Friday, July 24, 2015

Hawaii representatives fight GMO labeling override in Congress, state officials ignore ethics law, Native Hawaiian roll to be published, Brower presses charges against homeless, no bag-tag for Hawaii County, Mauna Kea rules not enforced, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Those at the forefront of Hawaii’s movement against genetically modified organisms reacted strongly Thursday against a U.S. House of Representatives measure to block state and local governments from requiring food companies to disclose whether their products contain GMOs. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and Congressman Mark Takai voted against a bill that seeks to stop states from requiring companies to label genetically engineered food. The measure introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas, passed the U.S. House of Representatives Thursday with a vote of 275-150. It goes next to the Senate. Civil Beat.

A bill that would allow federal policy on labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms to supersede local efforts passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard on Thursday went to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to speak against legislation that blocks local attempts to require mandatory labeling of foods made with genetically engineered ingredients. Garden Island.

If passed by Congress, the bill that’s aimed at lifting GMO labeling requirements would become federal law, which also means it would supersede any local laws that are made in Hawaii. KITV4.

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission is chasing down state employees and board members who have failed to file their financial disclosure statements for 2015. s of Tuesday, there were 67 state employees and 321 members of boards and commissions who have yet to file their disclosure statement for this year. That’s about 21 percent of everyone who’s required to file by law. Civil Beat.

The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission will soon make public a certified list of names of nearly 100,000 people of Hawaiian ancestry who could form the voting base to create a Native Hawaiian government. Star-Advertiser.

Overcrowding and safety concerns highlight bigger issues the state hospital is looking to address. KHON2.

A Hawaii lawmaker, who chairs the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, said that he, along with other lawmakers, are quietly looking at other alternatives should the NextEra Energy Inc. $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. not go through. Pacific Business News.

Venture accelerators have only been in Hawaii for two years, but they’re already having an impact on the local startup and investment community. Pacific Business News.

At $7.75 per hour, Hawaii’s minimum wage is higher than two dozen states. But when you adjust for the high cost of living in the islands, that wage is only worth $6.67, according to a new analysis by the Washington Post. Civil Beat.

Oahu

City emergency officials joined Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday to unveil broadened tsunami evacuation maps for the island, which now include large inland swaths of Oahu vulnerable to rare, extremely strong tsunamis. Star-Advertiser.

Tsunami experts warn if a 9-plus magnitude earthquake occurs in the Eastern Aleutian islands, a tsunami heading to Hawaii could be worse than the 1946 tsunami that ravaged Hilo and killed 159 people. Hawaii News Now.

The Honolulu Ethics Commission voted Thursday to rescind a strict media policy that severely curtailed what its executive director and even the commissioners themselves could say, opting for new guidelines that would allow a little more freedom. Star-Advertiser.

The homeless encampment in Kaka’ako, reportedly with more than 200 tents, was the focus of the state representative who claims he was attacked there and the Honolulu City Council. Hawaii Public Radio.

The city plans to open a “safe haven” in the next month to accommodate the growing homeless population in Kakaako, Honolulu Managing Director Roy Amemiya said Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaii lawmaker said Thursday he will press charges against whoever assaulted him in a homeless encampment in Honolulu last month. Associated Press.

State Rep. Tom Brower announced Thursday that he’s pressing charges against the homeless teens who allegedly attacked him last month in Kakaako. Civil Beat.

After state Rep. Tom Brower told reporters that he plans to pursue criminal charges against at least one of the two cousins who allegedly started the attack June 29, he agreed to speak to Rose Pu‘u at the same street corner of Ohe and Olomehani streets where the attack began. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Education and several contractors have been fined $1.45 million for violating solid-waste laws during the renovation of Radford High School’s track field last year. Star-Advertiser.

State Sen. Breene Harimoto (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea) says he will undergo surgery soon after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A pay-as-you-throw bag-tag bill for garbage was trashed by the County Council Environmental Management Committee on Thursday, following public opposition. West Hawaii Today.

More than a week after going into effect, the new emergency rules restricting access on Mauna Kea, which protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope say unfairly target them, have yet to be enforced. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is proposing to subdivide five 10-acre parcels in the Panaewa area of Hilo into approximately 80 half-acre lots for native Hawaiian beneficiaries who are on the wait list “and/or to existing lessees who need to relocate due to lava or other hazards.”  Big Island Video News.

There’s still plenty of room for students in the first classes to be held at Hawaii Community College — Palamanui, but those who want to register better hurry. Registration deadline is Aug. 1. West Hawaii Today.

With one deadline passed and a second looming, a nonprofit organization is a few hundred thousands dollars away from owning a 47-acre swath of sacred and historical grounds in Keauhou. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

The Maui County Council Land Use Committee recommended first reading approval Wednesday of zoning changes for Ka Lima O Maui to move ahead with an eight-unit rental housing project in Wailuku for adults with disabilities. Maui News.

Aloha House has agreed to pay $45,000 to 19 employees in back wages, damages and penalties, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Maui News.

A pygmy sperm whale was found beached at Keawakapu in South Maui on Wednesday morning, July 22, 2015, according to representatives with the non-profit Ocean Defender Hawaiʻi group. Maui Now.

Kauai
After nearly 20 years of operating Puhi Sewer and Water Co., Kauai engineering firm Aqua Engineers purchased the wastewater treatment facility from Grove Farm Co. Inc. for an undisclosed price, officials from both firms said Thursday. Garden Island.

Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is seeking public comment on proposed management actions aimed at preventing the local extinction of the Hawaiian petrel, also known as the ‘Ua’u, a federally endangered seabird that is endemic to Hawaii. Garden Island.

Kauai residents have three chances to catch a panel discussion about the dangers of Roundup weed killer featuring experts from the United Nations and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Garden Island.