Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Abercrombie wants to raise hotel tax, Hawaii Legislature kills fish protection bills, Hawaiian Electric zapped by legislative committee, Native Hawaiian students want tests in their own language, iconic Coco Palms could lose renovation permits, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii hotels
Royal Kona Resort (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Prompted by the record visitor arrivals, Gov. Neil Abercrombie is proposing to raise Hawaii's transient accommodations tax by 2 percentage points. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii fishermen organized successfully to kill a bill that would have limited the type of nets they use to fish. Associated Press.

A controversial bill to require holders of aquarium fish permits to specify all species collected, and in what collection areas, has been deferred indefinitely. West Hawaii Today.

They're back: gambling proposals at the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

Hawaii already has among the strictest firearms laws in the nation, and some of the most cumbersome registration and training requirements, but if key lawmakers get their way, the laws will become even tougher for firearms owners and anyone who lives in their home. Hawaii Reporter.

Holding signs that read, "No more unfair testing," hundreds of Hawaiian-immersion students and supporters gathered on the lawn of the Department of Education building Tuesday to call for the development of standardized assessments in the Hawaiian language. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. executives speaking at an informational briefing at the state Capitol on Tuesday got an earful from state legislators who complained the utility is not moving fast enough to reduce electric rates. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's electric rates are so high some residents have been forced to burn candles at night and cook on kiawe, lawmakers say. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. officials were hesitant Tuesday to pick one path as the sole avenue to reduce Hawaii’s high energy costs. West Hawaii Today.

It’s a well-known fact that Hawai’i has one of the highest electricity rates in the nation…and state lawmakers conducted an information hearing yesterday to find out what the public utilities are doing to bring costs down for local customers. Hawaii Public Radio.

Foster parents urged state legislators Tuesday to support a bill that would increase their monthly reimbursement checks for the first time since 1990. Star-Advertiser.

A bill introduced in the State Legislature aims to tighten the current seat belt law, and ultimately save lives. KHON2.

Lawmaker Raises Alarm About Geothermal Fracking in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Lawmakers Aim to Strengthen Laws Against Sex Offenders Targeting Children. Hawaii Reporter.

All of Hawaii's counties have passed bans on plastic shopping bags for most purchases, but state legislators now are proposing fees on all bags at checkout. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has selected nearly 100 cultural and community events and programs statewide to receive funding under its County Product Enrichment Program for 2013. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for January 30. Associated Press.

Oahu

Vice Speaker John Mizuno says he drafted a letter to William Aila, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, urgently requesting a survey of any potential risks associated with a Kalihi Valley hillside after three boulders rolled down and damaged a home Monday morning. KITV4.

Kaiser Permanente Hawaii's licensed practical nurses and medical assistants protested possible registered nurse layoffs by distributing informational leaflets Tuesday to members at the Hono­lulu Clinic and Moana­lua Medical Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Big Island lawmakers are once again seeking to allow Hawaii County to use some of its fuel tax revenue to help subdivisions maintain their private roads. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. will withdraw a 4.2 percent rate increase request that would have raised the average homeowner’s bill by $8.32, according to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Tribune-Herald.

It will cost at least $552 nightly for a private security service to patrol the Kawa Bay property purchased by the county, according to bids opened Tuesday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

First Wind officials said Tuesday that they have started work on a program to preserve the population of threatened or endangered Hawaiian seabirds in West Maui, several miles from the company’s Kaheawa Wind project. Pacific Business News.

A Coast Guard aircraft was forced to return to Oahu after being targeted by an individual with a laser pointer while flying into Kahului Airport on Maui on Monday night, authorities said. Maui Now.

Kauai
Kauai County's planning director filed a petition Tuesday to revoke permits issued to the property owner of Coco Palms Resort, citing inaction to restore and redevelop the historic site. Star-Advertiser.

Two decades after Hurricane ‘Iniki delivered a merciless blow to Coco Palms Resort in Wailua Beach, the iconic hotel — now a visual blight on the island’s busiest corridor — may have a much more difficult time returning to its former glory, after its permits to re-develop the property expired last week. Garden Island.

After many expansions, the Kekaha Landfill — the island’s only landfill — will reach capacity by 2021 or 2022, according to county officials. Garden Island.

Steven A. Hunt was named Kauai County director of finance by Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.