To begin the registration process, go to the Legislature webpage:

On the web page you will see three boxes:

Top box: Sign in to the Hawaii Legislature

Second box down: Help!

Third box down: NOTE: An account is required in order to submit online testimony.

In the third box, the first paragraph reads:

Creating an account for the Legislature’s website is quick and simple!

If you have not created an account, please click here to register.

Click on the “here” link and you will be taken to a page to enter the required registration info. In the organization blank, if you are not representing an organization, you can skip that box. When you finish that process and submit the information, you will be sent an email containing a link you must click on to complete the registration process.



Submitting testimony online

Submit Testimony screenshotAfter completing the registration process, return to the login page and click on the icon with the envelope, labeled “submit testimony.”

When you enter the bill number (e.g., HB134) and hit the enter key, the following categories will appear


Committee      Room   Date/Time

along with a link labeled View Notice (you don’t need to click this, unless you want to email testimony)

Scroll down past the Committee, Room, Date/Time section to the “Enter Information” section and click on the appropriate buttons, then type your testimony into the Additional Comments box.



If you decide to email your testimony, click on the View Notice link, look for the committee hearing the bill and use the email address listed (e.g., In your email, be sure to include the following:

  • Testifier’s name and, if affiliated with an organization, position/title and organization;
  • The Committee(s) to which the comments are directed;
  • The date, time and location of the hearing (e.g. conference room number); and
  • Bill or Resolution (Measure) number.

Continuing tax system modernization must remain atop state’s priority list.

By Christine Sakuda

Honolulu Civil Beat (Community Voice) – Feb. 22, 2018
Original Story:

Amid news stories about federal government shutdowns and false missile alerts, one the state’s most ambitious modernization initiatives, Tax System Modernization, has not been grabbing headlines. But it is proceeding and, apparently, succeeding, despite its low profile of late.

At the end of March, the door will close on options to file business taxes via the state’s legacy (i.e., old) tax-filing site. But that’s a good thing, since that means those services will have been successfully moved to the state’s new tax filing portal, Hawaii Tax Online.

Over the course of five rollouts, each making new functions available, the majority of tax services have been migrated to Hawaii Tax Online. “Rollout 3” was completed last summer and included services for Corporate Income, Franchise, Public Service Company and Withholding filers. This followed the previous two rollouts that included General Excise, Transient Accommodation and other types of taxes.

Electronic Filing ‘Inevitable’

The flicking of the off-switch for those services on the old site — with little fanfare or controversy — will provide evidence the rollout succeeded.

In fact, thanks to the newly launched electronic filing capability for business filers, the Hawaii Legislature can consider bills like Senate Bill 2822, which authorizes the Department of Taxation to require certain taxpayers to file digital returns exclusively, subject to a few exceptions.

Yes, some business users may be reluctant to go paperless, but such progress is inevitable as electronic filing becomes the norm at both the state and federal levels. In order for this to be successful, the Tax Department has acknowledged it also needs to beef up its help-desk support to prepare for the influx in calls. After all, customer interaction with new technology can be embraced with a little bit of handholding.

Legislators should be applauded for exploring all opportunities to nudge taxpayers toward using the capabilities of the new system. In addition to maximizing the state’s return on investment, business filers over the long-term will realize the cost-efficiencies associated with filing electronically. SB 2822 provides a mechanism for the tax department to encourage those with the best reasons to file electronically to be first users of the system and demonstrate its effectiveness.

Keep Up Momentum

With similar functionality scheduled to “go live” for individual filers during the next rollout, the Tax System Modernization must remain a state priority. Whether the project continues now depends on the approval of the Legislature.

In the governor’s supplemental budget proposal submitted in December, the administration is asking for an additional $16.5 million in capital improvement project funds to cover the completion of the functional requirements scheduled for next fiscal year (FY19) as well as the warranty period (FY20). Transform Hawaii Government supports this request to keep the momentum of the project moving on its current schedule.

The project remains a worthy investment. A modern, effective and efficient state tax collection system is what Hawaii taxpayers — all taxpayers — expect and deserve.

But it is critical that legitimate concerns raised by lawmakers about a range of problems be addressed; otherwise, the Legislature would be justified in withholding the funds as it did during the last legislative session. Going into the 2018 session, the administration must take steps to provide additional reassurance that the project is delivering functionality as intended.

‘Unprecedented Action’

Providing the state chief information officer with greater oversight of technological aspects of the project in July 2017 was a good first step.The CIO took the unprecedented action of publicly posting the project’s Independent Validation and Verification reports, which are quarterly progress assessments by a third-party contractor.

Many of the issues involving the former IVV vendor came to light and were addressed as a result of that direct involvement by the state’s top technology official and his commitment to full transparency. That IVV contract ended as a result.

With greater transparency established and a new tax director in place, the Department of Taxation is now in a position to take back the lead role. I am told that the tax department is working with the CIO’s office to procure a new IVV vendor, which will ensure the continuation of these periodic third-party assessments.

While the project represents an ambitious initiative, it also stands out as one of the most necessary. The project is making progress in giving the state a more robust revenue engine and the technology needed to support it. Ultimately, it is a worthy investment, as a modern tax collection system delivers what Hawaii taxpayers expect and deserve.

Such thoughts are sure to be top of mind as taxpayers file this season.

Transform Hawaii Government was established to promote an open, transparent, and responsive Hawaii government. The nonprofit organization advocates improving government business practices through technology to ensure government employees, residents and businesses have convenient and secure access to reliable information and data on demand.

Our goal is to have government services streamlined, integrated and delivered in ways that exceed the expectations of the public and the needs of Hawaii businesses. For more information, visit

Take a look at THG's Priority Legislation Page

As the 2018 legislative session gets into full swing, several measures are moving forward with the potential to promote an open, transparent and responsive state government. Transform Hawaii Government (THG) recently launched a new Priority Legislation section on its website as a resource to THG members and like-minded individuals who wish to participate in transforming government

Each bill and resolution on the site aligns with THG’s mission to advocate for and support efforts to improve government business practices through technology. Measures are arranged under several categories: Open Government, Citizen Engagement, Modernizing IT Infrastructure, Business Process Re-engineering, and IT Governance.

Featured bills include Senate Bill 2879, Relating to Education, which requires the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services, in collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE), to establish a working group to study the DOE’s IT infrastructure, operations and services with the intent of increased integration. The latest draft of the bill names a representative from THG to be appointed to a working group that would also consist of the chief information officers of the State of Hawaii, DOE and University of Hawaii, as well as the superintendent of education and DOE chief academic officer, or their designees.

THG supports this bill because it encourages collaboration between ETS and DOE to identify opportunities to reduce or eliminate redundant services and infrastructure. The measure, if enacted, would also facilitate strategic decision-making, with regard to technological platforms, policies and standards, that may further the state’s goals and augment statutorily mandated duties in the areas of cyber security and open data, as outlined in sections 27-43.5 and 27-44, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Other featured bills include House Bill 2225, Relating to Information Technology, which provides the state chief information officer with full discretion to require independent verification and validation of state IT projects if certain criteria are met. The enhanced authority will enhance statewide IT governance processes, which were launched by the CIO in 2015 and strengthened over subsequent years.

In addition, House Bill 2080 and its companion measure, Senate Bill 2902, Relating to Technology Development, appropriate funds for grants to participants in software application challenges enabling the proofs of concept created during the challenges to be developed into prototypes suitable for deployment in local and state government. These challenges, such as the Hawaii Annual Code Challenge and the Agricultural code challenge (also known as the AGathon), engage the technology development community and state government agencies in collaborative efforts to develop innovative solutions to an array of issues facing our state. Application challenges are intended to generate proofs of concepts but not complete or even prototype products. The additional resources proposed in the bill will help bring to fruition these proofs of concepts and their potential benefits.

Bookmark the Priority Legislation webpage and check back often for the latest status of bills and resolutions, as well as opportunities to make your voice heard.

Three Amigos 2

DLIR’s Three Amigos: Jodie Nakamura, Ryan Mercado and Liam Tobin. Photo courtesy of DLIR.

For lives affected by a workplace injury, time is of the essence to resolve bottlenecks in the historically manual, paper-intensive claims process. Three employees of the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Disability Compensation Division (DCD) are making progress in enhancing efficiency and in improving the experiences of their end customer which includes employers, insurance carriers and workers injured on the job.

Jodie Nakamura, Ryan Mercado and Liam Tobin — or the “Three Amigos,” as they are known in the division — began the scanning project and helped train their division in utilizing optical character recognition (OCR) technology.

Though scanning paperwork is not groundbreaking on its own, digitization efforts for an organization like the division resulted in both efficiency and in improving the experiences of their end customer. The department maintains a staggering 40,000 active case files and processes more than 22,000 new workers’ compensation claims per year.

Paper work

Thousands of files have been digitized at the state’s disability compensation program. However, they need hardware with capacity for more storage to continue progress.

As a result of the project, the department as a whole was able to cut its clienteles’ hearing wait time in half.

In 2015, the division hired consulting firm Gartner Group to analyze its business procedures.

Gartner’s Disability Compensation Business Process Optimization report identified efficiency issues, bottlenecks, outdated procedures and data sharing challenges. The report also outlined a roadmap to execute the recommended business process changes.

Since then, clear progress was achieved by the Three Amigos; however, due to storage constraints from older technology, the project will be limited until new hardware with additional storage capacity is installed.

“We have worked collaboratively with the Legislature to modernize the Division’s business processes and technology infrastructure,” said DLIR Director Leonard Hoshijo. Still, the state is striving to make government more effective and efficient for our customers, which in this case includes employers, insurance carriers and workers injured on the job.

In 2017, the state Legislature appropriated additional funding to expand the division’s electronic intake of claims and data migration to new hardware. This year, the DLIR is set to post a Request for Proposal to hire a contractor to complete a new Case Management System and will request additional funding for the fiscal year 2019 to complete the work.

As for the “Three Amigos,” all continue to work for the state and have advanced in their division.

Net Neutrality | ETS


Net neutrality protects and promotes a fast, fair and open internet. It prohibits internet service providers from discriminating between content or users. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to end net neutrality rules on Dec. 13, 2017.

Since the Internet does not distinguish between state boarders, individual states may be unable to directly enforce their own net neutrality laws. But that has not stopped multiple states, including Hawaii, from working to manage the effects on local levels.

An executive order signed by Gov. David Ige took effect on Feb. 5, 2018, directing all state government agencies to contract for internet-related service only with providers who contractually agree to abide by net neutrality principals.

These types of regulations could have a significant impact on many providers as state contracts tend to be large.

A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Americans disapprove of the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality. Most recently, members of Hawaii’s Congressional delegation joined their U.S. House and Senate colleagues to introduce a measure designed to overturn the FCC decision on net neutrality.

Hawaii legislators have also expressed support for maintaining net neutrality in Hawaii.  This includes House Bill 1995 that, if enacted, would aim to regulates broadband internet service providers to ensure a free and open Internet. The bill also would establish a task force to examine the costs and benefits of creating a state-owned public utility company to provide broadband internet service.

You Are Invited. Again!

THG is proud to partner with Hawaii Open Data in presenting Open Data Day 2018! The public is invited to join open data advocates and users to catch up on recent initiatives happening around Hawaii and beyond.

Invited speakers include R. Brian Black, president and executive director of the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, as well as representatives of the state Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; the Office of Planning’s Statewide GIS Program; and the Campaign Spending Commission.

Seating is limited to about 30 people so sign up early. To reserve your seat, sign up here.

A new information network is putting the collective wisdom of public sector IT agencies within reach of their colleagues and trying to solve some of the big problems that vex government.

by Theo Douglas, Government Technology

Screenshot of Government Digital Transformation Exchange

In this GovTech story, read about a new online portal that aims to boost the innovative process and empower collaboration by creating a place for those working on technologically innovative projects for government to share experiences and best practices in a format adapted for use by all. READ FULL STORY

Hawaii’s tech minds take on food traceability, ag-crimes, and farmer training language barriers

AGathon group photo

Team Harvest Vision took first place at Hawaii’s premier AGathon on Sunday, Jan .14. Photo courtesy of Facebook: Sen. Mike Gabbard

After an intense two weeks of planning and coding, Hawaii technology innovators on Jan. 14 filled Impact Hub Honolulu – laptops in hand. Each teams’ representatives were poised to pitch thoughtfully crafted concepts, some already in the proofs-of-concept stage, to a panel of judges convened for the AGathon, Hawaii’s first agriculture-tech hackathon.

The AGathon was held to bring the burgeoning world of digital innovation into the age-old practice of local food production to address problems confronting Hawaii today. The event kickedoff on Jan. 6 at the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center in Waipahu, followed by an all-day hackathon Jan. 13 and “Demo Day and Awards” on Jan. 14 at Impact Hub Honolulu.

Presented by Hawaii Open Data and the state’s Hawaii Technology Development Corporation, Transform Hawaii Government was proud to support the inaugural event, along with co-sponsors Elemental Excelerator, Ulupono Initiative, and Whitmore Economic Development Group.

As intended, the AGathon successfully sparked the development of concepts for making information easily digestible and diverging from long paper-based manuals; ultimately, so farmers are able to spend more of their time growing crops, minimizinf food waste and contributing to meeting Hawaii’s local sustainable food needs.

Food Traceability Pitch

Luisa Castro, DoA Food Safety Program Manager, delivers her food traceability challenge to programmers during the kickoff event on Jan. 6, 2018.

Additional benefits are the opportunities this presents for improving interaction between farmers and government agencies as well as how those agencies manage data. With increasing compliance regulations, lack of timely and easily interpretable data hampers the efforts of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (DoA) and its partners in propelling the industry toward effective data-driven decision-making and outreach. Even while some areas are rife with aggregated data due to years of information collection, making sense of the broader situation remains a cumbersome challenge without responsive and dynamic analysis tools. Other barriers include remote locations, lack of internet connectivity, as well as potential language barriers from laborers add complexity to the agency’s technological needs.

First place team Harvest Vision impressed judges with a demo of their artificial intelligence software using a camera to recognize ripe coffee berries. As noted in a recent story in Pacific Business News, Harvest Vision received interest from local coffee producer Kauai Coffee Company, which is looking to implement the technology in 2018.

Harvest Vision PC Christopher Nguyen

First place winner Harvest Vision’s concept employs an API that uses machine learning to support harvest operations. Photo courtesy of Devpost, Christopher Nguyen.

Congratulations to Harvest Vision and the other inaugural AGathon winners:

  • First Place: Harvest Vision – an application programming interface (API) that uses machine learning to harvest coffee efficiently.
  • Second Place: Farm Safe – an app designed to explain farming and safety practices to non-English-speaking farmers in their native language.
  • Third Place: Follow the ‘Aina – a solution used for food traceability.


IT Roadmap

The state recently unveiled its IT Roadmap online dashboard. Image Courtesy of the Office of Enterprise Technology Services

One of the most significant milestones of 2017 in the areas of state IT governance and budget transparency was the unveiling of the statewide IT Roadmap. Located on the Office of Enterprise Technology Services’ (ETS) website (, the online resource was developed through extensive coordination with various departments and agencies within the state executive branch with the goal of creating a more accessible, cohesive and transparent dashboard for state and public use.

The statewide IT Roadmap was developed in accordance with section 27-43, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which requires state departments to create and maintain multi-year IT strategic plans and roadmaps. It serves as part of ongoing efforts by ETS’ IT Governance team to improve the state’s IT governance processes.

ETS anticipates that the implementation of the IT Roadmap will serve as a valuable tool for the overall long-term development, financial planning and execution of all significant IT activities within the executive branch. In addition, it will facilitate efforts to deploy appropriate resources efficiently in support of current large enterprise projects, such as the tax system and payroll modernization initiatives. For the public, the roadmap serves as a valuable tool for monitoring state projects, ongoing developments, budgets and schedules.

To learn more about and track current state IT projects, explore the IT Roadmap online dashboard at under the Department Dashboard section.

Hawaii State Public Library

The Hawaii State Library located in Downtown Honolulu. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Hawaii State Library System recently was awarded the distinguished Silver W3 award in its class, outshining more than 5,000 candidates for its innovation, user-friendly design and creativity.

Developed in partnership with Hawaii Information Consortium LLC, the award-winning website has set the bar for library websites around the country. The State Library site features personal stories and experiences, as well as the positive impact the library has had on people’s lives.

HI State Libraries website

Visit the Hawaii State Library System homepage at

Additionally, the website promotes a variety of services and community events, offers its digital visitors the opportunity to connect with staff via the “Ask a Librarian” feature, and provides book recommendations from staff and study tools for youth and students. The website is also mobile device-friendly for people on the go and contains links to state and federal resources.

To experience the award-winning website for yourself, visit the Hawaii State Library System at and share your own story.