Monday, March 24, 2014

Medical marijuana task force evolves, Legislature to halt cop sex with prostitutes, flood insurance rising, Hawaii County councilman, corporation counsel seek judgeship, state to fight child death ruling against Human Services Department, Kauai to suspend well project, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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State parks are not only a place of natural beauty, they are also turning into an important source of funds for Hawaii. KITV4.

Several bills to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii have failed in recent years in the State Legislature, and this year's session is no exception. But a resolution aimed at laying the groundwork for such dispensaries has been approved by a House committee. Hawaii News Now.

A state House Health Committee passed resolutions Friday that aim to develop a task force for the establishment of a regulated statewide medical marijuana dispensary system. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers will be tackling everything from prostitution to school lunches this week in hearings on bills and resolutions. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to remove the legal protection that allows undercover police officers to have sex with prostitutes during investigations in the version of House Bill 1926 it's taking up Friday. Associated Press.

Lawmakers are going forward with changes to a bill that would end a police exemption allowing undercover cops to have sex with prostitutes. Hawaii Public Radio.

Under Hawaii law, police officers may engage in sexual penetration during investigations into prostitution. Senate Judiciary and Labor Chair Clayton Hee and his committee members are backing a request by sex trafficking advocates to put a stop to the practice through new legislation that also aims to strengthen Hawaii's anti trafficking laws. Hawaii Reporter.

Premiums are going up on nearly 14,000 federally subsidized flood insurance policies in Hawaii as Congress looks to get a federal program out of a $24 billion hole. Legislation signed by President Barack Obama on Friday means homeowners won't see premiums jump all at once, as scheduled under a 2012 overhaul. Associated Press.

Hawaii taxpayers paid the tab for Gov. Neil Abercrombie, his deputy chief of staff and two security guards at the swanky St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. for a few nights last December. Their lodging alone cost $3,520. Add $7,929 to fly the four of them there — including the governor’s nearly $5,000 first-class ticket — and the five-day trip totaled $11,449. They were there for a mixed plate of state business. Civil Beat.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz says he plans to focus on Social Security, climate change and middle-class issues such as college affordability in his work in the Senate and his campaign to hold on to his seat. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Audubon Society is opposed to a proposal that could take the Hawaiian hawk off the endangered species list. Star-Advertiser.

House Bill 2560, which would allow family care centers to operate on agricultural land, is one of several that the Legislature is mulling this session that would add more exemptions to the growing list of structures that are permitted on Hawaii’s farmland. Civil Beat.

A Big Island state senator has started an email campaign seeking to stop colleagues from reappointing Richard Ha to the state Board of Agriculture. Tribune-Herald.

The ongoing practice of OCCC prison guards calling in sick on weekends and big sporting event days appears to have consequences for everyone except the guards who abuse leave. Star-Advertiser.
Are We Criminalizing Homelessness in Hawaii? Civil Beat.

On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: March 24. A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Monday at the state Capitol. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The state plans to appeal a judge's ruling in which the state Department of Human Services was found negligent — along with a Navy diver based at Pearl Harbor — in the 2009 death of the sailor's 14-month-old boy, who was struck or shaken to death. Star-Advertiser.

Hunt Cos. Hawaii is expected to bring about 12,000 new residents to Kalaeloa after its master-plan for the area is all said and done in the next two decades. Pacific Business News.

Public meeting will provide updates on Makaha Valley flood study. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii
In one of the early signs that Hawaii County is serious about what is likely to be its largest public works project in county history, officials on Friday shuttled a dozen potential bidders to the Hilo landfill. West Hawaii Today.

A group of Puna residents is intensifying its battle against a bill that would authorize Hawaii and Maui counties to issue so-called “sustainable living research permits” that would skirt building and zoning codes on parcels from 1 to 15 acres. West Hawaii Today.

Two Hawaii County officials are among six finalists to fill a vacancy in the District Court in Hilo. Corporation Counsel Lincoln Ashida and County Council Chairman J Yoshimoto both made the short list. West Hawaii Today.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie told a class of 26 adult corrections officer recruits Friday that they are getting in on the ground floor of what he described as a statewide initiative to revamp and reorient the corrections program. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County is in the final stages of permitting for an estimated $4.5 million rock revetment extension to protect the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility from erosion, county officials said. Maui News.

Motorists may get some relief from the most congested portion of Puunene Avenue if state lawmakers continue to support a $10 million project to expand the two-lane portion of the street to four lanes. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai County Department of Water is recommending the county suspend its proposed Kahili Horizontal Directional Drilled Well project. Garden Island.