comscore Hawaii Senate opens first floor session of 2022 in partly remote style | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Hawaii Senate opens first floor session of 2022 in partly remote style

Senators in Hawaii’s Legislature opened this year’s first floor session partly in remote fashion Wednesday, with 18 of 25 members attending the event in person at the State Capitol.

There also were no guests because of COVID-19 mitigation measures, and even singer Malia Kaai-Barrett delivered the national and state anthems via video during the session in the Senate chamber that was broadcast on the Senate’s YouTube channel.

Sen. President Ron Kouchi, however, said the mixed in-person and virtual attendance of all members brought invigorating energy to kick off the 2022 Legislature.

“I was disappointed that we were unable to have a gallery full this morning and have friends and family on the floor,” Kouchi said. “I was looking forward to drawing the energy from those in attendance to help inspire the remarks I’m offering today. But I am pleased to report to each and every one of you the energy that you brought to the floor today was invigorating.”

The event, typically accompanied by music, dance, food and gathering before the coronavirus pandemic took hold two years ago, lasted just under a half-hour.

Kouchi reiterated previously stated legislative priorities for the Senate to address this year, including ways to improve affordable housing, homelessness, education, the minimum wage, agriculture and mental health care.

After the session adjourned, preceded by a moment of silence held for people affected by the disastrous volcanic eruption off Tonga Friday, Kouchi suggested that major state funds could be spent reducing homelessness and producing more affordable homes instead of depositing $1 billion into the state’s rainy-day savings account as recently proposed by Gov. David Ige.

Kouchi also said he doesn’t oppose the state’s minimum wage rising to $18 over multiple years, which is a goal in the state House. But he noted that there wasn’t support last year to increase the minimum from $10.10 to $13.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up