Friday, February 5, 2016

Legislature seeks to remove shroud of secrecy surrounding police departments, Honolulu PD promotes cop with criminal record, Ige seeks $5M for United Way to combat homelessness, Honolulu voters oppose rail in poll, money for Native Hawaiians, arguments begin in Maui cane-burning lawsuit, Coco Palms races deadline, new hearings on Thirty Meter Telescope, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii police on parade © 2016 All Hawaii News
A bill that could unravel years of secrecy surrounding police officer misconduct in Hawaii  cleared its first hurdle Thursday at the State Capitol. The Senate Public Safety Committee passed Senate Bill 3016, which would change the state’s public records law to allow access to information in the disciplinary files of police officers who’ve been suspended. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige wants Aloha United Way to build on its existing efforts to combat homelessness by funneling $5 million of state money throughout the islands over the next year with the goal of immediately helping 1,300 households get off the streets or avoid becoming homeless. Star-Advertiser.

One in five people in Hawaii qualify for public housing -- but only one in 20 get in. In other words, there's too much demand for affordable rentals and not enough supply. Hawaii News Now.

A House committee this week shelved a proposal to fly homeless people back to the mainland, representing the fourth consecutive year the idea has died in the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

The state agency responsible for improving the well-being of Native Hawaiians is asking the legislature to lift a decade-old funding restriction. Hawaii Public Radio.

After listening to Hawaii residents speak out against vaccines and saying they cause everything from autism to the Zika virus, Hawaii lawmakers killed a bill to speed up the state’s process for adopting federal vaccination guidelines. Associated Press.

Hundreds of Hawaii teachers and their supporters are expected to rally today at the Hawaii State Capitol to support a 10-part education bill that officials believe will improve the state’s school system. Garden Island.

The House Higher Education Committee gave initial approval this week to measures that would impose legislative control over tuition hikes and new construction at the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

With less than five months until medical marijuana dispensaries are up and running, Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill to create an oversight committee for the future industry. Associated Press.

A proposed bill could make intrastate crowdfunding in Hawaii simpler, by easing regulations required by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Pacific Business News.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz had $2.6 million in cash on hand as of Dec. 31. According to his year-end filing with the Federal Election Commission, the Democrat raised a hefty $400,000 in the fourth quarter. Civil Beat.

It's been nearly seven years since the Hawaii Superferry shut down. Now there's talk of bringing a similar system back to the islands. KITV4.

Competition from Virgin America is driving down California-Hawaii flight fares. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Three out of four Hawaii voters say they either feel that Oahu’s rail project is a bad idea, or that they are troubled by how it’s progressing. A mere 16 percent of voters say they feel good about the $6.6 billion project, one marked by revenue shortages, construction delays and costs overruns. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha has promoted to assistant chief an officer who was convicted of assaulting a family member in 1994 and has had two temporary restraining orders sought against him in the years since. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha defended the promotion of a major who was arrested in 1994 for domestic violence after a lawmaker complained the selection is bad for the department's image. Associated Press.

Police are trying to cut back on the number of dismissed DUI cases, while courts are moving to clear a backlog of cases. KHON2.

The University of Hawaii-Manoa and two of its faculty members squared off before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board on Thursday in a case that could have implications for the university’s reputation and its ability to attract high-quality faculty. Civil Beat.

Overcrowding stresses Waianae bus routes. Star-Advertiser.

SunEdison Inc.’s planned 50-megawatt solar energy farm on Oahu’s North Shore may be in serious jeopardy of not being developed, according to public documents filed this week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A judge on Thursday cleared the way for a new round of hearings by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on the proposed Thirty Meter Telescope near the summit of Mauna Kea. Tribune-Herald.

The Windward Planning Commission declared Banyan Drive “blighted” Thursday as it voted unanimously to form a new redevelopment agency. Tribune-Herald.

Two companies seeking to expand quarry operations in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates got a green light Thursday from the Windward Planning Commission, but the go-ahead comes with conditions attached. West Hawaii Today.

Residents in the heart of dengue territory in South Kona are nervous about the disease, and still want more done to address an outbreak that has dragged on for four months now. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island representatives are hoping the third try is the charm for a bill that would bolster ambulance services in Puna. Tribune-Herald.

After using a stun gun and beating a Kona man while he lay incapacitated on the ground, Hawaii County police delayed seeking medical attention for the 39-year-old resulting in his death, a lawsuit filed on behalf of Randall Hatori by his brother claims. West Hawaii Today.

An investigation is underway on the Big Island following a police-involved shooting early Friday, authorities said. Hawaii News Now.

Eighteen months after thousands of albizia trees toppled by Tropical Storm Iselle damaged homes, blocked roadways and knocked out power in lower Puna, multiple bills up for discussion by legislators this session appear poised to tackle the troublesome invasive species. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Arguments begin in Stop Cane Burning lawsuit. If Stop Cane Burning and three Maui residents prevail in their lawsuit, it could impact more than 140 agricultural operations in the state - including taro farmers - and invalidate Hawaii's air pollution controls, said an attorney for defendants in the case, which include the state and Alexander & Baldwin, parent company of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. Maui News.

Mayor Alan Arakawa, Public Works Director David Goode and officials with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development and Maui Police Department will be attending a Makawao community meeting at 6:30 p.m. today in the Makawao School cafeteria. Maui News.

The Maui Police Department reports that their forensic facility currently has 11 unclaimed remains. Maui Now.

Rock work on a large scale progresses along the new Kahului Airport access road near the airport Tuesday. Maui News.

Kauai

The County Council on Thursday waded through details of changing to a council/mayor system of government that employs a county manager. Garden Island.

Developers committed to rebuilding the shuttered Coco Palms Hotel on Kauai are at risk of having their redevelopment permits revoked because of a lag in planned demolition work. Star-Advertiser.

Mount Waialeale, known as one of the wettest spots on Earth, was far from it in January. Garden Island.

Lanai
Maui County Council members will take up the Lanai Community Plan update at their regular meeting Friday and, again, at a public hearing March 12 on Lanai. Maui News.