Thursday, July 7, 2016

Russian spy ship watching RIMPAC war games, Ige signs murder, rape crime bills, Honolulu City Council reorg fails, affordable housing breaks on Honolulu and Kauai, solar industry falters, homeless turnaround plan a success, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy office of the Hawiai governor
Gov. Ige signs Joel's Law, courtesy governor's office
Gov. David Ige on Wednesday signed “Joel’s Law,” or Act 214, an amendment to the state’s narrow first-degree murder law adding anyone who knowingly causes a death while restraining or holding a person for ransom or reward, or using a person as a shield or hostage. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law Wednesday that broadens the offense of first-degree murder. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law that broadens the offense of first degree murder. Previously, the offense has been narrowly defined and limited to rare cases in which there are multiple victims, the victim is killed by a hired killer or the victim was under the specific protection of the courts or law enforcement system. Press release.

A parent of a child conceived through rape in Hawaii could lose parental rights if they’re accused of sexual assault. Gov. David Ige signed a bill today which aims to deprive rapists of parental rights. Associated Press.

Gov. David Ige on Tuesday signed into law a bill requiring insurers cover a year’s worth of birth control at one time. The signing of Senate Bill 2319, which the governor’s office touted as “a groundbreaking bill that will dramatically expand access to birth control in Hawaii,” makes Hawaii the first state in the nation to require all public and private insurance providers to cover 12 months of birth control at a time, meaning that women will only have to pick up their prescription once a year. West Hawaii Today.

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The U.S. Navy has confirmed that a Russian spy ship has been stationed in international waters off Hawaii, but says its presence is not affecting military exercises. Associated Press.

State senators are taking their first legal steps in a fight with the governor over a Public Utilities Commission appointment. KHON2.

After unexpectedly high construction bids delayed the state’s efforts to cool 1,000 classrooms before 2017, the Hawaii Department of Education is seeking new bids for the project, according to a July newsletter. Civil Beat.

More than 1,500 scientists from around the world have signed a letter urging President Obama to use his executive authority to expand Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

A large majority of Hawaii solar energy industry companies are reporting job losses. Star-Advertiser.

Islandwide Solar is in the midst of a “restructuring,” central to which is the liquidation of assets totaling more than $800,000 in wholesale value from the company’s operations on Hawaii Island, Kauai and Oahu. West Hawaii Today.

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. Civil Beat.

Oahu

The Honolulu City Council green-lighted a bill Wednesday that waives building permit and sewer hookup fees for homeowners who want to build accessory dwelling units — secondary rental units on their property. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday confirmed John Henry Felix to a seat on the board of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Pacific Business News.

A move to oust Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson as Council vice chairman was shelved just before a vote on the maneuver was to happen Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council shelved a resolution today to reorganize its committee leadership positions. But they did pass a few measures relating to the Rail Transit Project. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Honolulu City Council voted Wednesday to shelve a bill that would have given the position of vice chair to Joey Manahan from Kalihi instead of Ikaika Anderson from Waimanalo. Civil Beat.

Kakaako’s state-owned Mauka and Makai Gateway parks, home to a persistent group of homeless encampments, are now closed indefinitely for repairs and a cleanup. Star-Advertiser.

Housing First rental units didn’t work out for five homeless people out of 166 placed in the program on Oahu last year. Star-Advertiser.

A future wave of new homes in Kakaako could be subject to dramatically different affordable-housing rules based on a report presented Wednesday to the state agency governing development in the area. Star-Advertiser.

Sewage Spill Closes Kewalo Basin. The Hawaii Department of Health advises the public to stay clear of the area because it may have been affected by a sewage spill over the Fourth of July weekend. Civil Beat.

Two Honolulu police officers have been charged in the past week with felonies — one for allegedly assaulting a truck driver during a road rage incident and another, now retired, for allegedly shooting a bartender in a mishap. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The envisioned Puna Makai Alternate Route, or PMAR, has become a political issue in the primary election. Big Island Video News.

Senior’s striptease a hit on TV: Hilo woman, 90, competes on ‘America’s Got Talent’ Tribune-Herald.

Maui

The Paia Courtyard, a proposed mixed-use retail, office and residential project along with senior living apartments, is now on its way to seek further county approvals. Maui News.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources officers issued 46 criminal citations and impounded 10 off-road motorcycles as evidence after observing illegal dirt biking Sunday in the Kula Forest Reserve. Maui News.

A live snake was captured by a Maui coffee farm worker on Friday afternoon, July 1, 2016. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council unanimously voted Wednesday to give a tax break to people who rent their homes as long-term affordable housing. Garden Island.

Citing the need to get input from the administration, the Kauai County Council unanimously voted Wednesday to refer to committee a bill that would allow additional rental units in the Lihue Planning District. Garden Island.

Shuttle systems, parking reservations, and rearranging the layout of the welcome buildings are all part of the newly released comprehensive conservation plan for the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Garden Island.