The Hawaii state Senate is splitting its Committee on Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs into two separate committees for the 2014 session.

Effective July 1, Sen. Gilbert Kahele, D-Hilo, will serve as chairman of the tourism committee, while Sen. Gilbert Keith-Agaran, D-Wailuku-Kahului, will serve as vice chairman. The Hawaiian Affairs committee will be chaired by Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, D-Kalaeloa-Makua, while Sen. Clayton Hee, D-Kaneohe-Kahuku-Kunua, will serve as vice chairman.

Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said in a statement that changes were kept to a minimum at the start of the session this year.

“Now that the session is over, we are afforded the capacity to listen to feedback and evaluate ourselves. In doing so, we have been able to make some positive changes,” she said. “These new assignments maximize the skills and interests of each of our members, while providing us with greater opportunity to focus on the individual subject areas.”

Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, D-Waikiki-Moiliili, who had served as chairman of the previous Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, will continue to serve as Senate majority leader, as well as vice chairman of the Water and Land Committee.

The Senate also said Friday that Sen. Brian Taniguchi, D-Manoa-Punchbowl, will serve as the vice chairman of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

– Pacific Business News

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