Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hawaii moves to Election Day voter registration, financial disclosure bill to become law, Waihee endorses Schatz, China at RIMPAC draws media attention, Coco Palms seeks foreign investors, cellphone fines reach $307, Abercrombie gets star endorsement, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii early voting file photo © 2014 All Hawaii News
With the state's voter turnout foundering among the lowest in the nation, a measure signed into law Monday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie could boost the state's rating by as much as 10 points by 2018, advocates say. House Bill 2590 allows voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016. Same-day voting registration would be allowed starting in 2018. Star-Advertiser.

Saying “every vote is precious,” Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law legislation that seeks to improve voter turnout. House Bill 2590 allows for voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016, and late voter registration — including on election day — beginning in 2018. Civil Beat.

A measure taking aim at Hawaii's worst-in-the-nation voter turnout is now law. Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a bill making Hawaii the 12th state in the country where late registration could be done on the day voters head to the polls. But same-day voting registration won't begin until the 2018 elections to give state election officials time to phase in the program. Hawaii News Now.

A new law will allow voters to register at absentee polling places in 2016 and at all polling places on election day in 2018. Big Island Now.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed House Bill 2590 (Act 166), a measure that will allow voter registration at absentee polling places beginning in 2016 and late voter registration, including on Election Day, beginning in 2018. Hawaii Reporter.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he will allow pending legislation to become law that adds members of 15 state boards and commissions to the list of public officials whose financial interests are publicly disclosed. The decision comes one week after signaling his intent to veto the legislation, but instead he is allowing it to become law without his signature. Star-Advertiser.

The public can expect a much closer look at the financial interests of powerful state board members after Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s decision Monday to not veto a disclosure bill that has already been cited as the reason for two resignations. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday that he would allow Senate Bill 2682, which expands the number of state boards and commissions that require public financial disclosure statements of board members, to become law without his signature after previously indicating that he planned to veto it. Pacific Business News.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie will allow Senate Bill 2682 Relating to Financial Disclosure Statements to become law, the governor said today in a letter to Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joe Souki. Hawaii Reporter.

University of Hawaii regents John Dean and Saedene Ota have resigned over pending legislation that would require them to make their financial disclosure statements available to the public as well as to the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. Pacific Business News.

Governor Neil Abercrombie signed 16 bills into law today, a majority of them relating to aging and health. Hawaii Public Radio.

Former Gov. John Waihee has endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz in the Democratic primary for Senate, arguing that the appointed senator has already put himself in strategic positions to help move Hawaii forward. Star-Advertiser.

Daniel Dae Kim, star of the CBS series "Hawaii Five-0," is endorsing Gov. Neil Abercrombie in his re-election campaign, noting his longtime support of the arts as a key to Hawaii's tourism industry. Hawaii News Now.

The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said Monday China’s first-time participation in the world’s largest maritime exercises in Hawaii will help Beijing and other nations work together in a crisis. Associated Press.

Although 22 nations are participating in the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific exercise getting underway in Hawaii, media questions at an opening news conference Monday at Pearl Harbor focused primarily on just one: China. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department of Education is reminding parents that the upcoming new school year comes with changes in kindergarten requirements. Starting this school year, children must be 5 years old by July 31 to enter kindergarten. Previously, children could enter kindergarten if they turned 5 by December 31. Kindergarten is now mandatory in Hawaii. Associated Press.

A new Hawaii program will allow former foster youth to voluntarily extend foster care until they turn 21. Associated Press.

The Federal Department of the Interior continues public meetings this week, gathering testimony on whether they should propose establishing a government to government relationship with Native Hawaiians. Hawaii Public Radio.

A little-publicized change in the state law banning the use of cellphones and other mobile electronic devices while driving takes effect today, the first day of the new fiscal year. Penalties now range to $307. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. said on Monday it will not seek a rate increase in the current three-year rate cycle. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Gov. Neil Abercrombie and the Power of Incumbency. In bill-signing ceremonies, Hawaii governor honors lawmakers, pleases advocates and acts like a leader — one running for re-election. Civil Beat.


Relief is in sight for Oahu drivers. The state’s H-1 Freeway Rehab Project, which started last September, is almost finished. But until then, drivers will still have to deal with lane closures. KHON2.

Residents should anticipate increased traffic congestion as construction workers begin laying a column in July that will support the elevated rail line as it crosses over the H-1/H-2 freeway merge between Waipahu and Pearl City, according to a news release issued Monday by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Co. continues to negotiate with the nine solar energy firms to develop large solar photovoltaic projects that could be up and running quickly to provide electricity on Oahu at a lower cost, but sources tell Pacific Business News that the process has become unfair.

American taxpayers have so far paid $4.3 million to defend former Schofield Barracks soldier Naeem J. Williams against the death penalty, according to data the U.S. District Court here released Monday. Star-Advertiser.


Locals speak first. That’s the new rule for hearings about Native Hawaiian sovereignty being held by the U.S. Department of Interior, following complaints that the same group of people was traveling meeting-to-meeting and monopolizing the conversation. West Hawaii Today.

In a rare move, Gov. Neil Abercrombie will sign a collection of legislative bills in Hilo this morning. Tribune-Herald.
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Hamakua Ditch © 2014 All Hawaii News

Several miles of the Lower Hamakua Ditch may still be put into a pipe. Last week, the state Department of Agriculture re-issued a bid request for the project, which would channel 3.7 miles of the 26-mile-long open irrigation system into high-density polyethylene pipe. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is investigating a report of another sailboat dropping anchor chain on coral in Kailua Bay. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County as of now prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21, becoming only the fourth municipality in the country to do so. Star-Advertiser.


Veteran state Sen. Rosalyn Baker faces opposition from three first-time candidates from different political parties in her bid for a sixth term in Maui's 6th District. They are Democrat Terez Amato, Libertarian Bronson Kekahuna Kaahui and Republican Jared P. Dubois. Star-Advertiser.

The Maui Police Commission announced the recruitment for a chief of police to fill the vacancy being created by the retirement of Chief Gary Yabuta in July. The recruitment notice indicates that the job pays $135,000 per year, and that applicants must be a citizen of the US and a resident of the state for at least one year preceding appointment. Maui Now.

The mayor of Maui ordered an end to direct communication between his staff and members of the Maui County Council. Associated Press.

Paramedics asked to vacate clinic in Hana. For nearly two decades, Hana residents have known exactly where to go when they have had an after-hours medical emergency - the Hana Health hale where American Medical Response paramedics live. Maui News.


The Department of the Interior came to accept comment on five specific questions related to whether — and how — it should proceed with re-establishing a government-to-government relationship with Native Hawaiians on Monday. Garden Island.

Supporters of an independent Native Hawaiian nation were out in force Monday night to reject the possibility of federal recognition of a native government in the first of two meetings on the Garden Isle. Nearly 200 people filled the Wai­mea High School cafeteria after the meeting was relocated from the smaller Wai­mea Neighborhood Center to accommodate a larger crowd.  Star-Advertiser.

Officials seeking to rebuild Coco Palms Resort say they will likely rely on an infusion of loans from foreign investors to support the project during the hotel’s first years in operation. Garden Island.

Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital's budget is now facing more intense scrutiny as HHSC board members on Kauai seek to address a projected $11 million budget shortfall facing the region by cutting costs and streamlining operations. Garden Island.

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