Monday, December 11, 2017

Ige's union support falters; lawmakers to take up payday loans, suicide prevention, self-driving cars in upcoming legislative session; Kauai post office to be moved; Big Island income lags; rail station privatization mulled, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy HSTA
Teachers union supported Gov. David Ige in 2014. Other unions are not so happy with him. Courtesy HSTA
Twice this fall the state’s largest union has issued dire warnings about efforts by Gov. David Ige’s administration to upgrade critically important state computer systems, and that pushback is taking on political implications as Ige prepares for a tough Democratic primary next year. Star-Advertiser.

Gov’s chief of staff shifts to deputy role. Mike McCartney, Gov. David Ige’s chief of staff, has been moved into a lower-­level position and salary — but gets to keep his old title — under what Ige describes as a reorganization of his office. Star-Advertiser.

Medical Pot: Taking Your Medicine Can Get You Fired. Cannabis advocates may try to strengthen patient protections in workplaces and public housing during the next legislative session. Civil Beat.

Civil Beat Poll: Let’s Have A Constitutional Convention. Two-thirds of Hawaii voters surveyed in our poll support the state holding a “con con,” the first in 40 years. Civil Beat.

State legislators aim to regulate high-interest payday loans. State lawmakers plan to again consider imposing stricter regulations on so-called payday lenders issuing loans that can carry interest rates as high as 459 percent in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers urge more funding, awareness to suicide prevention. Hawaii legislators are grappling with how to prevent suicides, the leading cause of fatal injuries in the state.  Associated Press.

Inouye among skeptics of testing self-driving cars. Hawaii’s drivers might soon share the road with self-driving cars, after Gov. David Ige signed an executive order last month allowing statewide testing of the autonomous vehicles. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Longliners Are Paying Big Bucks To Go Over Quota. Environmentalists worry short-term deals will result in overfishing. Meanwhile, fishermen seek more access to restricted areas. Civil Beat.

China ups recycling regulations, causes ripple effect felt in Hawaii. China wants to rehabilitate its environment, but one of the country’s primary initiatives to do so could leave pollutants piling up over much of the rest of the world, including Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.

State creates Hawaii Defense Economy website to share data. Total defense spending in Hawaii averages around $7.8 billion a year, according to the website, and defense spending is 9.8 percent of the state’s gross domestic product. Garden Island.

Hawaiian Telcom took a step closer to being acquired by Ohio-based Cincinnati Bell on Friday, receiving one of two necessary Hawaii regulatory approvals. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs’ Cable Television Division on Friday conditionally approved the merger transaction transferring control of Hawaiian Telcom’s Oahu cable franchise to Cincinnati Bell Inc. Pacific Business News.

Hawaiian Airlines Federal Credit Union merged with Hawaiian Tel Federal Credit Union last month after Hawaiian Airlines FCU’s board of directors and membership voted in favor of the merger on Sept. 8. Pacific Business News.

Oahu

Hawaii Reserves Inc. has scrapped its contentious plan to put up houses in rural Malaekahana and is instead proposing a scaled-down project allowing for 300 additional residential units within the Laie ahupuaa. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu rail officials have brought on Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors LLC to study the potential use of a public-private partnership for the remainder of the 20-mile elevated rail project. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration will award Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children $514,532 to fund resident training. Pacific Business News.

Waianae latest stop for Hokulea in its 'mahalo sail' around the islands. The voyaging canoe Hokulea received a warm welcome when it arrived at Pokai Bay in Waianae Saturday as it continues its Mahalo Hawaii Sail around the islands. KITV.

Hokulea sails to the west side, celebrates Buffalo Keaulana. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Big Island household income falling behind. It’s long been said a rising tide lifts all boats, but census data released last week shows the Big Island remains grounded on the reef of a faltering economy. West Hawaii Today.

Council questions scrutiny of contingency funds. Hawaii County Council members often use their contingency funds as grants to nonprofits, which they say allows them to provide quick aid to their districts. Tribune-Herald.

Delay sought in TMT sublease contested case. Attorneys for the University of Hawaii and TMT International Observatory are asking that a contested case for the telescope’s sublease not proceed at this time. Tribune-Herald.

Raises for UH staffers: Many at UH-Hilo, HCC earn more than $100K per year. Nearly a dozen executive and managerial employees at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and Hawaii Community College will get merit-based raises effective Jan. 1. Tribune-Herald.

Wind farm seeks incidental take permit.  The operator of Lalamilo Wind Farm has applied for a federal permit that would allow for the incidental taking of two endangered Hawaiian species during the project’s operation. West Hawaii Today.

$30M Waikoloa resort project moving forward. Two years after the Planning Department accepted applications to rezone part of a Waikoloa parcel and grant a special management area use permit for a proposed 44-unit resort development, the Leeward Planning Commission is expected to take up the issue this week. West Hawaii Today.

Non-native birds thrive where coquis abide, study finds. The proliferation of coqui frogs in Hawaii has had a significant, and surprising, impact on non-­native birds — not that indigenous birds have bothered to notice. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Illegal fireworks are booming. Resident: ‘It cannot be a cultural thing, every single night from Halloween to the first week in February’. Maui News.

Maui residents call for end to Illegal fireworks. With New Year's around the corner, Maui residents are complaining over social media about loud booms in their neighborhoods, which are irritating residents and frightening children and pets. Associated Press.

Pilot program aims to use oysters to filter pollution from Maalaea bay water. According to UH researchers, oysters can filter 50 to 100 gallons of water a day. Maui News.

Kauai

Community blasts USPS decision to close Lihue office. The U.S. Postal Service is under criticism for giving the Kauai community “false hope” that it would prevail in its appeal to save the historic Lihue Post Office. Star-Advertiser.

Molokai

2 killed in fiery crash of small plane on Molokai. The Cessna 206 propeller plane crashed while en route to the Molokai Airport under unknown circumstances, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer. Star-Advertiser.