East Hawaii News

Kupuna Caucus Unveils 2016 Legislative Package

February 6, 2016, 10:02 AM HST
* Updated February 5, 8:59 PM
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Kupuna Caucus 2016 Legislative Package news conference at the State Capitol. Courtesy of Senate Communications.

Kupuna Caucus 2016 Legislative Package news conference at the State Capitol. Courtesy of Senate Communications.

On Friday, the Hawai’i State Legislature’s Kupuna Caucus unveiled its package of bills being introduced in the 2016 Legislative Session.

Bills included in the package address a variety of issues that impact seniors’ health and safety. Among the package’s items are funding for kupuna care and aging and disability resource centers across the state.

In addition, measures to provide caregiver training and financing, along with long term care services with a half percent General Excise Tax increase, is also included in the package.

“Our population is aging. Right now more than a third is 50 years old or older. We need to ensure there are enough facilities to assist our kupuna so they can enjoy their golden years as best they can,” said Senator Suzanne Chun Oakland.

“Our seniors are the treasures of our community,” said Senator Les Ihara Jr. “Establishing the proper resources and services they need to live healthy, prosperous lives is what we intend to accomplish with these bills.”

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“We need to increase the amount of services we provide to seniors because more and more seniors are living longer, living more healthfully, and living independently,” said Kūpuna Caucus co-convener, Representative Gregg Takayama. “The resources we provide them as a state will enable them to continue to live independently for as long as possible.”

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The Kupuna Caucus is in its 11th year and is comprised of a bi-partisan group of 18 House and Senate state legislators.

Members of the Kupuna Caucus include a broad array of community organizations, government departments, and individuals concerned about the well-being of the elderly in our community.

SB2064 and its companion bill, HB1881, would appropriate funding to restore staff and long-term care services at Leahi and Maluhia hospitals within the Hawai‘i health systems corporation.

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Other bills included in the 2016 Kūpuna Caucus Package include:

SB2085/HB1878: Relating to Aging

  • Part I: Appropriates $5,100,000 for the Kūpuna Care program.
  • Part II: Appropriates $1,710,000 for the aging and disability resource center.
  • Part III: Appropriates $32,000 for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly.
  • Part IV: Appropriates $485,880 for the healthy aging partnership program.
  • Part V: Appropriates $70,000 for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator position and appropriates $200,000 for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness program.

SB2072: Making an Appropriation for the Kupuna Care Program

  • Makes an appropriation for the Kūpuna Care program to provide a safety net for all kūpuna and their caregivers.

SB2071: Making an Appropriation for the Aging and Disability Resource Center

  • Makes an appropriation for the aging and disability resource center.

SB2074: Making an Appropriation for Fall Prevention and Early Detection Services for the Elderly

  • Makes an appropriation for fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly.

SB2073/HB1884: Making an Appropriation for the Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman

  • Appropriates $300,000 to the office of the long-term care ombudsman for three full-time (3.0 FTE) ombudsman specialist positions; one each on Kauai, Maui, and Hawai‘i.

SB2065: Making an Appropriation for the Healthy Partnership Program

  • Makes an appropriation for the healthy aging partnership program of the Department of Health’s executive office on aging.

SB2066/HB1880: Making Appropriations for Senior Citizens

  • Makes an appropriation for grants to various senior centers, Lanakila Multi-Purpose Center, Kapahulu, Mo‘ili‘ili, and Waikiki Community Center.

SB2075: Making an Appropriation for an Alzheimer’s disease and Related Dementia Public Awareness Campaign

  • Makes an appropriation for an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.

SB2067/HB1876: Relating to Health

  • Requires the Department of Health to require dementia training for caregivers. Requires the Department to establish training criteria and annual review the training program.

SB2070/HB1877: Relating to Human Services

  • Appropriates funds to the Department of Human Services to create one full-time program specialist position for Maui County within the adult protective and community services branch to oversee the foster grandparent program and senior companion programs on Maui, Moloka‘i, and Lana‘i.

SB2068/HB1882: Relating to College Savings Program Tax Deduction

  • Provides an annual maximum deduction of $5,000 per individual or $10,000 for a married couple filing jointly for contributions made to the Hawai‘i college savings program.

SB2207/HB1883: Relating to the University of Hawai’i Center on Aging

  •  Appropriates funds for a permanent full-time associate professor and permanent full-time assistant specialist position within the University of Hawaii center on aging.

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