False Missile Alert Highlights Opening Day

Jan 19, 2018

(L-R) Senate President Ron Kouchi; Vice President Michelle Kidani and Majority Leader J. Kalani English
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

The Hawai’i Legislature officially started its 29th session today. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.  

The State Legislature convened on opening day. Senate President Ron Kouchi said lawmakers will be focusing on Saturday’s false missile alert.

“On Friday morning there will be a joint hearing by the House and the Senate at 10am in the Capitol Auditorium. We will continue to work with the administration to find out what we need to do for best practices.”

House Speaker Scott Saiki also mentioned the false alarm and said lawmakers will provide oversight. 

“If the legislature had known that there were potential breakdowns in these areas, I’m pretty sure that we would have stepped in to make corrections. At this point, I’m pretty confident in saying that we will make a better effort at knowing what the protocols are.”

Governor David Ige talks to media following Opening Day speeches
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

But, emergency management is an executive branch responsibility and Governor David Ige says action has already been taken.

“I just want to be clear.  We have already implemented changes that will prevent what occurred on Saturday from happening in the future.  We now have implemented a process that would allow us to respond immediately.  One of the lessons learned is that we all need to understand better what the appropriate response should be.”

The governor and legislators recognize homelessness and housing are the obvious issues that taxpayers want resolved. Senate President Kouchi and House Speaker Saiki are ready to take them on.

“We will always be part of the solution and we are committed to work in that direction. It’s just been incredibly difficult to find a way to make it work because there are so many different reasons about why someone is homeless.”

(L-R) House Finance Committee chair Sylvia Luke, Speaker Scott Saiki, Majority Leader Della Au Belatti, Vice Speaker Mark Nakashima and Majority Floor Leader Dee Morikawa
Credit Wayne Yoshioka

“The reality is that in this day and age, everything cannot be a priority.  And I think that may have happened in the past but that’s no longer the case.  But resources are finite but we are prepared to make some hard decisions and draw some lines this year.”

The Governor delivers his State of the State address to the Joint House and Senate Assembly, Monday.