Senate opens with unfinished businessUPDATED 7:54 PM HST Jan 15, 2014Video Transcript
outlined today focused on "unfinished business" of the last session. Following the turmoil of the recent special session on same sex marriage it tried to keep controversy to a minimum. KITV's Catherine Cruz continues with our team coverage. i Lawmakers marked the 55th anniversary of statehood honoring the work of legislators who served before them. Several dozen senators and representatives took up the invitation many moving across the senate floor much slower these days. The issues may not have changed much in five and a half decades but the tone is distinctly that of election year. - Donna Kim Tape 1 --10:55 "I am happy to say we will be revisiting the proposal to raise the minimum wage," There is growing pressure to do just that following the lead of 9 other states-- even with the pushback from small business. - TAPE 2 Sam Slom 1:25-1:35 -"When you are in business and when your base wage goes up, so does your unemployment , workers comp, your TDI and your social security. It's not just a couple dollars," Outside in the rotunda anti- GMO groups jockeyed for space although the tone was far more subdued than last year. Labeling issues are expected to resurface but lawmakers they hope they have had enough of a jump start to tackle them head on. The Senate plans to take a closer look at the delays around soalr hookups to the electrical grid while trying to find ways to keep the growing number of solar panals out of the landfil. Donna 53:00 - 53:08 "What are we going to do with all these panels in 20 years when they have to be replaced. That's an issue we have to be proactive about," Senators are exploring options to deal with the homeless- including setting aside property to use as temporary or permant shelter for the homeless. But Slom again cautioned against prolonging a culture of entitlements. - TAPE 1 Sam 21: 41 - 21;54 -"Taxpayers expenditures now exceed expenditures for government education. We must refuse to support those who chose not to work or who are financially irresponsible," And lawmakers plan to wrestle with the dilemna of the growing backlog of repairs at the Univeristy of Hawaii and the competing requests for funding for new construction with limited funds. We did poise the question of possibly giving up some of the taxing authority to the counties as proposed by the House. But Kim, who as a former councilmember, is sympathetic to the need to find other sources of revenue, said it was a pill that other senators would find hard to swallow. As for taxing pensions, senators have opposed it in the past and KIm thought it was unlikely they would change their position. And going back to that debate over marijuana dispensaries- it has a lot of you weighing-in tonight. We've asked "should Hawaii create dispensaries where patients can buy legal medical marijuana without a prescription? In the last hour nearly 300 people have cast their vote- with 64-percent saying yes and 35-percent saying no. Make your voice heard just log in to KITV dot com and answer the poll on the left side of our page.