Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Federal court stays Hawaii Trump travel ban lawsuit; Coast Guard cites unauthorized lava boat tours; state Legislature tackles tax hikes, fines, vacation rentals, pesticides, homeless, invasive species; Ellison seeks permission for Lanai parties, Dunkin’ Donuts returning, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii driving © 2017 All Hawaii News
Hawaii drivers be on alert: State lawmakers are considering huge increases to the fines for at least six different motor vehicle violations ranging from cellphones and seat belts to excessive speed and drunken driving. Civil Beat.

A federal judge in Honolulu is suspending Hawaii's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from seven majority-Muslim countries. Associated Press.

The federal court has granted an emergency motion to put on hold Hawaii’s lawsuit against the Trump administration, a decision that will remain in place as long as a nationwide stay on President Donald Trump’s travel ban is in effect. Civil Beat.

State's Lawsuit Against Trump Stayed. Hawaii Public Radio.

Audit: Some Department of Education Employees Still Start Work Before Being Cleared. A new report reveals that hiring practices for some employees have gotten worse, not better, in the past four years. Civil Beat.

Bills to Use Medicaid Funds for Homeless Rent Payments Advance in the Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio.

State lawmakers look at locations for homeless campers this legislative session, including allowing camping in private yards and driveways. KITV.
Isle caregivers relate financial, health pain in calling on state for aid. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are exploring a measure that would implement a wholesale tax on nicotine e-cigarettes and related products that would likely be passed on to retailers and consumers. Hawaii News Now.

A Hawaii House committee on Tuesday passed two bills that would allow the state to collect more tax revenue from the state's proliferating vacation rental and bed-and-breakfast properties while the state's counties figure out how to regulate them. Associated Press.

Two bills designed to let vacation rental companies, such as Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway, collect taxes on behalf of those who rent out short-term accommodations on those platforms were heard by the state House Tourism Committee on Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

A bill that would give counties more authority for invasive species management passed through the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection Tuesday. Garden Island.

Six pesticide-related bills passed through the House Committees on Agriculture and on Energy and Environmental Protection Tuesday. Garden Island.

New bill aims to hold local animal shelters accountable to treatment. KHON2.

As promised, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has paid for her recent trip to the Middle East out of her own pocket, records show. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Airlines and its pilots union have reached a tentative agreement on a six-year contract that will increase the wages for some of its pilots by as much as 40 percent the first year and 2 to 3 percent in subsequent years. Star-Advertiser.

BNP Paribas raised $800 million from its secondary offering of First Hawaiian Inc. stock, selling 25 million of its shares in First Hawaiian Bank’s holding company at $32 a piece. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Hawaii lawmakers plan to consider a bill Wednesday to require the Navy to upgrade aging underground fuel storage tanks at Red Hill by July 2027 or shut down the facility by July 2030. Civil Beat.

No more surprises — that’s the goal for the new head of the Honolulu rail project. KHON2.

City officials are seeking input on preliminary designs for a park and other improvements along the Kapalama Canal as part of transit-oriented development efforts. Star-Advertiser.

A Honolulu City Council committee has approved a resolution asking the city to maintain Thomas Square as a public park. Civil Beat.

Homeless living under Makiki bridge draw safety concerns. The camp sits underneath the Anapuni Street bridge near Wilder Avenue. Hawaii News Now.

The man who left a state government job dealing with homelessness five years ago is now working for the city government on the same issue. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is hiring former state homeless director Marc Alexander to lead the city Office of Housing. Civil Beat.

A former industrial site near Honolulu Airport is slated to soon become a destination for doughnuts, coffee, pancakes, snacks and gasoline as part of a retail development project that will re-establish Dunkin’ Donuts in Hawaii after a more than 10-year absence. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

Hawaii County spent more than $280,000 on overtime costs to rush completion of the Hilo Municipal Golf Course and Ka‘u gym projects, Parks Director Charmaine Kamaka told County Council members Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

A plan to preserve the Amy Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden is slowly moving forward, as the county awaits its pending sale before moving to purchase a conservation easement. West Hawaii Today.

The state has appealed a judge’s order requiring the state Board of Land and Natural Resources to hold a contested case hearing on the sublease between the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Thirty Meter Telescope. Star-Advertiser.

After several years on the drawing board, a planned shopping center in Pahoa is expected to begin construction next month. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii-based Cellana is partnering with Living Ink Technologies to develop sustainable algae inks. Pacific Business News.

As the lava “fire hose” at the Kamokuna ocean entry continues to thrill visitors at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, authorities are noticing an increase in unlicensed tour operators who visit the spectacle by boat. Big Island Video News.

Maui

A pair of bills in the state Legislature aim to keep affordable rents at the Front Street Apartments in Lahaina from rising to market rates in 2019. Maui News.

Alexander & Baldwin has sold a 339-acre parcel in Paia to a California businessman for nearly $10 million. Hawaii News Now.

Maui cultural leaders say they were shocked to see county contractors truck tons of what they consider sacred rocks out of Iao Valley recently, as part of repairs in the area following September's major flooding. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

A network of trained responders seeks to discover how and why whales become entangled, how it affects the individual and the population as a whole, and response methods. Garden Island.

Lanai

Billionaire Oracle Corp. co-founder Larry Ellison, who is the majority owner of the Hawaiian Island of Lanai, plans to hold up to 40 special events hosting hundreds of guests each year on two locations at the golf course he owns on the Pineapple Island, Pacific Business News has learned.