Friday, March 14, 2014

Testifiers: Don't eat cats and dogs, Wilson Supreme Court confirmation stalled, Saiki new GOP head, 2012 Hawaii County election a bargain, Maui seeks more polling places, Legislature mulls Jones Act, more news from all the Hawaiian Islaands

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Abercrombie and his dog sign bill, file photo
Animal lovers in Hawaii packed a legislative hearing room Thursday with poodles and pugs, asking lawmakers to ban the practice of eating cats and dogs in the state. The House Committee on Agriculture later advanced SB 2026, a bill to ban the practice. Associated Press.

Circuit Judge Michael Wilson's confirmation to the state Supreme Court took an unexpected detour Thursday as the state Senate women's caucus urged the nominee to open up his personnel file and judicial performance reviews to satisfy questions about his conduct toward women. The unusual request was in response to the Hawaii State Bar Association's disclosure Wednesday that its "unqualified" rating for Wilson was based in part on the propriety of his conduct toward women in professional contexts. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Women Senators Prompt Further Inquiry Into Judge Michael Wilson. Civil Beat.

The state Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee will hold another hearing on Circuit Judge Michael Wilson's nomination to the state Supreme Court on Saturday after more detailed questions have been raised about his fitness to serve. Star-Advertiser.

The State Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a second hearing on Circuit Court Judge Michael Wilson's nomination to the State Supreme Court Saturday morning, as Hawaii News Now has discovered more reasons why lawyers have told the Hawaii Bar Association and some state senators Wilson is unqualified for the high court. Hawaii News Now.

Pat Saiki, one of the most successful Republicans in Hawaii history, is going to lead the state Republican Party.  The state party’s executive committee tapped her as chairwoman in a meeting Wednesday night, a title the state committee will formalize next week. David Chang, who had led the state party since 2011, resigned the position. Associated Press.

A roll of qualified Native Hawaiians interested in participating in their own government has grown to more than 120,000. The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission announced on Thursday that more than 120,000 have signed up to re-organize a Native Hawaiian government recognized by the state of Hawaii. Associated Press.

An amended bill on hunting lands will head to the state Senate Committee on Water and Land on Monday. The bill initially would have required the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to replace any hunting lands lost to conservation or other efforts. Tribune-Herald.

Scientists say deep coral reefs in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument may contain the highest percentage of fish species found nowhere else. A study published in the Bulletin of Marine Science says nearly 50 percent of the fish scientists observed over a two-year period in monument waters 100 to 300 feet deep are unique to Hawaii. Associated Press.

Lawmakers from Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico and Guam are teaming up to pressure the U.S. government for relief from a maritime law passed in the 1920s. The Jones Act was designed to protect the domestic shipping industry. It states that only ships made in the U.S. and flying the country’s flags can deliver goods between U.S. ports. Associated Press.

The state House committee on Health recently amended a bill aimed at regulating electronic smoking devices by stripping it of its taxation elements but keeping its limitations on where the devices can be used. Tribune-Herald.

Oahu

A retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel faces up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when he is sentenced this summer for sharing military secrets with his younger Chinese girlfriend. Star-Advertiser.

It was 100 years ago that the Navy laid the keel to begin construction on the USS Arizona. On Thursday the U.S. Postal Service honored the historic vessel with the dedication of a stamp. KITV4.

Aikea rallies against condo conversion. The job preservation movement, organized by Unite Here Local 5, rallied at Honolulu Hale today in support of City Bill 16. Hawaii Independent.

Representatives from Kamehameha Schools talked about Kakaako development plans on Thursday at a "Civil Cafe," an occasional discussion hosted by Civil Beat on topics of local relevance. Civil Beat.

Sales are slated to start Saturday for units in a planned Kakaako condominium tower that has been both praised as middle-class housing produced without government subsidy and derided as an overly dense blight to the community. Star-Advertiser.

Everyone loves a carnival. But that's not entirely true in Hawaii Kai, where some residents say while the cause may be good, the venue is not. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

Even counting the County Clerk’s Office staff pulled from across the hall to help out during the contentious 2012 election, it still cost less to run that election than the two elections prior. That’s the finding of an outside auditor the County Council hired last year to compare the election costs. West Hawaii Today.

The list of reasons why Hawaii Island legislators are proposing renaming the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority Gateway Center after Guy Toyama takes up nearly two pages. West Hawaii Today.

With a bit of smoke, a couple loud pops, and first responders dressed head to toe in protective gear, Edith Kanakaole Tennis Stadium became the epicenter of a simulated terrorist attack on Thursday. The event, which included over two dozen volunteers, was part of an annual drill with county agencies, the National Guard and Hilo Medical Center all participating. Tribune-Herald.

Mayor Billy Kenoi was the keynote speaker Wednesday evening at Waimea Middle School, where he shared advice on how to be successful with students, families, educators and mentors. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council on Tuesday adopted a resolution seeking an increase in the number of early walk-in voting locations, Council Member Mike White announced. White, who introduced the resolution, said it supports voter access and equal voting opportunities across the county, which only had two early walk-in sites during the last election cycle. Maui Now.

Maui hotels and resorts set new records for average daily room rates and revenue per room in 2013, though occupancy fell slightly with a "small shift" to time shares and vacation rentals, according to a Hospitality Advisors report. Maui News.

The Kihei-to-Upcountry highway, three decades in the making, took a step toward reality when the state House passed its supplemental budget Wednesday with funds for the road in it. Maui News.

Kauai

The outspoken Mel Rapoza is running for his fifth term on the Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

The public is invited to attend Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.’s State of the County address on Monday. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Lihue Civic Center, Moikeha Building courtyard. Garden Island.

The Kauai Visitors Bureau will be sharing an update on key markets for the island’s visitor industry next week, and highlight information from the recent Hawaii Tourism Authority Spring Update. Garden Island.

State Public Utilities Commission Chair Hermina Morita, considered the state's “main diva for environmentalism” while she was in the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2011, may not be reappointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to the Public Utilities Commission for a second term after the state Department of Land and Natural Resources documented illegal activities by Morita and her husband, Lance Laney. Hawaii Reporter.

Lanai

The Maui County Council on Tuesday gave final approval for various bills, including those to purchase a fire rescue boat and trailer and one to increase security at Kaumalapau Harbor on Lanai. Maui News.