Local Connection: 2018 Legislative Accomplishments

The 2018 legislative session began in January during three major crises.

Voters were demanding progress on Homelessness and affordable housing. The third crisis was of leadership, with a governor who was already unpopular before the missile alert fiasco erased what little political capital he had left.

It was also an election year. But despite that, lawmakers did their job.

They dealt fairly and efficiently with the emotional and long-delayed assisted death law -- the kind of social issue that has bogged them down before.

They responded quickly and generously to flooding on Kauai and Oahu.

They found over half a billion dollars for affordable housing -- packaged in a way that developers were confident will actually lead to construction fairly soon.

Lawmakers continued funding for ongoing homeless programs like Housing First, which have been making slow progress. But also made another serious investment, $30 million for six Ohana Zones which will quickly provide housing for those who are still unsheltered.

Not every idea passed was a good one and some good ideas were killed. But this legislature managed to avoid drama, set priorities and direct resources to where they are needed.

We'll now see how the governor responds. His administration wasn't involved in design of these programs but now bears the responsibility of implementing them.

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