Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Waikiki Beach eroding; Sen. Kahele dies; bills would ban gay conversion therapy, criminalize sex with teachers, elect judges and attorney general, regulate vacation rentals, loosen ethics laws; more top government and political news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Tourists view Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach © 2016 All Hawaii News
A new state report proposes replacing a crumbling 89-year-old wall that juts out into the ocean from Waikiki Beach and has been keeping a prime section of Hawaii’s most visited beach from being swept away. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii state Sen. Gilbert Kahele, recalled as a big-hearted gentleman who cared deeply for his district, has died. Associated Press.

State Sen. Gilbert “Gil” Kahele, a soft-spoken but relentless advocate for Hawaii island and a longtime community organizer who campaigned for a long list of prominent Hawaii Democrats over the years, died Tuesday morning. He was 73. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is mourning the loss of state Sen. Gil Kahele, who died early Tuesday after a series of heart attacks. He was 73. Tribune-Herald.

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Kahele
Gil Kahele, a state senator representing Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island, died Tuesday morning at the age of 73. Civil Beat.

Surrounded by his loving family, the Hawaii State Senate reports that Sen. Gil Kahale passed peacefully at 7:55 a.m. today at Queens Medical Center. He was 73 years old. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii state Sen. Gilbert Kahele, who represented parts of the Big Island, has died. He was 73. KITV4.
  
A public memorial will be held this week for Hawaii Island Sen. Gil Kahele. The 73-year-old died Tuesday morning surrounded by family at Queen’s Medical Center after being hospitalized last week for undisclosed medical reasons. KHON2.

The death of state Sen. Gil Kahele on Tuesday could leave Hilo without a Senate representative for several weeks of the legislative session as Democratic Party officials interview applicants for the District 1 seat. Gov. David Ige will be responsible for picking a replacement for Kahele, who came to the Legislature in 2011 as an appointment by then-Gov. Neil Abercrombie, following a nomination process held by county party officials. Tribune-Herald.

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Hawaii lawmakers are considering bills this year that would fundamentally change how district judges, the attorney general and lieutenant governor are chosen. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers have introduced a bill banning a hotly disputed treatment that aims to turn gay teens heterosexual on the basis that being gay is an illness. Associated Press.

Lawmakers are debating a bill that would make it a crime for a teacher to have consensual sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old. Hawaii's age of consent is 16, but under House Bill 1044, an adult in a position of power who engages in sexual contact with a 16- or 17-year-old would face fourth-degree sex assault charges. Hawaii News Now.

Reps. Kaniela Ing and Cynthia Thielen are joining forces to introduce a measure that expands industrial hemp research, growth, cultivation and marketing activities in Hawaiʻi. Maui Now.

Today state Representatives Cynthia Thielen, R-Kailua, and Kaniela Ing, D-South Maui, unveiled their big industrial hemp bill. MauiTime.

An East Hawaii lawmaker is proposing a new payroll tax to fund paid sick leave for most employees in the state. The bill, introduced by Rep. Mark Nakashima, would require businesses that employ at least 10 people to provide up to five days of paid leave a year for illnesses. Tribune-Herald.

The Governor covered his major priorities yesterday during his State of the State address to the Legislature.   But the largest departmental budget includes much more than what was revealed. Hawaii Public Radio.

Commentary: Ige’s clumsy delivery belies bold ideas charted in speech. Star-Advertiser.

Big Island legislators want to bolster the state Department of Health Vector Control Branch to better focus on controlling populations of animals and insects that spread disease. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii has a new statewide on-demand television channel called HSPAN that its creators say “will significantly increase” the coverage of state Capitol activities available to the public. Civil Beat.

Who’s Raising Cash During Session? Hawaii state Reps. Evans, Mizuno and Morikawa, that’s who. And it’s not illegal. Civil Beat.

Commentary: A controversial decision last year by the State Ethics Commission restricting educational trips planned, organized, and led by public school teachers has spawned a pair of identical bills that could dangerously weaken the state ethics law. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s medical marijuana industry, which could be valued at $300 million by the end of 2018, will have a major impact on the industrial real estate market in the state, that is already one of the tightest markets for space in the nation, according to an industry expert. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii received a B when Americans for Safe Access released its Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws Tuesday. Civil Beat.

The federal Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has withdrawn plans to expand the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary amid resistance from the state, the community and boating and fishing groups. Star-Advertiser.

The federal government announced it dropped a plan to transform the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary from a single species national marine sanctuary. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary isn’t expanding. That’s due to a decision from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration to not move forward with a proposed expansion to an ecosystem-based sanctuary. Garden Island.

Pacific Water Conference could provide new solutions for septic systems, as regulation offers tax rewards. Pacific Business News.

The Department of Education is working to collect nearly $100,000 it mistakenly paid to more than 200 substitute teachers over a year ago. Star-Advertiser.

Micronesians who were hospitalized in Hawaii were significantly younger than other racial and ethnic groups, a new study has found. The severity of the illnesses also was higher for Micronesians than for whites, Japanese and Hawaiians when it comes to cardiac and infectious disease. Civil Beat.

Citing a need to pay off debt, Hawaiian Airlines officials say a profitable year won’t directly affect ticket prices. Garden Island.

Oahu

Pearl City legislators have introduced House Bill 1840, which calls for a plan to repair the Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery on 4th Street off Kamehameha Hwy. Hawaii News Now.

The Waimanalo Market Co-op faces an insecure future. General Manager Leinaala Bright says that while the co-op has state nonprofit status, it does not yet meet federal criteria that would allow it to qualify for a host of grants. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

For years, an unknown — but some say increasing — number of homeowners have quietly rented out their properties to visitors on such online clearing houses as Airbnb and Vacation Rentals By Owner. Kona Sen. Josh Green has introduced a bill that would require all vacation rentals to be licensed annually under the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. West Hawaii Today.

Water bills will trickle down another few cents Monday, as the county Department of Water Supply passes along savings from lower electricity costs. West Hawaii Today.

HPD Keeps Mum About Fired Cop Now Charged With Sex Assault on Hawaii Island. Honolulu police officials refuse to answer questions about Ethan Ferguson, who was hired by a state agency after being discharged by HPD for misconduct. Civil Beat.

Maui

Gov. David Ige called it a "first priority" to keep Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. land in agriculture rather than leave it unproductive or turned into luxury housing when the more than 100-year-old company ceases its sugar operations later this year. Maui News.

Maui County's unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent in December, down more than half a percentage point from 3.8 percent a year earlier, according to labor statistics released Monday by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Maui News.

Kauai

The Kauai anti-bullying campaign grew Tuesday when public school principals received the Mauka to Makai message banners during the principals’ meeting at the Department of Education administrative offices in Lihue. Garden Island.