Friday, February 1, 2013

Hawaii lawmakers seek paparazzi protection with 'Steven Tyler Act,' emergency contraception bill proposed, Abercrombie stuffs campaign warchest, libraries go digital, Kauai fights coral disease, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii paparazzi protection
Steven Tyler courtesy photo
More than two-thirds of Hawaii’s state senators have signed onto a bill to protect celebrities from paparazzi, giving them power to sue over unwanted beach photos and other snapshots on the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Star-struck lawmakers have introduced Senate Bill 465, which would allow famous people to sue if they felt their privacy was being invaded by people taking photos or making recordings of them. Civil Beat.

Some Hawaii lawmakers believe public figures do deserve added protection. State Senator Kalani English, a Democrat from Maui, introduced the “Steven Tyler Act,” which makes it a civil tort to invade the privacy of celebrities. Hawaii Reporter.

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler could be called the poster child for legislation some are calling the "paparazzi bill." KITV4.

A bill to strengthen Hawaii's lobbying law cleared a big hurdle this week, but not before the House Judiciary Committee diluted a key part. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has brought in more than $2.4 million for his re-election campaign next year, building a formidable bankroll while other Democrats consider whether he is vulnerable in a primary challenge. Star-Advertiser.

Members of the Women's Legislative Caucus say this could be the year state lawmakers pass what they've dubbed the Compassionate Care Act, which would require Hawaii hospitals to carry and offer emergency contraception to sexual assault victims. Star-Advertiser.

With new leadership in the state House of Representatives and greater awareness of the issue, the Women's Legislative Caucus is again trying to ensure that victims of sexual assault have access to factual, unbiased information about hospital emergency care. Civil Beat.

The state House Judiciary Committee on Thursday deferred a bill that would have asked voters to decide whether only people, and not corporations, should be entitled to free speech protections. Star-Advertiser.

A law signed in 2010 requiring maintenance of public beach accesses by adjacent landowners is poised to sunset June 30, unless a bill moving steadily at the Legislature is passed. Garden Island.

The national debate over gun control has led Hawaii legislators to introduce a handful of stricter gun laws, including a proposal to buy back guns. Hawaii Public Radio.

After a rocky start, Hawaii made significant progress in meeting its school improvement pledges in the second year of the four-year, $75 million Race to the Top grant, federal officials said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii's charter school law leaped to 14th place in a national ranking, up from 35th the previous year, as reform efforts took hold in the state. Star-Advertiser.

The number of online items checked out through the Hawaii State Public Library System has more than tripled since 2009, library officials said. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

From the outside, they appeared set for life, paid by the city for their Pearl City land an amount more than five times their initial investment. But one family says a sweet deal to move out of rail's path turned sour. KHON2.

Cuts and changes last year to Honolulu's bus service were made to trim costs as the system became more expensive to operate. But those changes fueled widespread angst among riders across the city, many of whom now wait longer hours to catch overcrowded buses. Star-Advertiser.

On any given day, thousands of visitors and residents pack the beaches of Waikiki, and along with them, are thousands of discarded cigarette butts. Volunteers from Sustainable Coastlines and students from St. Louis School were out in full force Thursday morning cleaning up the mess many have left behind. Hawaii News Now.

A redeployment ceremony was held Thursday at Wheeler Army Airfield to welcome about 2,600 aviation brigade soldiers from Af­ghani­stan duty that saw the loss of two Black Hawk helicopter crews — one to pilot disorientation in a sandstorm and the other to a rocket-propelled grenade. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
A settlement between Hawaii County and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands over tax debt from homesteaders remains elusive. Tribune-Herald.

The Intermediate Court of Appeals has kicked Hawaii Island rancher Freddy Nobriga’s cattle theft lawsuit against the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands back to 3rd Circuit Court, saying DHHL violated Nobriga’s right of due process when it rounded up and sold at least 115 head of Nobriga’s cattle without adequate notice. West Hawaii Today.

Ford seeks $30M Kona area shelter, center. West Hawaii Today.

Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter School hopes to blaze a trail by becoming the first publicly funded school in the state to use hybrid buses. Tribune-Herald.

The state Department of Transportation broke ground Thursday for a more than $7 million project that will increase cargo space at Kawaihae Small Boat Harbor, as well as improve operational safety and efficiency for users. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council Water Resources Committee advanced a bill that authorizes the mayor and the director of the Department of Water Supply to declare "water shortages" and to impose higher rates for Maui County residents. Maui News.

Three real estate investment firms, including one formed by the co-founder of a company that created Hot Pockets, competed to buy a former Ritz-Carlton condominium and time-share resort on Maui at a Thursday foreclosure auction that resulted in a $100 million sale. Star-Advertiser.

Kauai

After a whole morning ironing out details on the Kaua‘i Multimodal Land Transportation Plan, the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the plan as a policy guideline for the island. Garden Island.

It is no secret that pinpointing the stressors which have lead to the recent coral disease outbreak along Kaua‘i’s shores is going to require additional bodies, more funding and further study. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i teachers took to the streets Thursday afternoon, joining a statewide sign waving campaign. Garden Island.