New Measure Would Remedy Late-born Keiki Rule


Talking Story…Sen. Mike Gabbard

Aloha friends,

Happy New Year to you and your ohana!

The 2014 Legislative Session kicks off at 10 a.m. today (Jan. 15). It’s also my 66th birthday, so stop by my office at Room 201 at the State Capitol to talk story and have some coffee and cake.

Congratulations to UH West Oahu facilities manager James “Kimo” Yamaguchi for being selected as a recipient of the 2013 President’s Award for Excellence in Building and Grounds Maintenance.

Please let me know if I can ever help you or your family in any way. I can be reached at 586-6830 or by email at

Legislation intended to help late-born keiki enter kindergarten

I’ve been working with a constituent from Kapolei on some important legislation to help late-born keiki who don’t currently meet the age cutoff for entering kindergarten.

In 2012, we at the Legislature passed SB 2545, which became Act 178. This law eliminated junior kindergarten, which means that, starting in 2014, children must be at least 5 years old by July 31.

It’s estimated that this change will negatively impact about 5,000 keiki who will turn 5 after the July 31 deadline. These keiki would have to wait another year before they can enter kindergarten.

To remedy this situation, I plan to introduce legislation that would do the following:

* Give the Early Learning Advisory Board the power to determine whether a child who is ineligible for kindergarten because of age, but will be 5 by Dec. 31 of the school year, should be allowed to attend kindergarten;

* Directs the Early Learning Advisory Board to establish procedures by which a parent may seek their determination;

* The Early Learning Advisory Board’s determination shall be based on appropriate assessments according to the child’s academic, physical, social and emotional abilities;

* The Early Learning Advisory Board’s determination shall be final and shall not be appealed.

Supporting key city road improvements

I offered testimony in support of Resolution 13-273, CD1, which was heard Dec. 11 by Honolulu City Council. This resolution passed by a unanimous vote and approved the city’s list of projects for consideration in the fiscal years 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).

The TIP is an important document that contains all the transportation projects that are eligible to obtain federal funding.

I was very pleased that Farrington Highway Improvements, Kapolei Parkway Extension and Makakilo Drive Extension all were included in the list.

These projects will have a huge impact on increasing the mobility and connectivity of Kapolei area residents.

In my testimony, I singled out the importance of the Makakilo Drive Extension because it is critical to the health and safety of thousands of Makakilo residents who currently only have one way in and one way out of their community. Listen-Story meeting

My next “Listen Story” community meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 22 at Ewa Mahiko District Park, located at 91-1161 Renton Road.

If you cannot make it to the park, drop me an email and I’ll send you the notes.