Friday, May 10, 2013

Only one election-reform law passes Hawaii Legislature, new laws strengthen sex trafficking protection, military to send out humanitarian ship, new license requirements for security guards, Honolulu seeks homeless solutions, big trees honored, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii election (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
This year’s legislative session wrapped up May 2 with only one significant election-reform bill passing. Good-government groups celebrated the Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 827. It prohibits employers, unions, candidates or their agents from assisting voters with completing absentee ballots. Civil Beat.

Legislators strengthened Hawaii laws against human trafficking this session, passing bills to criminalize solicitation of minors, make solicitation of prostitution offenses ineligible for deferred acceptance of guilty pleas and to clarify that sex and labor trafficking are reportable cases of child abuse and neglect. However, advocates say there is more to do. Star-Advertiser.

Beginning July 1, all security guards, bouncers and lost prevention officers in Hawaii must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, have no psychiatric or psychological disorder and complete a nationwide background check. KITV4.

If Hawaii consumers think health care reform will lower costs, especially in the short term, then they should brace themselves for "rate shock," said Michael Gold, president and chief executive officer of the Hawaii Medical Service Association. Maui News.

The U.S. Pacific Fleet said Thursday it will send an amphibious dock landing ship to six Pacific island nations over the next several months to provide humanitarian assistance and help people better prepare for disasters. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Health Connector posted online grant applications on Thursday for organizations and individuals interested in joining its Hii Ola marketplace assister program. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. dollar broke through the important 100-yen level Thursday for the first time in four years. That may be good news for the export-centered Japanese economy, but it's bad news for Hawaii's tourism industry. Star-Advertiser.

SLIDESHOW: Solar Eclipse in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday detailed a Housing First pilot project to provide shelter for up to 100 chronically homeless people across Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has a new plan for housing the island’s homeless, and it won’t necessarily be cheap. Civil Beat.

The City and County of Honolulu unveiled a plan for a 2-year demonstration project that could ease homelessness on O’ahu starting next year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell banked on his proposed gas tax to help bail him out when union contracts came due and salary increases were expected to strain city resources. Now the administration is forced to look elsewhere for money to help cover the estimated $26 million it must pay out next year in union pay raises.  Civil Beat.

Most of Honolulu’s multibillion-dollar rail project will be paid for by a half-percent surcharge on top of general excise tax for goods and services on Oahu. But is that money going where it’s supposed to, and are all businesses even complying with the payments in the first place? KHON2.

An overwhelming amount of interest from the public has caused decision-making to be delayed on a planned 192-unit workforce housing project in Honolulu’s Kakaako neighborhood. Pacific Business News.

Maunalua Communities Foundation said it will hold the sixth annual Independence Day at Maunalua Bay Festival, although no fireworks are planned unless a donor steps forward. Star-Advertiser.

The head of the company that inspected the helicopter that crashed in downtown Honolulu Wednesday told Hawaii News Now that he was negligent for not making sure the aircraft was safe.

Hawaii

The FBI held a passenger for questioning Wednesday when he tried to check in at Hilo Airport luggage containing what appeared to be a modified pressure cooker. Star-Advertiser.

The University of Hawaii has spent nearly $3 million in legal fees on its controversial effort to build the world's largest telescope on Hawaii Island's Mauna Kea summit. Hawaii News Now.

A total of 272 Hawaii Island residents have called upon Gov. Neil Abercrombie to put an immediate halt to all plans for expanding Hawaii’s geothermal industry until better means of oversight can be put in place. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County officials are considering converting Alii Drive to one-way traffic in downtown Kailua-Kona. West Hawaii Today.

On a recent inspection requested by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the county found multiple electric and plumbing violations at the Naniloa Hotel -- including elevators that don't work and the discovery of an acupuncture school operating illegally on the fifth floor. KITV4.

Forty new Big Tree champions were added to this year’s American Forests National Register of Big Trees, including five Hawaii Island trees. West Hawaii Today.

West Hawaii Today won eight awards at the Hawaii Publishers Association’s 28th Annual Pai Awards Thursday.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald won six awards for outstanding journalism during the 28th annual Pa‘i Awards held Thursday in Honolulu.

Maui

There appears to be a lot of interest among west side residents in a proposed 2-mile-long county highway that will run parallel and between Honoapiilani Highway and the under-construction Lahaina bypass in the Lahaina town area. Maui News.

Lehman Brothers Holdings has hired Jones Lang LaSalle's Hotels & Hospitality Group to sell The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. Maui News.

Maui Health Centers Eligible for Federal Funds to Help Uninsured. Maui Now.

Kauai
The first solar eclipse of 2013 was visible for Hawai‘i residents starting at about 2:20 p.m. Thursday. Garden Island.

Three new Habitat for Humanity homeowners recently accepted the keys to their new homes during a key passing and dedication ceremony at the Department of Hawaiian Homes Pi‘ilani Mai Ke Kai subdivision in Anahola. Garden Island.

The Garden Island was honored with six awards at the 28th annual Pa‘i Awards Thursday.