Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Legislature reaches budget agreement, Hirono's role-model mother dies at 96, state attorney general fights fake vaccine passports, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki’s High-Profile Agenda Is Raising Questions. Saiki has empowered the House to be a much-needed political player this year. But concerns about his methods and his ultimate goal are growing. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers Reach Agreement On A New Two-Year State Budget. House and Senate negotiators say they have used federal funds to cancel out most of Gov. Ige’s budget cuts. Civil Beat.

State board members violating law, Office of Hawaiian Affairs says. Hawaii lawmakers are poised to pass legislation that would mandate the removal of members of some of the state’s most powerful boards and commissions if they fail to complete a training course in Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights and public­-trust responsibilities required by law. Star-Advertiser.

Fate of remaining broadband-related bills to be decided by conference committee. Only two bills seeking to improve broadband coverage in Hawaii remain alive in the state Legislature, despite increased awareness of the issue during the pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

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Mazie Hirono’s Mother, A Prominent Role Model For Her, Has Died. The U.S. senator often talks about how her mother, who fled an abusive relationship in Japan, helped shape her own identity. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.

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Vaccine passport program could be announced today. Gov. David Ige hinted that an official announcement would be made today concerning when interisland travelers with proof of vaccination against COVID-19 will be allowed to bypass testing and quarantine restrictions. Tribune-Herald. KHON2.

Hawaii Attorney General joins coalition to stop sales of fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors has joined a bipartisan coalition of 42 attorneys general to call on OfferUp, an online mobile marketplace, to act immediately to prevent fraudulent or blank COVID-19 vaccine cards from being sold on its platform. KHON2.

As eligibility expands, demand for COVID-19 vaccine starts to dwindle on Neighbor Islands. On the Neighbor Islands, everyone over the age of 16 has been eligible for the COVID vaccine since early April. Officials say demand there is beginning to taper off. Hawaii News Now.

April 19, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 65 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Monday, including 52 on O‘ahu, 10 on Maui, two on Hawai‘i Island, and one in a Hawai‘i resident diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Family of drowned 5-year-old boy settles case against Mid-Pacific Institute for $7.2 million. The family of a 5-year-old boy who drowned on a Mid-Pacific Institute field trip has reached a settlement with the school for $7.26 million, an amount that attorneys believe sets a record. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Search for next Honolulu police chief begins behind closed doors. The Honolulu Police Commission went into executive session Monday in taking the first steps to naming an interim successor to Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard while beginning a nationwide search for Ballard’s replacement. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KHON2. KITV4.

Further review sought for 2 fatal Honolulu Police Department shootings. The shootings of two allegedly unarmed suspects this month were unjustified and racially motivated, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii and attorneys representing one of the victims said Monday. Star-Advertiser.

State Awarded Money To A Bidder That Blew The Deadline, Then Took It Back. The Department of Health says “crossed wires” led it to initially award $2 million to Sand Island Treatment Center, relied on by judges for addiction treatment. Civil Beat.

Input sought for development around Aloha Stadium. State officials want some help determining how 78 acres around Aloha Stadium can best become a new mixed-use community produced in partnership with a private developer. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu residents 16 and up get their turn for vaccines.
At long last, COVID-19 vaccination eligibility on Monday opened up to all Oahu residents age 16 and up, bringing the island to Phase 2 of its rollout and up to speed with Kauai, Maui and Hawaii counties. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Oral arguments this week in Honua Ola case. The state Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Thursday in Honua Ola Bioenergy’s appeal requesting the high court order the Public Utilities Commission to vacate its July 9, 2020, decision that nullified an amended power-purchase agreement the Pepeekeo power plant had with Hawaiian Electric Co. Tribune-Herald.

UH-Hilo Examines Sugarcane For Jet Fuel. UH is looking at varieties of sugarcane to convert into high-performance jet fuel at the UH-Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management. Big Island Video News.

TMT construction still on hold, but production of telescope’s components move ahead. TMT officials had hoped to resume work on Mauna Kea this Spring, however they say pandemic-related travel and safety challenges are stalling work. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Fire chief to retire July 1. After rising through the ranks at the Maui Fire Department during a more than 33-year career, Fire Chief David Thyne is retiring. Maui News.

Another beach party on Maui sparks outrage; organizers say they don’t see the problem. The event’s promoter said about 150 people attended and claims it was respectful and safe. He didn’t see the issue with the mass gathering. Hawaii News Now.

Queen Kaʻahumanu Center Struggles Along as Foreclosure Case Is Litigated. Next year, the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center in Kahului should be celebrating its 50th anniversary, but no one knows if there will be any reason to commemorate the milestone. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauai Police Chief Suspended 5 Days Without Pay for Mocking Asians. The Kauai Police Department said in a statement Friday that Chief Todd Raybuck will be suspended from April 26 to 30 for violating county policy. He will also be required to complete Equal Employment Opportunity anti-discrimination training and cultural sensitivity training. Associated Press.

Kaua‘i waiting for state’s lead on vaccine passpor
t. The County of Kaua‘i is working on a vaccine passport in coordination with the state. Garden Island.

Kauai Greenlights Retail Shops On Farmland. The county amended its zoning rules last week to allow farmers to set up retail stores on agricultural land without a permit. Garden Island.

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