Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Hawaii last U.S. state to ban sex trafficking, RIMPAC war games kick off with 26 nations, employees' marijuana use rises, he said, she said in Kenoi ethics case, Maui doctors leaving, Kauai police body cameras at issue, Kilauea lava marches to the sea, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

USS America at Pearl Harbor (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jacob Holloway)
Hawaii has become the last state in the nation to explicitly ban sex trafficking. Gov. David Ige signed the bill into law Tuesday. It makes sex trafficking a violent crime and class A felony, expands the statewide witness protection program to include sex trafficking and provides victims access to criminal injury compensation. Associated Press.

County police departments have until Sept. 1 to report to the Hawaii attorney general’s office the number of untested rape kits that they have in storage under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. David Ige. The measure is among seven bills that Ige signed into law Tuesday that were backed by the Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus, a bipartisan group composed of female legislators in the House and Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Starting in January, moped owners in Hawaii will need to pay for annual registration and inspections, plus get plates for their vehicles — similar to the state’s existing requirements for cars, trucks and motorcycles. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Scott Swift said Tuesday he wants all 26 nations participating in RIMPAC military exercises in Hawaii to leave better prepared to respond to humanitarian crises. Associated Press.

The head of U.S. Pacific Fleet opened the big Rim of the Pacific exercise Tuesday by downplaying a South China Sea rift with China and talking not about what divides navies in the region, but what unites them. Star-Advertiser.

RIMPAC is the largest international maritime exercise and it happens right here in Hawaii waters. KITV.

The use of marijuana among Hawaii workers is the highest it’s been in three years, a new study shows. Star-Advertiser.

Friends In High Places Helped HECO Tighten Its Grip On Hawaii. The federal government’s takeover of Hawaii proved extremely fortuitous for Hawaiian Electric. So was the involvement of leading local families. Civil Beat.

Commentary: Two of Gov. David Ige’s most decisive moments are not winning legislative praise and both may be in trouble. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: The Hawaii Ethics Commission has been through some tough times recently. It’s had to deal with hostile public reaction to an unpopular ruling that had effectively blocked educational trips for public school students, the departure of its executive director and continued pressure from legislators who believe several commission rulings improperly impinge on legislative prerogatives. And two recent court rulings — one local, one federal — indicate more troubles ahead for the commission. Civil Beat.

Oahu

On July 1, Kirk Caldwell received a 5 percent pay increase as Honolulu mayor. His base salary is now $164,928 a year. But the mayor draws his biggest paycheck not from city and county taxpayers but from a major financial institution in the state. Civil Beat.

Faced with huge weekend crowds and growing piles of rubbish at Makua Beach, state parks officials say they plan to impose restrictions on camping at the remote coastal area near Kaena Point. Star-Advertiser.

Median prices hit record highs for both single-family homes and condominiums sold on Oahu during June, according an analysis by the Honolulu-based real estate company Locations LLC. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu is the ninth-most expensive rental market in July among the 100 largest U.S. cities. The average monthly rent payment in Honolulu is $1,840 for a 1-bedroom apartment, down 1.1 percent from June, and $2,600 for a 2-bedroom apartment, up 1.2 percent. Pacific Business News.

A global conference with thousands of dignitaries and attendees will be hosted by the state in less than 60 days.   As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, the City and County unveiled its general plans today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

An ethics complaint was filed against one of Hawaii County’s Board of Ethics members. Kapaau resident Lanric Hyland, who is pursuing a separate ethics complaint against Mayor Billy Kenoi for misuse of his county purchasing card, is alleging board vice chairman Ken Goodenow has not been impartial on the issue. Tribune-Herald.

Developers of a 58-home subdivision planned for Alii Drive are asking for a pass on some of the conditions that were set when they first applied for rezoning. West Hawaii Today.

Lava is less than 1.1 miles from the ocean as the 61g flow has crossed half way across the coastal plain near Kalapana. Big Island Video News.

The lava flow from Kilauea’s Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent doesn’t appear to be wasting much time getting to the ocean. As of Tuesday afternoon, the flow had traveled about halfway across the coastal plain with about a mile of terrain separating it from the island’s edge, according to the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The future of Maui Medical Group's obstetrics and gynecology department grew more uncertain last week, with a third, part-time physician now scheduled to leave by July 31, Maui Medical officials said Thursday. Maui News.

Maui Medical Group is scrambling to fill positions in its obstetrics and gynecology department in response to the loss of yet another doctor. Associated Press.

Ka Hale A Ke Ola Homeless Resource Centers has launched a new phone line for community members who need to inquire about homeless services. Maui News.

Gov. David Ige has ordered that US and state of Hawai‘i flags today will be flown at half-staff out of respect for the late former Maui County Mayor Elmer Cravalho, who died on June 27, 2016. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Office of the Mayor is examining a ruling by the Intermediate Court of Appeals which said that the Kauai Police Commission — not the mayor — has the power to suspend and discipline the police chief. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s police union is taking its fight over officer-worn body cameras to state court, in a case that could have ramifications for how the technology is used by county police departments across the islands. Civil Beat.

Lanai

Habitat for Humanity Maui has extended its reach across the Auau Channel to enable low-income Lanai residents to own homes through their "sweat equity" and help from their neighbors. Maui News.