By Derrick DePledge
The state Senate has divided the Senate Tourism and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, which had been led by Senate Majority Leader Brickwood Galuteria, into two separate committees.
Sen. Gilbert Kahele will become chairman of the Senate Tourism Committee, while Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran will serve as vice chairman. Sen. Maile Shimabukuro will lead the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee, with Sen. Clayton Hee as vice chairman.
Galuteria will concentrate on his role as majority leader.
“In the beginning of the session we acted quickly to organize and kept changes to a minimum so that we could focus our attentions on the issues and prepare for the 2013 session,” Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said in a statement Friday. “Now that 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. 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.”