Thursday, February 16, 2017

Assisted suicide bill clears Senate panel, property taxes could rise to pay for income tax cut, Caldwell's State of the City tonight, Maui may allow advertising at county facilities, firefighters union seeks insignia on uniforms, fewer whales entangled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii bill would allow medical aid in dying. Associated Press.

Senate Bill 1129, the “medical aid in dying” bill, which would allow terminally ill adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live to self-administer medication to end their own lives, with an amendment to allow advanced practice registered nurses in addition to doctors to prescribe lethal drugs, passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health  on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Medical Aid In Dying Bill Stays Alive In Hawaii Senate. The proposal, which didn’t even receive a hearing last year, has cleared one committee and its prospects seem good in a second. Civil Beat.

The state Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health voted 6-0 Wednesday to recommend passing a “death with dignity” bill after testimony poured in during an emotional hearing Wednesday. Tribune-Herald.

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A bill that could force Hawaii’s four counties to raise property taxes was passed Tuesday by the House Tourism Committee. Maui News.

House Bill 1586 aims to reduce income taxes on low-income and middle-income families, as well as seniors, by eliminating the counties' share of the transient accommodations tax on hotels and short-term rentals. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii lawmakers have advanced hotly contested bills this month that would allow Airbnb, and similar online vacation rental platforms, to collect taxes on behalf of the state. Star-Advertiser.

A proposal to deploy high-tech cameras for traffic enforcement by photographing the license plates of motorists who run red lights has been approved by two committees in the state Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Tightening The Rules For Lobbyists. Lobbyists spent millions trying to influence lawmakers last year. Civil Beat.

Operators of Hawaii’s wind farms are poised to spend more than $4 million on efforts to fill critical knowledge gaps regarding the endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, and may eventually spend up to $6 million. Civil Beat.

The federal government has filed a lawsuit against Discovering Hidden Hawaii Tours Inc., alleging that the company’s president sexually harassed male employees for more than a decade. Star-Advertiser.

A man who controls three related Hawaii tour companies subjected male employees to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. Associated Press.

If, as the classic 1980s TV commercial advises, you’re looking for the union label, you’re not likely to find it on Hawaii firefighters uniforms any time soon. West Hawaii Today.

The number of whales getting tangled up in fishing gear in Hawaiian waters has been on the decline. Associated Press.

Not a single whale entanglement has been reported almost four months into whale season in Hawaiian waters. Maui News.

Kelvin Taketa, who has led the Hawaii Community Foundation for nearly 20 years, said Wednesday that he will step down as soon as the board names a new CEO. Pacific Business News.

Gary Caulfield, First Hawaiian Bank vice chairman and chief information officer, is retiring after 34 years at the bank. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s fifth State of the City address tonight will focus on a revamped plan to give incentives to housing developers in exchange for providing more affordable rentals to those most in need — and keeping them affordable longer. Star-Advertiser.

Bills that would extend Oahu’s rail tax easily advanced in both Legislative chambers Wednesday, but the measures now face tougher scrutiny in the House and Senate’s money committees. Star-Advertiser.

Most of the action so far regarding finding more money for Honolulu’s rail project has taken place in the state Senate, but now the House of Representatives is getting involved. Civil Beat.

There were a few key junctures in the long, convoluted story of Honolulu’s rail project.  Getting the point five percent general excise tax increase was one, and the decision to go with an elevated system is another. Hawaii Public Radio.

Traffic and affordable housing are the most pressing issues for Island residents according to a statewide survey for the Hawaii Association of Realtors, though less than half of Oahu respondents support extending the general excise tax beyond 2027 to fund rail completion beyond Middle Street. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu International Airport could lose one of its runways under a plan to improve runway safety. KHON2.

University of Hawaii President David Lassner has recommended suspending for two years the search for a chancellor for the Manoa campus, following an unsuccessful nationwide search to fill the position. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Commission is aiming for the department's new chief to be sworn-in this summer. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Police Department may reopen a criminal case involving the suspected assault of a toddler at a day care run by the wife of a Honolulu police officer in response to a Civil Beat story that uncovered serious flaws in the investigation.

A former student at Pearl City High School has filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Education in a case where she was sexually assaulted by a special needs student in 2012. Hawaii News Now.

Senia, long-planned and recently opened by chefs Chris Kajioka and Anthony Rush, and Vino, run by master sommelier Chuck Furuya, have been nominated for 2017 James Beard Awards in separate categories. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The third try might be the charm for securing legislative funding for rat lungworm disease research. Tribune-Herald.

A state Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officer on trial for the alleged sexual assault of a then-16-year-old girl on a Hilo beach on New Year’s Day 2016 admitted Wednesday he kissed the girl but testified she initiated it. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Maui County is seeking more income through a bill that would allow businesses and nonprofits to advertise at county parks, sponsor an event or allow an entity to become an exclusive provider for things such as soft drinks at county concessions. Maui News.

Saying “nobody here wants this,” angry residents voiced overwhelming opposition to TEACH, the group that plans to turn Old Maui High School into a center for agriculture, housing and education. Maui News.

Kauai

Increasing tourist traffic, adding user fees and allowing people to book tee times online are just some suggestions to drum up business at the Wailua Golf Course. Garden Island.

County officials hope an audit of the Kauai Humane Society, paired with new leadership, will help steer the organization in a positive direction. Garden Island.

Gary Hooser, former Kauai County councilman, is joining Kauai Community Radio. Garden Island.