Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Legislature mulls tourism tax revamp, Airbnb under fire, Senate may subpoena prison chief, interim Honolulu councilman approved, online porn fee considered, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Growing Our Own: Hawaii Still Lacks Enough Local Food Production. Gov. David Ige has a vision for sustainability but progress has been slow. Civil Beat.

State Lawmakers are considering legislation to revamp how tourism taxes are distributed to the counties. House Bill 983 would provide 23.1 percent of the Transient Accommodations Tax or TAT to the counties.  House Bill 631 would allow each County to establish its own surcharge on the TAT. Hawaii Public Radio.

Airbnb has acknowledged hosts not paying all taxes, Hawaii AG says. A judge should compel Airbnb to hand over 10 years of receipts and other documents from its hosts to the state of Hawaii in part because the home-sharing platform has acknowledged that the hosts aren’t fully complying with state tax laws, a court filing said. Associated Press.

Number of registered firearms in Hawaii unknown, study finds. In a state that has some of the toughest firearm laws in the nation, some may be surprised to learn there is no accurate count of the legally owned and registered firearms. Star-Advertiser.

Senate May Invoke Rarely Used Subpoena Power For Hearing On Prison Chief. Nolan Espinda’s renomination to run the state’s prisons and jails is reported to be in peril. Civil Beat.

A new report by the National Transportation Safety Board finds that Hawaii doesn't have important technology to reduce accidents -- and is recommending the state install cameras to catch speeders. KHON2.

At the State Capitol, a pair of bills in both the House and Senate call for blocking all porn sites unless consumers over the age of eighteen pay a one-time fee of $20 to access them. The fee would go into a State special fund for human trafficking and child exploitation. KITV.

Southwest Airlines completes test flight to Hawaii. Southwest Airlines has completed a test flight from Oakland, California, to Honolulu to demonstrate to federal aviation officials that it should be authorized to begin scheduled flights from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii. Associated Press.

Today marks the first time a Southwest Airlines jet has landed in Honolulu.  At approximately 2:50 p.m. HST, the passenger-less flight landed at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. KHON2.

A holiday that originated in the Hawaiian Kingdom could be making a comeback. On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs voted in favor of a bill to make La Kuokoa — Hawaiian Recognition Day — a state holiday in place of Presidents Day. Tribune-Herald.

Applicants wanted for State Ethics Commission, Campaign Spending Commission. KITV.

Oahu

Council committee OKs $75,000 in attorney fees for Kaneshiro. The City Council Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee on Tuesday voted 7-1 to recommend that city taxpayers foot the bill for private attorneys to represent city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro in his defense against a petition seeking to remove him from his elective office. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu taxpayers will pay for city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro’s lawyer as he fights to keep his job. Hawaii News Now.

Former city transit official Mike Formby was sworn in Tuesday as the interim Honolulu City Council member for East Honolulu, a post he will hold until the “re-do” election between Trevor Ozawa and Tommy Waters. Star-Advertiser.

Former Honolulu Transportation Services Director Mike Formby was voted in by the Honolulu City Council Tuesday. KITV.

The state and city are working together to make Hawaii's roads safer and save the counties hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. They're asking for a state run toxicology lab to be built so alcohol and drug samples can be tested here instead of on the mainland. KHON2.

To protect Waikiki from flooding, Army Corps wants to raze Palolo homes. A nearly half a billion dollar federal project to protect Waikiki from flooding in the event of a 100-year storm is running into resistance from Palolo residents. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu’s only landfill for construction and demolition debris is filling up faster than expected due to the construction boom. Hawaii News Now.

The Queen’s Health Systems has confirmed plans for a $38 million expansion of its West Oahu campus, the first of its redevelopment in the burgeoning community. Star-Advertiser.

These Waipahu Students Got A Head Start On Health Care Job Training. A budding partnership between high schools and Kapiolani Community College represents another way to grow Hawaii’s health care workforce. Civil Beat.

A Japanese national who was accused of sexually assaulting an exchange student last year was arrested Tuesday by American immigration officials. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Sewer fees will almost double for some and triple for others over the next three years under a plan the County Council advanced Tuesday to one final reading. West Hawaii Today.

Taxpayers’ legal fees defending a former police officer who struck and killed a bicyclist have reached $100,000 following a vote by the County Council on Tuesday adding another $50,000 for an outside attorney to appeal the negligent homicide conviction. West Hawaii Today.

The County is looking at properties that are being taxed at an agricultural class tax rate when they should be taxed at a residential class tax rate. Big Island Video News.

A video of European athletes skiing and snowboarding down a snow-less Mauna Kea draws criticism. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

A resolution proposed by Maui County Council Member Mike Molina to return council staff salaries to their levels prior to the pay increase approved at a Jan. 2 meeting was voted down Friday by the full council. Maui News.

New district court judge on budget wish list. The new judge primarily would be located at the Lahaina Courthouse but will allow for “restructuring of the District Court dockets to better serve our districts, including the outer districts of Hana, Lanai, Molokai and Lahaina. Maui News.

Maui’s two new freshmen lawmakers, Representatives Tina Wildberger and Troy N. Hashimoto, introduced their first slate of bills to address issues of top concern to Maui residents. Maui Now.

Kauai

A public meeting is scheduled tonight on the Hanapepe River Bridge replacement. Garden Island.

There are more seabirds on Lehua Island after the 2017 helicopter drop of rodenticide over the landmass, but the rats haven’t completely disappeared. Garden Island.

For two years, four staff members with the Kauai Na Ala Hele program have trekked into the Alakai Swamp to periodically work on the boardwalk that helps hikers navigate the mud on the trail. Garden Island.

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