West Hawai'i 2018 Legislative Initiatives

By Wendy Laros, Executive Director

Business First! Pau Hana

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce exists to provide leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawaiʻi. Hawaiʻi’s legislative session opens January 18th and KKCC is ready with our list of legislative priorities thanks to the efforts of our Economic Development Committee and Board of Directors. We are sharing these priorities with our elected officials and will monitor progress throughout the session.

Please see our list below:


Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce

2018 West Hawaii Legislative Initiatives


  • Support Kona Coffee, aquaculture, cattle industry and diversified ag farmers
  • Support disease prevention programs including Rat Lungworm
  • Support Coffee Berry Borer control methods


  • Support astronomy industry, science, culture and environmental stewardship of Mauna Kea
  • Support Thirty Meter Telescope
  • Support new Mauna Kea State Lease

Clean Energy

  • Support clean energy goals to relieve our dependence on fossil fuels
  • Support energy efficiency measures


  • Support legislation to extend the film tax credit

General Business Legislation

  • To provide leadership and advocacy for a successful business environment in West Hawaiʻi, the Chamber will advocate for its members in the following areas:
  • Business innovation
  • Climate change impacts
  • Invasive species
  • Taxes

Hawai'i Community College at Pālamanui

  • Support the growth of the campus and funding for new programs and staffing
  • Support workforce development, training, mentoring and internship programs
  • Support programs that feed directly into key industries in West Hawaii including marine science and technology, aviation, hospitality, healthcare and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) endeavors


  • Advocate for a new state hospital in West Hawaii and expanded healthcare options
  • Encourage residency programs that increase medical providers


  • Support Federal, State and County programs that provide immediate relief to homeless
  • Encourage Housing First and stabilization services including drug, alcohol and mental health
  • Support poverty prevention initiatives including housing assistance, job training, financial literacy

Kona International Airport

  • Support the master planned build out of Kona International Airport
  • Move forward on Phase 1 of the terminal modernization program
  • Support $50 million budget allocation for the new Federal Inspection Station
  • Support of legislation for a Hawaiʻi Airport Corporation


  • Encourage Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaiʻi Authority (NELHA) to further its mission of providing resources and facilities for energy and ocean related research and commercial activities as an engine for economic development

Ocean Recreation Tourism

  • Request that Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT) restore the production of annual reports on the economic impact of the ocean recreation industry
  • Support consideration of alternative management options for West Hawaiʻi boating facilities
  • Request that State Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) implement the key findings of the Coral Bleaching Recovery Plan to ensure coral reef recovery
  • To ensure coral reef recovery, ban the sale of sunscreen products containing oxybenzone
  • Monitor DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation’s actions in regards to harbors

Pohakuloa Training Area

  • Support the military’s training mission at Pohakuloa
  • Support new Pohakuloa State Lease

Roads and Infrastructure

  • Strongly advocate for the prompt completion of major infrastructure projects:
  • Last phase of Ane Keohokalole Highway (Hinalani to Kaiminani)
  • Lengthen feeder lanes at intersections of Mamalahoa/Hinalani and Palani/Henry
  • Plan, fund and implement connection of sewer and reclaimed water lines from Kealakehe Parkway to the County’s wastewater treatment plant
  • Plan, fund and implement connection of Honokohau Harbor’s sewage system to Kealakehe Parkway for delivery to the County’s treatment plant and connect reclaimed water pipes from Queen Kaahumanu Highway along Kealakehe Parkway into Honokohau Harbor
  • Request safety improvements along the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • Support Saddle Road Extension to Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • Support the planning, design and construction of a State Office Building along the corridor between the West Hawaii Civic Center and the new State judiciary building to provide better government services accessibility

Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT)

  • Support an equitable share of TAT that the Counties receive as they deal with the impacts of the visitor industry


  • Support water resource development and wastewater reclamation and recycling
  • Support operational sustainability
  • Support water resource preservation and protection