Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fuel tax hikes proposed for roads, three counties mull general excise tax increase, attorney general says fantasy sports betting illegal, military wants to beef up Kauai missile range, opposition rises to homegrown marijuana ban bill, more than 2k bills filed this legislative session, two Hawaii billionaires among world's top 10 wealthiest, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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In an unusual election-year move, Gov. David Ige is asking lawmakers to raise the state’s gasoline tax from 16 cents to 19 cents per gallon while also boosting the state’s vehicle registration fees and weight taxes, steps the administration expects will cost a typical motorist about $55 extra per year. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin issued a formal advisory opinion Wednesday stating that daily fantasy sports contests, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, are illegal under Hawaii gambling laws, and his office is considering pursuing criminal or civil enforcement actions against companies operating the websites. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Attorney General’s office issued an opinion Wednesday saying daily fantasy sports contests like those run by FanDuel and DraftKings constitute illegal gambling in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

The state Attorney General says daily fantasy sports contests, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, are illegal gambling under Hawaii law. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii lawmakers have filed more than 2,000 new bills in the 2016 legislative session. They're racing to turn in their proposals before a legislative deadline. Associated Press.

With the high cost of incarceration, many states are increasingly turning to ankle bracelets as a more cost-effective way to supervise offenders — while freeing up space in prisons and jails. But, in Hawaii, the concept of electronic monitoring has yet to fully take hold. Civil Beat.

Hawaii state lawmakers are pushing for a new bill to make wrongdoings by officers become public knowledge. KHON2.

A bill that would ban homegrown marijuana in Hawaii is riling pot advocates as the state prepares for the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries this year. Star-Advertiser.

The people have spoken, and lawmakers have finally heard them: Hawaii’s sweltering classrooms need to cool off. How to accomplish that will be a top priority this legislative session, possibly snagging even more attention than the Hawaii State Teacher Association’s ambitious proposal for wide-ranging education reforms. Civil Beat.

A no-tipping model has been gaining popularity across the nation and Hawaii restaurants may soon jump on the bandwagon. Pacific Business News.

As of Jan. 23, approximately 13,194 Hawaii residents had signed up for coverage through during the enrollment period that began in November, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Pacific Business News.

Candidate filing for the elections for federal, state and county offices later this year gets underway Monday and runs through June 7, the state Office of Elections said Tuesday. Maui News.

A new report ranking all 50 states based on residents’ sense of well-being puts Hawaii at No. 1, followed by Alaska, which held the top spot last year. Associated Press.


Oahu residents and visitors will be paying a 0.5 percent surcharge on goods and services through 2027 for the $6.57 billion rail project after the Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to approve a five-year extension. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council extended state funding for the rail transit project today.  But the lawmakers imposed a few restrictions on spending. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council approved a five-year extension of a 0.5 percent general excise tax surcharge Wednesday to help cover cost overruns and lost revenues on the $6.6 billion rail project that’s currently under construction. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council 7-2 vote boils down to this. For the average taxpayer, it’s not a forever tax. But it's continuing to pay a half percent more on goods and services until 2027. KITV4.

Is Rod Tam returning to politics? An outspoken and controversial figure, he spent two nights in jail in late 2011 and early 2012 for stealing city funds and violating campaign spending laws. Civil Beat.

The U.S. Navy is asking officials from government agencies that want to participate in the implementation of an agreement to update underground fuel tanks at Red Hill to sign non-disclosure agreements that would prevent them from sharing information related to procurement and national defense. Civil Beat.

Bikeshare Hawaii planned to roll out its bike rental system this month, but the start date has been delayed because of a lack of capital. Hawaii News Now.


A measure currently being considered by Hawaii County officials would add another half-percent to the general excise tax charged on goods and services. West Hawaii Today.

All seven members of the Big Island’s state House delegation are co-sponsoring a bill that would bolster efforts to combat invasive little fire ants. Tribune-Herald.

Extending roads across five lots between subdivisions would be enough to connect upper Puna communities and provide another route in case of an emergency, an ad hoc committee concluded. Tribune-Herald.

A pair of House and Senate bills would pave the way for privatization of Honokohau Small Boat Harbor. West Hawaii Today.

An off-duty Kona Patrol officer has been arrested and charged with the alleged assault of a 72-year-old man living above him in a Kailua-Kona apartment. Big Island Video News.

Scientists from University of Hawaii at Hilo and the San Diego Zoo, are trying to bring the Hawaiian crow back from the brink of extinction. Researchers were able to successfully sequence the genome of the bird, also known as the alala. KHON2.


ATC Makena Holdings came up against strong opposition Tuesday to its plans to develop 47 acres in the Makena Resort. Maui News.


It was a mixed bag at the Kauai County public hearing Wednesday for the proposed one-half percent general excise tax surcharge increase. Garden Island.

Findings from N&K CPA Inc.’s audit report were in the same areas as the findings from the last fiscal year’s audit report. But the county has made progress in each of the areas. Garden Island.

The head of U.S. Pacific Command said Wednesday that the U.S. military should consider enabling an Aegis Ashore facility on Kauai to protect against North Korean missile threats. Star-Advertiser.

A school bus rear-ended a sedan on Kaumualii Highway near the Kauai Humane Society Tuesday morning. There were no injuries. Garden Island.


Billionaire Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corp. to bought Hawaii’s island of Lanai for $300 million, is the seventh-richest person in the world, according to a new ranking by Wealth-X, in collaboration with Business Insider, of the world’s 50 wealthiest people. Another Hawaii landowner, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, 31, was ranked just below Ellison at No. 8 with a net worth of $42.8 billion. Pacific Business News.