Monday, April 7, 2014

Long week ahead for Hawaii Legislature, state to pay Turtle Bay to conserve North Shore land, attorney general wants more money, Pacific Biodiesel leaves Maui, Hawaii County plans Mauna Kea park takeover, tipping fees to rise on Kauai, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii House of Representatives
Hawaii lawmakers are preparing for an onslaught of bills to move through their chambers this week, in advance of a legislative deadline to pass bills out of the second chamber. Associated Press.

A House committee approved a bill to outlaw eating cats and dogs in Hawaii, a measure supported by animal lovers who lobbied lawmakers with their pets. Associated Press.

Hawaii Attorney General David Louie asked the Legislature in December to give his office an extra $5.3 million for fiscal 2015, which starts July 1. But the latest draft of the budget, which lawmakers will finalize over the next few weeks, adds only $1.5 million. Civil Beat.

Rep. Bob McDermott is troubled about new classroom materials that are being tested out by some Hawaii public school teachers. The vocal, socially conservative Ewa Beach lawmaker recently wrote a memo to Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi requesting that the department prohibit teachers from using any materials or lesson plans from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program in their classrooms. Civil Beat.

With affordable-housing and homelessness problems persisting, measures aimed at promoting affordable-housing construction, assisting the Hawaii Public Housing Authority with repair and maintenance, encouraging Housing First programs and funding the up-and-coming concept of micro-apartments continue to move through the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

A measure that would have allowed rock climbers to resume their sport has been amended, catching outdoor enthusiasts by surprise. Hawaii News Now.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is canvassing communities in an effort to expand a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians interested in participating in their own government. Associated  Press.

Charles Djou, a Republican who served six months in Congress in 2010 after winning a special three-way election, has launched a campaign to reclaim his District 1 Congressional Seat. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Time is running out for the state and the owners of Turtle Bay Resort to decide how much Hawaii should pay the hotel to conserve some of the land it owns on Oahu's North Shore. Civil Beat.

City officials are promising at least one public hearing in the coming weeks on rules governing how food trucks can operate in Hono­lulu's Capitol Special District under a two-year pilot program that became law last week. Star-Advertiser.

Selling rail. Yes, half of the audience at this public meeting were HART employees. Hawaii Independent.

Tuition at three of Hawaii's largest private schools — ‘Iolani School, Mid-Pacific Institute and Punahou School — will hit the $20,000 mark for the first time next school year as most schools plan hikes of between 3 percent and 7 percent. Star-Advertiser.

They were small, but price gains achieved by Oahu's housing market last month continued a rising trend reaching further into its third year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County will be able to improve and maintain its portion of the Mauna Kea State Recreation Area without a big budget increase or neglecting other county parks, officials assured the County Council Finance Committee on Friday. West Hawaii Today.

A bill establishing a temporary working group to help the state acquire lands in Waipio Valley was passed by the state House committees on finance Wednesday with amendments. Tribune-Herald.

Whether residents and business owners think it’s a good idea or not to limit commercial use of the ocean, they appear to agree on one thing — a package of proposed rules governing commercial use is convoluted and confusing. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui businesswoman and former vice chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Maui Del Rosario has been appointed the party chairwoman of the newly formed Hawaii Independent Party. Maui News.

Pacific Biodiesel has eliminated two employee positions and closed its biodiesel production plant at the Central Maui Landfill in Puunene, according to an announcement Friday from the pioneering Maui alternative fuel company. Maui News.

Sales of Maui condominiums soared by 31 percent last month, while prices of both condos and single-family homes in Maui County increased by double digits in March, according to statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

Businesses owners may soon be paying more to dump or haul their waste into County of Kauai landfills. That’s if the Kauai County Council chooses one of two options before it to raise the landfill tipping fee. Garden Island.

A Kauai councilman who sued the county for claims his civil rights were violated for going against political foes agreed to settle the lawsuit for $290,000. Associated Press.

Challenging times, state Department of Transportation consultants say, lie ahead for Kauai. The Garden Isle is expected to face a nearly $2.2 billion shortfall in transportation project funds at a time when it will also face a significant population and economic boom. Garden Island.