Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gay Dems file complaints over marriage definition bills, $5.75M class action settlement over sex abuse at blind and deaf school advances, hotel tax increase mulled, Oahu red light bill advances, Ellison meets Maui mayor, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu gay rally (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Gay activists in the Democratic Party of Hawaii said Tuesday they have filed complaints against 11 state House and Senate Democrats for sponsoring a constitutional amendment that would ask voters whether marriage should be defined as between a man and a woman. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to get rid of the heavily criticized Public Land Development Corp. Associated Press.

In an effort to make legislators' financial disclosures more pertinent to the legislative session, House Bill 1132, which passed a second House committee Tuesday and now heads to the floor for a full vote, would move the disclosure deadline to between Jan. 1 and Jan. 31. Civil Beat.

A federal judge granted preliminary approval Tuesday to a proposed $5.75 million class-action settlement of a lawsuit accusing the state of allowing and covering up years of sexual abuse of students at Hawaii School for the Deaf and Blind. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are considering a proposal that would increase the hotel room tax known as the Transient Accommodation Tax (TAT) by 2 percent from 9.25 to 11.25 percent. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii Board of Education members said Tuesday that they are tired of hearing the same progress reports on how the department plans to fix its student transportation system. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii has asked the attorney general's office to assist in an investigation of allegations that a top UH official wasted potentially millions of dollars in state money through the mismanagement of construction projects, including steering contracts to friends. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii officials have announced they’ll investigate allegations that a university administrator wasted what could add up to millions of taxpayer dollars. Civil Beat.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents and UH President M.R.C. Greenwood are scheduled to discuss allegations of mismanagement made by a prominent Honolulu engineer at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting Thursday in Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii executives who take sabbaticals would have to make clear how their paid time away will benefit the institution, under a proposal set to go before the Board of Regents on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents is considering a policy change that would give undocumented immigrants the chance to qualify for resident tuition rates at a UH community college or four-year campus. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Tuesday that he has created a 29-member task force to assess the impact of the closure later this year of Tesoro Corp.’s Hawaii refinery. Pacific Business News.

Salary hikes are on the table across the islands for elected and appointed officials, though setting the right pay is a moving target. KHON2.

A new state task force will look into Hawaii’s future energy prospects if both of the states oil refineries close. Civil Beat.

KITV4 News is excited to announce an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama. KITV4.

Oahu

A new bill to install red-light cameras at intersections across Oahu is gaining speed, and state lawmakers are encouraged that this year’s effort could succeed where previous attempts hit the skids. Star-Advertiser.

The ban on all commercial activities at O’ahu City Parks was reversed today by the Caldwell Administration. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Moanalua mother is fighting for her right to breastfeed in public. Hawaii News Now.

The owner of Ala Moana Center is forcing Sears to close more than six months earlier than scheduled to demolish the 340,000-square-foot anchor store in July and start an extensive expansion of the state's largest shopping complex. Star-Advertiser.

About 125 BAE Systems Hawaii workers at Schofield Barracks received notice Friday that they are being furloughed immediately for 30 days, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The chances of Congress heading off sequestration — across the board budget cuts for federal departments and programs — are slim at this point, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said during a Kona visit Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

A move to have the County Council represented by a different attorney than the one representing the mayor was summarily shot down Tuesday by a County Council committee. West Hawaii Today.

School Librarian Takes Exception With Anti-War Presentation. Big Island Now.

A Connections New Century Public Charter School employee is appealing an ethics commission ruling after being slapped with a $10,000 fine earlier this month. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

On the Mainland there were Manzanar and Tule Lake, perhaps the two most-known Japanese-American internment camps. But not many know of Honouliuli on Oahu and Kalaheo Stockade on Kauai - two of Hawaii's 13 internment camps during World War II. Maui News.

The Mayor Arakawa Community Kokua Fund, will host its signature Mayor’s Kokua Ball fundraising event on Saturday, March 9. Maui Now.

Kauai

Work is ready to commence on the construction of the Hanalei Pier canopy, said Tony Motta, president of the Rotary Club of Hanalei Bay, who was joined by Rotary Club members, supporters for the Save the Pier campaign, and dignitaries from the county of Kaua‘i during the blessing for the construction of the canopy Tuesday. Garden Island.

A recently released report indicates that promoting health and community interaction can also be a source of economic wealth for Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Lanai

Larry Ellison, the corporate titan who bought the majority of Lanai last summer, has had his first meeting with Maui Mayor Alan Arawaka. The two posed for pictures Tuesday on the yacht owned by the Oracle Corp. CEO. Pacific Business News.

See photo here.

Larry Ellison’s Lanai Resorts LLC has named Arlan Chun, a former Hawaii executive with developers OliverMcMillan and DMB Associates, as vice president of all development and construction on Lanai. Pacific Business News.