Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Water rights at issue in Legislature, taxing REITs, lava-locked residents finally go home, more seniors seek medical marijuana, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Freshwater stream enters the ocean at Kawa Bay ©2019 All Hawaii News
Battle over water rights once again comes to a head at state Legislature. On Tuesday, lawmakers will hear a bill that would extend temporary permits for seven years to big water users like Alexander and Baldwin, giving them more time to get water leases. Hawaii News Now.

Water bill appears to give A&B a financial break. A state measure that would give an assortment of large landowners, agricultural concerns and electrical utilities seven more years to meet stricter requirements for access to public water appears to give one particular company a huge break. Star-Advertiser.

Opponents Want Accountability As Hawaii Lawmakers Consider Extension of Water Diversions. State lawmakers are weighing a bill that would allow a dozen private users statewide, including Alexander and Baldwin, to continue to divert fresh stream water temporarily. Hawaii Public Radio.

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Hawaii Legislature to consider bills on asset forfeiture and water leases. State lawmakers have scheduled hearings on bills that would reform Hawaii’s civil asset forfeiture program, allow developers to build solar farms on prime agricultural land and extend the period of time that companies and farming interests have to comply with a deadline for obtaining water leases as a Friday deadline approaches for moving bills out of their final committee. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s fastest-growing set of medical cannabis users are over 66. The average age of Hawaii’s pot patients is 51, and those between the ages of 56 and 65 are the largest population of medical marijuana users statewide, Health Department statistics show. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Revive Bail Reform Efforts To Reduce Overcrowding. Several criminal justice measures are still alive and will likely be hashed out in Senate-House conference committees. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers to consider PSD Director's future. A Senate committee will discuss the future of Director Nolan Espinda later this week. Senator Clarence Nishihara has been collecting evidence and reports for Espinda's confirmation hearing, scheduled for this Thursday. KHON2.

Rifles bought for deputy sheriffs never distributed because they violate state’s own policy. Taxpayers have built an arsenal of long guns for the Public Safety Department in recent years, but dozens of those firearms are just collecting dust in the armory because the state’s own policy doesn’t allow them to be used. Hawaii News Now.

Gun owners in federal suit: Hawaii’s open carry law amounts to a ban. Gun owners are taking aim at Hawaii’s open carry law, saying it’s unconstitutional. Hawaii News Now.

Programs that depend on state money to serve Hawaii's homeless rallied Monday. Nonprofits say it can be difficult to work with homeless long term if they're constantly worried about not being able to sustain themselves the next year. KITV.

Bill to tax Hawaii REITs clears final committee. A bill that would eliminate the corporate income tax deduction on dividends paid by real estate investment trusts in Hawaii cleared its final committee and is headed for passage by the state House of Representatives. Pacific Business News.

Charter School Clampdown Has Educators Worried About Their Independence. Versions of a measure giving the state some financial oversight of the schools have cleared both chambers. Opponents say it takes away their autonomy. Civil Beat.

Lofty hopes and dreams in Legislature coming down to reality as session progresses. Star-Advertiser.

Governor encourages residents to ‘invest the time’ to participate in 2020 census. The Census won’t happen for another year, but Hawaii leaders are already putting in the work to ensure every Hawaii resident is counted. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. Ige Announces 2020 Census Count Committee. The committee is charged with increasing awareness about the importance of being counted; organizing state resources effectively and cost-efficiently to promote the count; and improving the response rate for the 2020 Census questionnaire. Big Island Now.

Oahu

Honolulu police chief is pressed on handgun carry permits. The Honolulu Police Commission was mostly effusive in its praise of Police Chief Susan Ballard in the first-year review that was released recently, but key members are clearly troubled by the answers she’s given them on the Police Department’s policy regarding handgun carry permits. Star-Advertiser.

Duo curbs helping Kakaako’s homeless. Under the threat of state Health Department fines of up to $1,000 per violation, a Kaimuki couple who used to provide meals and hot showers to homeless people around Kakaako Waterfront Park is backing down and looking for a different spot. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Kipuka residents rejoice as PGV opens graded route over lava channel. More than 30 residents of a lava-locked kipuka in lower Puna drove across the lava channel from last year’s Kilauea eruption Monday to return to their homes. Tribune-Herald.

Joyous Moment As Lava-Locked Residents Regain Access. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County officials say they were unaware that federal officials are considering moving the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory off the island where there are erupting volcanos. The possibility of the relocation came to light last week during a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for David Bernhardt, the nominee for secretary of the Department of  Interior. Hawaii Public Radio.

Volcano Observatory Future Discussed With Scientist-In-Charge. Big Island Video News.

Time is ticking down for a handful of bills that would impact the Big Island to secure their final committee hearings in the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

Courtyard by Marriott King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel Sold. Big Island Now.

Maui


Public Works, Environmental Management Director Appointees Announced. Mayor Michael Victorino announced Monday afternoon that Rowena Dagdag-Andaya and Eric Nakagawa are his nominees as directors of the departments of Public Works and Environmental Management, respectively. Maui Now.

Four promoted to fire captain. Four Maui Fire Department firefighters have been promoted to captain and six have been promoted to firefighter III. Maui News.

Volunteers count on whales showing up. Volunteers look for whales off Maui on Saturday during Pacific Whale Foundation’s Great Whale Count. A total of 219 whales were seen off Maui from 12 sites. Maui News.

Hawaiian Airlines Launches Kahului to Sacramento Non-Stop Flights. Hawaiian Airlines today launched daily, nonstop service between Kahului, Maui and Sacramento, giving West Coast travelers enhanced access to the Valley Isle. Maui Now.

Kauai

The Hawaii Lodging &Tourism Association, in partnership with the Hawaii Tourism Authority, distributed $38,000 in grants to seven nonprofits on Kauai during a ceremony Monday at the Kauai Marriott Resort &Beach Club. Garden Island.

Developer faces more litigation. A real estate developer, whose long-delayed timeshare proposal on Kauai faces mounting financial trouble, is struggling to cover debts on projects on the mainland as well. Garden Island.

After more than a decade of dreaming, Kauai Community College is composting. It’s a grassroots effort started by a few professors and Emily Broderick’s biology class, combining movement toward a more sustainable campus with lessons on the scientific method. Garden Island.

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