Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hawaii reapportionment unconstitutional, state awaits revenue forecast, people killing monk seals, teachers union dispute jeopardizing $75M grant, lawmaker wants funding to fight brown tree snake, Maui squatters in court, Big Island studies geothermal energy, vog socks in Oahu, more news from all the Hawaii Islands

Hawaii Supreme Court (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Supreme Court struck down the state Reapportionment Commission's plan Wednesday and ordered the panel to come up with new boundaries for state Senate and House districts based on Hawaii's permanent resident population. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Supreme Court needed only hours to decide that the state's reapportionment plan is unconstitutional and must be re-done. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has struck down as unconstitutional the state's final reapportionment plan, a decision that will likely grant the Big Island a fourth Senate seat and possibly an eighth House seat. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Wednesday the state reapportionment plan is unconstitutional. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the new election maps for the state of Hawaii are unconstitutional. KITV4.

The Hawaii Supreme Court has ruled the recently redrawn voting district maps unconstitutional, saying the committee that made them must start over. KHON2.

The Abercrombie administration and state House and Senate leaders are awaiting today's forecast from the state Council on Revenues to see if projected revenue growth holds. Star-Advertiser.

State departments want to expand the budget by  some $334.7 million, Budget and Finance Director Kalbert Young said in the first of a series of money briefings to lawmakers planned for this week and next. Hawaii Reporter.

The state capitol is starting to buzz again after a long recess, with staffers and legislators preparing for opening day in just two weeks. Hawaii Independent.

Former U.S. Rep. Ed Case has asked the Democratic Party of Hawaii to host a series of forums across the state where voters can compare him and U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono side by side before the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate in August. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Beat Poll: Hawaii Voters Support Limiting Political Donations. Civil Beat.

Two weeks after the state was warned to make progress on Race to the Top education reforms or risk losing a $75 million federal grant, there are no formal talks under way aimed at ending an ongoing labor dispute with the teachers union. Star-Advertiser.

A former teachers union executive predicted last summer that Hawaii's Race to the Top would be the biggest loser when contract negotiations went awry. Civil Beat.

Senate Education Chair Blasts School Bus Report. Civil Beat.

State Rep. Barbara Marumoto plans to introduce legislation this year that would enable officials to resume cargo inspections to prevent brown tree snakes from sneaking into Hawaii on planes and ships from Guam. Associated Press.

Hawaii is at-risk from the damaging brown tree snake from Guam. KITV4.

Verizon Wireless has upgraded its 3G wireless coverage in Hawaii with the addition of a new cell site on the Big Island, two new cell sites each on Kauai and Maui and three in urban Honolulu and Waikiki. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for January 5. Associated Press.

Oahu

Volcanic haze smothers Oahu. Hawaii News Now.

Vog adds to Oahu's emergency room woes. KHON2.

Tufts of salad greens will soon be sprouting from a Kakaako rooftop garden as part of a project that supporters hope will help launch a wave of urban farming in Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Long-time investigative reporter Keoki Kerr will be joining Hawaii News Now on Jan. 16. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii


The Big Island coffee industry has been operating without an official quarantine in place for more than a month now. Tribune-Herald.

Geothermal energy studied. Tribune-Herald.

Swimmers, snorkelers and surfers will soon have easier access to Laaloa Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands, thanks to action Wednesday by the Hawaii County Council. West Hawaii Today.

Big Island unemployment has steadily increased in the last two years … inching up to the 11 percent mark in East Hawai’i. The State Department of Human Services staff there was cut two years ago. Hawaii Public Radio.

During his "Greatest Infection of the Sea" presentation Wednesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center, Capt. Charles Moore explained what and where the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- "actually a plastic soup" -- is. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Last month a bid to sunset the "Show Me the Water" ordinance failed, and Tuesday an attempt to amend it stalled following a visit by Mayor Alan Arakawa to the County Council Water Resources Committee. Maui News.

Iao Squatters Make First Court Appearance. Maui Now.

Maui Electric Co. customers could begin getting immediate savings with no upfront costs on power bills under a "Simply Solar" program being proposed by power utilities to the Public Utilities Commission. Maui News.

Kauai

Rep. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawai‘i, on Wednesday blamed her Republican peers in Congress for creating election-season gridlock at the expense of Americans who need jobs. Garden Island.

Federal and state officials are appealing to the public for help in identifying the people who killed four critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals since November, including the death of a juvenile male on Kauai that was found Monday with an object imbedded in its skull. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaiian monk seal was found dead under suspicious circumstances on Kaua‘i Monday, following the death of three other seals on Molokai in recent weeks, according to a press release Wednesday from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Garden Island.