The starting gun has been fired; the race is on; thousands of big ideas are now competing for attention and support; the 2018 Legislative Session has begun. The excitement and comradery of Opening Day will soon fade as, inevitably, controversial measures surface. Every year seems to bring one or two hot button issues. Two weeks into the session, a better picture of which bills are moving will come into view. With this in mind, Representatives Quinlan and Matsumoto and I invite you to a Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, January 31st, 6:30 pm, at Waialua Elementary School. Rep. Quinlan and I will host another Town Hall at Hauula Elementary School on Thursday, February 1st, at 6:30 pm. Scott Morishige, the state coordinator of homeless outreach, will provide an update on existing and pending initiatives, will be available to hear community concerns and suggestions, and answer questions. Mr. Morishige has one of the toughest jobs in the state and we appreciate his willingness to join us at these meetings.

Reps Matsumoto and Quinlan and I will each provide a report on our legislative priorities and initiatives, and we will provide insight into other measures that are moving.

Some of contentious issues likely coming back from last year are tax policy for vacation rentals, assisted suicide, and increased vehicle fees. A new controversy may be just around the corner. The greatest benefit of the Town Hall Meetings is the opportunity for us legislators to hear from the community about various district issues. Please join us to share your thoughts on our priorities, pending statewide legislation, and issues within our district. If you cannot attend, please feel free to reach out to us with a phone call or email.

On another note, people continue to ask about the status of all the junk on the agricultural land at the top of Kaukonahua Road. The owner continues to remove the old vehicles and assorted junk that were placed by his previous tenant, but he still has a way to go. The owner’s attorney tells me the former tenant continues to harass people working to remove the junk with legal and physical threats. According to the attorney, some work was conducted during the night to avoid the belligerent actions of the former tenant. They are trying to locate this man to serve legal paperwork.

Finally, there might be some action taking place within the DOT regarding Laniakea. I will give an update on this vexing issue at the Town Hall. I hope you can join us then. My phone number is 586-7330. My email address is SenRiviere@capitol.hawaii.gov. Follow us on FaceBook or online at SenatorRiviere.com. Please visit us in Room 217 at the Capitol; or let’s talk closer to home, maybe the next time we pass in the street. Mahalo.