Thursday, February 8, 2018

Sanctuary bill advances in Hawaii Legislature, medical marijuana for tourists, $15 minimum wage mulled, Chinatown cancels Chinese New Year fest, corrections officers call in sick to watch Super Bowl, police union strikes back at new Honolulu chief, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii still ranks at the bottom when it comes to road conditions given the amount of money the state pours into them. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers advance ‘sanctuary’ bill akin to California. A bill to prohibit Hawaii law enforcement agencies from honoring most federal immigration holds or sharing certain types of information with immigration authorities has won preliminary approval from state Senate and House committees. Star-Advertiser.

A number of bills addressing homelessness are being considered by the Hawaii Legislature. A bill to establish safe zones for homeless campers, complete with hygiene facilities and social services, does not have the support of the administration. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii May Allow Tourists To Buy Medical Marijuana. Lawmakers also may add vaporizers, more potent products and edibles to dispensaries’ product repertoire. Civil Beat.

Should "Home Inspectors" in Hawaii be licensed or regulated by the state? The idea is being talked about in the inspection industry and at the State Capital. KITV.

A Hawaii state representative has proposed a law that he says would help reduce the islands’ overwhelming number of discarded vehicles. Associated Press.

Measures intended to boost the state’s economy by increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next two years and to create a family leave plan to help family caregivers were advanced on Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Labor. Maui Now.

Ige taps former union executive to head Hawaii's labor department. Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Wednesday appointed Leonard Hoshijo to head the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Pacific Business News.

The state is seeking to hire out-of-state contractors to help clear a backlog of health inspections of dialysis centers and other medical facilities. Star-Advertiser.

Nearly 30 percent of Hawaii’s prison guards called in sick on Super Bowl Sunday, state officials said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

One third of corrections officers assigned to work on Super Bowl Sunday called in sick. Hawaii News Now.

OHA Demands Financial Details From Its Own Companies. Organizations created by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will have to provide documents for an internal audit. Civil Beat.

Legislature Keeps Written Testimony Under Wraps Til The Last Minute. The common practice of not releasing testimony to the public until an hour before a hearing has one Republican lawmaker pushing for change. Civil Beat.

Hundreds send in ideas to improve missile alert system. Star-Advertiser.

Why We Didn’t Name Hawaii’s ‘Button Pusher’. Numerous media outlets agreed to publish interviews with the man who sent out the false alert without saying who he was. Civil Beat.

PUC approves HECO demand response programs, allowing the utility to control customers' equipment. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Ranks No.4 for Highest Density of Millionaires. Hawaii  previously held the number one ranking in 2010.  In 2017, Hawaiʻi ranked #4 behind #3 Connecticut, #2 New Jersey and #1 Maryland. Maui Now.

Oahu

Hawaii Police Union Strikes Back At Chief Ballard Over Reassignments. SHOPO files a complaint alleging the Honolulu police chief made “false and disparaging remarks” about union leaders. Civil Beat.

SHOPO president Tenari Maafala has filed a complaint against Chief Susan Ballard with the Hawaii Labor Relations Board. KHON2.

The state Department of Health issued a high level of bacteria advisory this afternoon for Hanauma Bay, resulting in the closure of the popular snorkeling spot. Star-Advertiser.

The city has closed Hanauma Bay after high bacteria levels were detected Wednesday, and the popular preserve won't reopen until Friday at the earliest. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has rejected a World Surf League request to swap permits for two contests on the North Shore — a decision the organization says could force it to pull its championship tour competitions from Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Permit issues could jeopardize high-profile North Shore surf contest. KHON2.

State lawmakers are taking another crack at resolving a flap over two brothers charging for parking along Kakaako streets to which they claim ownership despite decades of public use. Star-Advertiser.

The Chinatown Merchants Association has abruptly canceled Saturday’s “Night in Chinatown Festival and Parade” to celebrate the Year of the Dog due to lack of funding. Associated Press.

Community members and event organizers are shocked and disappointed that a popular event that attracts thousands to Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year was canceled at the last minute due to a lack of vendors. Star-Advertiser.

How a vending machine packed with food and toiletries could help the homeless. Hawaii News Now.

After months-long repair project, new security Kakaako Waterfront is a new park. Hawaii News Now.

The newly minted Honolulu Climate Change Commission met for the first time Wednesday, electing a chairman and vowing to make addressing the impact of sea level rise on Oahu its first order of business. Star-Advertiser.

Kupuna in an affordable housing complex in Kakaako were given quite the scare last week. They received notices that their rent would soon increase – some would even double. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Shack Hawaii Kai announced it will be closing its doors after 26 years in business. KITV.

Hawaii Island


An attempt by the County Council to regulate vacation rentals is drawing a lot of interest — and concern — from part-time residents who rent out their homes and condos to help pay the bills. West Hawaii Today.

A bill that would establish a one-half percent general excise and use tax surcharge on the Big Island was heard by the Hawaii County Council Finance Committee on Feb. 6. Big Island Video News.


The county planning director has recommended that a proposal to build a roughly 5,800-square-foot 18-hole golf putting course next to Kings’ Shops in Waikoloa be approved. West Hawaii Today.

Emotions ran high at a recent meeting about the possible closure of a Big Island charter school. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Ten drownings in three weeks on Maui have grabbed the attention of Hawaii lawmakers who want the state to step up ocean safety efforts in the isles. Civil Beat.


Anaergia Services plans to meet with Maui EKO Systems once a month about possibly continuing to process the county’s green waste at the Central Maui Landfill, while the energy company moves forward with its proposed renewable energy project at the Wailuku-Kahului Wastewater Reclamation Facility, officials from both companies said. Maui News.

Commercial waste haulers need to pay fees. Maui News.

The County Department of Environmental Management announced that as of Tuesday Feb. 20, 2018, microwave ovens cannot be accepted for recycling at E-Cycling, Maui County’s Electronic Recycling Program. Maui Now.

Home sales on Maui rose in January, led by a 25 percent increase in condominium sales, while prices were mixed, compared to the same month a year ago, according to statistics from the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

The public had a lot to say at Wednesday’s Kauai County Council meeting, after a resolution was introduced urging the United States to conduct diplomatic talks with North Korea with the goal of signing a peace treaty. Garden Island.

Kauai Humane Society hasn’t found a permanent leader for the facility, three months after the former executive director handed in his resignation. Garden Island.

Lanai

A community meeting to hear public comments on the proposed design guidelines and standards for the Lanai City Country Town Business District will be held Monday, Feb. 12, 2018, at the Lanai Senior Center at 5 p.m. Maui Now.

Molokai

Maui Electric Co. has inked an agreement to purchase power from Maui County’s first grid-scale solar and battery energy storage system on Molokai that could lower electric bills, the utility announced Tuesday. Maui News.