Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Hawaii voters split on Gov. David Ige in poll, House speaker's bills killed in committee, Hawaii County mayor proclaims dengue emergency, teachers could be exempt from ethics laws, Honolulu Police Department marred by favoritism, cheating at the police academy, homeless move into shipping containers, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

campaign courtesy photo
Hawaii Gov. David Ige after 2014 victory, campaign courtesy photo
Only 33 percent have a negative view of President Barack Obama, says a new Civil Beat Poll. Gov. David Ige’s marks are nowhere near as high as the president’s, however, with registered voters split among positive and negative opinions. Civil Beat.

Bills introduced by powerful House Speaker Joseph Souki that would require owners of commercial lands to sell those lands to tenants are “clearly unconstitutional” and will not be heard this session, said House Water and Land Chairman Ryan Yamane. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii House Water and Land Committee Chairman Rep. Ryan Yamane cancelled an upcoming hearing on two bills that would have given long-term lease holders of nonresidential property the right to purchase the land that they’re renting. Civil Beat.

State lawmakers are considering a measure to exempt public school teachers from the state ethics code pertaining to free travel and organizing educational trips. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers are moving forward with bill to limit the number of years tenants could stay in public housing if they agree to an incentive program first. Associated Press.

In the 2016 Legislative session, no bills may be more ambitious and wide-ranging than House Bill 2561 and Senate Bill 2964, which seek to revamp Hawaii’s penal code. The identical bills, 135 pages long, would eliminate some mandatory sentences to give judges more discretion in drug cases, raise the threshold level for some felonies, and create a new felony category, among other changes. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s largest public pension fund is facing an uphill battle amid continuing losses in the U.S. and international stock markets. The state Employees’ Retirement System fund rose 3.2 percent during the final three months of 2015, but that still left the portfolio down 3.1 percent halfway through the fiscal year that ends June 30, according to a report presented to ERS trustees Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Even as legislation on guns fails to gain traction at the federal level, Hawaii lawmakers are considering a slew of firearms legislation. Civil Beat.

Dozens upon dozens of people submitted written or oral testimony on a bill at the Hawaii Legislature that they warned would harm special-needs children. House Bill 868 would allow for school psychologists, teachers, educational assistants, occupational therapists, school social workers, guidance counselors, speech-language pathologists and audiologists to engage in the practice of behavior analysis in the Department of Education. Civil Beat.

A bill that would require large, outdoor commercial agricultural businesses to disclose outdoor application of pesticides passed the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee. Garden Island.

A bill contributing $1.4 million to the fight against rat lungworm disease cleared its first committees at the state Legislature last week. Tribune-Herald.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the sale of Island Air to PacifiCap, officials announced Monday. Garden Island.

NextEra Energy Inc., which is proposing to buy Hawaiian Electric Co. for $4.3 billion, did not come to Hawaii with a strong enough case to convince state regulators to approve the major deal, according to an expert witness for Hawaii County, one of the entities taking part in the regulatory review of the sale. Pacific Business News.

Is NextEra Energy being unfairly put through the wringer as it seeks regulatory approval for its $4.3 billion purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries? That was the underlying question that emerged on the 18th day of regulatory hearings to help decide whether NextEra’s purchase of Hawaii’s historic power company should go through. Civil Beat.

Oahu

In a case that raises serious ethical questions, a Honolulu police sergeant was given a "courtesy" ride home by officers who suspected he was driving drunk, Hawaii News Now has learned.

A cheating scandal at the Honolulu Police Department's training academy has resulted in an internal investigation, officials said. Hawaii News Now.

The last of 25 converted shipping containers has landed at Hawaii’s first homeless “navigation center,” and about one-third of its formerly homeless tenants have moved into transitional homes on a patch of Sand Island, but Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants the new Hale Mauliola project to proceed cautiously. Star-Advertiser.

A bill allowing property owners, businesses or other organizations to replace curbside parking stalls in dense urban areas with “parklets” and bicycle corrals was signed into law by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Karen Awana, a Democrat, has pulled papers with the state Office of Elections for her former District 43 seat in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Awana, who was fined thousands of dollars in recent years by the state Campaign Spending Commission for various filing violations, lost re-election by a wide margin to Republican Andria Tupola in 2014. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Gov. David Ige declined again Monday to declare an emergency in response to Hawaii County’s dengue fever outbreak, despite Mayor Billy Kenoi declaring a state of emergency earlier in the day. Tribune-Herald.

Following the Hawaii County emergency proclamation on dengue fever, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the state is preparing to do the same, pending certain criteria. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has declared a state of emergency to help tackle the mosquito-borne dengue fever outbreak on Hawaii island. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi issued an emergency proclamation Monday to help bolster efforts to combat the ongoing dengue outbreak. Civil Beat.

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi has declared a state of emergency for Hawai'i County due to dengue fever. KITV4.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has declared a state of emergency on Hawaii Island in light of an ongoing dengue fever outbreak. KHON2.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi proclamation on dengue emergency posted here.

A theater director, a videographer, a papaya farmer, two former county officials and a working mother walked into an elections office last week … and one of them could become mayor of Hawaii County. West Hawaii Today.

Music, fellowship… and above all… a place with plenty parking. Those were the wishes of the late Senator Gil Kahele in regards to his final send-off, loved ones say, and for good reason. The parking lot of the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium was full on Monday evening as hundreds came out for the “Evening of Aloha” in honor of the Hilo senator. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Officials in Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration are holding "high-level discussions" with Alexander & Baldwin officials about taking more water out of the Wailoa Ditch system for Upcountry customers as A&B's subsidiary Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. phases out production at the end of the year, Department of Water Supply Director Dave Taylor said. Maui News.

Once a fixture across Hawaii, bookmobiles have all but disappeared from island roads as budget cuts have curbed services and vehicles have wore down beyond repair. Maui News.

Some Nahiku residents and their supporters are urging the county and state to fix a bridge and gulch culvert instead of constructing the proposed Nahiku Community Center, which appears to be on hold following a county lawsuit against the contractor last year. Maui News.

Kauai

Election season has begun and candidate filings are coming in. Three candidates have put their names in the hat for Kauai County Council: Juno-Ann Apalla of Lihue, Matthew Bernabe of Kapaa and incumbent KipuKai Kuali‘i. Garden Island.