Monday, February 20, 2017

Hold onto your wallets--the Legislature's in session; Maui mayor's denial of sacred rocks draws ire; insecticide ban urged; bills die on deadline; Kim kills compost contract; rail car construction to resume; more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii Capitol © 2017 All Hawaii News
State lawmakers are advancing a startling array of more than a dozen proposals this year to increase taxes or impose new levies on everything from marijuana and prepaid cellphones to rocks. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Residents, brace for a clear money grab by politicians. Star-Advertiser.

After a major legislative deadline, the number of bills still alive in the Hawaii Legislature has dwindled. Proposals to boost the use of batteries for renewable energy and take parts of the federal Affordable Care Act into state law are survived. But the variety of unusual proposals to solving homelessness — from setting up sanctioned campgrounds to allowing people to live in driveways — had a mixed fate. Associated Press.

Environmental activists are urging Hawaii lawmakers to implement a statewide ban on a widely used insecticide that’s been linked to disruptions in the brain development of babies and young children — a cause they say is all the more urgent now that President Donald Trump has assumed office and signaled his intent to curtail environmental regulations. Star-Advertiser.

A twice-defeated Senate bill that would allow media access during island disasters and emergencies has passed one committee and is on its way to the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association will host its second annual "Tourism Day at the Capitol" this week. KITV.

The state Legislature is considering taking money generated by the transient accommodations tax away from the counties. Garden Island.

The Board of Education has tapped an Iowa-based executive search firm to help it find and screen candidates for the schools superintendent position. Star-Advertiser.

The Board of Education is asking Hawaii residents for their input in choosing the state's new schools superintendent. Hawaii News Now.

Candidates are again being sought to fill a vacancy on the five-member Kamehameha Schools board of trustees after one of three finalists withdrew from the search. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii is ranked fourth among states with the highest percentage of millionaire households, according to the 2016 Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor, a study released by Phoenix Marketing International. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Nearly three months after its halt, production of rail cars for the Honolulu rail project is about to start up again. KHON2.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell's affordable housing strategy aims to add up to 800 units per year. Pacific Business News.

One of the hottest areas for new housing production on Oahu could soon have a longer-lasting supply of moderate-priced homes for sale or rent — and at lower prices — if a state board adopts new rules recommended by its staff. Star-Advertiser.

A man in his 40s died Saturday morning after breaching a TSA security checkpoint at the Honolulu International Airport. Hawaii News Now.

A couple of shopping malls on O‘ahu are dealing with some of the challenges of middle age. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii

Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday signed a termination of a composting contract that was “deemed disadvantageous” to Hawaii County. Tribune-Herald.

As the days add up in the Thirty Meter Telescope contested case, so does the cost. As of Dec. 31, the state’s bill for the quasi-judicial hearing was $224,789.62, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Tribune-Herald.

Using a wheelchair or walker to reach the best areas of Hawaii County parks will get easier. But it won’t happen overnight. Tribune-Herald.

Vog experts, health professionals and concerned citizens gathered in Kona for a seminar meant to answer one simple question: Is vog the greatest daily threat to the health of Hawaii Islanders? West Hawaii Today.

A former police officer charged with fatally striking a bicyclist is scheduled to appear in court for a fitness hearing Friday accompanied by an attorney still seeking assurances the county will pay for his defense. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Mayor Alan Arakawa is coming under fire from social media and elsewhere for saying in a televised “Hawaii News Now Sunrise” interview Friday that “there’s no such thing as sacred rocks.” Maui News.

Public scoping meetings have been scheduled for Alexander & Baldwin’s application to the state Board of Land and Natural Resources for a 30-year lease for water from streams in Nahiku, Keanae and Huelo. Maui News.

Jeanne Unemori Skog, the longtime head of the Maui Economic Development Board who began with the nonprofit 33 years ago, will step down in June, she announced Friday. Maui News.

Kauai

The County of Kauai will discuss a resolution that will allow the County Council to establish an investigating committee when it meets Wednesday. Garden Island.

When it comes to updating Rice Street, the Kauai Board of Realtors wants to hear what the community has to say. Garden Island.

Kauai has a new state district health officer. Garden Island.