Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reorganization pits Hawaii House vs. Senate in GMO fight, Maui residents sue for GMO home rule, Abercrombie sparse with pardons, woman sentenced to jail for damaging Iolani Palace, Kauai anti-war group allowed in job fair, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Hawaii state Capitol © 2014All Hawaii News
The coalition of dissident Democrats and minority Republicans that brought state House Speaker Joseph Souki to power last year has officially ended. Souki's postelection reorganization of the House reflects his expanded support among Democrats and sheds the alliance with Republicans, who had held three committee vice chairmanships — including the vice chairmanship of the House Finance Committee — through the coalition. Star-Advertiser.

GMO Debate to be Shaped by New Senate, House Ag Chairs. Sen. Russell Ruderman and Rep. Clift Tsuji are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to regulating the seed industry. Civil Beat.

House Speaker Joe Souki and the Democratic majority met in caucus briefly Wednesday afternoon before unveiling the 2015 leadership team and committee chair assignments for next legislative session, which convenes Jan. 21. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii House of Representatives has named new leaders for its key committees and top posts. Speaker Joseph Souki and Vice Speaker John Mizuno will head the chamber with Majority Leader Scott Saiki. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Ethics Commission must release the financial disclosure statements of all members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, state Land Use Commission and Agribusiness Development Corp.'s board of directors, a state judge ruled Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

First Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura has granted Honolulu Civil Beat’s request for a preliminary injunction to require the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to make public the financial disclosure statements of certain state board members. Civil Beat.

Consumer finance site NerdWallet has a new study out that estimates gay weddings could have a $26.6 million benefit to Hawaii in additional annual revenue. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has pardoned significantly fewer criminals than his three most recent predecessors, according to records obtained by Hawaii News Now.

While the Hawaii Supreme Court already has dinged the state for failing to provide sufficient funding to operate the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the debate now turns to what constitutes sufficient funding. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai'i Short 50K New Housing Units by 2016. State Lawmakers conducted a comprehensive briefing on Housing requirements state-wide today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

A 22-year-old woman who admitted that she damaged a 130-year-old glass panel when she kicked in a door to break into Iolani Palace could be spending 12 more months in jail. Star-Advertiser.

A Civil Beat analysis of Honolulu death records found that 139 of the 417 homeless people who passed away from March 2006 to July 2014 died of natural causes, most often heart disease and pneumonia. That’s second only to drug and alcohol-related deaths, which totaled 142 in the same period.

A decision to expand the city's contentious sit-lie law outside of Waikiki and into business sections of other Oahu neighborhoods is delayed until Friday to allow Honolulu City Council members more time to examine and research the latest draft they received Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday suspended a final vote on a bill that would extend the city’s ban on sitting and lying on sidewalks in Waikiki to commercial districts throughout Oahu after four council members said they hadn’t been given sufficient time to review last-minute amendments. Civil Beat.

Construction equipment may begin rolling again next week on the site of the 801 South St. Building B condominium tower in Kakaako after a state court injunction that stopped work in May was lifted Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time in four years, Honolulu motorists can look forward to seeing $3.50-per-gallon gas prices, and not five or 10 years from now, but in three to six months. Pacific Business News.

Bikeshare Hawaii, a nonprofit that will work to establish a bike-sharing transportation system on Oahu, is under new leadership. Star-Advertiser.

The public will get its first look at a planned $38 million affordable rental complex aimed at local artists in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako on Dec. 17. Pacific Business News.

Starting Wednesday night, it’ll be a nightmare to drive through the Kalihi area. That’s when a Department of Transportation pavement resurfacing project begins. KHON2.

Hawaii

Following the destruction Monday of the first home in Pahoa to be hit by the advancing lava flow, one question is likely on the minds of many homeowners in the area. When will the state request federal assistance for individual homeowners and renters as a result of the June 27 lava flow? Tribune-Herald.

As lava slowly oozed its way into Pahoa last week, University of Hawaii at Hilo researchers were out on the flow field, providing aerial imagery to emergency responders. Big Island Video News.

courtesy Hawaii County government
courtesy Hawaii County
Firefighters doused two power poles threatened by lava with water and foam Wednesday to help protect them from temperatures that can exceed 2,000 degrees. Tribune-Herald.

The lava flow from Kilauea Volcano is lingering near Pahoa's $3.9 million waste and recycling center while county officials keep an eye on a breakout upslope that moved 225 yards Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

If public meeting laws were applied to the scientific investigations of a board trying make a determination on public policy, they would create “unworkable and absurd conditions.” So argues the state Commission on Water Resource Management in its response to an allegation it violated the Sunshine Law during site visits to West Hawaii this fall. West Hawaii Today.

Facing sanctions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and striving to keep Kailua Bay clean, Hawaii County is undertaking a $6.5 million sewer project mauka of Kuakini Highway in an area residents have dubbed “Hamburger Hill.” West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Global seed companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences promised litigation after Maui County residents approved a voter initiative to ban on genetically modified crops on Election Day, but five residents have beaten them to the punch. Civil Beat.

The group responsible for putting a moratorium on genetically engineered crops on the Maui County ballot launched a pre-emptive strike against agricultural giants Wednesday by filing a lawsuit in Maui Circuit Court. Star-Advertiser.

With the dust still settling from last week's election, two dozen California lawmakers are flying to luxury resorts in Hawaii for conferences subsidized and attended by interests that lobby the Legislature: oil companies, public employee unions, drug and tobacco firms, and others. L.A. Times.

Kauai

Hawaii Peace and Justice — an organization that supports the demilitarization of Hawaii — will be allowed a spot at the upcoming Hawaii College and Career Fair after initially being told it could not participate. Garden Island.

A decision could be issued soon on whether two Kauai fishermen will get a chance to challenge new rules approved for the state's first community-based subsistence fishing area in Haena on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hanalei boatyard owner Michael Sheehan’s civil action alleging former neighbors built un-permitted structures that caused environmental damage will move forward with the same judge in 5th Circuit Court. Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Wednesday denied a plaintiff’s motion to recuse herself as presiding judge in the case. Garden Island.