Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hawaii Shield Law in jeopardy, governor touts preschool, Honolulu considers city chickens, Maui seeks Higa's help finding auditor, Thirty Meter Telescope heads to hearing, monk seal speared, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Senate Education Committee
Abercrombie testifies on education courtesy Hawaii Senate majority
State lawmakers should not wait for a constitutional amendment in 2014 that would allow public money to be spent on private preschool before launching a school readiness program, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Legislature is considering a plan for a statewide preschool program, one of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s priorities this session. Associated Press.

A state law protecting journalists from revealing their sources will be a lot weaker if the Legislature keeps the amendments that the House Judiciary Committee has made to the bill, media experts say. Civil Beat.

The state House Judiciary Committee agreed Tuesday to make permanent a state law protecting journalists and bloggers from disclosing confidential sources or other information, but proposed expanding exceptions to the law to include a broader range of serious crimes and civil actions. Star-Advertiser.

Environmentalists and conservation advocates would have a greater say in the outcome of public land development projects under a proposed new development authority for state harbors and parks. Star-Advertiser.

The House Committee on Water and Land has scheduled a hearing on Saturday, Feb. 9, to address issues surrounding the controversial Public Land Development Corporation. Maui Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has said he does not need tax increases to balance his two-year budget draft, but the governor has proposed a significant boost in the hotel room tax to start a conversation about the state's long-term revenue needs. Star-Advertiser.

After reviewing hundreds of pieces of testimony, and a heated debate over process, power, politics and public input, House Judiciary Committee members narrowly killed controversial legislation that would have made firearms instructors civilly liable for incidents arising during their classes. Hawaii Reporter.

A recent Congressional study shows that women in general earn nearly 18 percent less than their male counterparts in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

With a wait list of more than 10,000 for public housing, the state may target fancy car drivers as a sign to excess disposable income to open up units for those more in need. KHON2.

Following through on a pledge to pursue measures aimed at improving accountability and transparency at the University of Hawaii, Senate President Donna Mercado Kim introduced a package of bills Wednesday that would limit some of the UH president's powers in procurement, require Board of Regents members be trained about their own policies and on state laws and adjust how regents are selected. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii gun enthusiasts are organizing to stop gun control bills from gaining any traction at the state Legislature. Associated Press.

courtesy NOAA
courtesy NOAA
Authorities in Hawaii are investigating the spearing of a Hawaiian monk seal found Tuesday afternoon on Rabbit Island. Star-Advertiser.

Federal conservation officials are looking into reports of three whale-vessel collisions in less than 24 hours off the coast of Hawaii Island and Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii has been declared one of the "Terrible Ten" most regressive states for tax laws, by the nonpartisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, based in Wash., D.C. Star-Advertiser.

When it comes to taxes, Hawaii’s poor pick up more than their share of the tab, according to a new report. Tribune-Herald.

Statewide all plastic bags will be banned by 2015, but lawmakers have a plan for single-use bags between now and then, which they say will save the environment and taxpayers money. Hawaii News Now.

The plug has quietly been pulled on a plan by a band of entrepreneurs to buy Hawaii's $2.6 billion electric utility and convert it rather quickly to generate only renewable energy at a savings to consumers. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

While Dan Inouye's immense impact on Hawaii is difficult to measure, his association with the East-West Center is easily one of his most significant accomplishments. Civil Beat.

The first Honolulu City Council bill introduced this calendar year has already created quite a stir. The measure has to do with allowing chickens to be kept in residential areas. Hawaii Public Radio.

It looks like the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant will get a second digester that will turn sewage into fertilizer. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

The long-running controversy over the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea enters its next chapter Feb. 12, when the Board of Land and Natural Resources meets in Hilo to hear arguments following a contested case hearing over a conservation district use permit. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Paradise Park residents may soon not have to travel so far to catch a bus. Tribune-Herald.

A veteran park ranger has been named chief of interpretation at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Big Island Now.

Maui

Recently retired state Auditor Marion Higa may be helping Maui County with its hiring and development of its new auditor position, council members said Tuesday. Maui News.

The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is looking to lease up to 1,400 acres of its land on Maui to developers for renewable energy projects such as biomass, wind, solar or hydro. Pacific Business News.

The parking area between Iao Theater and Maui Sporting Goods is being proposed for a makeover that has some businesses in the area a little uneasy. Maui News.

State enforcement of administrative rules for offshore mooring at Mala Wharf and the Lahaina Small Boat Harbor led to the impounding of six vessels Tuesday. Maui News.

A man who spent 20 years in prison before his rape, kidnapping and burglary convictions were vacated and later dismissed is suing the state, Maui County and the Maui Police Department, alleging he was falsely arrested and wrongfully imprisoned. Maui News.

Kauai

The disagreements between the County Attorney’s Office and the former leadership at the Office of Prosecuting Attorney have re-ignited. Former Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho testified at a Kaua‘i County Council meeting Wednesday, accusing County Attorney Al Castillo of trading a lawsuit settlement for a job for his wife under the new OPA leadership. Garden Island.

Though Kauai residents flocked to hear the words of anti-GMO activists Dr. Vandana Shiva, Andrew Kimbrell and Walter Ritte, it remains to be seen whether their enthusiasm can be galvanized into effective political action. Honolulu Weekly.

Members of the Pacific Missile Range Facility’s Weapon Recovery Boat team pulled a Japanese buoy out of the ocean approximately 2 nautical miles west of Nohili Point on Jan. 18. Garden Island.

Oahu Publications, Inc. which publishes the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and MidWeek, has gained control of Kauai print media with its recent acquisition of The Garden Island newspaper. Honolulu Weekly.