Friday, February 10, 2017

Legislature mulls free tuition, taxing REITs, Ige appoints campaign manager as judge, Honolulu rail tax falters, Machado returns as OHA chair, Ward Warehouse coming down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Two bills that would appropriate millions for low-income students to attend University of Hawaii schools cleared their first hurdle at a House Higher Education Committee hearing Thursday. Civil Beat.

Mainland Students Could Be An ‘Economic Driver’ For Hawaii. Some lawmakers want the University of Hawaii to attract more out-of-state students who pay higher tuition as well as diversify the campuses. Civil Beat.

Hawai’i’s top economic drivers, tourism and the military, are at or near capacity. But the state has a plan to expand the economy in innovation, the fastest growing sector.  Hawaii Public Radio.

End tax breaks for REITs, real estate investment trusts, local firms urge Legislature. Star-Advertiser.
Former state workers face long wait for payouts despite hefty payroll upgrade. KHON2.

Promising to bring stability to a panel beset with dissension, Colette Machado of Molokai on Thursday was elected chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees. Star-Advertiser.

Colette Machado has returned to the seat of power at a state agency supporting Native Hawaiians. In related news, Abigail Kawananakoa filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the employment of OHA CEO Kamanao’pono Crabbe. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's attorney general wants to add a new plaintiff to the state's lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's travel ban on people from seven mostly Muslim countries: Ismail Elshikh, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, whose mother-in-law is a Syrian national living in Syria. Associated Press.

Lawmakers are considering adding to the list of illnesses that qualify for the legal use of medical marijuana as the state’s first dispensaries prepare to open in a few months. Star-Advertiser.

A third Hawaii medical marijuana contractor received state approval today to begin legally growing pakalolo. Star-Advertiser.

Dignitaries from Hawaii and Japan gathered at the Kaka'ako Waterfront Park on Thursday to remember those who lost their lives when a U.S. submarine collided with the Japanese ship Ehime Maru. Nine people were killed in the 2001 collision - including 4 teenage students. KITV.

Hundreds of corrections officers called in sick on the day of the NFL’s annual championship game. KHON2.

Oahu

Gov. David Ige announced three appointments to Oahu’s Circuit Court on Thursday, one of whom is his former campaign manager Keith Hiraoka, who resigned from that post last month when he found out that he had been chosen as a candidate by the Judicial Selection Commission. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige has appointed his former campaign manager, Keith Hiraoka, to fill the 1st Circuit Court seat that Judge Karen Ahn vacated when she retired in June. Civil Beat.

In an unusual move, two state Senate committees on Thursday elected to not vote on that chamber’s primary “vehicle” for funding the over-budget Honolulu rail project. Instead, the measure will be so heavily amended that it will require another public hearing. Civil Beat.

A measure that would extend the half percentage point general excise tax surcharge for the city's rail project is still alive, but with several changes and additions. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will sign a bill into law providing TheBus riders the option to purchase a one-day pass. Hawaii News Now.

The wrecking ball now has a firm date with Ward Warehouse. Property owner Howard Hughes Corp. has informed the Kakaako retail complex’s roughly 60 tenants that they must vacate in August to make way for residential tower development. Star-Advertiser.

Bicyclists love new bike lane on McCully while residents struggle for parking. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu is the best place in the United States to be a Realtor, according to a recent study by WalletHub. Pacific Business News.

A group representing survivors of sexual abuse and an organization representing the LGBTQ community are urging Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell to rescind his appointment of Marc Alexander to lead the city Office of Housing. Civil Beat.

Disney, Marvel Studios and IMAX are planning to develop a headquarters for Marvel’s next major project — a feature film and ABC television series “Marvels The Inhumans” — in a former Navy facility in Hawaii, the head of the state’s film commission confirmed to Pacific Business News this week.

Hawaii

Mayor Kim Wants To Reduce Two Percent Land Fund. Harry Kim would like to cut the amount set aside for public land purchases by half. Big Island Video News.

Mayor Harry Kim spent Wednesday evening at the Ocean View Community Center quelling wave after wave of frustration from an animated crowd of roughly 60 residents, many of whom feel the county has left them behind. West Hawaii Today.

Two lawmakers want to increase safety at a popular Puna swimming spot and vet the feasibility of a harbor at Kapoho Bay. Tribune-Herald.

With a county voucher program set to expire at the end of next month, Hawaii Island legislators once again are hoping to secure state funding that would help residents combat invasive little fire ants. Tribune-Herald.

The Hakalau Bridge on Old Mamalahoa Highway will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Friday because of public safety concerns, the county Department of Public Works said Thursday. Tribune-Herald.

A Kona District Court judge has disqualified himself from hearing the case of Sean “Peaman” Pagett, who was cited Christmas Day for running an unpermitted race at Kailua Pier. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

For many homeless people, the easiest place to turn for health care is often the emergency room, said Carol Petith-Zbiciak, doctor of nursing practice at the University of Hawaii Maui College. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai Humane Society is among the animal welfare advocates descending upon the Hawaii Capitol today for Humane Lobby Day at the Legislature. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday unanimously deferred a proposal to establish pedestrian access and parking easements in Koloa. Garden Island.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is opening its sixth restaurant in Hawaii and first on Kauai at The Shops at Kukuiula on the island’s South Shore, the owner of the shopping complex confirmed to Pacific Business News Thursday.