Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rail tax, Turtle Bay, marijuana dispensaries unresolved as Legislature nears session end, bill seeks sponsors for public facilities, advertising could come to Honolulu zoo, lava puts on a show, Maui woman dies from shark bites, Kona courthouse funded, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Medical marijuana sign in Hilo © 2015 All Hawaii News
With only two days left to come to a decision, House and Senate lawmakers remain at odds over key aspects of legislation to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in the Aloha State 15 years after medi-pot was legalized here. Civil Beat.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker from Maui has revised Senate Bill 737 to re-insert a 36 percent cap on the annual percentage rate payday loan companies would be able to charge Hawaii residents. Civil Beat.

A proposal in Hawaii’s Legislature would expand a state mandate on fertility treatments to include same sex couples and single women, updating a law that now only offers such benefits to women who are married to men. Associated Press.

The state is moving closer to granting naming rights to those who are willing to put up money to pay for government facilities. State lawmakers are poised to pass House Bill 318, the first step to make it easier to allow for naming rights in public places like city parks. KHON2.

The Hawaiian Electric Cos. were among the top utilities in the United States for solar power in 2014, according to a new report. Pacific Business News.

The journey toward self-determination for Native Hawaiians does not come without its own form of growing pains. Hawaii Independent.

Oahu

State lawmakers spent less than three minutes Wednesday discussing the proposed rail tax extension in one of dozens of whirlwind sessions held during the day to hash out new bills before a Friday deadline. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to extend Honolulu’s 0.5 percent General Excise Tax surcharge to help pay for the city’s controversial $6 billion rail project looks like it’ll come down to the wire. Civil Beat.

For the second year in a row, the state Legislature is nearing the end of its lawmaking session without a clear vision of how to pay for protecting about 665 acres at Turtle Bay Resort from hotel and housing development. Star-Advertiser.

Bills that would allow limited sponsorship of or advertising on exhibits or facilities at the Honolulu Zoo got a preliminary approval from the City Council Budget Committee on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Department of Health ordered the cleanup of the site of a former race track, known as Kalaeloa Raceway Park, Wednesday after finding hazardous wastes and used oil there. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

The House and Senate late Tuesday approved the additional $55 million in funding for the Kona Judiciary Complex, among more than $100 million dedicated to West Hawaii projects in the state budget for the next two years. The total also includes $2.5 million to design a federal inspections station at Kona International Airport, $1.2 million for a school and community commercial kitchen for Kona Pacific Public Charter School and $660,000 in state and federal funds to purchase land for the extension of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway to Queen Kaahumanu Highway. West Hawaii Today.

The rising lava lake at the summit of Kilauea Volcano has flowed over its rim onto the Halemaumau crater floor, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time in more than three decades, lava is flowing across the floor of Kilauea volcano’s Halema‘uma‘u Crater. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A 65-year-old Kihei woman died Wednesday after she was apparently bitten by a shark while snorkeling — the third such fatality off south Maui in the past two years, the Maui Fire Department said. Star-Advertiser.

A deadly shark attack Wednesday morning has prompted officials to close beaches along parts of Maui. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai


Kauai's coral reefs remain under attack from black band disease, according to a new report that found the infection in nearly half of the corals surveyed around the island. Star-Advertiser.

Rising ocean temperatures may be part of the answer to a mystery state scientists are trying to uncover: What’s causing a deadly disease to thrive at the expense of Kauai’s coral reefs? Garden Island.