Monday, March 11, 2013

Collective bargaining bogs down in Labor Board, Gabbard opposes domestic drones, Hawaii House to vote on state budget by Wednesday, atrazine in drinking water, elevator inspections lag, public opposes Kauai biofuel plant, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii State Teachers Association
Hawaii teachers protest, Hawaii State Teachers Association courtesy photo
The state agency charged with enforcing and protecting collective bargaining rights says its "skeleton crew and bare-bones budget" hamstring its ability to rule on dozens of labor complaints filed each year by public and private employees and their unions. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii state House and Senate are holding several hearings this week to vet each other’s proposals. Last week, both chambers passed hundreds of bills and sent them over to the other chamber, marking a new phase in the legislative session. Associated Press.

In Hawaii, additional gun regulation faces the fact that the state has among the most stringent gun laws in the nation, and unlike the mainland, little public urgency to make them tougher. Civil Beat.

The state House Committee on Finance passed Friday a nearly $23.3 billion budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015, about $590 million shy of Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s request for $23.8 billion. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers have trimmed Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposed biennium budget by almost half a billion dollars due to uncertainty over pending contract negotiations with public unions and looming federal budget cuts.Civil Beat.

Many of the state's 7,000 elevators are behind on inspections. KITV4.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reiterated her stance against the use of drones on domestic soil during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. Star-Advertiser.

Civil Beat's chief political writer, Chad Blair, and, in his debut appearance, our fedora-topped D.C. bureau chief, Kery Murakami, talk about the implications of a rare split in the Hawaii Congressional delegation. And much more.

A mainland company that supplied a key component for many commercial and utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in Hawaii has gone out of business, leaving its customers scrambling to come up with contingency plans for servicing the devices, which are critical to the operation of PV systems.Star-Advertiser.

Along with hockey sticks, canoe paddles should be included in the Transportation Security Administration's list of approved carry-on items on flights, local paddlers argue. Star-Advertiser.

Monday marks the second anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for March 11. Associated Press.

Oahu

Thousands of Schofield Barracks soldiers who have been hard at training for months for a pair of deployments to Afghanistan might not go, officials say. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation said Friday that it has received $67.5 million of an expected $1.55 billion in federal funding from the Federal Transit Administration for the $5.16 billion Honolulu rail transit project. Pacific Business News.

U.S. State Department special agent Christopher Deedy will withdraw his request for dismissal of his murder charge that was based on his contention that he was acting as a federal law enforcement officer when he fatally shot a Kailua man at a Waikiki restaurant in 2011. Star-Advertiser.

A new survey of conditions and costs of driving in America's 50 most populated cities documents what drivers in Honolulu already know: Gas prices and congestion are high. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii

Police Chief Harry Kubojiri has disciplined a Hilo Patrol Division sergeant for misconduct over an incident that took place in the Hilo police cellblock on May 31 last year, according to a letter to the complainant. Tribune-Herald.

For years, Hilo residents’ drinking water has been contaminated with the chemical atrazine — a popular weed killer used on thousands of acres of sugar cane fields that lined the landscape up until a couple of decades ago. Civil Beat.

Goodfellow Bros. Inc. Regional Manager Ed Brown guided a tour along the 11-mile stretch that will bring Saddle Road closer to Kona by about seven miles. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The House Finance Committee has included $65 million for the Kihei high school in the 2015 fiscal year of the state's biennium, an amount that's half of what Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the state Department of Education and South Maui's lawmakers have sought to complete the project all at once. Maui News.

Expected growth in the rental car industry at Kahului Airport drives the need for the proposed Consolidated Rental Car Facility, according a draft environmental report. Maui News.

Kauai

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is proposing to lease more than 2,000 acres of Anahola lands to Green Energy Team, LLC of Kaua‘i for the purpose of clearing existing albizia trees for its planned biomass-to-energy facility near Koloa. Garden Island.

It was sprinkling between periods of downpour, but several hundred demonstrators marched from the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa to Mano‘okalanipo Park on Saturday. Garden Island.

County officials told the Kaua‘i County Council Wednesday an anonymous tip that sensitive documents may have been secretly buried at Kekaha Landfill is too broad, and an internal investigation produced no results. Garden Island.

The original version of a bill progressing at the state Legislature would give the shrimp farm owner, Sunrise Capital, up to $1.3 million in state special purpose revenue bonds to protect the company’s hatchery facility and its salt water well, relocating them further inland to avoid shoreline erosion. Garden Island.