Monday, January 27, 2014

Hawaii may score America's Cup, Legislature mulls gay conversion therapy, tax relief for farmers, university may hire local president, Dog the Bounty Hunter wants more laws, Schatz supports minimum wage hike, Kauai residents to pay fee to opt out of smart meter, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Oracle
America's Cup 2013 courtesy photo
The CEO of Larry Ellison's America's Cup champion Oracle Team USA says officials are talking with other venues, including Hawaii, about hosting the 2017 America's Cup because San Francisco isn't offering the same terms it had for last year's sailing races. Pacific Business News.

The next America’s Cup could be sailed off a Hawaiian beach, on San Diego Bay or in some other port instead of returning to a San Francisco Bay course bordered by the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Associated Press.

State lawmakers will hear testimony Monday on a bill that would define "conversion therapy" as a form of child abuse. HB 1789 would ban the act of "conversion therapy" on minors. Hawaii News Now.

A bill making its way through the Hawaii Legislature seeks to provide a small measure of relief for livestock producers by exempting transportation costs for milk, poultry and other meats from the state’s general excise tax. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island Rep. Richard H.K. Onishi (Hilo, Keaau, Kurtistown, Pahala, Honoapu, Volcano) is calling for stronger protections for Hawaii’s farmers and ranchers by introducing a bill to strengthen Hawaii’s Right to Farm Act. Hawaii Reporter.

Hawaii lawmakers have proposed a number of bills this year aimed at making sure Hawaii is better prepared to deal with a toxic spill in the wake of the September molasses leak at Honolulu Harbor that killed thousands of fish and devastated coral reefs. Civil Beat.

Dog the Bounty Hunter, America’s best-known bounty hunter says it’s time for Hawaii to start regulating bounty hunters. Tribune-Herald.

Are you Filipino? The Hawaii Legislature has a caucus for you. Do you like spaceships? There's an AeroSpace Caucus, formed just this year. Support island agriculture? Check out the Local Food Caucus, another new hui. When it comes to getting certain types of legislation passed, caucuses are often the way to go. They allow lawmakers to work closely with like-minded colleagues, build support for issues of importance to them and raise the profile of their bills above the several thousand measures introduced each year. Civil Beat.

Schatz, Hanabusa
Deeper divide shown as Schatz, Hanabusa split on budget deal. U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz and U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa — rivals in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate — cast different votes. Schatz voted with the majority, including every Senate Democrat. Hanabusa was one of just 32 Democrats in the House to vote against the deal. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz is giving his support to a package of proposals that includes a significant raise to the minimum wage. Schatz is one of 29 co-sponsors of the minimum wage bill, introduced in November. Tribune-Herald.

Longline fishing boat owners said they expect to lose millions of dollars in tuna catches in the central and western Pacific under an agreement in which the United States will reduce its longline tuna catch for three years starting in 2015. Star-Advertiser.

The search for the next University of Hawaii president, now into its seventh month, is shifting to focus on finding a local candidate and possibly forgoing the hiring of an outside search firm. And that candidate could be interim President David Lassner. Star-Advertiser.

Tom Yamachika was named interim president of the Tax Foundation of Hawaii at a special board of directors meeting Jan. 16. The board acted quickly to name a successor to Lowell Kalapa, the long-time voice of the foundation, following Kalapa’s death in late December. Associated Press.

Oahu

Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee is advocating for a new law that would create a park by Laniakea Beach on Oahu’s North Shore in an effort to address coastal erosion and get the state to move faster on long-held plans to fix traffic problems by the beach. The proposal is one of two bills that the influential lawmaker introduced last week in response to destructive waves wearing away beaches the North Shore. The second bill sets aside money for University of Hawaii scientists to create a beach management plan to mitigate coastal erosion in the area. Civil Beat.

Authorities have arrested an adult corrections officer at Halawa Correctional Facility in connection with a continuing investigation on methamphetamine dealing at the prison. Hawaii News Now.

Concerns about child harassment and a hostile work environment at a private college-preparatory school in Kapolei are alarming parents, driving away teachers and raising questions about the consequences of letting private schools in Hawaii regulate themselves. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

More than $13 million is headed for the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority to construct a new frontage road and intersections, upgrade a seawater pipeline and renovate administrative offices. West Hawaii Today.

The president of the Drug Policy Action Group told about 75 people at a “talk story” session about medical marijuana on Sunday that it is “a very exciting time to be involved with” marijuana activism. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Gene Simmons and friend
Looking every bit the rock stars that they are, all dark shades, tight jeans and pursed lips, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of Kiss welcomed county officials and other well-wishers Sunday to an event celebrating their soon-to-open Rock & Brews restaurant. Star-Advertiser.

A surge in shark attacks on Maui during the past year, including two fatal ones, hasn’t stopped people from surfing and swimming in the warm ocean waters that surround the island. But it spurred sales of devices that claim to keep sharks away by emitting an electric pulse. Associated Press.

The Maui County Council gave initial approval for the county to pay a penalty of $70,000 for alleged violations at the Central Maui and Molokai landfills in 2011. Maui News.

The state Department of Transportation has completed a draft environmental assessment for a nearly $3.2 million project to protect the shoreline and Kahului Beach Road from eroding into the ocean. Maui News.

The Maui County Council gave initial approval Friday to various bills, including one to keep county pools open during holidays and another to set building height limits in hotel districts. Maui News.

Kauai

The board’s decision stands. Members of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative voted to keep a fee structure in place that charges only members who opt out of using a smart meter. Garden Island.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative voted to keep fees that are charged to customers who don't want to use the company's wireless smart meter to measure their energy usage. Star-Advertiser.

The Kauai County Council is reconsidering a measure that may change the tasks for a specialized group charged with framing a study on pesticides and genetically modified organisms on Kauai. That measure, passed on the heels of Bill 2491, sets forth guidelines for a group of at least 12 people to lay the groundwork for an Environmental and Public Health Impacts Study. Garden Island.

Last year, 77,500 tons of trash were disposed of at the county’s Kekaha landfill. And that’s a problem. That landfill is near capacity and will eventually have to be closed. The best way to extend its life is to reduce the amount of waste, an average of 210 tons a day, being delivered there. The county of Kauai has a plan. Garden Island.