Sen. Karl Rhoads and Rep. John M. Mizuno, co-conveners of the Legislature’s Keiki Caucus, presented an aggressive 2019 Legislative Package of bills at the State Capitol today, relying on the support and input from dozens of organizations, individuals, and keiki themselves.
“The future of our entire state depends on our keiki,” said Rep. Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, portion of Lower Kalihi). “This is our most promising, robust package of bills in the 25 years of the caucus.”
Sen. Rhoads (Dowsett Highlands, Pu‘unui, Nu‘uanu, Pacific Heights, Pauoa, Punchbowl, Palama, Liliha, Iwilei, Chinatown and Downtown) said the support and advice from Hawaiʻi’s many children’s advocacy groups is what makes this year’s package so important.
“We depend on these groups and individuals that work with children to know the issues and what laws needs to be written,” Sen. Rhoads said. “With this package of bills, we hope not only to protect and support our keiki but also get them involved in the legislative process.”
The Keiki Caucus has introduced 19 House and Senate bills and five resolutions in its package.
The bills range from banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, to preventing bullying in schools, to creating and funding a pilot project for safe places for youth. Other bills deal with tax credits for households and dependent care services, creating child care centers, and developing mental health services including autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder training in schools.
Deborah Zysman, executive director of the Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network, said keiki really need to be the top priority for lawmakers.
“We have all worked to find the top priorities for our children,” Zysman said. “It is time to put these strong laws in place.”
Established in 1994, the Keiki Caucus is a bipartisan group of House and Senate members joined by more than 100 community advocates including non-profits, educators, businesses, and parent groups to develop proposals and initiatives to benefit Hawai‘i’s youth.
Representative John M. Mizuno (front row, red shirt) and Senator Karl Rhoads (back row, with lei) and Keiki Caucus supporters at the State Capitol today. Photo by House of Representatives Majority.
By Big Island Now
January 26, 2019, 2:26 PM HST (Updated January 26, 2019, 2:26 PM)