Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Same-sex marriage advances in Hawaii, Ellison wants to build university on Lanai, ACLU settles Maui sign-waving lawsuit, Abercrombie withdraws environmental pick, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

gay marriage rally
Hawaii United for Marriage courtesy photo
The state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee voted Monday night to advance a gay marriage bill after a daylong public hearing that explored themes of equality and religious liberty, first-class citizenship and the word of God. The 5-to-2 vote came after the debate over marriage equality engulfed the state Capitol during the first day of a special legislative session called by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Star-Advertiser.

After nearly 12 hours of passionate, repetitive, sometimes heated and often ill-informed testimony, the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee passed a same-sex marriage bill late Monday. The vote on Senate Bill 1 was 5-2, with Democrat Mike Gabbard and Republican Sam Slom in the minority. Civil Beat.

Day 1 of the marriage equality bill hearings. Yes, the Senate committee passed SB1. Hawaii Independent.

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in HawaiĘ»i passed its first hurdle today, advancing out of committee in its unamended form.  It is now headed to the full Senate for a vote. Maui Now.

The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee voted to pass a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The vote came after nearly 12 hours of testimony from the public, as more than 400 people addressed lawmakers during Monday's public hearing before the Senate committee. Hawaii News Now.

A Hawaii Senate committee has advanced a bill legalizing gay marriage to the full Senate after a marathon session of testimony that ended nearly 12 hours after it began. KITV2.

A state Senate committee has approved a bill that could legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. The decision by the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee came after nearly 12 hours of public testimony Monday on SB1. KHON2.

Thousands of people gathered on the state Capitol grounds Monday evening to demand that lawmakers let the people decide how to define marriage, waving signs along Beretania Street that read "God Created Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve," "1 Kane 1 Wahine" and "Honk for traditional marriage." Star-Advertiser.

Thousands rallied on both sides of the gay marriage debate Monday. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Beat is hosting a live blog and chat for the special legislative session convened to address same-sex marriage.
Hawaii’s battle over gay marriage brought state lawmakers back to work Monday after the governor called a special session that could make the islands a wedding destination for more couples. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Legislature opened the second special legislative session of 2013 on Monday and got right down business with hearings on a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage. Nearly 2,000 people on both sides of the issue were set to testify. Pacific Business News.

Salmonson
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has withdrawn Genevieve Salmonson's appointment as director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control after it appeared she would not be confirmed by the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Facing a tough Senate confirmation hearing, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has withdrawn Genevieve Salmonson's nomination as director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control. Civil Beat.

A spokesperson for Gov. Neil Abercrombie confirmed Monday evening that the governor's nominee for director of the Office of Environmental Quality Control, Genevieve Salmonson, has withdrawn from the confirmation process just hours before her confirmation hearing. Hawaii Reporter.

GMO, geothermal, Hokulia and the Superferry are all being brought into the conversation about Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s nominees to several important environmental and land-use boards and offices. Abercrombie so far is defending his appointees in the face of opponents who are lobbying the state Senate not to confirm them. The Senate has a list of 36 nominees to confirm or deny during the special legislative session that began Monday. West Hawaii Today.

As Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie asks lawmakers to confirm dozens of appointees to state boards and committees during the special session this week, he's facing resistance over a nomination to replace a member of the state Board of Land and Natural Resources, which votes on land leases and new rules governing natural resources. Civil Beat.

UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest Medicare provider, is eliminating certain Medicare Advantage health plans next year for nearly 4,000 members in Hawaii. The majority of affected members live in Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties, and fewer than 100 are on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Friday, vehicle inspectors will use iPads, provided by a contractor hired by the state Department of Transportation, to relay safety inspection results immediately to the DOT instead of mailing in the filled-out forms on a monthly basis. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for October 29. Associated Press.

Oahu
Honolulu rail officials report that the island's massive public transit project, which recently resumed construction, will receive a record influx of $63.8 million in general excise tax revenue for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 4 out of 5 of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply's roughly 166,000 customers received at least one bill between January and September that was based on estimated usage, meaning they were undercharged or overcharged for at least a month. Star-Advertiser.

Two more (de)Occupy Honolulu protesters are serving jail terms for interfering with city crews attempting to enforce the stored property ordinance at Thomas Square. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
Late last week, Hawaii Department of Agriculture officials said that the coffee berry borer, an invasive pest that has plagued isle coffee growers since it was first identified in South Kona in August 2010, has now made its way to a farm in the Hilo area. Tribune-Herald.

Of all the challenges Hawaii’s organic farmers face, one kept coming up during a daylong growing organics workshop as a definitive barrier to entering the market: lack of land. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The American Civil Liberties Union and Maui County have reached a settlement in a lawsuit over rules against holding signs along public roadways. Associated Press.

The people of Maui need no longer fear arbitrary enforcement of harsh County rules against holding signs along public roadways. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has settled a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of the ACLU's members and Maui plaintiffs Chuck Carletta and Mele Stokesberry. Hawaii Reporter.

A shipping company is temporarily halting all shipments of molasses to the mainland after a minor leak into a Maui harbor. Associated Press.

Hundreds of Maui residents attended a prayer gathering Sunday afternoon in Kahului that included calls against same-sex marriages and the special legislative session that begins today and is expected to make gay nuptials legal in Hawaii. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will likely wait until the eleventh hour to make a decision about whether to sign or veto Bill 2491, limiting GMO and pesticides. Garden Island.

Kauai residents Terry Lilley and Michael Sheehan took advantage of Sunday’s weakened surf to collect 10 sediment samples from North Shore streams and reefs. On Monday, the collected samples were sent to Test America in Sacramento, Calif., where — for $2,900 apiece — they will be tested for a variety of toxic chemicals, including dioxins, pesticides, heavy metals and more. Garden Island.

The 135-foot rail launcher to be used in Hawaii’s first space launch, known as ORS-4, was unveiled Monday at the National Technical Systems facility in Albuquerque, N.M. The launcher was built by NTS and Western Fabrication. It will now be disassembled and moved to the Pacific Missile Range Facility, where it will be reassembled for the 2014 launch. Garden Island.

Kauai County will hold public meetings over the next few months to gather input on a proposal to elect the county’s seven councilmembers by district rather than at-large. Garden Island.

Lanai

A research university campus on 524 acres — nearly twice the size of the University of Hawaii’s flagship Manoa campus in Honolulu — is being planned for Larry Ellison’s island of Lanai. Pacific Business News.