Thursday, February 11, 2021

U.S. Attorney Kenji Price leaving post, Legislature tackles gambling, lottery bills, Sunshine Law under attack, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

PC: Wikipedia
U.S. Attorney Kenji Price PC:Wikipedia

Biden official asks Hawaii’s U.S. attorney Kenji Price to resign. Kenji Price, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii, has been asked to resign by the Biden administration, according to a spokeswoman. It is routine for U.S. attorneys to step down when a new president takes office. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. KITV4. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii gambling bills stall, lottery hopes pushed back. The odds of Hawaii allowing any form of legal gambling anytime soon grew longer on Wednesday when three more gaming bills stalled in the House, including one that would allow a casino atop the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Star-Advertiser.

State Lottery To Fund Public Education Moves Forward. Winning final passage may be a long shot, but the Senate Education Committee tentatively approved a plan Wednesday to create a commission to stand up a state lottery to help fund public education in Hawaii. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Senate Panel Moves To End Suspension Of Public Records Law. Hawaii lawmakers are a step closer to lifting Gov. David Ige’s nearly year-long suspension of laws meant to provide transparency to the government. Civil Beat.

Proposed bill would erode public’s ‘right to know’. A bill that would all-but-exempt county councils from the state’s open meetings law, also known as the “Sunshine Law,” is set to receive a hearing today. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii lawmakers again seek disclosure about inmate deaths. Hawaii lawmakers are once again trying to bring greater transparency to incidents of inmates dying in Hawaii’s jails and prisons after a past effort to force Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety to release such information largely failed. Star-Advertiser.

Bill: Don’t Card People If Old Enough To Buy Booze Or Smoke. Senate Bill 1398, which has a hearing Thursday, would prohibit a business that sells age-restricted goods from asking customers for the date of birth if it is clear that the individual has attained the age required to make a purchase. Civil Beat.

Bill to Require State Departments to Increase Purchase of Locally Grown Produce Advances. The bill requires all state departments to ensure that a certain percentage of the produce they purchase are locally grown, gradually increasing the annual percentage amount. Maui Now.


$2M made available through HECO assistance program runs dry after 31 hours. About 2,700 households were able to receive a portion of the nearly $2 million fund, which is now depleted. Hawaii News Now. Big Island Now. KHON2.

State figures: Thousands in Hawaii are overdue for second dose of vaccine. Statistics posted Wednesday show 153,000 people in Hawaii have gotten the first shot of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine since they were first available. Only 48,500 have received a second shot.  Hawaii News Now.

Survey finds majority of Hawaii residents plan to get COVID-19 vaccine.
Hawaii residents are becoming more accepting of the COVID-19 vaccine, with a recent survey indicating a shift in attitudes since mid-December. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

This is how the Health Department determines which essential workers get vaccinated. Organizations with frontline essential workers are urged to fill out a form on the state’s website to begin the process. Employers will be asked to identify those most at risk. Hawaii News Now.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Feb. 10: 56 New COVID-19 Cases And 5 Deaths. Hawaii health officials reported 56 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, including 42 on Oahu, nine on Maui, two on the Big Island and three residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Land board to vet Waikiki sea wall and Ala Moana sand nourishment projects. Two projects proposed by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Design and Construction, aiming to mitigate shoreline erosion at Queen’s Surf in Waikiki and Ala Moana Regional Park, will be considered by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Homeless Program Failed After Prosecutors And Police Wouldn’t Play Ball. A state-funded program intended to steer homeless people from the criminal justice system and into housing, addiction treatment and mental health care failed to meet its core mission after a two-year pilot in Honolulu. Civil Beat.

Aloha Stadium officials say facility needs overdue repairs to host fans. Without a significant amount of investment in repair and maintenance, the operation of the current Aloha Stadium will be without fans in the stands, officials acknowledged to lawmakers on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Construction Industry Is Still Going Strong In Hawaii. It May Get Even Stronger. Government projects and demand for housing have kept the construction industry going during the pandemic. Honolulu’s new planning department director hopes to give it an even bigger boost. Civil Beat.

Use of self-service DMV kiosks on Oahu skyrockets during COVID-19 shutdown. City officials say the use of its Hawaii DMV NOW self-service kiosks has grown nearly fourfold during the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Some employees at Alohilani Resort could lose their jobs come mid-April.
More than 80 employees at the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach could lose their jobs come mid-April. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea management to be outlined before BLNR. With management of the Mauna Kea summit coming under mounting criticism, the Board of Land and Natural Resources on Friday will hear the results of a report that gave the University of Hawaii mixed reviews for its oversight of the mountain. Star-Advertiser.

New canopy taking shape at farmers market. The foundation is in place, the framework is being erected, and a new produce market canopy at Hilo Farmers Market is taking shape. Tribune-Herald.

‘Great demand’ for vaccines: Older kupuna, essential workers continue to be priority. Big Island COVID-19 vaccination efforts remain focused on kupuna 75 and older — and likely will be for the next several weeks. Tribune-Herald.


Charter Commission nominees make first cut. A diverse slate of nine residents was recommended by a Maui County Council committee on Tuesday to sit on a commission tasked with updating Maui County’s main guiding document. Maui News.

The Nominated Nine. This year, the council will nominate nine members of the Charter Commission, while the mayor will nominate two. Maui News.

COVID-19 Cluster at Maui Jail Now Totals 12 Inmates. The number of COVID-19 positive cases at the Maui Community Correctional Center now stands at 12 after four more inmates tested positive as part of a mass testing effort being conducted by the state.  Maui Now.

All-time high for single-family homes set. Maui County single-family home median sales prices in January reached an all-time high of $980,000, according to Realtors Association of Maui data that goes back to 1993. Maui News.


COVID-19 vaccinations come to Longs Drugs. Beginning Thursday, CVS will begin accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible populations at Longs Drugs locations, including the store in Kapa‘a. Garden Island.

400 families get USDA food boxes. Four hundred families on Kaua‘i received Farmers to Families food boxes through the efforts of a single-day distribution coordinated by the Liliuokalani Trust on Tuesday. Garden Island.

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