Hawaii Governor Signs Emergency Proclamation Addressing Housing Crisis

In a move to combat Hawaii’s escalating housing crisis, Governor Josh Green signed an emergency housing proclamation on July 17, aimed at expediting development processes and alleviating the state’s acute shortage of housing units. The proclamation builds on the Hawaii Legislature’s wide-ranging, recent efforts to address housing affordability, supply, and homelessness.

Hawaii is at the forefront of the nation’s most unaffordable housing markets, with median home prices nearly three times the national average and housing costs a primary contributor to outmigration. An annual income of $252,000 is needed to afford a new median-priced home, leaving essential workers including nurses, firefighters, and teachers caught in a frustrating bind – earning too much to qualify for government-affordable housing, yet falling short of the income threshold. The implications of the housing crisis are especially profound for Native Hawaiians, more of whom now reside in the continental U.S. than in Hawaii, and who comprise 40% of the homeless population within the state itself.

A primary focus of the emergency proclamation includes streamlining regulatory and approval processes for home construction, citing a current deficit of 6,000 new housing units per year to begin addressing the state’s current housing shortfall. Presently, construction permitting in Hawaii currently takes three times longer than the national average, adding an estimated $233,000 to $325,000 to the price of a new home.

While providing pathways towards rapid housing development, the emergency proclamation also underscores its desire for public input and participation. The Build Beyond Barriers Working Group, composed of city, county, and state agencies, will play a pivotal role in evaluating housing plans, permits, and applications. The group will also engage in consultations with stakeholders and the public to assess potential environmental and cultural impacts.

Governor Green’s vision extends over the next five years, including an overarching objective to construct 50,000 homes with a predominant emphasis on affordability. More information about Hawaii’s housing development pipeline can be found below.

Hawaii’s Housing Development Pipeline

Project Spotlights

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A Conversation with Our BLC Chair, Baja California Diputado, Roman Cota Muñoz

The nearly 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border region is home to over 80 million people where over a billion dollars’ worth of goods cross the border each day. It’s dynamic, rich in culture and possesses immense opportunities.

As programming for this year’s Border Legislative Conference (BLC) in Ensenada, Baja California gets underway, we had a chance to talk with current Chair, Baja California Diputado Román Cota Muñoz, about his background, his district, and the issues in his community which led him to run for public office. We hope you enjoy learning about him as much as we did.

One last most important note, on April 26th Diputado Cota Muñoz and his wife, Alejandra, welcomed their first little one into this world. Congratulations on this exciting event, Diputado Cota!

What inspired or motivated you to run for a seat in your legislature?

Throughout my life I have had experiences which drew me to public service. The first is academics, which lured me towards the legal field with the aim to modify the laws of my state to achieve the development and well-being of its residents. That’s a passion of mine. The second is having served as executive secretary for the Mayor of Tecate, which broadened my perspective by working closely with the city’s residents. 

What do you view as the most important binational issues for your community?

Improving infrastructure and wait times for Mexican tourists crossing into  the U.S. It is essential for future binational agendas to optimize and expand modalities such as Ready Lanes* in cities that do not yet have them, which would have a positive impact for both sides of the border.

Increase tourism should also be a primary objective in the binational agenda given the important cultural and economic ties held by the CaliBaja** region. Our state has immense natural wealth that we are willing to share with our neighboring state, as well as with visitors who come from beyond California.

The strengthening of institutions is a pillar that we contemplate for the growth of democracy of our government. This is why agreements must be attended to – whether they are on environmental issues, security, or economic development – they are all critical.

What would you like people to know about your district?

We are the best of both worlds. On the one hand we have the warmth of a Pueblo Mágico***, with very marked traditions such as the taste for exquisite bread, which is the very best in the entire state, to a good beer as this is where Tecate beer was born. Also, development is thriving in this growing city, with a strong will get ahead.

What is one thing that most people don’t know about you but would find interesting?

I am a faithful fan of sports and physical activity. My diabetes diagnosis has turned me into a very active person who makes every effort to stay in shape despite the level of responsibility required by my work. In my free time I run, do CrossFit, and recently entered the world of “pádel”- a type of tennis played on a small court surrounded by a net or walls. It is usually played by two teams of two people, a sort of cross between tennis and squash, which is having its heyday here in my area. One last thing, like any good Mexican, I faithfully follow and am a fan of the Guadalajara soccer sports club (Club Deportivo Guadalajara), known by their nickname “Chivas.”

*Ready Lane is a dedicated primary vehicle lane for travelers entering the United States at land border ports of entry.

**CaliBaja is a vast region comprised of important border cities in the Baja California-California area that are hubs for cross-border collaboration due to their economic activity, labor force, world-class university education, and unparalleled growth potential. It stands out for its entrepreneurial outlook, unique cultural characteristics, and its 7.1 million inhabitants from San Diego to Imperial Valley in the U.S. and Tijuana to Mexicali in Mexico.

**The program “Pueblos Mágicos,” or magical towns, is a marketing strategy initiative led by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, with support from other federal agencies, to promote a series of towns and villages around the country that are rich with cultural heritage. They offer visitors

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Interstate Housing Collaborative Examines Current Initiatives, Opportunities

This month, CSG West facilitated its second Interstate Housing Collaborative, virtually convening state legislative housing committee leaders from the West. The event featured conversations with two guest contributors: Nevada Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui and Martin Muoto, CEO and Founder of SoLa Impact.

Jauregui has spearheaded affordable housing policy initiatives during this year’s legislative session, while Muoto’s SoLa Impact is a “family of social impact, real estate funds” focused on preserving and creating high-quality affordable housing in low-income communities.

The Interstate Housing Collaborative examines existing and innovative approaches to address the current housing crisis. Key issues include incentivizing development, rent stabilization policies, alternative financing sources, and permanent supportive housing. To learn more about the collaborative, or about the CSG West Housing Committee, contact Jonathan Lennartz via email at [email protected].

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U.S. Department of Energy Announces Funding Opportunity Awards (FOA) for State & Local Governments to Advance Clean Energy Technologies and Solutions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced a wide range of funding opportunities available to state and local governments aimed at incentivizing smart manufacturing technologies, improve energy efficiency, workforce development and other strategies to support clean energy goals. See below for several funding opportunities which may be of interest to western leaders, including those pertaining to tribal lands, agricultural sector, and remote or rural areas.

State Manufacturing Leadership Program: Provides up to $50 million to work with States to accelerate use of smart manufacturing technologies and practices and access to tools and assistance. Available until expended.

Large Wind Turbine Materials and Manufacturing:  Issued to further develop broad, foundational, manufacturing “platform” technologies and address gaps and barriers that are currently limiting use of composite materials in clean energy and decarbonization-related applications with wind energy applications as the primary focus. Deadline: May 9.

Reducing Agricultural Carbon Intensity and Protecting Algal Crops (RACIPAC): Develops science-based strategies and technologies to cost-effectively transform renewable carbon resources such as agricultural waste and algae into high-quality, environmentally sustainable, conversion-ready feedstocks for biofuels and bioproducts. Deadline: May 16.

Clean Energy Technology Deployment on Tribal Lands: The DOE Office of Indian Energy is soliciting applications from Indian Tribes, which include Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Village Corporations, Intertribal Organizations, and Tribal Energy Development Organizations to: (1) Install clean energy generating system(s) and energy efficiency measure(s) for Tribal Building(s); or, (2) Deploy community-scale clean energy generating system(s) or energy storage on Tribal Lands; or, (3) Install integrated energy system(s) for autonomous operation (independent of the traditional centralized electric power grid) to power a single or multiple Essential Tribal Buildings during emergency situations or for tribal community resilience; or, (4) Provide electric power to unelectrified tribal buildings. Deadline: May 16.

Carbon Capture Demonstration Projects Program: Provides $2.5 billion to develop six carbon capture facilities to significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, costs, emissions reductions, and environmental performance of coal and natural gas use. Deadline: May 23.

Energizing Rural Communities Prize: $15 million prize for entrepreneurs, university faculty and student groups, community organizations, tribal and local governments, financial institutions, industry professionals, and others with ideas to help organize or finance a clean energy demonstration project in a rural or remote area. Deadline: May 24 (Phase I applications)

Civil Nuclear Credit Program (CNC) Application Guidance: The second award cycle for the Civil Nuclear Credit program is open to owners or operators of nuclear reactors that are at risk of closure by the end of the four-year award period, including such reactors that ceased operations after November 15, 2021. Deadline: May 31.

Advanced Energy Manufacturing and Recycling Grants:  This first FOA will provide approximately $350 million in awards to small- and medium-sized manufacturers in energy communities to 1) establish new facilities or 2) re-equip or expand existing facilities for the manufacturing or recycling of advanced energy property. Awards will focus on projects with high supply chain impacts and strong community benefits plans. Deadline: June 8.

EERE BETO FY23 Conversion Research and Development Funding Opportunity Announcement: Supports developing technologies to enable the conversion of waste and renewable resources to fuels and products with substantial greenhouse gas emissions reductions compared to the petroleum incumbent. Deadline: June 16

Carbon Capture Large-Scale Pilots: Designed to establish a carbon capture technology program for the development of transformational technologies that will significantly improve the efficiency, effectiveness, costs, emissions reductions, and environmental performance of coal and natural gas use, including in manufacturing and industrial facilities. Deadline: June 21.

Energy Improvements in Rural and Remote Areas (ERA): The Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas (ERA) program seeks to improve the resilience, reliability, and affordability of energy systems in communities across the country with 10,000 or fewer people. Deadline: June 28 

Clean Hydrogen Electrolysis, Manufacturing, and Recycling:  Provides up to $750 million in Federal funding to support the broader government-wide approach to accelerate progress in clean hydrogen technologies and maximize the benefits of the clean energy transition. Deadline: July 19.

Industrial Demonstrations Program: Funds projects that focus on the highest emitting and hardest to abate industries where decarbonization technologies can have the greatest impact. Deadline: August 4.

Clean Energy Innovator Fellowship: A unique workforce development program that matches recent graduates and new energy professionals to key energy organizations to support efforts to advance clean energy solutions. Fellows will gain career experience with critical regional, state, utility, and tribal energy organizations.  

EECBG Formula Program Funding Opportunity: The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program Formula Grant Application is now open to apply for $430 million in clean energy and energy efficiency funding. Read more about eligibility lists for states, local governments, and tribes.  

IRA Funded Technical Assistance for Building Energy Codes: DOE’s Office of State and Community Energy Programs (SCEP) has announced its intent to make $1 billion in funding available to states and local governments for improved building codes that reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency through the IRA Funded Technical Assistance for the Adoption of Building Energy Codes. This technical assistance opportunity will make two types of Building Code Technical Assistance available:   

  1. $317 million will be available to adopt the latest building energy code, or other codes and standards that achieve equivalent or greater energy savings.
  2. $633 million will be used to adopt a building energy code that meets or exceeds the zero energy provisions in the 2021 IECC code, or other codes and standards with equivalent or greater energy savings.

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On the Road with CSG West: Hawaii

Last month, CSG West staff Edgar Ruiz and Will Keyse felt the Aloha spirit during the annual state visit to the Hawaii State Capitol in Honolulu. Many thanks to Senate Majority Leader Dru Kanuha and his wonderful staff for hosting us during the visit. We were able to connect with many members and staff to provide information on CSG West programs and services for the year, as well as learn of pertinent challenges facing the state.

A highlight of the visit included a breakfast gathering for alumni of the Western Legislative Academy (WLA) and members eligible for this year’s WLA. We thank the 45 members that came to join us and celebrate regional professional development. Mahalo to Sen. Chris Lee for the breakfast introduction, and to Senate Majority Leader Kanuha and Representative Troy Hashimoto for the introductions on the Senate and House floors, respectively.

CSG West staff with House Committee on Housing Chair, Representative Troy Hashimoto

In addition to conversations with the leadership teams of Senate President Ronald Kouchi and Speaker Scott Saiki, CSG West staff were grateful to connect with Housing Committee Chairs Rep. Troy Hashimoto and Sen. Stanley Chang and thank them for their initiative in gathering Western housing committee chairs.

CSG West Staff with Senate Committee on Housing Chair, Senator Stanley Chang

We appreciated the insight from each of the Hawaiian members on issues facing the legislature in Oahu and the neighbor islands, and look forward to seeing many of you this summer at the 76th CSG West Annual Meeting in Los Angeles in August.

CSG West staff with Representative Della Au Belatti, who served as CSG West’s House liaison for the 2021-2022 biennium

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On the Road with CSG West: Montana

As CSG West prepares to convene two of its annual programs in Montana this year, last month’s state visit to the Montana State Capitol was an important opportunity to connect with members and legislative leaders.

CSG West staff Edgar Ruiz and Jonathan Lennartz enjoyed meeting with Senator Mike Cuffe, who shared a wealth of knowledge about the Columbia River Treaty and water policy issues along the U.S.-Canada border. Senator Cuffe’s insights will be valuable in shaping the programming for the Legislative Council on River Governance (LCRG), which will convene June 26-29 in Whitefish, Montana.

Joe Kolman, Director of Research and Environmental Policy in the Legislative Services Division, is this year’s co-chair of the Legislative Service Agency & Research Directors committee (LSA/RD), which is also meeting in Whitefish this fall. CSG West staff had productive meetings with Mr. Kolman and Jerry Howe, Legislative Services Executive Director, and appreciates their hospitality and support during the visit.

House and Senate leaders play an important role in appointing members to CSG West policy committees. Staff met with Senate President and Western Legislative Academy (WLA) alumnus Jason Ellsworth, Senate President Pro Tem Kenneth Bogner, and House Speaker Matt Regier to discuss appointments for the biennium, eligible candidates for the 2023 WLA program, and emerging policy trends in the legislative session.

One of the many highlights of the state visit included conversations with legislators about their policy priorities, as this feedback helps determine the most relevant issues to address during upcoming CSG West programs and events. As was fitting for Women’s History Month, three women from the Montana House offered particularly notable insights from their legislative work during the current legislative session.

Representative Marta Bertoglio is a former United States Air Force officer taking special interest in veteran affairs. Representative Bertoglio shared information about her legislation, House Bill 68, signed by Governor Greg Gianforte earlier this session, which aims to help relocated military families  establish residency more readily for their child’s school enrollment.

House Minority Caucus Chair and Western Legislative Academy (WLA) alumnus, Representative Alice Buckley, described efforts to expand eligibility to a child care scholarship program for low-income families. Representative Denise Baum, a 19-year law enforcement veteran serving the last 14 years as a detective in Billings, discussed the impact of Montana’s Crisis Intervention Teams when responding to individuals who are experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

The WLA reception continues to be a highlight of the 2023 state visits. CSG West staff were delighted to host the many Montana legislators who have participated in the legislative training program, as well as interested applicants. Alumni shared their experience and the program’s continued influence in their legislative work.

CSG West offers special thanks for the floor introductions by Senate Pro Tem Kenneth Bogner and Representative Michele Binkley, respectively. We look forward to returning to Montana for the LCRG program in June!

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On the Road with CSG West: Colorado

CSG West would like to give a big shout-out to Colorado for the warm welcome received by our team this month as we visited with leaders, members, and staff at the Capitol. A special thank you to Representative Cathy Kipp and Senator Cleave Simpson for providing floor introductions and hosting us as we connected with new and tenured members to spread the word about how CSG supports them.

Shared training opportunities for Colorado’s newer members

With 31 new legislators in Colorado this year, we were excited to share the opportunity to apply for the 2023 Western Legislative Academy (WLA), which will take place in Colorado Springs, December 13-15. The WLA is the West’s premier leadership training open to legislators within their first four years of service and has been hosted in the Centennial State since its inception in 2000.

Promoted water stewardship programming

As with all our Western states, water is a major priority in Colorado, and we made sure to inform members of CSG West’s Colorado River Forum, which will be held in Wyoming this coming Fall. This collaborative event is of particular importance as policymakers consider the following:

Water governance in the west: Unpacking compacts, agreements, and water rights, and exploring the history and impact of state to state, cross border, and tribal relations along the river basin.

Diverse perspectives, priorities, and partnerships on water: Gathering federal, state, tribal, and non-governmental organizations  working in the watersheds across agricultural, energy, public lands, and conservation and restoration sectors.

Innovations in water, agriculture, & energy policies: Spotlighting energy and environmental challenges and working to strengthen and support energy security and resilience, food safety and security, and environmental health across the west.

Met with leaders and discussed engagement with CSG West and its policy committees

CSG West staff connected with legislative leadership on appointments to our eight policy committees, and how that work culminates and is leveraged throughout the West, specifically at the Annual Meeting.

Connected with friends at the Western Governors Association

CSG West believes in the incredible value of strong partnerships, and the team was thrilled to meet with our partners at the Western Governors’ Association while in Denver to discuss areas of potential collaboration. Thanks to Executive Director Jack Waldorf, Policy Director Troy Timmons, and their staff for the Mile-High hospitality!

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On the Road with CSG West: Idaho

CSG West staff were on the ground in Boise, Idaho, for the annual visit with members January 30-February 2.  Edgar Ruiz, CSG west director; Will Keyse, legislative training manager; and Jackie Tinetti, lead for Idaho state, connected with Senate and House leadership, as well as members at large.  The focus of the state visit was to inform members and staff about CSG regional and national resources, services, and programs that support their legislative service, including the Western Legislative Academy (WLA), the Henry Toll Fellowship Program, the 2023 Annual Meeting, and opportunities to serve on CSG West Policy Committees.

The visit included a hosted lunch for alumni and eligible members of this year’s WLA, as well as a morning with coffee and donuts aimed at connecting with legislators and legislative staff.

Throughout our visit, many positive comments and remembrances from last year’s 75th CSG West Annual Meeting that convened in Boise were shared and reconnecting with all of the people who worked so hard to make that meeting a success. The CSG West staff were grateful and appreciative of the warm welcome and hospitality extended  during our visit to the Gem State.

Idaho Representative Ned Burns, House Minority Caucus Chair, with Jackie Tinetti, CSG West Policy Analyst

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On the Road with CSG West: Alaska

Left to right: Jackie Tinetti, Speaker of the House Cathy Tilton, and Edgar Ruiz

CSG West staff – Edgar Ruiz and Jackie Tinetti – were in Juneau February 14-15, where they engaged with policymakers about CSG West programs, events, and services. They received a warm welcome from members and legislative staff.

The capitol was busy with committee hearings and floor sessions, and in between CSG West staff met with Senate and House leadership, many of the newest members, the staff of the Legislative Services Agency, and a brief hallway chat with Governor Mike Dunleavy.  A key objective of the visit was learning about members’ legislative priorities, their desire to work effectively individually and as a body on behalf of Alaskans, and how CSG West can provide support.

Left to right: Edgar Ruiz, Senate President Gary Stevens, and Jackie Tinetti

The highlight of our time at the capitol was the WLA Alumni lunch, where colleagues across chambers and parties come together to reminisce about their WLA experience and encourage those eligible to apply.  We value the strong support of WLA Alumni in promoting this unique and powerful professional development opportunity to their new colleagues.

A focus of discussion was the Western Legislative Academy, and the unique professional development opportunities offered by CSG West through Westrain and the Henry Toll Fellowship program.

Another popular topic was the 76th CSG West Annual Meeting that will convene in Universal City, California August 1-4. We thank our Liaisons – Senate President Gary Stevens, House Speaker Cathy Tilton, and Representative Craig Johnson for their time and hospitality.  We appreciate the floor introductions by Senator Cathy Giessel and Representative Craig Johnson, respectively.  

Thanks to all for your engagement and support – we wish you much success in the legislative session.

Left to right: Jackie Tinetti, Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy, and Edgar Ruiz

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