Monday, May 8, 2017

Winners and losers in 2017 legislative session, Mauna Kea rocks marred by graffiti, lawsuit challenges Maui liquor law, Hawaii County faces tax hikes, Caldwell exemptions questioned, Hirono holds town hall meetings, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii ocean sunrise © 2017 All Hawaii News
A bill on its way to Gov. David Ige affirms the state of Hawaii’s commitment to addressing climate change. Tribune-Herald.

2017 should be another positive year for Hawaii’s economy, despite slowing growth in the construction sector. That’s the view of a local economic forecast group. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Legislature marred by secrecy, maneuvering and epic fail on rail. Star-Advertiser.

Who Won And Who Lost In A Legislative Session Marked By Failure. Civil Beat.

Deposed Thursday, former Speaker Souki ponders what’s next. Longtime Maui lawmaker seriously considering a run for lieutenant governor. Maui News.

A proposal to change inheritance rules for Native Hawaiian homeland leases unanimously passed both houses of the Legislature. If signed into law by the governor, House Bill 451 changes inheritance rules from requiring 1/4 Hawaiian blood quantum to 1/32 in order to inherit a parent’s homeland lease. Tribune-Herald.

A bill that would require Hawaii child care providers to obtain liability insurance is awaiting Gov. David Ige's signature. Hawaii News Now.

If the thousands of vacation rental houses in Hawaii were suddenly taken off the market, the state could lose 319,000 visitors annually, and their $431 million in spending and $37 million in taxes, a study says. Star-Advertiser.

New statistics about the health of Hawaii's LGB community were recently published by the state. KITV.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., parent of the Hawaiian Electric Co. and American Savings Bank, reported first quarter net income of $34.2 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $32.4 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, during the same period last year. Pacific Business News.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s past use of a property tax exemption for historic homes that allowed him to pay only $100 to $300 for several years has come back to haunt him as the city considers raising property taxes to cover rail deficits. Star-Advertiser.

At a crowded town hall in Honolulu on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono faced a barrage of questions from her Democratic constituents in Hawaii who are fearful about their future in a world of Republican political ascendancy on the mainland. Civil Beat.

Philippine Airlines, which for the past four years has been the only carrier to fly nonstop between Manila and Honolulu, will add 1,100 more seats a month on the route beginning next month. Star-Advertiser.

Airport’s low crime level reflects team effort, state says. Star-Advertiser.

A federal appeals court has upheld the Honolulu Police Department’s refusal to grant a firearm permit to a man who was convicted of petty misdemeanor harassment. Star-Advertiser.

The median sales price of $415,500 for condominiums on Oahu hit an all-time high in April as more buyers appeared to opt for condos while the supply of single-family homes remained low, the president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors said Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

The median price of a condominium on Oahu rose 7 percent in April to $415,500, while prices of single-family homes slipped, when compared to the same month a year ago, according to statistics from the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Fusion Waikiki closed its doors for the last time this morning after a 28-year run, supplying dance music into the early-morning hours, drag shows and male stripper shows in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island motorists and property owners will feel the pinch of higher taxes this year, following a revised budget released Friday by Mayor Harry Kim. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Harry Kim will be looking to raise taxes in order to balance the county budget. Big Island Video News.

An investigation is underway after rocks within the historic Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve were found damaged by graffiti last month. West Hawaii Today.

A criminal investigation is underway after graffiti was found painted on rocks within the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve last month. Associated Press.

The Hawaii County Democratic party has a new County Chair. Former councilwoman Margaret Wille, running unopposed, led a slate of progressive candidates to take over the Hawaii County executive committee. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Dairy will be fined $25,000 for illegally discharging wastewater into a stream, the state Department of Health announced Friday. Tribune-Herald.

The number of single-family homes sold on the Big Island increased by 7 percent last month, compared to April 2016, but the number of condominiums sold dropped 17 percent, according to information provided by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Hawaii Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.


Kihei resident Madge Schaefer and the Committee for Responsible Liquor Control filed a lawsuit in 2nd Circuit Court on Friday seeking the repeal of recent rule changes approved by the Liquor Control Commission that included the removal of blackout periods for the sale of alcohol, allowed home delivery of alcoholic products and removed the cap on the number of hostess bars. Maui News.

A lawsuit challenging the 24-hour sale of alcohol was filed against the liquor commission on Friday and in just a couple of days, the commission is holding a special meeting to hear testimony from the public. KHON2.

The Committee for Responsible Liquor Control and KÄ«hei resident Madge Schaefer filed a lawsuit on Friday asking the Second Circuit Court to invalidate the recent actions of the Liquor Control Commission. Maui Now.

Money for construction of schools, roads and Kahului Airport improvements are among Maui’s big-ticket capital improvement projects in the state’s two-year, 2018-19 budget that lawmakers have sent to Gov. David Ige’s desk for approval. Maui News.

While agricultural diversification of Alexander &Baldwin’s 36,000 acres of former sugar lands on Maui is “coming along well,” there’s no expectation that the effort will be profitable in the near term, A&B President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Benjamin told investors Thursday. Maui News.


U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono didn’t pull any punches when asked about the current administration during her town hall meeting Saturday afternoon at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. Garden Island.

Hawaii counties will soon be seeing a $10 million decrease in their allocation of Transient Accommodations Tax funds. Garden Island.

Kauai legislators review 2017 session. Garden Island.

The median price of single-family homes sold on Kauai rose 18 percent last month, compared to April 2016, even as the number of homes sold dropped 30 percent, according to statistics provided by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Barbara Weidner just stepped into a new role as chair of Surfrider Foundation Kauai, but she’ll still be cleaning beaches and visiting schools. Garden Island.

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