Interim House legislative working groups formed to address Lahaina wildfire relief
More than 2,200 structures were damaged or destroyed in the Lahaina wildfire.PC: DLNR Hawaiʻi (8.15.23)
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.
Federal Money to Lahaina has Strings Attached
On July 17, Governor Green signed an emergency proclamation on housing, to "address" Hawaiʻi’s housing crisis by exempting developers from major land use, environmental, cultural protection, government transparency, public procurement, and collective bargaining laws—with no affordability requirements to ensure that any new housing will be truly accessible to Hawaiʻi’s families and residents, or meaningful safeguards to prevent new developments from simply being marketed and sold to offshore buyers and investors.
The critical need for affordable and working class housing in Hawaiʻi is recognized and felt urgently, and many bold solutions could help to chip away at this deeply rooted, multi-faceted, and decades-long crisis. However, the application of emergency powers through the governor’s emergency proclamation is an affront to not just our environmental and cultural integrity, but to fiscal accountability, public transparency, the socioeconomic realities of life in our islands, and our very system of democratic and constitutional governance.
I invite you to join us and the growing number of community organizations and leaders who are taking a stand against this misguided proclamation that would only allow corporate developers and the wealthy to exploit our housing crisis to their own benefit, and at the expense of our our ʻāina, our cultural integrity, and our social and moral fabric. Commit to taking action to save the Hawaiʻi we know and love by signing the pledge here, ask your friends and neighbors to do the same, and stand by for more actions as this campaign continues to grow.