Friday, November 8, 2013

Tune in today to Hawaii House debate on gay marriage, rules split Capitol in half as security tightened, Senate expected to go along with House version, judge says gay marriage lawsuit premature, Honolulu school suspends cheerleading because of cyber-bullying, Kauai sets Thursday GMO override session, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature gay marriage
Hawaii United for Marriage courtesy photo
Today's special session of the state House of Representatives will be televised live on Oceanic Cable's ‘Olelo Channel 54 and over the Internet on ‘Olelo's website starting at 10 a.m. The website, which is available to anyone in the world with access to the Internet and a device able to show live streaming video, is www.olelo.org. Star-Advertiser.

A state circuit judge Thursday declined to stop a marriage equality bill from becoming law but appeared open to hearing whether expanding marriage to gay couples violates the state Constitution. Judge Karl Sakamoto rejected a request by state Rep. Bob McDermott for a temporary restraining order to prevent Gov. Neil Abercrombie from signing a bill into law and the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto refused on Thursday, November 7, to issue a temporary restraining order against the Hawaii Legislature to prevent lawmakers from legalizing gay marriage. The lawsuit, filed by Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican, centered on a 1998 ballot issue on same-sex marriage. Hawaii Reporter.

State senators are inclined to agree to the state House's version of a marriage equality bill rather than take the debate into conference committee. The House is expected to vote today on a bill that would allow gay couples to marry as soon as Dec. 2 but would broaden a religious exemption for churches and religious organizations that do not want to be involved in gay weddings. If the House approves the bill, it could be heard by the Senate on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Kuroda announced Thursday afternoon that the Capitol Rotunda, the public gallery's legislative chambers and even Beretania Street would be divided equally between people on opposing sides of the debate over Senate Bill 1. The mauka (toward the mountains) side of the rotunda will be designated for people who support gay marriage and opponents will get the makai (toward the sea) side. This line will be extended into the gallery. Civil Beat.

Officials are expecting an even larger crowd than Wednesday's to gather at the Capitol for a third reading and likely final House vote Friday morning on a controversial same sex marriage bill. Hawaii News Now.

A huge crowd and beefed up security are expected at the State Capitol on Friday, as House lawmakers take a final vote on the same-sex marriage bill. The House session is expected to be another marathon one. KHON2.

A determined group made up primarily of church ladies from Chinese Lutheran church and New Hope Leeward started in a prayer circle at the state Capitol, but would soon branch out. KITV.

Hawaii Least Politically Engaged State, but Some Believe Gay Marriage Debate Could Turn the Tide. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaii Independent and other news sources and citizens have been live-tweeting updates since the first day. Here are some of the best, mostly from the JUD/FIN hearing and yesterday's 2nd reading.

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said the state is "committed to continuing the momentum" seen on national test results released Thursday showing Hawaii's public school fourth-graders for the first time surpassed national peers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The state's fourth-graders scored an average 243 points in math out of a possible 500 points — two points higher than the national average, marking the first time Hawaii has topped the national average in any subject since state results were first recorded in the 1990s. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s fourth- and eighth-grade students continue to make gains in reading and math, although their scores remain below the national average in reading at both grade levels and in eighth-grade math. West Hawaii Today.

In an effort to clean up its food finances, the DOE told charter schools to figure out their own arrangements for meals, which include breakfast and lunch, according to state Charter School Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton. The only charter schools exempt from the change are those that share cafeteria facilities with regular DOE schools. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. eked out a 1 percent increase in third-quarter net income as gains in its banking business helped offset lower earnings at its utility subsidiary, the company reported Thursday. HEI earned $48.2 million in the third quarter, up from $47.7 million during the same three-month period in 2012.  Star-Advertiser.

In brief | State 110813. Associated Press.

State roundup for November 8. Associated Press.

Oahu

Civil Beat on Thursday filed suit against the Honolulu Police Department over the agency's refusal to release the names of police officers who have been disciplined for serious misconduct.

About 46 traffic cameras have been knocked off­line at streets and highways across Oahu and will likely stay that way for up to 30 days, city officials say, after they found two pipes containing fiber-optic cable severed and damaged Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Is it a case of modern day slavery? Bad working conditions? Or just sour grapes over pay? Allegations are flying about distress on the docks from the crew of some Honolulu fishing vessels. KHON2.

A proposal that would have penalized people for lying down on public sidewalks is getting a makeover. Bill 59 met stiff resistance when it was heard by a Honolulu City Council committee last week. So its sponsor pulled it back and promised to introduce a rewritten version. Civil Beat.

Scams against the elderly are on the rise.  And there are so many different scams, police have a hard time keeping up. Since 2008, elder abuse cases have risen almost 300%.  Hawaii News Now.

McKinley High School administrators temporarily suspended cheerleading activities after learning some members of the cheerleading squad were involved in cyberbullying. KHON2.

The Sheraton Princesss Kaiulani is expected to close Aug. 1 for a massive redevelopment totaling $500 million, the highest reinvestment ever made in a single Waikiki property. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The Windward Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday to “demand” that representatives of an Ocean View swap meet come to its Dec. 5 meeting to explain what they’re doing to alleviate traffic and parking problems, or face sanctions. West Hawaii Today.

North Hawaii Community Hospital and Queen’s Health Systems next month will render a decision on a formal affiliation. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Overwhelming support for Maui County's only public access channel, Akaku: Maui Community Television, poured out before state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs officials Wednesday night. Maui News.

Maui County’s housing market remained positive in October with the median sales price of both single-family homes and condominiums rising from the same time period last year, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

The Maui Police Department announced the planned blessing and dedication of the new Kīhei Police Station on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Maui Now.

A revamped mixed-use project on former ranch property in north Kihei seemed, at the least, more palatable to Kihei residents Tuesday night, which is a shift in public opinion from when developers originally proposed two large outlet malls that outraged some community members and led to a challenge at the state Land Use Commission. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council will meet Thursday to consider overriding Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s veto of Bill 2491, which creates disclosure requirements for large-scale pesticide use and the farming of genetically modified crops and establishes other restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

The fate of Bill 2491 will be decided Thursday by a smaller, six-member Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council has scheduled a hearing for November 14 to consider overriding Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491, relating to pesticide and GMO disclosure.  Civil Beat.

A date has been set for a Kauai County Council meeting to vote on whether to accept or override Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491. The bill would require large agriculture companies to disclose the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. Hawaii Public Radio.