PAHOA, Hawaii – Puna’s State Senator Russell Ruderman (D) met with the community on Wednesday evening in Pahoa. The Senator just wrapped up a busy legislative session and the meeting was a chance for Ruderman to give his report, which included sharing his disappointment in the legislatures’ level of help in a time of need.
Pahoa is enjoying a more optimistic existence now that the June 27th lava flow is no longer an immediate threat. In January when the 2015 legislative session began, a volcano warning was in effect, and lower Puna was deeply concerned about being cut off from the rest of the Big Island once the lava cut Highway 130. Ruderman went to Honolulu with a list of lava related legislation, but not much passed.
Ruderman did have success with “perhaps the most important single bill that passed with benefit to Puna”, the Insurance Bill, SB 589. This bill requires most homeowner’s insurance policies to be renewed and new policies to be issued during emergency declarations, Ruderman explained. This will allow home sales and property values to return to normal following a period when such policies were being denied, the state senator says.
But overall, the session left the senator feeling cynical.
I want to express my great disappointment that the state didn’t really help Puna in very many material ways, getting through the crisis we went through last year. It was a giant lesson to me of we’re kind of on our own. But I thought there was a lot more that the state could do that they didn’t do.Sen. Russell Ruderman