Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hawaii Senate downgrades gay marriage bills, teachers union to vote on new contract, state asks federal judge to overturn Hawaii County aerial hunting ban, Maui mayor pitches $573.6M budget, no bail in Chinese spy case, North Korea targets Hawaii, hikers want Oahu trail opened, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Honolulu gay rights rally
A state Senate committee Monday approved resolutions requesting a task force study the social, economic and religious consequences of enacting marriage equality legislation in Hawaii as the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear two landmark same-sex marriage cases. Star-Advertiser.

Two Senate resolutions call for a task force to study the social, economic and religious impacts that enacting "marriage equality" would have in Hawaii. The resolutions — Senate Resolution 123 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 166 — passed Senate Judiciary and Labor and now await a hearing in Ways and Means. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Senate Ways and Means Committee is mulling whether to fund Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s proposed innovation initiative. Associated Press.

Hawaii lawmakers pounding out the state’s $12 billion biennium operating budget can only estimate how much money a dozen new union contract agreements will cost taxpayers over the next few years. Civil Beat.

If public school teachers ratify a proposed labor deal reached over the weekend, the teachers union has pledged to withdraw its complaint against the state over the "last, best and final offer" imposed on teachers in 2011. Star-Advertiser.

A 100-page document lays out the nuts and bolts of the tentative contract between the state and the Hawaii State Teachers Association. If it is ratified, the four-year deal goes into effect July 1. Hawaii News Now.

It’s a battle that dragged on for nearly two years. Now, a proposed new contract goes to public school teachers for approval. The deal gives them better pay and a better deal on health benefits. KHON2.

A Senate Concurrent Resolution introduced March 13 is requesting the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority work with airline companies to show ocean-safety videos on all Hawai‘i-bound flights. Garden Island.

As Congress appears close to taking up immigration reform in a couple of weeks, some activists and lawmakers including Sen. Mazie Hirono are growing concerned the latest proposal will only exacerbate the problems that kept families like Emilio Arbues' apart for 20 years. Civil Beat.

Strategic rocket and select artillery units in North Korea have been ordered by Pyongyang to be combat ready, with targets including bases in Hawaii and the Mainland United States. Pacific Business News.

North Korea's military warned today that its artillery and rocket forces are at their highest-level combat posture in the latest in a string of bellicose threats aimed at South Korea and the United States. Associated Press.

The Price of Food in Hawai'i. Hawaii Public Radio.

State roundup for March 26. Associated Press.

Oahu

Former city Deputy Parks Director Albert Tufono was slapped with a $2,000 fine by the Honolulu Ethics Commission for using his position to obtain preferential treatment from other parks employees, even after he was warned to stop doing so. Star-Advertiser.

Key members of Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Cabinet say they intend to provide by May 1 a rough draft of an action plan to deal with homelessness on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Members of the City Council and Mayor Kirk Caldwell's administration promised to try again to come up with a plan for the Haiku Stairs that would appease both hikers and Kaneohe residents who say they're tired of unruly visitors and other trespassers. Star-Advertiser.

It's one of the most popular yet forbidden trails on Oahu. Today, there's a new push to open Kaneohe's Stairway to Heaven to the public. Hawaii News Now.

A city survey done last fall found that Council District 1 had the third-highest percentage of roads that were "fair" or better, at 77.2 percent. That compares with 72.2 percent of city roads in fair shape or better islandwide. Star-Advertiser.

The City of Honolulu has been criticized for its failing road conditions. Some accuse the city of cutting corners on materials and cost. City administrators say that's not the case. Hawaii News Now.

Last weekend, local bus riders saw the first of several city-approved reversals to service cuts go into effect. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge denied bail Monday to a civilian defense contractor accused of giving military secrets to a Chinese girlfriend half his age, saying he poses a danger to national security. Associated Press.

The 921-foot cruise ship Pride of America is in the Pearl Harbor shipyard for two weeks for more than $30 million in renovation work, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is asking a federal judge to overturn a Hawaii County ordinance banning aerial hunting, at least when it’s conducted by the state or its contractors. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii has issued a notice of award to F&H Construction for the Palamanui campus construction project. West Hawaii Today.

According to a recent report by the state, the number of cattle raised in Hawaii decreased steadily for about thirty years, starting in 1970. There’s been a bit of an increase since about 2002, and today cattle are raised on each of the major islands. But on Hawaii Island, the industry is facing some challenges to its growth. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa unveiled a $573.6 million proposed fiscal 2014 budget to the Maui County Council Monday morning, which included a large amount of funding for infrastructure improvements and upgrades to county roads, water systems and wastewater systems. Maui News.

Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa today confirmed his plans to trim the recycling budget for the fiscal year of 2014, and close county-run recycling facilities. Maui Now.

The Maui County Council's Budget and Finance Committee has scheduled community meetings for public comments on Mayor Alan Arakawa's proposed fiscal 2013-14 budget. Maui News.

Twenty-one women from Maui and Molokai involved in technology have been nominated for awards by the Maui County Committee on the Status of Women as part of Women's History Month. Maui News.

Kauai

Skyline Eco-Adventures plans to open its first zip line on Kauai this May. Pacific Business News.

A wall of “Dreams” discussed by Kaua‘i High School Principal Debbie Lindsey and senior Trysen Kaneshige could not be dampened by the showers which accompanied the passing of a weather front Thursday and Friday. Garden Island.