Friday, April 30, 2010

Legislature on last day passes civil unions, reinstates steep tax hikes, after 27 years, Kilauea losing steam, more top news from around the state

In a dramatic last-minute reversal, the state Legislature sent Gov. Linda Lingle a bill legalizing civil unions between any two consenting adults.

State House lawmakers yesterday approved a bill that would give same-sex and heterosexual couples the ability to enter into civil unions and enjoy the same rights as married couples under state law.

Many are calling it a very historic moment for Hawaii, and it's big step towards a huge victory for civil union supporters.

Opponents of a civil unions bill are urging Gov. Linda Lingle to veto the measure when it hits her desk.

Expect gas prices, electric bills and shipping costs to rise because the state Legislature voted yesterday to override a veto of a $1-per-barrel tax increase on oil products.

From veto to law, legislators went against the governor and overturned 11 issues today many centered on jobs and tax increases.

Hawaii state lawmakers Thursday overrode one of Gov. Linda Lingle's vetoes to clear the way to impose an almost 2000 percent oil barrel tax hike.

The Lingle administration lashed out at state lawmakers who ended the 2010 regular session with overrides of 11 of the governor's vetoes.

Here is a list of some of the measures revived today:

A government watchdog activist was injured and another was arrested yesterday during a protest over prayer at the state Legislature.

At least eight Hawaii lawmakers may leave office following this year's legislative session.

A drop in sulfur dioxide released from an eruption on Kilauea volcano's east side might mean the eruption is finally running out of gas after 27 years, scientists say.

Some of the best minds in social media are here for a two day conference on creating a business strategy using social media tools.

Work continues on efforts to cover up contaminated soil on the site of the future Target and Safeway stores in Hilo, where high levels of arsenic, dioxins and petroleum compounds have been found.

A state senator says the Department of Public Safety broke state and county laws and administrative rules during last year's closure of Kulani Correctional Facility.

Bowing to the inevitable, county and state officials emerged Wednesday from a closed-door strategy session determined to fill the hole in Big Island tourism left by the loss of Japan Airlines flights to Kona International Airport.

The state Department of Transportation assured residents Wednesday evening there will be no more protests to delay work on the Queen Kaahumanu Highway widening project and construction of the second phase is expected to begin in the fall.

Maui County Council members on Wednesday debated proposals to require the Department of Environmental Management to come up with a plan to recycle more wastewater and conduct sampling for water contamination before spending money to rehabilitate existing injection wells.

Many Kauai community members who closely followed the progression of the bill seeking to allow leashed dogs on the entire shared-use path were baffled when the author of the bill voted to defer it, sending it back to committee for possible amendments