Friday, January 29, 2010

Gay photo display in Capitol draws controversy, train off to slow start, Kaloko Dam costs county big, Kubo's confirmation in jeopardy, other state news

The civil unions bill could live or die Friday after the state house meets behind closed doors to decide if they'll hold a vote on the issue. In the meantime, photographs featuring gay and lesbian couples are on display inside the state capitol creating its own controversy.

The governor's appointment of former federal prosecutor Ed Kubo to an Oahu Circuit Court judgeship is uncertain after a Senate committee deadlocked on approving his nomination.

The start of construction on Honolulu's planned $5.3 billion commuter rail project could be delayed several months as Gov. Linda Lingle examines details of the city's financial plan which she said appear "shaky at best."

Some lawmakers are betting that Hawaii residents heading to Las Vegas or other gambling meccas might be willing to pay $10 now to avoid paying state taxes if they win big later.

Kaua'i County will pay $7.5 million as its portion of a $25 million out-of-court settlement following the 2006 Kaloko dam disaster that killed seven people and caused widespread damage, the county announced yesterday.

Home sales are coming back, but other real estate indicators are still in the tank.

The Department of Environmental Management plans no new fees or fee increases in the 2010-111 budget it will submit to the Hawaii County Council this spring.

The much-discussed and long-desired five-year update to the Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan got one step closer to becoming official county policy Wednesday — but not without some controversy.

It is a sad fact that the Kalaupapa Hansen's disease settlement is losing patients every year, down to less than 20 today, said state Sen. J. Kalani English, whose district includes the island of Molokai.

Navigating Hilo's Bayfront may soon become easier and more fun than ever.

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