Thursday, May 21, 2015

Court upholds Hawaii ban on contractors' campaign donations, Caldwell to veto Honolulu homeless bill, DuPont shutters Kauai facility, Kenoi touts $99M bond issue, Maui bus fare hikes cut, monk seal flown to Oahu to remove fish hook, rebuilding trust in police, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii police on parade © 2015 All Hawaii News
State lawmakers are hoping to rebuild public trust in the state's police departments by increasing state oversight and changing policies. But a number of bills that aimed to reform the law enforcement community died during the 2015 session. Associated Press.

A federal appeals court panel on Wednesday upheld Hawaii's ban on political donations by state and county contractors. The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco also upheld the state's transparency laws allowing the public to "follow the money" in campaign contributions. Star-Advertiser.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Hawaii law that prohibits government contractors from giving political donations to state and county candidates, finding that the ban eliminates both actual and perceived corruption. Local electrical construction firm, A-1-A Lectrician, first challenged the law in 2010, saying the state’s campaign finance laws violated its First Amendment rights because it barred contractors from donating to candidates and lawmakers not directly overseeing contract awards and decisions. Civil Beat.

Emergency Money Made Easy, If You’re a Democratic Governor. David Ige, like Neil Abercrombie, had no problem securing funding from Hawaii lawmakers to get his new administration up and running — without providing detailed requests. That wasn't the case for Republican Linda Lingle. Civil Beat.

Leadership changes in the state senate will have a big impact on the next legislative session. The new president of the senate, Ron Kouchi, is an unusual leader in several ways, including the fact that he comes from a neighbor island. Hawaii Public Radio.

Gov. David Ige’s public schedule is now available online, making it easier to keep tabs on where he’s going and who he’s seeing. His predecessor, former Gov. Neil Abercrombie, had provided a similar service in the form of weekly public calendars. But until now, tracking Ige’s whereabouts over the past six months since he took office had proven a bit challenging. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association says an election held last month for union leaders will not count because some teachers never got their ballots. So the state’s 13,500 public school teachers will have to vote all over again next month, and some, including the candidates, are not happy about it. KHON2.

U.S. Marines and sailors are demonstrating for military leaders from around the Pacific how to land troops on a beach. Associated Press.

The final vote to decide whether the University of Hawaii will divest from the fossil fuel industry will take place today. A “Yes” vote would make the UH System, with 53,000 total students, the largest university in the world to divest so far. Hawaii Independent.

Veterinarians with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Wednesday assessed a Hawaiian monk seal for a procedure to remove a fishhook it swallowed. Star-Advertiser.

An endangered Hawaiian monk seal was transported from Kauai to Oahu after the animal swallowed a fish hook. The Coast Guard said Wednesday crews working with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used an HC-130 Hercules airplane to move the injured seal to Oahu for medical treatment. Associated Press.

Hawaiian Airlines will end its service to Sendai, Japan, in September, citing low growth in the market. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he plans to veto an expansion of the sit-lie laws, which prohibit people from sitting or lying at specific times in areas of Waikiki, Chinatown and downtown that are zoned for commercial and business activities. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council members want Mayor Kirk Caldwell to consider the Hilo Hattie flagship store site in Iwilei as the location for a homeless transition shelter. Star-Advertiser.

An additional five properties along Oahu's future elevated transit line could be on track for full or partial seizures by eminent domain. The board overseeing the island's 20-mile, 21-station rail project will consider passing resolutions to start condemnation procedures for the latest properties during its regular meeting Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A jetty off of Queen's Beach in Waikiki has become a popular spot for feeding fish. But some see a connection between the practice and recent shark sightings nearby. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu City Council is including funding in the City’s Budget to combat the growing populations of noisy animals in communities island-wide. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi is proposing the county take on an additional $99 million in debt to build a host of new projects during his final 18 months in office. West Hawaii Today.

If common ground was found during a talk-story session Tuesday evening about the Thirty Meter Telescope, it’s that Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and astronomers can view Mauna Kea as a source of knowledge. But regarding how the mountain should be used, speakers at the event were light years apart. Tribune-Herald.

The controversial $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope project may be sputtering on the ground in Hawaii but elsewhere it appears to be all systems go. Star-Advertiser.

Administrators of East Hawaii’s health care system said patient care was their No. 1 concern as they weighed cutting employees and services to meet an anticipated $7 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year. Hawaii Health Systems Corp.’s East Hawaii Region announced Tuesday night it would cut multiple services and lay off 87 employees. The cuts will impact Hilo Medical Center, Ka‘u Hospital and Hale Hoola Hamakua. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County and the National Park Service appear as far apart as ever on the question of how the Keauhou aquifer should be managed. West Hawaii Today.

A Rat Lungworm Awareness Forum was held at the Pahoa Community Center this past Sunday, and the topic drew a large crowd of concerned residents. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Proposed fare hikes for the Maui Bus will be excised from the county budget, currently under consideration by the County Council, if a recommendation from the council's budget committee chairman is accepted. Maui News.

The entrance fees to Haleakalā National Park will undergo a staggered increase over the next three years to meet national standards for parks with similar visitor amenities. Maui Now.

Maui County Business Resource Center presents Starting a Business in Maui County with Karen Arakawa this Tuesday, May 26. MauiTime.

Kauai

Global seed company DuPont Pioneer has shut down its facility in Kekaha, Kauai and plans to consolidate its parent seed operations with another facility in Waialua on the North Shore of Oahu. Laurie Yoshida, spokeswoman for the company, said that DuPont Pioneer has laid off 23 employees and plans to lay off 11 more once the closure is complete. Civil Beat.

The Kauai Police Department is seeking grants for 105 Axon cameras for officers to wear. It would cost an estimated $124,000 annually to equip officers with cameras, although details on when those devices could be online on Kauai hasn’t been hashed out. Garden Island.

Molokai

Sea Link of Hawaii withdrew last week its petition to reduce its twice-daily ferry route between Molokai and Maui and intends to submit a new petition to run the ferry only on an "as-needed" basis, according to company President and Senior Capt. Dave Jung. Maui News.