Highlights of the 2016 Legislative Session

It has been an honor to serve you and the people of Maui County alongside the members of the Maui delegation. I thank you for the opportunity and responsibility you have entrusted with me over these past many years. 

Aloha and Mahalo nui loa.
Speaker Joe Souki

Maui in Transition

Maui Health System
Last year the Legislature worked with Governor David Ige to ensure continued quality healthcare and medical services at Maui hospital facilities.

Maui Health Systems (Kaiser Foundation Hospitals) has taken over the management and operations of Maui Memorial, Kula Hospital and the Lanai Community Hospital.

To ensure a smooth transition and access to care and emergency services for Maui's people, your Maui delegation and the Legislature appropriated $31 million to support hospital operations and $6 million in capital improvements.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar, and Makena Beach Workers
The closure of HC&S's cane production is also of great concern. Your Maui delegation quickly put together a number of measures to support the more than 650 men and women who would soon be facing the loss of their jobs and livelihood.

The legislature passed measures to provide for extended unemployment benefits, job training and support services for dislocated workers due to the closure of both HC&S and the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

Maui will enter a time of transition as sugar production comes to an end. We must be thoughtful about the potential uses for the 36,000 acres of important agricultural land. We have the opportunity to keep those fields productive and green.

We worked with Alexander and Baldwin to release water into select natural streams. Water from eight streams has been made available to East Maui taro farmers.

We have allowed time for this transition so the Commission on Water Resource Management can determine the appropriate and balanced use of water for agricultural, residential, energy and environmental needs.

The collective goal of your Maui delegation is to work for the betterment of all the people of Maui County and the state.

Working with members of the House and Senate, in collaboration with the Governor, I believe we have done just that.

It has been an honor and I am humbled by your confidence in me as I continue to work for the people of Maui.



Joseph M. Souki is currently Speaker of the House. Rep. Souki has served in the Hawaii State Legislature since 1982. He represents the 8th District that includes Wailuku, Kahului, Waihe’e, Waiehu, Pu’uohala, Kahakuloa and Waikapu.

Improvements for Maui County 2016

Newly appropriated State funding for Maui County Capital Improvement Projects:

These items were approved by the state Legislature according to an announcement from the State House.


Hana Highway - $29 million for widening from Kaahumanu Avenue to Haleakala Highway from four to six lanes.

Hana Highway - $13.5 million for improvements.
Haleakala Highway - $1.8 million for widening at mile post 0.8 from one lane to two lanes, extending a box culvert and constructing headwalls and wing walls.

Hana Highway/Kaahumanu Ave - $1.05 million for Dairy Road to Naniloa Overpass beautification of the main corridor between Kahului and Wailuki to include landscape and irrigation.

Honoapiilani Highway - $13.5 million for widening and/or realignment from Lahaina to Maalaea and from Launiupoko Road to the vicinity of Lunaiupoko.

Piilani Highway - $2 million for traffic signal improvements at the intersection with Kalanihakoi Street in Kihei.

Makakupaia Stream Bridge - $3.5 million for replacement.

Haiku crosswalk - $250,000 on Pilialoha Street along Hana Highway.

Paia Bypass - $300,000 for improvements.

State Highways, Maui - $1 million for guardrail and shoulder improvements and other repairs countywide.

Kahului Harbor - $38 million for land acquisition and design for improvements including demolition of existing structures, paving utilities, landscaping, fencing and plan, design and construction to provide a safer and more efficient use of operational areas at the harbor.

Maalaea Small Boat Harbor - $3.72 million for plans, design and construction for dredging.

Kahului Airport - $11.08 million for removal of existing sewage lift station and replacement, renovation of airport restrooms, design for lease lots and other related improvements.

Kahului Airport - $7.6 million for design and construction of hold room, security and ID office improvements, and a new conference room.

Kahului Airport - $6.8 million for design for hold room and gate improvements.

Kahului Airport - $213,000 for design for inbound baggage handling system improvements.

Hana Airport - $33.39 million for construction of a new aircraft rescue and firefighting station and other related improvements.

Molokai Airport - $3.2 million for improvements. Lanai Airport - $5.2 million for improvements.

Lahaina Small Boat Harbor - $2.25 million for construction and equipment for emergency dredging and replacement of buoys.

Kihei Boat Ramp - $800,000 for plans and construction for maintenance dredging, parking lot and access road improvements.

Support for Local Farmers
A number of bills were passed to support Hawaii's agriculture including the Livestock Revitalization Program, Molokai Diversified Agriculture Loan Program, and to create an Agriculture Workforce Development Program to provide training to teachers on all islands in agricultural self-sufficiency.

Hawaii is also poised to become the first state in the nation to implement an organic foods production tax credit and the Industrial Hemp Pilot Project that will allow for the cultivation and distribution of seed for industrial hemp.

Department of Agriculture and Vector Control positions have been increased to support the distribution and export of Hawaii grown crops, as well as to address public health issues and controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease such as rats and mosquitoes.

East Maui Water systems - $3 million for plans, design and construction for water systems; $1.5 million for plans, designs and construction for irrigation and water delivery systems for agricultural enterprises and/or agricultural purposes.

Molokai irrigation system - $4.7 million for improvements.

Molokai Homestead Farmers Alliance - $1.7 million for improvements to Lanikeha Center and
commercial kitchen.

Homestead Community Development - $600,000 for nonpotable agricultural waterline in Keokea. Grow Some Good - $65,814 to support garden programs in the schools.

Honoring our Veterans
The Legislature has provided additional support for the Office of Veterans’ Services to provide assistance to all veterans. An additional position will be established to focus primarily on the needs of our female veterans

Additional funds are provided to support the Vietnam Veterans 50th Anniversary Commemoration.

Positions and funds were also approved to support the Hawaii State Veterans’ Cemetery and provide veterans assistance burial services, equipment, cemetery repair and maintenance, statewide.

Other funding for veterans:
Molokai Veterans Center - $4 million for plans, design and construction of a parking lot and installation of a septic tank.

Caring for Kupuna
This year, the Legislature passed Hawaii's Care Act, a measure which requires hospitals to maintain written discharge policies and support caregivers in providing better care to patients upon leaving the hospital. Members of AARP lobbied hard for this bill which will enhance quality of life for our seniors and those who care for them.

Funds were also appropriated for Aging and Disability Resource Centers and fall prevention and an additional $3 million will go to support the Kupuna Care Program statewide.

Other funding for Kupuna services:
Hale Mahaolu - $250,000 for personal care services for the elderly, frail and chronically disabled.

Hale Makua Health Services - $350,000 for services for nursing home patients.

Hale Mahaolu - $1.5 million for the design and construction of senior affordable rental housing at
Kulamalu Town Center.

Improvements to our Schools
Baldwin High - $3.4 million for design and construction for parking lot improvements including pedestrian routes, improved students drop-off and traffic flow; ground and site improvements; equipment and appurtenances; $525,000 for various repair and maintenance projects.

Iao Intermediate - $50,000 for electrical upgrades.

Waihee Elementary School - $900,000 for plans, design and construction for a new administrative building; $432,000 for replacement and repair of air conditioning and fire alarm system.

Wailuku Elementary - $797,000 for re-roofing and replacement of water meter.
King Kekaulike High School - $1.6 million for plans, design and construction and equipment for amphitheater improvements in the quad area and design, construction and equipment for track and field; and $300,000 for re-roofing.

Kihei High School - $37.5 million for design and construction of Phase II.
Lahainaluna High School - $10.77 million for construction and equipment for a new eight classroom building, ground and sites improvements; air conditioning; reroof Building A; and $694,000 for renovation to locker rooms and other repair and maintenance projects.

Makawao Elementary School - $2 million for design and construction of covered play court; $510,000 for replacement of flooring in cafeteria and other repair and maintenance projects.

Maui High School - $6.1 million for construction of weight training and wrestling room, renovate and expand the band/choir building including additional storage, replace and expand the gymnasium floor, gymnasium heat abatement, and ground and site improvements and $509,000 for replacement of air conditioning.

Maui Waena Intermediate - $1.499 million for school renovations.

Paia Elementary School - $1.4 million for plans and design for a classroom building.

Molokai High School - $3.5 million for plans, design and construction for renovation of the gym/ emergency shelter and equipment; and $290,000 for re-roofing.

Molokai Public Library - $4.7 million for plans, design and construction to expand the existing library.

UH Maui College - $7 million for design, construction and equipment for Maui Food Innovation Center.

Caring for our Keiki and Community
The Legislature approved an additional $10 million to expand the Preschool Open Doors program to allow more keiki to enter preschool.

$3 million was added to support the state’s family and elderly housing facilities. $12 million was added to address homelessness and provide services and support to families and individuals obtain temporary and permanent housing.

Hana Health - $500,000 for plans and construction of new health facilities.

Kalaupapa Settlement - $405,000 plans, design and construction to close landfills and assess other environmental issues; and $251,000 for design and construction to re-roof buildings and other related improvements.

Maui Youth and Family Services - $525,000 for construction for a new administration facility.

Arc of Maui County - $192,000 for programs to support special needs children and adults.

Hui Malama Learning Center - $300,000 for youth development services for at-risk youth.

J. Walter Cameron Center - $600,000 for repairs and renovations of the center.

Women Helping Women - $246,550 for a domestic violence emergency shelter on Lanai.

Mental Health Kokua - $50,000 to create micro-units for a homeless Housing First project.

The Legislature Approves $100 Million for Cooling our Schools
Hearing the appeals of students, parents, teachers and the legislature, the Governor has signed a bill to bring heat abatement and energy efficiency to 1,000 public schools statewide.
Electrical costs have always been a hurdle in cooling our classrooms. New energy saving technology can help us overcome that barrier and save on our utility costs.
The Department of Education will address the hottest classroom first, bringing needed relief so our students can concentrate on learning.

Priority schools in Maui county include: Maui High, Lahaina Intermediate,
Nahienaena Elementary, Lihikai Elementary, Kilohana Elementary Kaunakakai Elementary

Additional Funds for Maui County
Maui Community Correctional Center - $17.5 million for the design and construction of a new correctional center including housing and support offices; and $10 million for design and construction of new housing and support offices.

Maui Office Annex Building - $4 million for design and construction of a replacement building and related improvements to support various departmental division and programs.

Kahului Base yard - $650,000 for improvements.

Central Maui Regional Park - $7.75 million for ground and site improvements, equipment and

Maui Motor Sports Park - $2 million for plans, design and construction of track improvements.

Lipoa Point at Honolua Bay - $500,000 for plan, design, construction and equipment for health, safety and public improvements.

Maui Police Department 911 Call Center - $1.2 million for system enhancements.

Kalamaula Homesteaders Association - $500,000 for plans, design and construction for
redevelopment of the Kiowea Park facilities.

Kaupo Community Association - $975,000 for restoration of old Kaupo School.

Maui Lawmakers Come Home with CIPs

May 6, 2016, Excerpt from The Maui News, by Melissa Tanji

Maui County will see funding for various capital improvement projects, including nearly $38 million for more work on the new Kihei high school, $38 million for Kahului Harbor improvements and $29 million for expansion of Hana Highway in Kahului.

The price tags for Maui projects are among the larger capital improvement projects approved by the state Legislature this session.

In the supplemental state budget for next fiscal year, which begins July 1, Maui County will receive more than $200 million from the state – money for schools, highways and affordable housing. The lawmaking session ended Thursday.

"I think the Maui delegation is going to come back pretty well off," said Central Maui Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran of this year's session. "We wanted to address a number of issues regarding homelessness, affordable housing and agriculture. I think we did do that."
Keith-Agaran said $12 million will go toward helping the homeless statewide. Included in the funding will be standards for housing the homeless to ensure money is used efficiently, he said. Affordable housing funding will help developers offset their costs, he added.

While much attention was focused on a bill to allow Alexander and Baldwin to continue to divert water from East Maui under current lease terms, there was other legislation to help taro farmers as well as the state do work on streams on state property in East Maui.

Legislators also were keen to help employees facing lost jobs with the closures of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. and the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

Bills approved this session call for job training and support services for workers unemployed or dislocated by the closures. Another bill creates a temporary program limited to Maui County to extend jobless benefits to unemployed workers.

Keith-Agaran said lawmakers also passed is a bill to help Hawaii Health System Corp. employees at Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital who are nearing retirement. The bill will enable them to "bridge that gap" and receive retirement benefits even as their jobs as state employees will end with the takeover of operations by Kaiser on July 1.

Maui County will receive around $23 million from state hotel tax revenues, the same amount it is receiving this current fiscal year, despite county officials lobbying for more.

Used by permission from The Maui News

Leadership Team for 2016 Session

Members of the House Leadership for 2016:
Speaker of the House – Representative Joseph M. Souki
Vice Speaker  – Representative John M. Mizuno
Majority Leader – Representative Scott K. Saiki
Majority Floor Leader  – Representative Cindy Evans
Majority Whip – Representative Ken Ito
Asst. Majority Leader – Representative Chris Lee
Asst. Majority Leader – Representative Roy M. Takumi
Speaker Emeritus – Representative Calvin K.Y. Say
Minority Leader – Representative Beth Fukumoto Chang

“The team that we have formed represents the kind of talents and abilities that will best serve our residents and will address the issues facing our state,” said Speaker Souki. “We look forward to engaging in meaningful discussions with Governor David Ige and his administration to continue to identify ideas and solutions to help Hawaii move forward.”
--Speaker Joe Souki
    Click on link to view Speaker Souki's Facebook page.


    Thank you dear friends for your hard work and enthusiastic support. I am honored to serve you and everyone throughout our great State of Hawaii -- the work has already begun!

    --Rep. Joe Souki

    Joe Souki Endorsed by The Maui News 

    Speaker Souki is everyone’s man

    Every couple of years, we get the pleasant task of endorsing Joe Souki for the 8th District Hawaii House of Representatives seat.

    This year, we get to endorse and congratulate him for once again being the speaker of the state House of Representatives.

    He is an amazing man and legislator, most adept at building coalitions.

    An endorsement of Souki can probably be done best just by quoting from past endorsements:

    1. He is that rarest of birds; a Neighbor Island legislator who was elected speaker of the state House. “It should go without saying that Souki is a practical politician, equally adept at gaining public support at election time and finding ways to work measures through the Capitol maze.”

    2. What we like most about Souki is that he is everybody’s representative. As we wrote when we endorsed him in 2008, “Mr. Souki is known for even helping constituents with views he doesn’t support. He’ll give advice on the best way to get your ideas heard. He is simply Maui’s gem and takes seriously his role of representing all of his constituents.”

    3. He will work with anyone to benefit his constituents. We remember former Republican Gov. Linda Lingle thanking Souki and Sen. J. Kalani English for their parts in helping craft an economic stimulus plan during her tenure.

    We’ve referred to him as the best legislator in the state, and it is hard to imagine anyone who could do a better job as speaker. In conclusion, we’d sum up by using a couple of lines from another editorial about Souki:

    “He isn’t flashy. He’s far from charismatic. Joe Souki is a legislator who knows his job and does it. Go get ‘em, Joe.”

    We’d urge voters to send Souki back for another term as the representative from State House District 8.


    July 26, 2014 — The Maui News

    Joe Souki: From Maui, For Maui

         Joe Souki was born in Mill Camp, Puunene. In those days sugar was king. His father worked on the HC&S plantation while his mother raised Joe and his sister Virginia.
        Though his family lived simply, Mrs. Souki instilled an optimism in her children. “Aim as high as you can and always give back to your community,” was her motto.                                                       Young Joe attended St. Anthony school, worked part-time in the sugar cane fields and enjoyed boxing, aikido and playing with his youthful companions.
        Returning in 1960 from a stint in the army and with a degree from Woodberry University, Los Angeles, Joe married Maui girl Frances Borge and they had two children, Mark and Desiree.
        Joe always liked people and showed a strong interest in community affairs. He caught the eye of Mayor Eddie Tam who encouraged him to run for the Board of Supervisors and resolved that he would serve his community.
    Joe started the MEO Wheelchair
    accessible bus service with one van.
    Today the fleet is 36 buses serving
    thousands of seniors and youth.
        Taking care of his mother in her old age inspired a compassion for older people and Joe joined Maui Economic Opportunity (MEO) as administrator in 1966. There he initiated the bus service, the Senior Citizen discount card program,  Meal on Wheels and Youth Transportation services that today help young people have fun and be productive.
        In 1982 Joe was encouraged to run for election to the House of Representatives and he won the 8th District seat. At the legislature Joe showed a talent for understanding the intricacies of the state budget as well as an ability to bring people together in consensus. With these skills it was not long before Joe Souki was elected as chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee. With Maui Senator Mamoru Yamasaki chairing the Senate Ways & Means committee and Joe leading House Finance, the Maui delegation was able to deliver more than four billion dollars for  highways, hospitals, airport terminals, schools, cafeterias, libraries, community centers and much more.
        Maui had never had such strong representation in Honolulu. Joe and Yama made sure Maui taxpayers’ money came back to Maui.
        When Joe first joined the House, Maui’s share of the Tourist Accommodation tax (TAT) was $2.8 million. Even Kauai, with half the population, was getting more. Maui County was faced with raising property taxes or finding other revenues. Mayor Hannibal Tavares called Joe. “What can you do,” said Hannibal. “We’ll get to work on it,” said Joe.
        In two years Maui’s share of the TAT had been boosted to $18 million, paying for the services we count on today such as Hawaii’s only nationally accredited police force, fire protection, swimming pools, public parks and many county services that would otherwise have to be funded from higher property taxes.
        While on the Finance Committee, Joe wanted to make sure Maui pursued new economic opportunities. Sugar was declining and he didn’t feel comfortable leaving all our eggs in the tourism basket.
        The information age was coming so Joe made sure funds were appropriated to build the Maui Research & Technology Park. So impressed was the Federal Government with the Tech Park that they installed one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers there. So far, over $100 million has been invested in the Park, boosting Maui’s economy and providing jobs. Today, bright young Mauians have high tech jobs on Maui instead of moving to cities on the Mainland to find work.
        The arts are another way Maui can diversify its economy so Joe obtained $5.5 million to start building the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Now our community has a $31 million performing arts complex for concerts, graduations, hula festivals and exhibits.
        Because of his organizational skills, Joe Souki was elected Speaker of the House in 1992. In his three terms as Speaker he brought about such benefits to business as the new Convention Center, Workers Comp and auto insurance reform and the greatest reduction of income taxes in the history of Hawaii.
        Above all, Joe’s focus has been on young people. Each year he quietly makes sure that one third of the entire state budget goes into education. “We must equip our children with skills for the 21st Century,” says Joe. That’s why Joe Souki has funded computers in classrooms and new buildings to expand the campus at UH-Maui.
        New schools like Princess Nahienaena, a cafeteria for Waihee school and more classrooms for Wailuku Elementary are but a few of Joe Souki’s education achievements.
    Joe at the Hawaii State Capitol
        Joe’s record on family issues has not been widely publicized. Few people know how much he has done to support women and children. Among many specific pieces of legislation to protect women and children, Joe helped pass the mandatory minimum 48 hours jail time for domestic physical abuse. He is also honorary chairperson of Child & Family Services’ annual giving campaign, raising private funds for disadvantaged families and children.
        He sought to mitigate the harm done to children who have been sexually abused by establishing an Expedited Sentencing Program. It instructs the Judiciary to give cases involving child victims precedence over all other matters before the court.
    Proving he supports equality for women, Joe Souki is the first Speaker of the House in the history of Hawaii to appoint women to Vice-speaker, Majority Leader and Floor Leader positions.
        Joe Souki’s keyword is balance. He believes in everybody getting a fair share. He supports economic development so businesses can prosper and provide jobs. He supports labor, workers, children and families with needs.

    Political Service

    Elected to the Hawaii State Legislature
    House of Representatives: 1982 - Present
    Speaker, Speaker Emeritus
    Member of the Democratic Party
    Officer/Precinct Chair, Democratic Party, 1966-present
    Delegate, State Constitutional Convention, 1978
    Member, Maui County Charter Commission, 1976

    Former member of the following committees:

    TRN - Transportation (Chair)
    BOC - Joint Senate-House Investigative Committee
    on the Bureau of Conveyances (Co-Chair)
    SHF - Joint Task Force to Conduct a Review of the
    State Highway Fund (Co-Chair)
    CPC - Consumer Protection & Commerce
    JUD - Judiciary
    LAB - Labor and Public Employment
    PSM - Public Safety and Military Affairs

    Capitol Email

    Campaign Email


    Capitol Address
    State Capitol
    415 South Beretania Street, Room 431
    Honolulu, HI 96813
    Phone: 808-586-6100
    Fax: 808-586-6101

    Campaign Address

    Post Office Box 632
    Wailuku, HI 96793

    Joseph "Joe" Souki Biography

    April 25, 1933, Pu'unene, Maui

    Home City
    Wailuku, Maui, Hawaii


    Married, wife Frances
    Children, Desiree and Mark

    Woodbury University, BBA, 1954
    St. Anthony High School


    Realtor, Joseph M. Souki Realty, since 1982
    Executive Director, Maui Economic Opportunity, 16 years


    Director, Cameron Center
    Director, Federal Land Bank
    Director, Maui Economic Development Board
    Director, Maui Soda and Ice Company
    Trustee, Hale Makua
    Jaycee International

    Jaycees Young Men of the Year
    Jaycees Outstanding Old Rooster


    U.S. Army

    Voting Record

    To find out how Rep. Souki has voted on key issues such as: budget, spending and taxes, business and consumers, campaign finance and elections, civil liberties and civil rights, energy and environment, health, labor and transportation, please contact his office. Want to follow specific legislation, check on votes, or receive notification of public hearings? Visit the Capitol website at:
    www.capitol.hawaii.gov or the Hawaii Public Access Room at: http://hawaii.gov/lrb/par