Legislative group seeks solutions to 'ice'
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Capitol Bureau
Members of the state House and Senate named to a Joint Committee on the Ice Crisis will come up with a package to tackle the growing "ice" problem.
The committee will hold meetings across the state throughout the summer and fall. Legislators are from areas considered most vulnerable to crystal methamphetamine: O'ahu's Leeward Coast, 'Ewa and the North Shore, as well as the Big Island.
The committee, announced by House and Senate leaders yesterday, wants to have a package by the start of the new session.
"Leadership of the House and Senate wants to send a very clear message to the people of Hawai'i," said House Speaker Calvin Say, D-20th (St. Louis Heights, Palolo, Wilhelmina Rise). "The status quo is not acceptable. We must find new ways to fight the battle against ice."
Senate President Robert Bunda, D-22nd (North Shore, Wahiawa), said he wants the committee to consider a range of ideas, including mandatory drug testing of public school students.
Bunda introduced the idea this past session but received virtually no support outside of Gov. Linda Lingle. Members of the committee said they will discuss the idea during the hearings.
Other areas expected to be discussed include beefing up drug treatment, treatment facilities and enforcement, and making changes to the penal code, Bunda said.
"We all agreed that if we wanted to do anything effective between now and the legislative session, we have to be focused ... and that is why we are focusing on ice," said Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha).
The committee's goal is to come up with "an encompassing provision, hopefully a new chapter of the Hawai'i Revised Statutes that will concentrate it on this ice problem whether we pilot it or put a sunset on it," she said.
"We must tackle this problem as no other provision of this law has done," she said. "We must look at all parts of it how it impacts education, how it impacts the penal system, how it impacts treatment."
Legislative leaders also promised to work with members of the Lingle administration, including Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona, who is to hold a conference later this summer on the ice problem. Aiona is expected to give more details about that conference in coming days.
The joint committee is to be headed by Sens. Melodie Aduja, D-23rd (Kane'ohe, Kahuku), and Hanabusa, and Rep. Eric Hamakawa, D-3rd (Hilo, Kea'au, Mountain View). Hanabusa and Hamakawa chair the Senate and House judiciary committees.
Other members are Reps. Tommy Waters, D-51st (Waimanalo, Lanikai); Romy Mindo, D-43rd ('Ewa Beach, West Loch); Cindy Evans, D-7th (N. Kona, S. Kohala); Maile Shimabukuro, D-45th (Wai'anae, Makaha); Bob Herkes, D-8th (Ka'u, S. Kona); Bud Stonebraker, R-17th (Hawai'i Kai, Kalama Valley); and Colleen Meyer, R-47th (Ha'iku, Kahalu'u, La'ie).
Senators include Willie Espero, D-20th ('Ewa Beach, Waipahu); Norman Sakamoto, D-15th (Waimalu, Airport, Salt Lake); Suzanne Chun Oakland, D-13th (Kalihi, Nu'uanu); Lorraine Inouye, D-1st (Hamakua, S. Hilo); Bob Hogue, R-24th (Kailua, Kane'ohe); and Fred Hemmings, R-25th (Waimanalo, Portlock).