Friday, February 19, 2010

Native Hawaiian sovereignty bill to be considered Monday, state dumps 4k mentally ill, leaf blower ban considered, flag flap intensifies, more Hawaii news

A version of the Akaka bill could be up for a vote on the floor of the U.S. House next week.

Legislation aimed at lessening the increase employers are expected to pay in unemployment insurance taxes cleared the state House yesterday.

About 4,000 Medicaid clients with severe mental illnesses will no longer get mental health services through the state under changes set to start taking effect this summer, but instead will get treatment from their health insurers — a switch that some worry will leave clients with reduced or no mental health care.

Some state politicians are fighting to keep local jobs for local workers. House Speaker Calvin Say has introduced a bill that would require 80% of workers hired for public works or construction contracts be Hawaii residents.

An attempt by House Republicans to force a vote on a bill to allow flagpoles in planned communities turned into a fight over procedure on the chamber floor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday will deliberate a bill to prohibit the use of gas leaf blowers.

Hawaii County Council members fortunate enough to win re-election this year won't be rewarded with an automatic 2 percent pay raise.

Parts of three county agencies would be combined into a new transportation department in a restructuring plan Mayor Billy Kenoi plans to submit March 1 with his annual budget.

Mayor Billy Kenoi will get a little help on his frequent lobbying trips to the state Capitol, thanks to a $50,000, five-month contract awarded Tuesday to Honolulu consultant Okudara & Associates Inc.

Acquiring land has largely been the hitch in attempts to start up renewable energy facilities in Hawai‘i, and the difficulties are only exacerbated by current subdivision requirements, Rep. Mina Morita says.

Maui County sued the Merrill Lynch brokerage Wednesday to "gain access" to $32 million it had invested in a kind of pooled security - akin to a mortgage-backed security - called a Student Loan Auction Rate Security.

When it comes to the fight over the water in East Maui's streams, the public debate over recent years has almost always involved plenty of flowing tears.