Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Legislature advances more money for homelessness, tougher gun laws, easier voting; Kouchi says no conflict; Kahele lease questioned; Maui water rallies slated; tax money for church; Honolulu residents struggle for housing; lifeguard raises pending, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Homeless in Waikiki © 2016 All Hawaii News
Key lawmakers agreed Monday to give Gov. David Ige’s homeless team full discretion on how they want to spend $12 million to address Hawaii’s growing homeless problem. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers are allocating $12 million out of the state’s supplemental budget to address the intertwined issues of homelessness and affordable housing. It’s $3 million more than was requested by the Ige administration. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii State Legislature agreed on Monday to boost the state's funding to tackle the homeless crisis in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

State senators Monday unanimously approved a measure to establish “continuous background checks” that alert police when Hawaii gun owners are arrested in another county or state. Star-Advertiser.

Up for conference committee hearing Tuesday afternoon are two measures that proponents say could improve voter turnout in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Two bills aimed at making it easier to vote will head into conference committee today at the state Legislature. Tribune-Herald.

With less than a week to go before Hawaii is scheduled to announce the names of the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary owners, lawmakers are considering a bill to clarify gaps in the dispensary law passed last year. Associated Press.

The state and counties have kicked off a campaign to inform visitors about a website providing almost real-time information about surf, weather and safety conditions at lifeguarded beaches statewide. The website, www.hawaiibeachsafety.com, is sponsored by the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association. Tribune-Herald.

There has been major growth in Hawaii’s tourism industry over the years. More visitors mean more money. KHON2.

The Pipe Dream Of Teaching In Paradise Goes Global. Unemployed college graduates, Hawaii wants you! The islands need you! And they’ll pay a lot for you! Or so the viral story goes — and goes. The Department of Education is submerged with job inquiries — not just from current and aspiring teachers around the mainland, but from across the world. The problem isn’t just that many applicants don’t hold teaching qualifications; it’s that many don’t even have a work permit. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu rail could soon face another court challenge, even as it grapples with financial trouble. A new group of some 20 local residents dubbed “Do Rail Right” says it’s concerned that long stretches of the multibillion-dollar transit project are being built on Oahu’s flood plain and could be vulnerable to damage from tsunamis, storm surges and sea-level rise linked to climate change. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Council Chairman Ernie Martin and Councilman Joey Manahan want to spend $250,000 in taxpayer money to pay for the expansion of New Hope, an international evangelical Christian megachurch with multiple locations on Oahu. Civil Beat.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's latest request, for $477,000, would fund eight staff positions within a new asset development and management division under the Department of Community Services. The team would acquire land, select developers and oversee project developments. Civil Beat.

A turf battle over the lucrative airport taxi business is breaking out and some claim it's not a fair fight. Taxi operators say that ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft are picking up passengers illegally at Honolulu International Airport. Hawaii News Now.

A state House resolution that would provide emergency funds for Wahiawa General Hospital — which could close within nine months without financial assistance — is still pending as separate plans transpire to move the hospital to the planned Koa Ridge development. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu City and Council officials are looking for the public’s feedback on a renovation plan to Ala Moana Beach Park. Hawaii Public Radio.

The evolving nature of the 25th Infantry Division on Oahu is being demonstrated with the arrival of 24 AH-64 Apache helicopters that are adding significant firepower in the air, while the ongoing departure of Stryker armored vehicles is removing some of it from the ground. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu consumers spent 43 percent of their incomes on housing in 2014, up from 32 percent a decade earlier, according to a new state analysis. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu residents are paying 11% more for housing than they did 11-years ago. KITV4.

The state published a report Monday shedding new light on how Oahu household spending gets distributed. The report — from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism — produced data on local consumer spending that the federal government quit compiling about a decade ago. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has not yet acted on a questionable land lease by state Sen. Kai Kahele. West Hawaii Today.

Senate President Ronald Kouchi did have an investment in a company owned by Kevin Showe, who also owns some property that the legislature is looking at in South Kona. But, he said Monday his ties to the landowner don’t create a conflict of interest. Garden Island.

Maui

A water rights rally is scheduled on two islands today (Tuesday, April 26) from 7 to 10 a.m. fronting Alexander & Baldwin’s company offices on Maui and Oʻahu. Maui Now.

Officials from the union representing hundreds of lifeguards and law enforcement officers statewide are concerned that pay raises awarded to more than 700 members may be in jeopardy. The Hawaii Government Employees Association is waiting for the Maui County Council to sign off on the deal. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawai'i Nature Center's Iao Valley facility is set to get solar panels with the capacity to meet nearly all of its demand for electricity, officials said last week. Maui News.

Beginning Monday, several thousand native seed balls will be scattered on the leeward flanks of Haleakala in hopes of helping restore the dryland forests that have suffered hundreds of years of degradation due to feral ungulates, invasive plants and diseases. Maui News.

Kauai

The Charter Review Commission is one step closer in solidifying the charter Kauai residents will vote on in November. On Monday, commissioners approved findings, purposes and ballot questions for four sections of the charter. Garden Island.