Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Judge strikes down Maui GMO ban, illegal immigrants can get Hawaii driver's licenses, Brower bruised in homeless fight, milk price drop threatens local dairy, Honolulu plastic bag ban begins, county faces ADA lawsuit over buses, park smoking ban, environmental court begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

genetically modified crops
Anti-GMO rally in Kauai, courtesy photo
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a Maui County ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops is pre-empted by federal and state law and invalid. Associated Press.

A federal judge Tuesday invalidated a Maui County ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered crops, ruling that the prohibition is pre-empted by federal and state law. Star-Advertiser.

A federal judge has invalidated Maui County’s moratorium on genetically engineered crops that voters approved last fall. Judge Susan Mollway said in a ruling filed Tuesday that the ordinance is “invalid and unenforceable” because it is preempted by state and federal law. That’s similar to the reasoning that Judge Barry Kurren relied upon to strike down both Hawaii County’s partial ban on genetically modified farming and Kauai County’s pesticide disclosure law last year. Civil Beat.

According to a federal judge, the initiative to put a hold on the use of GMO's in Maui County gets trumped by federal and state law. KITV4.

A federal judge today ruled that the Maui GMO Initiative passed by Maui voters in November 2014 is invalid because the county does not have the authority over the matter.  The order states that the County of Maui GMO ordinance is preempted and exceeds the county’s authority to impose fines. Maui Now.

Anti-GMO activists, who celebrated when the moratorium passed in November, are now vowing to keep fighting after a judge invalidated the ban on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill into law that creates a limited purpose driver’s license for people who don’t have documents to prove they are legally allowed to live in the U.S. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed a bill that dedicates nearly $3 million of general funds to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs over the next two years. Civil Beat.

Among bills Gov. David Ige signed into law Tuesday are measures requiring members of certain councils, boards and commissions to undergo training in Native Hawaiian customs and rights; making it lawful to use human remains for traditional Hawaiian cultural burial practices; and creating a new exception for people without proof of U.S. residency to get driver's licenses. Star-Advertiser.

Governor David Ige signed a bill into law this morning that makes it mandatory for certain state councils, boards and commissions to attend a course on Native Hawaiian customs and rights to be administered by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Maui Now.

Hawai’i’s new Environmental Court system will be activated statewide July 1st.   It’s only the second specialized court of its kind in the nation, but has broad jurisdiction on almost everything dealing with the environment. Hawaii Public Radio.

A ban on smoking at state parks and beaches goes into effect Wednesday, expanding on another prohibition already in place in certain city and county parks in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Last week was former Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s 77th birthday and the longtime Hawaii politician was supposed to be celebrating it in part with the long-awaited unveiling of his official state portrait. Instead, Abercrombie’s space in the gallery of ex-governors that line the walls in the current governor’s office is still empty. Civil Beat.

The West Coast is the best coast when it comes to Hawaii tourism's visitor markets. Total visitor spending from the U.S. West jumped 19.9 percent in May to $447.4 million, up from $373.2 million in May 2014, according to data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

A day after he was assaulted while taking photos at a large Kakaako homeless encampment, state Rep. Tom Brower insisted the attack was unprovoked. But the family of two teens involved said it came after the lawmaker laughed at the boys. Star-Advertiser.

Rep. Tom Brower
Suffers Facial Injuries in Altercation at Homeless Camp. Civil Beat.

After three years of warnings, it's finally here. The city's plastic bag ban becomes law Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Army divers said initial examination of the sunken fishing vessel Judy K at Pier 16 shows it is intact, but the earliest they could attempt to float the partially submerged 77-foot boat for removal would be September. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

A Maui man on a mission to improve access for the disabled across the state is on the brink of settling a federal lawsuit against Hawaii County government on allegations the county’s Hele-On bus system isn’t compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. West Hawaii Today.

The state Department of Agriculture, bowing to pressure from Meadow Gold Dairies, unanimously approved a 23 percent drop in the state-set wholesale milk price paid to the last locally owned dairy. Hawaii island's Cloverleaf Dairy owner Ed Boteilho Jr. said he may be forced to close his dairy. Star-Advertiser.

Citing safety concerns, University of Hawaii kept the road to Mauna Kea’s summit closed above the 9,200-foot elevation Monday as workers searched for signs of damage following last week’s Thirty Meter Telescope protest. Tribune-Herald.

A new environmental court makes its debut today with the task of handling cases that involve the often complex and specialized rules governing human interaction with lands and waterways. Big Island judges have been selected to hear cases that are now being assigned to an environmental schedule — proceedings which in the past were mixed with other criminal and civil matters on court dockets. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Ridao retiring as director of Housing and Human Concerns. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa is standing by a comment he made during a recent interview that said a potential upside of the new bed-and-breakfast ordinance is that it could give locals a chance to buy properties that can no longer be rented out by tourists. Garden Island.

Kaiser Permanente is planning to open a clinic on Kauai early next year, with the goal of providing subscribers with greater access to doctors and reducing patient wait times. Garden Island.