(BIVN) – A town hall event will be held in Pāhoa on Saturday, in order for officials to share a 2019 Lava Disaster Recovery Update, as a mandatory 5-day recess of the legislative session gets underway.
“Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura is hosting a lava disaster recovery panel discussion on Saturday, Feb. 23 (from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.) at the Pāhoa Community Center,” a House media release states. “Topics will include point-in-time updates, number of people helped and how they were helped, what non-profits have done, what the county has done, how many residents are still house-less, what is needed for full recovery, along with local business and state updates.”
“In addition to updates on Kilauea lava recovery efforts, we will also be presenting certificates honoring Ikaika Marzo, Pu’uhonua o Puna, and other organizations that gave so much to help the Puna Community in our time of need,” the media release stated.
Other speakers will include Dennis “Fresh” Onishi (Governor’s Representative), Paul Normann (Neighborhood Place of Puna), Ashley Kierkiewicz (Hawaii County Councilmember), Brandee Menino (Hope Services), and Sharon Hirota (Office of the Mayor).
On Thursday, the House Finance Committee passed HB 1180 (House Draft 1), the big legislative ask relating to natural disasters. According to the House, the bill:
Appropriates $60 million for disaster relief, recovery, mitigation, and remediation activities for the County of Hawaii. The Kilauea eruption covered nearly 14 square miles in Puna; it destroyed 716 homes and made over three thousand parcels inaccessible, and destroyed a school, farms, cultural sites, roadways, water systems, recreational destinations, and a large portion of the electrical grid. The state has already allocated $22 million for recovery efforts bringing the total funding to $82 million. The governor, the legislature, and the Hawaii County Council all support this bill. The bill requires reporting of monthly expenditures to the Department of Budget and Finance.
On Tuesday (Feb. 26) at the Waimea School Cafeteria, State Rep. David Tarnas will host House Speaker Saiki and House Leadership for a “Lawmakers Listen” community meeting from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
There will be an “open discussion about the 2019 Legislative session, relief funding for victims of the 2018 lava flow, and public policy,” organizers say.
“Lawmakers Listen” is an ongoing series of community town halls across the state with district representatives, members of the House leadership, and committee chairpersons. The purpose of the meetings is for legislators to hear the concerns of area residents and to discuss solutions, a media release states.