Friday, March 7, 2014

Native Hawaiian nation advances, Senate panel clears Wilson Supreme Court confirmation, Hanohano reprimanded, Wooley nominated for environmental post, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Native Hawaiian protest sign (c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees, standing alongside some of their critics, announced Thursday they will help facilitate and fund steps to "build a Hawaiian nation" once the Native Hawaiian Roll is complete but stay neutral in the effort. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has gathered 170,000 names for an official registry of Hawaiians so they can come together to form a governing entity. It is in the process of confirming their ancestry. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state senators made light work of the last handful of bills to cross over to the House before a legislative deadline. The chamber passed seven bills Thursday, covering topics ranging from drones in the air to marine life in the seas. Associated Press.

State House Speaker Joseph Souki on Thursday issued a reprimand to Rep. Faye Hanohano, concluding that her behavior at committee hearings has been unacceptable, in violation of the House's code of conduct and disruptive to the workplace. A public admonishment of a fellow lawmaker is extremely rare but less severe than other options House leaders had considered against Hanohano, such as censure or removing her as committee chairwoman. Star-Advertiser.

House Speaker Joe Souki has publicly reprimanded Rep. Faye Hanohano for her “intimidating” conduct after substantiating complaints that she made racially charged remarks to a college student and state employees. Souki sent her a letter Thursday threatening to remove her from all five of her committee assignments if she fails to behave properly and let her know that House leadership will be watching her closely until the legislative session ends in May. Civil Beat.

In a unanimous vote of confidence, the state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee on Thursday recommended the confirmation of Circuit Judge Michael Wilson for the state Supreme Court. Senators rejected the Hawaii State Bar Association's conclusion that Wilson is "unqualified" for the nomination and condemned the unsubstantiated allegations about Wilson's character that surfaced during the bar's review process.Star-Advertiser.

In a tense — and sometimes intense — confirmation hearing that one state senator called "frickin' surreal," the Senate Judiciary and Labor committee on Thursday unanimously approved sending Mike Wilson's Hawaii Supreme Court nomination to the floor of the Senate. Civil Beat.

The chairwoman of the Hawaii House Agriculture Committee says she intends to fight for a bill that would establish a task force to study genetically modified foods. But Democratic Rep. Jessica Wooley said Thursday she thinks the bill doesn’t include enough meaningful regulation. She says she would like to see labeling of genetically modified foods because many people want to know whether their groceries include those ingredients. Associated Press.

State Rep. Jessica Wooley has been named the new director of the state Office of Environmental Quality Control. Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Wooley, an attorney known for her environmental advocacy, to the post Thursday. The appointment is subject to state Senate confirmation. Star-Advertiser.

For Hawaii Rep. Jessica Wooley, being nominated by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to lead the state’s Office of Environmental Quality Control is a pretty big deal. But some worry that Wooley’s departure could change the way the Legislature deals with the highly contentious issue of genetically modified organisms in food and farming. Civil Beat.

A bill that would create a public funding program for state House elections is getting mixed reviews. Tribune-Herald.

It usually takes about two weeks to process a tax payment. But businesses and individual taxpayers now complain that the state is taking five to six weeks. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

The chants of more than 500 Campbell High School students, teachers and parents echoed throughout the state Capitol on Thursday in a second rally to get legislators to push for air conditioning in public schools. Students from all grades held up signs like "No A's and B's in 100 degrees" and "Need to stay cool in school" as they waved at passing cars and then marched around the Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell welcomed a panel of experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership to Honolulu this week to provide technical assistance on creating a vibrant culture and arts district in urban Honolulu anchored by the redevelopment of the Neal S. Blaisdell Center complex. KHON2.

Members of the Honolulu City Council’s Zoning and Planning Committee are requiring developers of a controversial luxury hotel-condominium project in Waikiki to increase the space between their two towers, pay for sewer upgrades, improve landscaping and make the area more friendly to pedestrians. Civil Beat.

The Howard Hughes Corp.’s two ultra-luxury condominium high-rises in Kakaako, which began the sales process last month, is expected to start construction this summer, the Texas-based developer said in its 2013 annual report to shareholders. Pacific Business News.

A Honolulu City Council Committee approved a plan to build a second luxury tower in Waikiki today, on the same block that another high-end building is already under construction. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Hawaii County officials want garbage diverted from the Hilo landfill and turned into something useful. While waste-to-energy incinerators are the first thing that comes to mind, the ultimate facility may not be a burner. West Hawaii Today.

DLNR seeking input on fishpond restoration permittingWest Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa was admitted to a hospital after slipping and falling on her way to a meeting Wednesday night. Star-Advertiser.

A contested case hearing involving permits and instream water flow standards at Nā Wai ʻEhā or “the four great waters” in Central Maui, begins next week. Maui Now.

The Maui Fire Department has appointed its first battalion chief of ocean safety, who will help facilitate the long-awaited merger between the department and the county's Division of Ocean Safety. Maui News.

Kauai

One of two runways at the Lihue Airport lacks a 1,000-foot Runway Safety Area, or overrun zone, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration. The plan is to shift the runway southwest, toward the Kauai Lagoons Golf Club, to provide for the necessary clearance. Garden Island.

Eleele resident Debralynn DeSilva Carveiro filed her nomination papers on Thursday to run for mayor in this year’s election, becoming the first person so far to try unseat Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. Garden Island.

Molokai

Ikehu Molokai — the project proposed jointly by Princeton Energy and Molokai Ranch with the goal of lowering the island’s electricity rates and creating a 100 percent renewable energy source – has changed directions since its inception. Molokai Dispatch.