2012 Caucus Honors Hawaii Women Veterans

By Cynthia Thielen

For more than 20 years, the Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) has worked to improve the lives of Hawaii’s women and their families.

The caucus is a bipartisan group of legislators from both the House and Senate who convene each year to create a legislative package and provide support to Hawaii’s residents. Every year, the WLC sponsors measures related to issues affecting women in Hawaii. It votes on whether or not bills and/or resolutions will be a part of a yearly package moving from the caucus to the House and/or Senate floor to be voted on with the hopes of becoming a resolution or binding law.

Our caucus usually dedicates its package of bills each year to a woman who exemplifies its mission. Instead of choosing an individual this year, however, we dedicated our “Service and Sacrifice” package to our women veterans. Our women have a proud history of service on and off the battlefield in our armed forces, and the caucus greatly appreciates and honors our women in uniform who have served to protect and uphold our freedoms.

Along these lines, the caucus focused on 2012 legislation that promotes dignity and self-worth for women. House Bill 138, for example, relates to an automated victim-notification system to ensure the protection of victimized women. This bill requires that the state Department of Public Safety establish a statewide automated victim-notification system to provide victims of crime, surviving relatives and concerned members of the public with information regarding the custodial status of the offender. This system will automatically notify a registered victim whether the offender is in its custody and when the offender has an upcoming parole or change-of-parole status.

The WLC also successfully introduced other bills addressing women’s health and related issues, such as the requirement of birth defects warnings in liquor establishments, cervical and breast cancer screenings, funding for the reintegration of female offenders from incarceration back into the community, and mandatory reporting requirements concerning child abuse.

In addition to working hard for women in Hawaii’s Legislature, the Women’s Legislative Caucus puts together its annual Easter basket drive. Each year, we collect baskets and fill them with essential household items, such as laundry soap, utensils, pots and pans, dishes, toiletries and towels for Hawaii’s homeless women and children at the Institute for Human Services.

The caucus has contributed significantly in promoting the health and well-being of Hawaii’s women and their families. We continue to strive to be the voice for those unheard and encourage the public to support of our measures.

Contact Rep. Cynthia Thielen, (R-KailuaKaneohe Bay) at 5866480 or repthielen@capitol.hawaii.gov.