Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kim to be ousted as Senate president, medical marijuana dispensary bill advances, Maui anti-GMO lawsuit in court, Honolulu City Council lukewarm about housing department, Kenoi's campaign manager gets county job, Ellison closes only Lanai hotel for upgrades, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy House Majority Office
Conference committee on medical marijuana dispensaries, courtesy House Majority

Hawaii state Senate factions are realigning to make Ron Kouchi the chamber’s new chief, replacing Senate President Donna Mercado Kim after less than two years, sources confirmed Monday night. The votes are there to reorganize leadership before the session ends Thursday, sources said, noting that at least 16 senators in the 25-member Senate have signed on. It’s possible the Senate could vote on the resolution as soon as Tuesday. Civil Beat.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim
confirmed late Monday night that she is likely to be replaced in a leadership shake-up that will put Kauai State Sen. Ron Kouchi in the Senate president's chair. Hawaii News Now.

Patients have waited nearly 15 years for legal access to medical marijuana in Hawaii, and they are now one step closer to reaching that goal. A bill to set up a system of medical marijuana dispensaries cleared its final committee hurdle on Monday, sending the bill to the full Legislature, where it’s expected to pass. Associated Press.

A bill to create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii cleared a huge hurdle on Monday. The measure seemed doomed last week, but patients celebrated after House and Senate negotiators finally approved the bill. Hawaii News Now.

Some 15 years after medical marijuana use became legal in Hawaii, lawmakers are suddenly on the verge of permitting dispensaries to sell the drug to the 13,000 patients across the state. In a highly unusual move, House and Senate negotiators Monday revived and then unanimously passed a medical pot dispensary bill that many observers had thought was dead and buried last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii could have medical marijuana dispensaries as soon as July 15 next year under a bill approved by a House-Senate conference committee Monday. Civil Beat.

Care home measure is deferred. The bill would have let separated couples live in one home. Star-Advertiser.

A Rundown of Survivors and Casualties at the Hawaii Legislature. Rail tax, Alii Place, Turtle Bay and autism bills advance. Payday loans, adult care home reform, school bullying and public housing bills die. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City Council Chairman Ernie Martin says he and his colleagues still have a lot of concerns about the lack of accountability and financial transparency surrounding the $6 billion rail project. Before the tax can be implemented it must get past Gov. David Ige’s veto pen and then be approved by the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council members are lukewarm to the idea of re-establishing a city housing department. The idea came up last week during a discussion on Resolution 15-43 before the Council Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting. Star-Advertiser.

After a tumultuous year, managers of the city's Handi-Van service have reassigned the head of the operation to a lower position in what's being called a “reorganization.”  Hawaii News Now.

Officials are looking for a new vice president take lead Oahu's paratransit service in the wake of John Black's demotion to safety coordinator. Associated Press.

HPD arrests more than a dozen women in massage parlor prostitution sting. Hawaii News Now.

Concerned Maili residents are upset at several NOAA volunteers who they say are harassing a pregnant monk seal. KHON2.

Hawaii

Mayor Billy Kenoi’s campaign manager has been hired to head the county Office of Aging, a $110,000-plus position that oversees a department of 12 employees. Kimo Alameda was selected by a panel that did not include the mayor, said county officials. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Department of Health has cited Sanford’s Service Center Inc. in Pahoa for operating a solid waste management facility without a state permit. The department announced on Monday the filing the Notice of Violation and Order against Sanford’s. West Hawaii Today.

Prominent Hilo attorney Gerard Lee Loy died Friday of an apparent heart attack. He was 67. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The SHAKA Movement on Maui filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court, seeking an evidentiary hearing before continuing an injunction that delays the implementation of the Maui GMO moratorium. Maui Now.

The group that campaigned for a Maui ban on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms has appealed to a higher court in an attempt to free up the legal logjam that has prevented the law from going into effect.Star-Advertiser.

Panel sends $621 million budget to full council. Proposal includes reduced property tax rates and increased user fees. Maui News.

Kauai

Pesticide watchdogs are billing their recent trip to Syngenta’s hometown as a success. Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser returned from Basal, Switzerland, where he addressed nearly 1,000 Syngenta stakeholders at the company’s shareholders meeting, asking the company to drop its lawsuit against the County of Kauai. Garden Island.

Lanai


The 201-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, which is owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, will temporarily close on June 1 for at least three months, taking nearly every room on Lanai offline for the summer and fall. Pacific Business News.

Molokai

A remote peninsula that has been the home of leprosy patients since the 19th century could be opened more fully to the public as the last remaining residents near the end of their lives. Associated Press.