Monday, November 30, 2015

Campaign disclosure law stands, Gabbard back in spotlight, state owes millions to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Maui mulls water availability rules, Kauai takes up property taxes, barking dogs, more government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands


The U.S. Supreme Court won't hear a challenge to Hawaii campaign finance laws that require a private company buying campaign ads to register as a political action committee. The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from a Hawaii electrical construction company that spent about $9,000 on political newspaper advertisements during the 2010 election cycle. Associated Press.

Tulsi Gabbard: Rising Democratic star makes mark on party by openly defying it. New York Times.

The state owes nearly $20 million to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for violating the state Constitution by failing to adequately fund the department for more than two decades, a state judge has ruled. Star-Advertiser.

After an eight day trial which concluded in July, First Circuit Court Judge Jeannette Castagnetti has ruled that the State violated its constitutional duty by its continuing failure to provide adequate funding to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. Hawaii News Now.

A judge says the state has to appropriate millions of dollars more to fund the Department of Hawaiian Homelands adequately for the first time since at least 1992. Associated Press.

Is the Native Hawaiian election known as Na‘i Aupuni in trouble? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy issued an order Friday blocking the counting and certification of election votes pending a further order by Kennedy or the court. Star-Advertiser.

Supporters of a Native Hawaiian election of delegates to a February convention are urging voters to submit their ballots by the Monday deadline, despite an order Friday by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily halting the counting of ballots or certification of winners. West Hawaii Today.

Having lost two previous rounds in court, the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii prevailed on Friday when a U.S. Supreme Court justice put a stay on the counting of votes in a Native Hawaiian election. Civil Beat.

The final evidentiary hearing in the state regulatory review of the proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaii’s electric utilities will begin Monday. Tribune-Herald.

The state Public Utilities Commission upheld last week its decision to not compel testimony from company CEOs in the upcoming evidentiary hearing on the proposed merger of NextEra Energy Inc. and the Hawaiian Electric companies. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Consumer Advocate says that Jim Robo, the CEO of NextEra Energy Inc., and Connie Lau, CEO of Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., should be part of the upcoming regulatory hearing process regarding the NextEra's proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric Co. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines and other air carriers should expect some pointed questions next year from lawmakers about some long-standing state tax exemptions that are costing the state millions of dollars a year in lost tax collections. Star-Advertiser.

A Hawaiian Airlines executive has hinted a brand-makeover could be coming for the Hawaii-based carrier in the next couple of years, including new uniforms. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

The Hawai'i Convention Center is on track to achieve its highest gross revenue and its lowest net loss since opening in 1998. But tourism officials acknowledge it still has further to go. Star-Advertiser.

One month after Ewa homeowners filed a lawsuit against Haseko Development for deciding to build a lagoon instead of a marina, Haseko representatives met with officials from the city Department of Planning and Permitting to discuss the project’s environmental impact analysis and zone change application. Civil Beat.

State officials say they have found private bidders to help clear out more homeless residents who have been camped along the Kakaako shoreline. Associated Press.

Yet more confirmation that homelessness is at a crisis level in Honolulu: Alternet has listed us along with five other U.S. cities “struggling with a massive homelessness problem and what they are — or are not — doing about it.” Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Department of Health personnel sprayed areas of South Kona, Hilo, Puna and Kau on Sunday in an ongoing effort to combat the spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever on the Big Island. Star-Advertiser.

Homegrown tourism supplements agricultural income as County Council takes up agritourism measure. Tour guide turned vanilla producer Jim Reddekopp just wanted a place to raise his kids. He ended up creating the first commercial vanilla orchid plantation in the United States. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A bill that would repeal the county’s water availability policy, also known as the “show me the water” policy, will be considered by the Water Resources Committee on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m. in the Council Chamber.Maui Now.

Just four days before the star-studded and red-carpet-themed Mayor's Kokua Ball in March 2013, Hollywood movie mogul Ryan Kavanaugh fired off emails to Maui County officials, vilifying then-Maui film commissioner Harry Donenfeld and giving them what appears to be an ultimatum - Donenfeld would need to go or the Relativity Media chief would. Maui News.

The state Department of Health will receive written comments and hold public hearings on proposed changes regarding cesspools. Maui News.

A Kahului woman settled a lawsuit against the state Department of Education over inadequate teaching methods and services for her deaf daughter, but added that she will sue again if the proper services are not provided as agreed. Maui News.

Kauai

Barking dogs, bed-and-breakfasts and the homestead tax cap are all going to be on tap at this Wednesday’s Kauai Council meeting. Garden Island.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is reminding Kaua‘i residents to be mindful of Albatross breeding season between now and July. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maria Costantini is a field assistant for Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project, a state Division of Forestry and Wildlife program that promotes the conservation of Kauai’s native forest birds, all of which are unique to Hawaii, several of which are endemic to Kauai and a few of which are endangered. Garden Island.