Monday, January 25, 2016

Bills could ban homegrown medical marijuana, expand sit-lie ban to state lands, require helmets on mopeds; Ige to give State of the State today; grand jury probing bribery charges at Honolulu airport; Thirty Meter Telescope director ponders future; energy commissioner sought on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Medical marijuana sign in Hilo © 2016 All Hawaii News
The Hawaii Legislature is heading into its first full week of the 2016 legislative session, and lawmakers are busy submitting new bills. The week will begin with an overview of the state as Gov. David Ige delivers his annual address on Monday. Associated Press.

A slew of bills concerning campaign spending, elections and open government are set for hearings in two committees Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige will deliver his State of the State address Monday morning. While he’s expected to outline his vision on topics ranging from homelessness to the prison population, resistance from a frustrated Legislature could also occur. Hawaii News Now.

Governor David Ige will outline his vision and plan for a variety of issues that continue to impact the state. Maui Now.

As the state’s medical cannabis dispensary program gets underway, one lawmaker is proposing a twist — limiting purchases to dispensaries only. House Bill 1680, introduced by Oahu Democrat Rep. Marcus Oshiro, would prohibit patients from growing their own medical marijuana and instead require them to obtain it through a state-licensed dispensary. Tribune-Herald.

State Rep. Marcus Oshiro of Oahu is pushing for another way to regulate Hawaii’s medical cannabis. Specifically, the physicians who recommend it. Oshiro’s House Bill 1677 would establish a system to monitor doctors who provide medical marijuana certifications and track how many certifications they provide. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers are introducing a bill to require all doctors practicing in the state to treat Medicare patients. Associate Press.

A decade after Act 51 mandated that each school in the state have a school community council, it’s unclear how well the system is — or isn’t — working when it comes to giving parents and community members a voice in how schools are run. Civil Beat.

Administrators and teachers gathered at the Hawaii Convention Center Sunday for the Hawaii School Empowerment Conference that focused on what is best for the future of education in Hawaii. KHON2.

Because the University of Hawaii doesn’t have the money to make any significant dent in deferred maintenance, the costs continue to pile up. In addition to the $354 million needed for UH Manoa, another $21.5 is needed for UH Hilo and $59.2 for the system’s community colleges. Civil Beat.

Sitting and lying down on state lands in Hawaii could become illegal under a proposal in the state Legislature, and homelessness experts say they don’t know of any other state with such a ban. Associated Press.

State Sen. Lorraine Inouye will push this legislative session for at least a helmet law, safety checks statewide and a closed-toe shoe and protective jacket requirement for moped operators. West Hawaii Today.

Replacing oil with liquefied natural gas as a “bridge fuel” to generate much of the state’s electricity likely would save Hawaii billions of dollars, according to a projection from the Ulupono Initiative. Civil Beat.

Editorial: Our Beef With The Donald Trump Campaign. We work hard to be an independent, nonpartisan news operation. Even presidential candidates need to understand that. Civil Beat.

Oahu
An Oahu grand jury is investigating an alleged bribery scheme involving private security guards at Honolulu Airport. Hawaii News Now.

The federal government will help Honolulu convene a group of community leaders to help tackle homelessness among new arrivals from Micronesia, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Thursday in an interview. Hawaii News Now.

As many as 40 Navy divers, other personnel and a salvage ship from Pearl Harbor are supporting a survey of the debris fields 2 miles off Haleiwa where two helicopters apparently collided and crashed, killing 12 Marines. Star-Advertiser.

The Kobayashi Group and The MacNaughton Group have canceled plans to build the Vida at 888 Ala Moana luxury high-rise condominium project and develop a neighboring parcel that would have added a total of 500 residential units to Honolulu's growing Kakaako neighborhood, citing slow sales in recent months. Pacific Business News.

Users say the park where they skate at Ewa Beach Community Park has fallen into such disrepair that it has become difficult and sometimes impossible to skate safely over holes in the surface and cracks in the ramps. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Despite a long wait to bolster the membership of the county Board of Ethics, the County Council on Friday postponed action on two nominees who would fill the five-member panel. West Hawaii Today.

Over objections from Kailua-Kona business interests, the Hawaii County Council agreed Friday to spend $650,000 for homeless housing in the Old Industrial Area. West Hawaii Today.

The state is about to kick off preliminary planning for a new regional public library for underserved residents in the rapidly growing Puna district. Tribune-Herald.

The executive director of the embattled Thirty Meter Telescope said Friday he wants to move forward with the project but is waiting to hear from state agencies about how to proceed after the Hawaii Supreme Court invalidated a key construction permit. Associated Press.

The future of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Hawai‘i Island’s Mauna Kea remains uncertain. Construction has been halted on the project since protests began last April. And in December, Hawaii's Supreme Court ruled the permit invalid, sending the matter back for a new contested case hearing. Hawaii Public Radio.

Maui

Maui County has begun advertising to fill the position of energy commissioner, a job that pays between $75,000 and $80,000 per year. Maui News.

A resolution to authorize the Maui County Council to hire special attorneys for second opinions in disputes with Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration was sent back to the Committee of the Whole on Friday after the proposal appeared to lack the votes for approval. Maui News.

The hearings officer in the East Maui watershed contested case is calling for the restoration of 18 million gallons of water a day to 10 streams currently being diverted mainly for Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. operations - but he did not take into consideration the impending closure of the plantation at the end of 2016. Maui News.

Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. has officially given Maui Electric Co
. notice that the plantation's Puunene Mill will no longer provide power to the island's electric grid. Maui News.

A road repair project on Kahekili Highway is pending while officials decide how best to protect a nearby burial site thought to contain multiple human remains. Maui News.

Maui Electric Company announced that it has established the Maui Electric Company Sustainability Scholarship Endowment fund through a grant from the Hawaiian Electric Industries Charitable Foundation for students enrolled in the Sustainable Science Management program at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College. Maui Now.

Kauai
The Pentagon would have to decide whether a combat-ready Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai would protect either Hawaii or the mainland against a possible North Korean ballistic missile attack, because the missile defense system there would not be capable of shielding both, an East-Asia security analyst said Friday. Star-Advertiser.

There’s a new suggestion for how to regulate homestays on Kauai, and the county’s planning committee decided to defer the discussion until they could hear more details and compare the two bills. Garden Island.

Lisa McDonald, the Hanalei Elementary School principal who was removed from her post in September, will stay at the district office instead of returning to head the school, after a decision by Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki. Garden Island.

Ten Syngenta employees were taken to Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital on Wednesday after walking onto a field too soon after it had been sprayed with an agricultural pesticide. Garden Island.