Friday, May 5, 2017

Legislative session ends, Saiki takes over as House speaker, no deal reached on rail, state schools superintendent finalists meet public, economy to grow more slowly, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Capitol, courtesy Henry Curtis, Ililani Media
The Hawaii Legislature concluded with a sudden change in leadership in the state House of Representatives, ending a session marked by a failure to pass a major bill to fund Honolulu’s troubled rail transit project and the death of many other significant proposals. Associated Press.

A divided state Legislature closed out the turbulent 2017 session and headed home Thursday without approving any bill to provide more funding for rail, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he plans to press lawmakers for a new rail funding agreement that could be ratified in a special session later this year. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Adjourn Without Deal To Pay For Rail. Civil Beat.

With nerves raw and no clear timeline for future talks, state lawmakers wrapped up the legislative session Thursday without reaching a deal on funding for Honolulu's beleaguered rail project. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Legislature adjourned Thursday after passing a total of 233 bills this session, including a state budget of $14.1 billion for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. Pacific Business News.

House Speaker Joe Souki has officially resigned from that post effective immediately in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s House leadership reorganization. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Joseph Souki has resigned as speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki resigned from his leadership post on Thursday, the final day of the Hawaii legislative session, citing “disappointments” during the session that included a failure to reach a deal with the Senate over funding for Honolulu’s rail transit project. Pacific Business News.

The highest-ranking elected Republican in Hawaii also wants to lead the state party. State Rep. Andria Tupola said Wednesday that she was officially running to be chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s economy is expected to keep growing at a slower pace even as tourist arrivals head for a sixth straight record year and the construction industry remains busy. Star-Advertiser.

In their first public remarks in Hawaii on Thursday, the two candidates vying to be the next superintendent of public schools emphasized a commitment to ensuring equitable access to a high-quality education. Star-Advertiser.

The two finalists for Hawaii schools superintendent made statements and fielded questions from reporters Thursday, and one of the two could be offered the job next week. Civil Beat.

The two women vying to become Hawaii public schools' next superintendent have made their first public remarks. The candidates are 48-year-old Christina Kishimoto and 46-year-old Linda Chen. Kishimoto and Chen have been selected from an initial candidate pool of 92 applicants. Associated Press.

Linda Lingle to join panel of ex-governors at Harvard. Associated Press.

State regulators approved a 0.12 percent increase in Young Brothers Ltd.’s interisland shipping rates, denying the company’s request for a 4.36 percent increase. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

With legislative session over, councilwoman demands tough rail decisions be made at city level. KHON2.

If the rail project continues, taxpayers may be left to pick-up the tab, and that's not likely to go over well. KITV.

Affordable-housing advocates maintain that a city proposal for interim housing requirements for projects with zoning exemptions in transit-oriented development areas does not go far enough to meet Oahu’s housing shortage. Star-Advertiser.

Immigrant Investor Project Gets Rocky Reception From City Council/ A developer is using a federal cash-for-greencards investment program designed for economically distressed areas to finance a condominium project near Ala Moana Center. Civil Beat.

Inmates become farmers at the Waiawa Correctional Facility. KITV.

The wife of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” reality TV star Duane “Dog” Chapman should have a role in helping select the next chief of the Honolulu Police Department, the Police Commission’s chairman said. Associated Press.

Police Commissioner Cites Another ‘Failed Investigation’ Of Possible Abuse. Civil Beat.

There's more turnover at the top of the Honolulu Police Department as another high-ranking officer is leaving. Deputy Chief Jerry Inouye announced his retirement after 30 years with the force. Hawaii News Now.

A rehabilitation project by the Hawaii Department of Transportation Highways Division will close Kipapa Stream Bridge (Roosevelt) over the weekend. KHON2.

Alexander &Baldwin Inc., one of Hawaii’s largest landowners, reported net income Thursday of $7 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter, compared to a loss of $7 million for the same quarter last year. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Astronomers say the best place on earth to practice their science is on Hawai‘i Island: Mauna Kea. The mountain is also important to cultural practitioners, hunters, hikers and sightseers. The mayor of Hawai'i County has been sharing his vision for the mountain. Hawaii Public Radio.

Three Big Island airports are slated for lighting improvements, the state Department of Transportation announced this week. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Ethos — one of the two medical marijuana-licensed entities permitted on Hawaii Island — hopes to have its cultivation site up and running later this year. West Hawaii Today.

About 45 Volcano residents met Wednesday at Cooper Center with Puna police commanders and community policing officers to express concern about a spike in crime, especially burglaries. Tribune-Herald.

The old Keauhou Beach Hotel is coming down. West Hawaii Today.

It took only five minutes for nearly the entire delta to disappear into the sea on May 3, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Matt Patrick said. Big Island Video News.

Maui

Environmental and cultural preservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to invalidate the Maui Planning Commission’s approval of the proposed $354.5 million, mixed-used Makena Resort project. Maui News.

Maui County Councilmember Elle Cochran has coordinated a series of events that includes county, state and private property managers, in what is being called Maui’s first-ever large scale training series on alternatives to landscape pesticides. Maui Now.

The Honolulu-based concrete production company that has been moving sand from Central Maui to other places off-site, including Oahu, has stopped transporting sand, following a formal notice from Maui County regarding permit issues on Monday. Maui News.

There’s been a major breakthrough in the fight to stop sand shipments from Maui to Oahu. KHON2.

The Waiehu Golf Course driving range will be closed for repairs starting Monday, May 8, and will reopen again on Friday, May 19. Maui Now.

Kauai

Water flow will more than double in the Waimea River system once all of the diversions in the Kekaha and Koloa ditch systems are addressed, and some if it is already back in the watershed. Garden Island.

John Lydgate was a family man, a teacher and a historian who invested the last two decades of his life to building a park for the Kauai community. Garden Island.