House Speaker Scott K. Saiki, Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura, and Minority Leader Lauren Matsumoto announced the establishment of six interim House working groups tasked with the crucial responsibility of evaluating specific topics related to the Lahaina wildfire and making recommendations for appropriate legislative action in the 2024 Legislative Session.
Working groups will focus on: environmental remediation; food, water and other supplies; jobs and businesses; schools; shelter; and wildfire prevention.
“While we remain in mourning for the tragedy endured by Maui, the House will take action prior to the legislative session to focus on immediate issues that require temporary or transitional relief,” said Speaker Scott K. Saiki. “Members of the interim working groups will collaborate with subject experts and various agencies, engage in extensive discussions relating to the Lahaina wildfire, and formulate recommendations for the upcoming session, which begins Jan. 17, 2024.
During the interim, members of the bipartisan working groups are called to collaborate with federal, state, and county agencies, along with community stakeholders and interested parties. Each group is tasked with the responsibility of producing a preliminary report by Nov. 1 and delivering a final report by Dec. 15. These reports will detail ongoing actions and recommendations for potential legislation relating to the Lahaina wildfire.
“We recognize that concerns such as wildfire prevention, shelter, schools, jobs and businesses, environmental remediation, and food, water, and supplies remain top-of-mind for Maui residents,” said House Majority Leader Nadine K. Nakamura. “We look forward to productive discussions and establishing a framework that reflects the Legislature’s unwavering commitment to supporting Maui.”
“First and foremost the Legislature needs to do everything in its power to provide relief to the victims in Lahaina and their families. These committees will help to shape legislation for the upcoming session to help those in Maui,” said House Minority Leader Lauren Matsumoto. “This tragic event will affect the entire State for years to come. The House Republicans are ready to work together with the community of Lahaina and our legislative colleagues to find a collaborative path forward.”
The attached memo outlines all interim working group assignments. All working groups will conclude their activities by Jan. 17, 2024.
The working groups are as follows:
- Co-Chairs: Nicole E. Lowen and Elle Cochran
- Members: Bertrand Kobayashi, Scott Y. Nishimoto, Amy A. Perruso, Mahina Poepoe, Kanani Souza and Gregg Takayama
- Purpose: To evaluate the cleanup of ground and ocean contamination, including the timeframe and techniques utilized, and to prepare recommendations for appropriate legislative action.
Food, Water and Other Supplies
- Co-Chairs: Gregor Ilagan and Terez Amato
- Members: Diamond Garcia, Cedric Asuega Gates, Rose Martinez, Richard H.K. Onishi, Adrian K. Tam and Jackson D. Sayama
- Purpose: To evaluate the availability and distribution of food and other necessary supplies for displaced individuals and families, and to prepare recommendations for appropriate legislative action.
Jobs and Business
- Co-Chairs: Daniel Holt and Andrew Takuya Garrett
- Members: Terez Amato, Jeanne Kapela, Trish La Chica, Rachele F. Lamosao, Scot Z. Matayoshi, Dee Morikawa, Nadine K. Nakamura, Mark M. Nakashima, Sean Quinlan and Gene Ward
- Purpose: To evaluate the Maui unemployment rate and the approaches to restart business activity as well as the impacts to tourism statewide, and to prepare recommendations for appropriate legislative action.
- Co-Chairs: Justin H. Woodson and Jenna Takenouchi
- Members: Mark .J Hashem, Jeanne Kapela, Sam Satoru Kong, Trish La Chica, Lisa Marten, John M. Mizuno and Elijah Pierick
- Purpose: To evaluate the strategies utilized to accommodate displaced students and staff to return to school, and to prepare recommendations for appropriate legislative action.
- Co-Chairs: Troy N. Hashimoto and Luke A. Evslin
- Members: Micah P.K. Aiu, David Alcos III, Della Au Belatti, Cory M. Chun, Sonny Ganaden, Kirstin Kahaloa, Lisa Kitagawa, Jenna Takenouchi, Adrian K. Tam and Kyle T. Yamashita
- Purpose: To evaluate the availability and creation of temporary and transitional shelters for displaced individuals and families, and to prepare recommendations for appropriate legislative action.
- Co-Chairs: Linda Ichiyama and Darius K. Kila
- Members: Terez Amato, Cory M. Chun, Sonny Ganaden, Cedric Asuega Gates, Natalia Hussey-Burdick, Kirstin Kahaloa, Lisa Marten. Rose Martinez, Lauren Matsumoto, Amy A. Perruso, Mahina Poepoe, Jackson D. Sayama, David A. Tarnas and Chris Todd
- Purpose: To identify the causes of wildfires and preventative action that may be taken to reduce the risk of wildfires throughout the state, and prepare recommendations for appropriate legislative action.