Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Rail bailout bill squeezes through divided Senate committee, House reorganization removes rail critics from key posts, federal court hears Hawaii's challenge to Trump travel ban, food safety rules go into effect this weekend, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Iolani Palace is shining brighter than ever with a new look from LED lights. More than 1,000 lights were installed at the nation's only royal residence, illuminating the palace in the dark night. Hawaii News Now.

The state Senate Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted tonight to advance legislation that would generate $2.37 billion to bail out the city’s financially troubled rail project. Star-Advertiser.

A $2.4 billion bailout plan for the Honolulu rail project crossed its first hurdle on Monday, when the Senate Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted to approve the measure in the face of fierce opposition from the Mayor of Honolulu, neighbor island officials and hotel executives. Civil Beat.

State Legislative Leaders Inclined to Pass Rail Funding Bill "As Is" Hawaii Public Radio.

A $2.4 billion bailout of the Honolulu rail project, partly subsidized by an increase in the statewide hotel tax, advanced by a 6-5 vote Monday in the Senate Ways &Means Committee. West Hawaii Today.

After a marathon hearing, the Senate Ways and Means Committee narrowly voted 6-5 Monday night on a bill that would generate almost $2.4 billion to bail out the city’s troubled rail project. Hawaii News Now.

The rail bailout bill passes the Senate Ways and Means Committee with a narrow 6-5 vote. KITV.

A special session began Monday for lawmakers to hammer out a proposal to bail out Honolulu’s rail project. KHON2.

Officials at Honolulu's cash-strapped $9.5 billion rail project are under pressure to deliver an adequate funding plan to the federal government. Hawaii lawmakers are meeting in a special legislative session to find a financial solution. Associated Press.

The mayor of Hawaii County made a rare trip to the State Legislature on Monday to speak out against the latest rail funding proposal. Big Island Video News.

How Hawaii's Hotel Room Tax became the Lawmakers' Go-To Tax. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers gaveled in for what they hope will be a week to sort out a rail spending plan. KITV.

Feds not yet counting rail ‘stress test’ that borrowing could patch. KHON2.

Lawmakers are using the five-day special session this week to shuffle some positions in the state House, and on Monday officially named state Rep. Cindy Evans (D, Kaupulehu-Waimea- Halaula) as the new House Democratic majority leader. Star-Advertiser.

State Reps. James Tokioka and Isaac Choy received notice late Sunday morning that they were reassigned from the House Finance Committee. Garden Island.

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Three federal appeals court judges today challenged the Trump administration’s limited view of who is allowed into the country under the travel ban, with one questioning from “what universe” the government got the idea that the mother-in-law of a U.S. resident could enter while cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents are barred. Associated Press.

New food safety rules designed to protect the public at restaurants and food establishments statewide will go into effect on Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Health will require all restaurants statewide — during food prep and service — to have a staff member on-site who is certified in food safety. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Department of Health has amended Chapter 50 of the Food Safety Code with new requirements, including a new food education mandate, with some going into effect Sept. 2. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has nominated corporate executive and consultant Douglas Shinsato to the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to serve out the remainder of the late Barry Mizuno's term. Pacific Business News.

First Assembly of God in Moanalua set up its Alaska-­made “spherical dome” on the grounds of the state Capitol to give city and state lawmakers a chance to see how 45 homeless mothers and their children would live in Kahaluu. Star-Advertiser.

A passenger whose disruptive behavior prompted the pilot of a nonstop flight to New York to return to Honolulu in November owes Hawaiian Airlines $97,817, a federal judge ruled Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Condominium owners along Waikiki’s Gold Coast celebrated Monday a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that they said makes clear the state is responsible for maintaining a crumbling sea wall that protects their mostly million-dollar properties. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Supreme Court says state responsible for Waikiki seawall. Pacific Business News.

Waikiki Residents Lose Fight To Force State To Repair Seawall. The state Supreme Court ruled it was up the Legislature — not the courts — to decide whether to pay for fixing a damaged seawall. Civil Beat.

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Major upgrades are finally about to begin at a run-down Oahu harbor. Hawaii News Now.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday it reached a settlement with Fileminders of Hawaii LLC and its owner, Hawaii MMGD, to pay a civil penalty of $122,000 for operating a large-capacity cesspool at their Kapolei facility in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. In June the cesspool was closed, and the company installed an individual wastewater system. Star-Advertiser.

Facebook will host a free workshop for small businesses in Honolulu this week. The event is aimed at teaching local small business owners best practices when it comes to engaging customers on the social media platform. Pacific Business News.

Commentary: Demilitarizing Diamond Head. The state Department of Defense is demolishing outdated buildings, as well as turning over land, tunnels and historic artillery batteries to the state parks. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

The Hawaii County Water Board and Hawaii County Department of Water Supply intend to pull out all the stops to address North Kona’s water crisis, including opening up their wallet. West Hawaii Today.

Kamehameha Schools says it is finalizing a lease with Hawaii Forest for 10,000 acres of timber land on the Hamakua Coast. Tribune-Herald.

A 21-year-old Hilo man accused of stealing a Hele-On bus earlier this month has done it again, police said. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

A blessing was held today for the one- and two-bedroom apartments at the County of Maui’s 56-unit Kulamalu Hale apartment rentals in Pukalani. Maui Now.

Four food trucks were robbed and vandalized on Maui Sunday night at the Food Truck Marketplace in Kahului. KITV.

Kauai

People on Kauai are still wondering about the black, tar-like substance infiltrating the tide pools on the eastern side of Mahaulepu Beach. Garden Island.