Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gay judge nominated to state Supreme Court, civil unions bill advances, Abercrombie seeks pay cuts, not furloughs, Akaka loses committee chairmanship, pesticides sought to curb Kona coffee beetle, landfill woes continue, more Hawaii news

Photo (c) 2011 All Hawaii News
A measure creating same-sex civil unions in Hawaii has cleared its first hurdle. Associated Press.

A proposal to allow couples — same- or opposite-sex — to enter into a civil union took its first step in the state Legislature as lawmakers appear ready to move quickly on the issue. Star-Advertiser.

The senate judiciary committee held the first hearing on what will likely be a handful of different civil unions measures introduced this session. KHON2.

Last year there were flag wavers, sign holders on the street, and songs of victory and defeat. But this year the first public hearing of a civil unions bill was minus fanfare. Hawaii News Now.

The state Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday passed a bill to provide civil unions, offering benefits and responsibilities identical to marriage, for unmarried couples.KITV4.

Gay Supreme Court Nominee Hopes To Inspire Youth. KITV4.

Sabrina Shizue McKenna, a longtime state judge and former University of Hawaii women's basketball player who was born in Tokyo and raised by a single mother, was nominated to a 10-year term on the Hawaii Supreme Court yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Abercrombie Testy In Naming McKenna. Civil Beat.

Senior Family Court Judge Sabrina McKenna, 53, has been nominated by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to serve on the Hawaii Supreme Court. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s pick of Sabrina S. McKenna as his first judicial appointee — to the Hawaii Supreme Court no less — gives momentum to groups that have been lobbying for years to get more women promoted through the Judiciary’s ranks. Pacific Business News

Furloughs won't fly under Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, but pay cuts for government workers might. Associated Press.

A state Senate committee has approved legislation that would grant a governor the authority to nominate members of the state Board of Education. Associated Press.

Food security, sustainable energy, Native Hawaiian culture a priority for Hawaii non-profits. Hawaii Independent.

U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka will move from chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to lead the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, a loss of influence for the state's junior senator. Star-Advertiser,

Hawaii fourth and eighth graders have performed below already low national scores on a national science assessment. Associated Press.

Half of Hawaii eighth-graders and nearly 40 percent of fourth-graders in public schools tested "below basic" proficiency in science on a national assessment, according to results released yesterday. Star-Advertiser.

Board of Education member Lei Ahu Isa resigned yesterday, saying she wanted to give the governor the chance to make his first BOE appointment. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health says levels of the carcinogen hexavalent chromium in Honolulu's water supply are low and the city's water is safe to drink. Associated Press.

Your tap water is safe. That was the message Tuesday from state health officials after chromium 6 test results were made public. KHON2.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday issued an order to Waste Management, Inc., with the company agreeing to take immediate steps to clean up recent releases of waste and contaminated stormwater and prevent future releases from the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill on Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

The operator of Oahu's only landfill has one week to come up with a plan to avoid a repeat of the events that sent storm water with medical waste and other trash into waters at the edge of Ko Olina Resort. Star-Advertiser.

The Environmental Protection Agency today ordered the immediate clean up of contaminated storm water at the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. KITV4.

While the future of Waimanalo Gulch Landfill is uncertain, another landfill nearby is embarking on an innovative project. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Big Island unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in two years, according to data released Monday by the state Department of Labor. Tribune-Herald.

State legislators will consider two bills taking a different approach to new regulations on open water fish farming. West Hawaii Today.

The state Agriculture Department is taking a step toward bringing in pesticides used worldwide to control the coffee berry borer. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Health is warning people not to eat more than a hundred local food brands, but the recall list isn't accurate. Hawaii News Now.

After successful participating last year, the crews of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Cutters Kittiwake and Ahi are currently stationed in Honolulu, scheduled to participate in Ka Molokai Makahiki games this weekend. Molokai Dispatch.

In little more than three weeks on the job, acting Maui County Prosecuting Attorney John D. Kim already has improved morale in the office and helped reduce a backlog of felony cases in 2nd Circuit Court, attorneys told Maui County Council members reviewing his nomination Tuesday. Maui News.

Targeting major highways as well as some well-traveled neighborhood roads, Maui police issued nearly 700 citations to speeding drivers during five days of stepped-up enforcement last week.Maui News.

Ten University of Hawai‘i at Manoa undergraduate students will be spending the Spring 2011 semester as legislative interns in the offices of state representatives and senators, and one will serve as an intern in the city Department of the Prosecuting Attorney. Garden Island.