Friday, May 8, 2020

Hawaii Legislature reconvenes Monday to tackle $1B shortfall, new rules coming for tourists, CARES money to provide safety net, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii lawmakers will return to Capitol on Monday to help patch huge state budget hole. Hawaii lawmakers will return to the state Capitol on Monday to get back to work, and their primary mission is to find ways to cope with a looming budget shortfall and prevent furloughs and pay cuts for public workers. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature Reconvenes Monday To Deal With $1B Shortfall. House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi said the session may last from 6 to 10 days. Hawaii Public Radio.

Legislature reconvening next week to figure out budget shortfall. The state legislature is estimating about a billion-dollar shortfall. To address the shortfall, the state senate and the house will be reconvening next week. KHON2.

Legislature will reconvene next week to address budget shortfall. The state Legislature will reconvene next week — after more than a month of recess — in order to address the state’s growing budget shortfall. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Legislature to Reconvene on May 11 After Nearly 2 Month Recess. Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki today announced that the Hawaiʻi State Senate and the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives will reconvene the 2020 legislative session on Monday, May 11. Maui Now.

As lawmakers grapple with $1B shortfall, advocates urge them to preserve social safety net. As lawmakers prepare to grapple with a $1 billion budget shortfall when they reconvene Monday, advocates for the poor are warning them not to repeat the mistakes of the past. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii’s tourism recovery could take years, experts say. Occupancy at Hawaii hotels plummeted to about 10% statewide for several weeks in April as COVID-19 fears and lockdowns ravaged the state’s tourist- driven economy. Star-Advertiser.

Is Hawaii Ready To Reopen The Economy? Some Experts Say Not Yet. State, county and health experts are publicly at odds over whether enough trained workers are in place to track an expected resurgence of the virus, especially when tourists return. Civil Beat.

New requirements ahead for passengers arriving in Hawaii. Two major changes are in the plans for arriving passengers: a new level of scrutiny and a new form designed to give officials information to follow up on — and potentially prosecute — failed promises to adhere to statewide quarantine rules. Star-Advertiser.

Airline Rep Questioned On Informing Passengers About Quarantine. An airline industry spokesperson was questioned by state senators Thursday about how well customers planning a trip to Hawaiʻi are informed about the 14-quarantine mandated for all visitors to the islands. Big Island Video News.

Lawmakers face more hurdles trying to crack down on quarantine violators. More frustration for state lawmakers trying to crack down on visitors who don’t follow the 14-day quarantine order. Plans to immediately fine violators face legal challenges. KHON2.


Schools Chief: Use Federal Bailout Money To Avoid Teacher Pay Cuts. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto outlined some plans for federal stimulus money, including keeping salaries at current levels. Civil Beat.

Hawaii teachers inundate Board of Education with testimony against pay cuts. More than 900 Hawaii public school teachers pleaded with the state Board of Education not to cut their pay to meet the looming budget shortfall. Star-Advertiser.

Teachers look to BOE to protect pay in the face of looming cuts. Teachers are pressuring the Hawaii Board of Education to help protect their pay as the state legislature prepares to start cutting the budget. Hawaii News Now.

Special needs students falling behind. As schools remain closed and offer virtual distance learning while the COVID-19 pandemic runs its course, many parents worry that their children are regressing, especially students who need special education services. Maui News.


Unemployment Update: 141,077 Claims Processed, Additional 84,500 Under Review. Since the start of COVID-19 response in Hawaiʻi, the state has paid out over $320 million in benefits. Maui Now.

State kicks off alphabetized system for unemployment claims certification. Thousands of laid off workers frustrated with trying to file weekly certifications for their unemployment claims are being encouraged to instead file on designated days. Hawaii News Now.

The Department of Labor to implement alphabetized system for unprocessed unemployment claims. Due to what the governor called an “antiquated system,” tens of thousands of unemployment claims are still waiting to be processed. KHON2.

State asks unemployment claimants to file on specific days. In an effort to deal with a glut of unemployment claims, the state requested beneficiaries to file claims only on specific days of the week. Tribune-Herald.


Hawaii’s coronavirus cases rise by 3 to 629. Hawaii’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 629, up three from Wednesday, the state Department of Health announced today. All three new cases are on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Three New COVID-19 Infections Confirmed On Oahu. As of Thursday, about 87% of those infected had gotten better. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases ‘released from isolation’ category includes fatalities. Media and sometimes government officials have referred to the “released from isolation” cases as people who have recovered from the virus. Star-Advertiser.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces $25M program to reimburse household and childcare expenses during coronavirus. Caldwell said the program, called the COVID-19 “Hardship Relief for Individuals” program, will start May 18 with $25 million in seed money from the federal coronavirus aid bill. Star-Advertiser.

City announces $25M program to provide emergency aid to struggling Oahu families. With tens of thousands of Oahu residents unemployed, the city is launching a new emergency relief program to provide up to $1,000 a month to families in need. Hawaii News Now.

Pandemic Bust Your Budget? Honolulu Will Help With Expenses. Residents who can demonstrate they’re struggling can get six months of help with housing, utilities and child care. Civil Beat.

Mayors announce financial relief programs. On Thursday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a city program to assist families who are struggling financially during the COVID-19 pandemic. KHON2.

City and County of Honolulu offering financial assistance to residents in need. The new program just announced on Thursday is called the COVID-19 Hardship relief fund. KITV4.

City and County of Honolulu receiving grant money from the Federal Transit Administration. The City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Transportation Services (DTS) will be receiving award funding from the Federal Transit Administration through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. KITV4.

Honolulu attorney connected to Katherine Kealoha is arrested again. A troubled Honolulu attorney who entered the spotlight during investigations into disgraced former deputy city Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha has been arrested again. Christopher Woo, 47, was arrested early Thursday morning for allegedly driving a stolen car. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hilo retailers begin reopening. Prince Kuhio Plaza is planning a tentative opening Saturday, with social distancing measures enforced throughout the stores and mall. Tribune-Herald.

Red tape: Administering CARES money costs a lot. Four Big Island charities have been approved for a portion of a $1.5 million federal grant. But the red tape will eat up $250,000 of it. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo Muni Golf Course Reopening With Some New Rules. All persons arriving at the golf course to play shall wear face masks or face coverings, the County says, as it sets to reopen on Monday, May 11. Big Island Video News.

County to Open Three Greenwaste Sites on Limited Basis. After widespread calls to reopen its greenwaste services, Hawai‘i County is making such disposal available at three sites islandwide. Each site will be available three days per week. Big Island Now.


County retail businesses allowed to open Monday. Mayor says ‘miscommunication’ with Ige cleared up. Maui News.

Six visitors who violate quarantine rules are sent back. Six Maui visitors were being sent back to California on Wednesday after reports that they violated 14-day quarantine rules, a Maui airport official said. Maui News.


Continuing to fund COVID-19 efforts. When the Kaua‘i County Council allocated $2 million to battle COVID-19 in March, most of these funds went toward sanitation products, personal protection supplies and operation of the Emergency Operation Center. Garden Island.

New kind of litter. Gloves, masks and other personal protective equipment are starting to accumulate on Kaua‘i shorelines, as well as places around the world, and Surfrider Foundation’s local Hawai‘i chapters are joining the nationwide organization in a campaign to bring awareness to the fact that discarded PPE is adding to the plastic pollution on the world’s shorelines. Garden Island.


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