Friday, May 4, 2012

No 'Hawaii Aloha' in Legislature's Sine Die, panel paves way for geothermal exploration without environmental assessments, governor rebuffs teacher contract offer, voters favor assisted suicide, undersea cable to pipe electricity to Oahu headed to governor, Health Department rejects claims of pollution in Hanalei Bay, Agri-tourism advances on Big Island, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature (c) 2012 All Hawaii News
The state House and Senate gave final approval Thursday to an $11.2 billion budget and a $3.2 billion outlay for capital improvement projects, taking measured steps to restore money cut from programs during the recession while investing in construction intended to prod economic recovery. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii lawmakers closed out the 2012 legislative session, some remarked that it was the first time in years they hadn’t had to contend with a budget deficit in excess of $1 billion. Associated Press.

State Budget Voted On Last Day of Legislative Session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bow tie sine die in the Hawaii House, courtesy photo
It wasn't all that long ago that the state Senate would join the state House of Representatives on the floor of the House to sing "Hawaii Aloha." Civil Beat.

If last year's theme was "righting the canoe," this year's theme is all about investing in the economy and the future. With Gov. Neil Abercrombie's symbolic canoe no longer in jeopardy of capsizing, he's eased up on his mantra that we all need to paddle. Civil Beat.

A proposal to connect Oahu and the neighbor island power grids with an undersea cable has cleared a legislative hurdle. Associated Press.

A bill to create the regulatory framework for transmitting electricity between Hawaii’s islands via an undersea cable won approval from the State Legislature on Thursday and now heads to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who is expected to sign Senate Bill 2785 into law. Pacific Business News.

Despite a torrent of complaints from neighbor island and other environmentalists, the Hawaii Senate passed the controversial undersea cable bill. Civil Beat.

Legislation Establishes Regulatory Framework for Developing, Financing, and Constructing Underwater Electric Transmission Cable. Hawaii Reporter.

Legislators have voted to make fundamental changes to the state's judicial system. They passed a law that streamlines prison and parole requirements and could ultimately help reduce the number of Hawaii inmates in mainland corrections centers. Hawaii News Now.

On Thursday, a subcommittee of the state Environmental Council heard from potential geothermal developers about why the State Land Department should be allowed to waive certain environmental regulations. If approved by the full 15-member Environmental Council May 17, the exemptions would allow the State Land Department to drop costly environmental assessments from geothermal exploration projects. KITV4.

Bills to overhaul Hawaii's early-learning system and charter school network easily gained passage at the Legislature on Thursday, with state lawmakers saying the proposed education improvements are long overdue. Star-Advertiser.

The teachers union was moving forward Thursday with plans to hold a new vote on a proposed contract that teachers soundly rejected in January, despite the governor's contention that the proposal has "no legal standing." Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association's sudden decision Wednesday to put a rejected contract up for a re-vote by its members caught many off guard. Civil Beat.

Hawaii voters support the rights of doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives by better than a 2-to-1 margin, according to The Civil Beat Poll. Civil Beat.

Kealoha in 2007, courtesy photo
Gov. Neil Abercrombie is naming the slam poet known as Kealoha to be Hawaii's first poet laureate. Associated Press.

The Navy hospital ship Mercy, whose huge white hull is emblazoned with large red crosses, is on its way to Hawaii as it embarks on a 4 1⁄2-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

Capitalizing on strong demand for service to Las Vegas, Hawaiian Airlines said it is adding two more weekly flights to its Honolulu-Las Vegas service. KITV4.

The statewide average price of gasoline dropped by about 4 cents from last week, the first significant price drop since December, according to the AAA Hawaii Weekend Gas Watch issued Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann opened his Oahu campaign headquarters Thursday night. KHON2.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (c) 2012 All Hawaii News

The race for Honolulu mayor has drawn U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye into a verbal confrontation with former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who said the senator is "out of touch" on the issue of the city's planned $5.27 billion rail transit project. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds of Kuhio Park Terrace and Kuhio Homes tenants will receive rent rebate checks from a class-action settlement reached with the Hawaii Public Housing Authority. Star-Advertiser.

First Wind has filed a $15 million building permit for work on part of its 70-megawatt Kawailoa Wind Farm on Oahu’s North Shore. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu's director of environmental services estimates it will take seven years and at least $110 million to develop a new landfill on Oahu. Associated Press.


The island’s two planning commissions are making it easier for farms to lure and accommodate tourists. West Hawaii Today.

The Windward Planning Commission is giving a community center in Kalapana Seaview Estates another chance to obey the law. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Community College at Palamanui moved a step forward with the appropriation of state general obligation bonds that will help fund not one, but two phases of the long-awaited West Hawaii educational institution. West Hawaii Today.

Doctors say they come to Hawaii Island for the quality of life, but money concerns show up in the top two tiers of priorities, according to a recently published survey of island clinicians. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Sen. Malama Solomon
Big Island state Sen. Malama Solomon will hold a series of community forums this month to talk about this year’s legislative session. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County is taking ownership of one of the last undeveloped shoreline parcels of a once famous and vast network of wetlands and fishponds between the mouths of Waiehu and Iao Streams. Associated Press.

Some popular and environmentally sensitive areas of the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve could remain closed to the public for another year while the state continues work on a draft management plan for the South Maui reserve. Maui News.

So far, 32 nene from Kauai have made their home on Maui after state workers last year started to remove at least several hundred of the geese near Kauai's Lihue Airport to ensure that the birds don't become flying hazards for aircraft. Maui News.

After a North Shore resident disclosed earlier this week that recent test results pointed to high levels of metal pollution in Hanalei River and Hanalei Bay, state officials quickly dismissed the findings, saying they are unfounded and have created unnecessary fear and concern in the community. Garden Island.

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