, professionalism, and aloha spirit. Similar to the Na Po’e Pa’ahana Awards, the HLTA Kaua‘i Chapter hosts their very own Malama Awards which recognizes their Kaua‘i members and the exceptional employees who make Kaua‘i a top-tier global destination. Yesterday marked their 21st annual event which was held at the beautiful Koloa Landing Resort in Poipu. I would like to extend my congratulations to all the individuals who were recognized last night - it is largely because of your hard work and spirit of Aloha that truly makes Hawai’i no ka oi.
I would also like to recognize Denise Wardlow, GM of the Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, and Kauai Chapter Chair Jim Braman, GM of the Cliffs at Princeville, for all their efforts in making this year’s Malama Awards a success.
Finally, let me remind you of our Emergency Management Workshop on missile alerts which we will be hosting alongside the Hawai‘i Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association on Thursday, March 29th at the Ohana Waikiki EAST Hotel. The workshop will feature keynote speakers Jerry Dolak of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts/HHVISA, and Mel Kaku, Director of Emergency Management for the City & County of Honolulu, as they cover preparedness plans that the hotel industry and general public should be aware of.
If you are interested in attending please sign up at the following link, here.
Seats are limited and are based on a first come first served basis.
Happy Prince Kuhio Day!
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