Thursday, July 16, 2015

General excise tax hike, medical marijuana dispensaries become law in Hawaii, Thirty Meter Telescope foes contest Land Board ruling, National Guard trains for civil disobedience, dune buggy biz approved for Oahu's North Shore, Liberty Dialysis charged with over-billing the state, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Medical marijuana sign © 2015 All Hawaii News
Gov. David Ige has signed a bill establishing a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

On Wednesday, Governor David Ige signed into law HB 321 (now Act 241) Relating to Medical Marijuana, which establishes a licensing system for medical marijuana dispensaries. Big Island Video News.

Governor David Ige today signed Hawaiʻi’s medical marijuana dispensary bill into law. Maui Now.

Gov. David Ige approved a five-year extension of the half-percent excise tax surcharge on Tuesday to raise more money to cover cost overruns on Honolulu's $6 billion Oahu transit project, and also put his personal stamp of approval on a plan to establish a statewide network of dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed a bill Wednesday to extend Honolulu’s rail tax for another five years to help pay for cost overruns. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed into law House Bill 134, which extends the 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge on Oahu for another five years to fund the City & County of Honolulu’s rail transit project. Pacific Business News.

A bill aimed at taking a closer look at real estate investment trusts in Hawaii has become law without Gov. David Ige’s signature. Pacific Business News.

The proposed $4.3 billion sale of Hawaiian Electric Co. to NextEra Energy Inc. is expected to generate $109 million in economic activity for Hawaii in the first four years, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

Liberty Dialysis, a company that operates kidney dialysis facilities throughout the state, owes Hawaii $7 million that the company allegedly overbilled in Medicaid payments from 2006 to 2010, a state lawsuit says. Star-Advertiser.

The new director of a streamlined program to identify the missing remains of war veterans says he’s optimistic that goals will be reached this year. Associated Press.

Oahu

City officials have approved the registration of gas-powered, low-speed vehicles on Oahu after initially denying a startup dune buggy rental business on the North Shore the license to begin operations. Star-Advertiser.

More park workers, a smoothed-out beach and a playground are in. Increased commercialization and newfangled restrooms are out. Those are some of the highlights of a nine-point, short-term community action plan for the 119-acre Ala Moana Beach Park released by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

You could still dump aunty’s ashes into Maunalua Bay but there’s debate over whether building a sand castle on the shore would be allowed under a proposed federal management plan. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Lawyers representing two men opposed to building the Thirty Meter Telescope are challenging a recently enacted emergency rule restricting access to the mountain where it will be built. Associated Press.

A request for a contested case hearing was filed with the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Wednesday, seeking to upend the emergency rule limiting nighttime access on Mauna Kea. Star-Advertiser.

Civil disobedience training for more than 100 Hawaii National Guard troops during the weekend was unrelated to the ongoing unrest atop Mauna Kea because of the Thirty Meter Telescope, according to officials. Tribune-Herald.

A state Board of Land and Natural Resources member had no conflict of interest when he voted to restrict access to Mauna Kea last week, as erroneously claimed in an opinion piece written by University of Hawaii law school student Zuri Aki. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors have completed a plan for addressing the threat of unexploded ordnance at four sites in the former Waikoloa Maneuver Area, as cleanup efforts reach the $200 million mark in what is expected to be a 70-year, $723 million effort. West Hawaii Today.

An Ocean View community is rallying today to oppose a massive solar energy project in its neighborhood. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Although 10 million gallons of water per day has been returned to Iao Stream since October, it is hard to tell so far if more freshwater species are flourishing, said Skippy Hau, an aquatics biologist with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. Maui News.

Kauai

Opinions are sharply divided between dog owners who oppose the current barking ordinance and want to repeal it, and upset neighbors who want to keep it in place as a way to hold owners accountable for incessant barking. Garden Island.

County officials announced that guardrail and other safety improvements are being made to Koloa Road. The project is expected to be completed by the beginning of September. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai Housing Agency is holding a public hearing to receive comments on the proposed Administrative Rules for the Administration of Chapter 7A of the Kauai County Code, pertaining to the housing policy for the County of Kauai. Garden Island.