Monday, April 29, 2019

Minimum wage, vacation rental, police disclosure bills die, while red light cameras, hemp, suicide bills advance; Rapozo wants to be Kauai auditor, more than half Maui school not vaccinated, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Ala Wai Canal: Flood Control Project Will Do Little To Clean Up the Polluted Waterway. Federal engineers could ease the impacts of its plan if it also worked to restore the local ecology, conservationists say. The agency says its hands are tied. Civil Beat.

Minimum Wage Increase Dead For 2019 Session. Concerns about different rates of increase and the impact to employer health care plans scuttled a deal. Civil Beat.

A bill that would have increased the state’s minimum wage from $10.10 an hour to $15 an hour was killed at the last minute Friday. Tribune-Herald.

Lawmakers Shoot Down Airbnb Tax But Agree To Tax Big Real Estate Investments. A groundbreaking bill to collect revenue from real estate investment trusts moves ahead, but a plan to tax vacation rentals falls short. Civil Beat.

A bill that would have collected transient accommodations taxes from vacation rental platforms has died in a tie vote in the state Senate. The 12-12 vote came after impassioned discussion over whether the state should be collecting taxes from illegal vacation rentals without cracking down on them. Hawaii News Now.

It may soon be easier for mental health professionals and the court to force chronically homeless people with severe mental illnesses into treatment. Within hours of a deadline that would have killed the proposal, lawmakers voted unanimously Friday to pass changes to the the state’s Assisted Community Treatment Law. Hawaii News Now.

Red light cameras get green light. A proposed statewide red light detector system will first operate as a pilot program for at least a year. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii gun group aims to sue over ‘red flag’ law. SB 1466 would create a process that police or family members could use to petition Family Court for a protective order to prevent a person from accessing firearms if that person “poses a danger of causing bodily injury” to anyone, including himself or herself. Star-Advertiser.

Why The Police Misconduct Bill Failed To Pass The Legislature — Again. One lawmaker says the bill was too complex to pass this year. But another says the political will still just isn’t there. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Ag Department Likely To Get Hemp Program. Conferees at the Hawaii Legislature on Friday struck agreement on establishing a permanent industrial hemp program in the state’s Department of Agriculture. Civil Beat.

A bill headed to the governor’s desk would, if signed, change the state’s industrial hemp pilot program into a permanent program. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian salt could evaporate under federal ban. The FDA has issued a warning that the color additives used to make red and black Hawaiian salt—clay from Kauai and charcoal—are not approved as safe, thereby rendering the popular gourmet items technically illegal for sale. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature Cuts Size Of UH Regents Board. House Bill 398 will reduce the numbers on the board from 15 to 11 and restructure the distribution of regents on Oahu. Civil Beat.

Legislature Passes Suicide Prevention Bills. The Hawaii State Legislature recently passed two measures to help suicide prevention and awareness efforts. Maui Now.

The spike in measles cases on the mainland is raising concern that the highly infectious and sometimes fatal disease could break out here as well. Star-Advertiser.

State officials worry low vaccination rates in some Hawaii schools may cause health risk. State law requires all students from kindergarten to 12th grade to meet immunization requirements to go to school. KITV.

Oahu

‘Monster’ house bill would punish builders for lying. A bill that makes it a misdemeanor to lie to a government investigator or inspector during a building inspection won approval from both houses of the state Legislature last week and is now awaiting action from Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

Mounting city fines don’t deter owner building monster home on steroids. The city has fined the owner of a Kalihi monster home more than $124,000 after he ignored orders to stop building a year and a half ago. Hawaii News Now.

Hirono Urges for Federal Funding to Clear Rape Kit Backlog. On a visit to the Honolulu Police Department Headquarters on Wednesday, Sen. Mazie K. Hirono highlighted the important role of federal funding in helping Hawaii law enforcement clear a backlog of 1,500 untested rape kits statewide. Maui Now.

Get ready for a fare war: Southwest launches inter-island service. Southwest Airlines launched its new inter-island service Sunday, with four round-trip flights between Honolulu and Maui and introductory fares as low as $29. Hawaii News Now.

Southwest inter-island flights take off between Kahului and Honolulu. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Next Round Of Hearings On Mauna Kea Rules Set For June. Another hearing will be held in Hilo and in Waikoloa, as the University of Hawaii invites the public to provide feedback on the latest draft. Big Island Video News.

Big Island to get bomb squad rig. The state recently awarded a $306,947 contract to Rainbow Chevrolet to provide three bomb squad vehicles, one each for Hawaii, Kauai and Maui counties. West Hawaii Today.

A project that would add 111 affordable housing units to West Hawaii is moving closer to reality. The Kaloko Affordable Housing Project upon completion would build out 111 two- and three-bedroom units on 10.75 acres off Hina Lani Street about 2 miles mauka (east) of Ane Keohokalole Highway. West Hawaii Today.

Major mixed-use plan marches forward. A development carrying about 300 residences and more than 200 hotel rooms passed a major milestone earlier this month when the county’s Planning Department determined the $65 million project won’t have significant environmental impacts on the area. West Hawaii Today.

Testing finds extremely high oxybenzone levels at Kahaluu Bay. The Kahaluu Bay Education Center last April commissioned testing to measure bay waters for the presence of oxybenzone, a chemical compound found in sunscreens and known to be harmful to coral ecosystems. West Hawaii Today.

Kalanianaole Avenue improvements continue. Work will widen Kalanianole Avenue from Kanoelehua Avenue to Kuhio Street to allow for a concrete sidewalk on the makai side, a paved shoulder on the mauka side, bicycle lanes in each direction, one through lane in each direction, a shared turn lane and installation of a 12-inch diameter waterline. Tribune-Herald.

Pahoa businesses still struggle while creating new attractions. A year after lava from Kilauea Volcano began shooting out of the ground on May 3, choking off tourism and destroying more than 700 homes, Pahoa town still needs any help it can get. Star-Advertiser.

Maui

Number of students exempt from vaccinations growing. Haleakala Waldorf School has highest rate of unvaccinated students in state. Maui News.

More than half of Maui school exempted from vaccination. Hawaii News Now.

Bill to limit tour boats at Molokini sails through Legislature. Boat operators voice support for amended measure. Maui News.

Town hall planned to address control of illegal fireworks. Residents have expressed concern over the increase in violations, impact on people, animals. Maui News.

Kauai

County moves closer to selecting auditor. The County of Kauai and the County Council have begun the hiring process for a county auditor, according to one applicant, Mel Rapozo. Garden Island.

The National Tropical Botanical Garden has announced that the Limahuli Garden & Preserve will reopen soon. The garden has been closed since the April 2018 flooding which had major impacts on the garden’s infrastructure. Garden Island.

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