Thursday, March 3, 2016

Judge orders Hawaii to fund Hawaiian Home Lands, sex trafficking ban advances, Green's residency questioned, more on Caldwell's Honolulu budget, elected attorney general bill advances, Kauai studies salaries, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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File photo: the late Rep. Mele Carroll leads Hawaiian group on land rights © 2016 All Hawaii News
The state of Hawaii must adequately fund the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, a judge said Monday. But the judge also said she is not ordering the state to appropriate a specific amount. Civil Beat.

Circuit Judge Jeannette Castagnetti said this week that she will strike from her November order language that instructs the state to boost funding for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to about $28.5 million from its current level of $9.6 million. Star-Advertiser.

The latest attempt to ban sex trafficking in Hawaii would treat minors who engage in sex work differently than adults in the industry. Associated Press.

Bills to elect judges and limit the number of terms that state lawmakers can serve are likely dead this legislative session. But a measure that would let voters elect the state attorney general is still alive. Civil Beat.

Wave energy and ocean thermal energy conversion, or OTEC, are two of the renewable energy resources that Hawaii will need to explore to bring the state closer to its 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2045, the head of the state’s Energy Office told Pacific Business News.

A bill that initially set out to require state energy regulators to determine there is a “substantial net benefit” in order to approve a utility merger has cleared its final committee hurdle in the House. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Wildlife Coalition is set to release a new investigative report Thursday morning that looks into the online trade of elephant ivory and related wildlife products in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Ivory is a hot political issue locally this year. Two bills before the state Legislature, House Bill 2502 and Senate Bill 2647, propose to ban all sales of elephant ivory in Hawaii, which is the third-largest ivory market in the U.S. after New York and California, both of which have recently passed ivory bans. Star-Advertiser.

The chief of the boat of the Pearl Harbor attack submarine USS Columbia was relieved of his duties today “due to a pattern of poor leadership,” the Navy said. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Chronic homelessness will continue to be a major source of contention between Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and City Council members if deliberations on the fiscal 2017 budget package are any indication. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell wants the City Council to approve a $2.33 billion budget for fiscal year 2017, but judging from key Council members’ critical reactions Wednesday, it’s going to be a fight. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council is recommending lifeguard coverage be expanded on O’ahu beaches. Hawaii Public Radio.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's $2.3 billion budget includes money for a lot of the basic city services. The lion's share will go for sewer upgrades. It's part of a federal court settlement. KITV4.

Creating new positions in the City and County of Honolulu, and even a new division to help with affordable housing. That’s part of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year. He is asking for $2.3 billion, up 2.5 percent from last year. KHON2.

Despite being one of Hawaii's most iconic beaches, many visitors don't know Waikiki Beach is actually an engineered beach that has been filled with imported sand for decades. Waikiki has been facing erosion problems for years, so Hawaii lawmakers are pushing a bill to restore it. Associated Press.

NOAA stresses importance of reporting after mutilated sea turtle discovered. KHON2.

Four Kapolei students were named the inaugural winners of the Maunakea Scholars Program, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States that gives aspiring astronomers an opportunity to spend time at a major international observatory. Star-Advertiser.

Jon Riki Karamatsu, a former deputy city prosecutor and state legislator, was convicted today of drunken driving for the second time. Star-Advertiser.

Jon Riki Karamatsu, the former vice speaker of the House and deputy city prosecutor, was found guilty Wednesday of operating a motor vehicle under an intoxicant, according to the state Attorney General’s office. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

Sen. Josh Green’s Tale Of Two Cities. The longtime Hawaii Island lawmaker says he now spends about half his time on Oahu, including working a medical job in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

Eight new vector control workers should be helping fight the island’s dengue fever outbreak by next month, and the Hawaii National Guard may be called for a West Hawaii community cleanup day in the near future. West Hawaii Today.

Two previously identified hot spots for dengue fever in South Kona were discussed at the Hawaii County Council meeting on Wednesday. Local lawmakers talked about the reopening of Ho’okena Beach, and the possibility of Miloli’i catchment tanks becoming habitat for mosquitoes. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. confirmed Wednesday that it terminated a power purchase agreement with Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC. Tribune-Herald.

Two Hilo gaming establishments raided Tuesday by local and federal authorities were previously raided by law enforcement. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Monique Yamashita takes over today as executive director of the 30-year-old Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Center, the island's leader in providing transitional housing and other services for the homeless. Maui News.

Kauai

Developers who hope to rebuild the historic Coco Palms Hotel near Kapaa said on Wednesday that a final financial commitment on funding for the $23 million project “could come at any hour, any day.” Garden Island.

Officials agree that considerable, and often unfair, pay discrepancies exist between certain Kauai County executives and their rank-and-file public employees, but precisely how to resolve the disparities — and in particular how to fund those irregularities — remains unclear. Garden Island.

Kanani Fu has been appointed as the county’s new director of housing. Garden Island.