Friday, May 2, 2014

Sine die for Hawaii Legislature, Turtle Bay protection approved, Cabanilla in trouble again, list narrowed for UH president, Hawaii council kills ethics bill, not enough oversight for $1B Honolulu rail contracts, Maui and Kauai battle budgets, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


The Legislature closed its 2014 session Thursday with long, if not particularly lively, floor sessions in the House and Senate. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers approved a historic land-preservation deal Thursday after a last-minute debate on the final day of the 2014 legislative session. Associated Press.

The state House, swallowing deep misgivings, voted Thursday to give final approval to a bill that would authorize $40 million in state bonds to help preserve 665 acres of bucolic Turtle Bay Resort from future development. Star-Advertiser.

The Legislature ended its 2014 session today.  But there was a critical last minute vote on a measure to preserve undeveloped North Shore land for future generations. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Rep. Rida Cabanilla
said Thursday that she hopes her close ties to a nonprofit that received a $100,000 grant from the state Legislature do not jeopardize the release of the money, which would be used for the upkeep of the Ewa Plantation Cemetery. Star-Advertiser.

House Majority floor leader Rida Cabanilla, D-Ewa, controls a non-profit that was awarded a $100,000 grant on April 25 from her peers in the Hawaii state legislature while the organization was out of compliance with the Internal Revenue Service. Hawaii Reporter.

Following a nearly yearlong search, the University of Hawaii has identified two finalists in the running to be the next president of the 10-campus system: the university's longtime information technology executive, who is serving as interim president, and the retired commanding general of the U.S. Army Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

As of this coming school year, all 5-year-olds will be required to attend kindergarten in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Thursday marked the deadline for people to register with the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission to participate in forming a sovereign governing entity for Native Hawaiians. And this time, it's final. More than 121,000 people of Native Hawaiian ancestry have signed up and been verified since the effort launched in the summer of 2012. The signature drive is called Kanaiolowalu, for the sound of people gathering. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Health Connector, the online marketplace responsible for implementing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act in Hawaii, enrolled 9,800 residents as of Wednesday’s final deadline for its first year of providing coverage. Star-Advertiser.

Congressional contender Mark Takai has joined the political candidates vying for your attention during your favorite TV shows. Takai, who's running in the crowded race for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District seat, recently bought his first 10 TV spots at a cost of $3,250. Civil Beat.

State roundup for May 2. Associated Press.

Oahu

With the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation poised to dole out about $1 billion in contracts for the Honolulu rail project this year, the city Ethics Commission is worried that there isn't enough government oversight to ensure that private companies aren't given sweetheart deals. Civil Beat.

An Oahu business has shut down its Products Direct Sweepstakes machines after a federal judge ruled that use of the machines is gambling. Star-Advertiser.

Downtown Honolulu workers and residents are getting excited about the Walmart store that will open soon in the former Macy’s department store, especially since a couple of new signs have appeared on the building at the corner of King Street and Fort Street Mall. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A County Council 4-4 deadlock Thursday killed an ethics bill that Mayor Billy Kenoi has pushed since taking office in 2008. West Hawaii Today.

The state budget approved by lawmakers provides $1 million toward extending Saddle Road to Queen Kaahumanu Highway. Tribune-Herald.

Two million dollars of state funds will go toward upgrading and renovating the Hawaii National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Academy at the Keaukaha Military Reserve Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Conservation Alliance this week launched conservationconnections.org, what organization leaders hope will become the comprehensive, go-to site to find volunteer opportunities and conservation projects across the state. West Hawaii Today.

An election held last week for positions in the University of Hawaii at Hilo student government has been nullified and will be redone, university officials confirmed today. Big Island Now.

Maui

With a battle brewing over how to handle the county's fiscal 2015 budget, only 11 individuals showed up to testify on property tax rates during a public hearing Wednesday night before the Maui County Council. Maui News.

To save their homes from bright lights, noisy ball games, congested traffic and decreasing property values, Maui Lani residents proposed Tuesday that the state consider developing its Central Maui Regional Sports Complex in another location, but state officials said that would delay the project another seven to 10 years. Maui News.

Michelle Del Rosario, chairwoman of the Hawaii Independent Party. The co-founder of Hawaii's newest political party hopes to attract independent thinkers. Star-Advertiser.

A 20-year-old Maui woman fell approximately 150-feet to her death during a zipline accident near the Pi╩╗iholo Ranch this morning, fire officials said. Maui Now.

Kauai

Tough decisions, county officials say, lie ahead as they try to balance the county’s budget without an anticipated windfall from increased state tax revenues charged to visitor accommodations. Garden Island.

You could say that politics runs in Arryl Kaneshiro’s blood. His father, Daryl Kaneshiro, after all, served on the Kauai County Council for six terms between 1998 and 2010. Garden Island.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources will install a fence to protect Kauai forest from the Na Pali Coast up to the Alakai plateau. The project in the Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve will control invasive weeds like Australian tree ferns and remove pigs and goats. Associated Press.