Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Geothermal sneaks into Hawaiian Roll Commission bill, gays no longer excluded from health bill, FBI gets new field office, smoking banned at some Oahu beaches, HMSA seeks 8.5% rate hike, Hawaii council won't bet on bingo, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo via Wikipedia
The Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Plant in Þingvellir, Iceland, courtesy photo
State senators, fretting over transparency, want to give the public more time to digest a bill that was supposed to be about the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission but was radically altered to also apply to geothermal development. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii legislative leaders have decided who will serve on a conference committee to hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget over the next few weeks. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers are deciding whether to give teachers, school librarians and counselors a tax credit for buying classroom supplies. Associated Press.

The question of who or what is a journalist will take center stage with the full Senate scheduled to vote on House Bill 622 Tuesday. Civil Beat.

A state Senate panel on Friday killed a proposed fee on cesspool and septic tank owners after Hawaii Island residents raised a stink about it. West Hawaii Today.

Holding fundraisers during session is not illegal in Hawaii. It's a very a common practice — one that freshmen lawmakers appear to be adopting quickly, starting this week. Civil Beat.

The nonprofit Hawaii Health Connector has won $128 million in federal funds to implement the state's first health insurance exchange, designed to provide residents access to affordable medical coverage. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Medical Service Association has asked to increase health insurance premiums on small businesses July 1 by an average 8.5 percent, its largest rate increase in four years. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers have amended a bill so that it no longer excludes homosexuals from a treatment option for certain sexually transmitted diseases. Civil Beat.

The first of a two-part series looking at whether Hawaii's public schools are doing enough to help students with dyslexia and other struggling readers. Civil Beat.

Homeless handyman and Congressional candidate's American flag burned. Hawaii News Now.

State roundup for April 9. Associated Press.

Oahu

Smoking is no longer legal at major East Honolulu beaches and parks under a bill signed Monday by Mayor Kirk Caldwell. But a glitch in the language means enforcement must wait at six of the seven locales. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday signed into a law a bill that bans smoking at Waikiki Beach and other popular Oahu beaches. Pacific Business News.

It’s battle that has been waged for years, but now the Honolulu City Council is finally drawing a line when it comes to funding vacant positions that cost taxpayers millions of dollars every year. KITV4.

Traffic signal adjustments at two of Waikiki's most congested intersections might make life easier for local drivers who cringe at navigating through the tourist-heavy district amid throngs of pedestrians. Star-Advertiser.

The FBI has a new field office in Hawaii. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is being held Tuesday for the new building in the Honolulu suburb of Kapolei.Associated Press.

Waimanalo residents are concerned a planned road that would run through a new subdivision will increase traffic safety issues in an already congested area. KHON2.

Plants aren't the only thing growing in the garden at the Women's Community Correctional Center. Inmates are blossoming as they build self-confidence and learn new skills while planting and harvesting vegetables and herbs for the prison kitchen. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County Council members indicated Monday they’re not ready to gamble on high-stakes bingo as a way to raise revenues in a tight budget year. West Hawaii Today.

Property tax assessors across the country are applying a new technology to crack down on this old crime — comparing aerial photographs and satellite images to existing house plans. Hawaii County began using that process about a year ago, Real Property Division Chief Stanley Sitko said. West Hawaii Today.

What a difference (almost) a week makes. After a record low temperature was set in Hilo on April 2, a record high temperature was set there on Sunday. Big Island Now.

Maui

Maui state Sen. J. Kalani English was one of several Hawaii policymakers who attended the "Waves of Change" conference on Oahu that focuses on the environmental, social, cultural, political, economic and legal impacts of climate change on Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. Maui News.

Ask the Mayor: Building Permits; Homeowner Exemptions. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Pacific Missile Range Facility’s Security Department will conduct live small arms fire training starting today and lasting through April 30, between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m. at Kekaha Rifle Range. Garden Island.