Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Legislature seeks to slash solar tax credit, House wants to defer raises, medical marijuana users fear loss of cropland, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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The state Senate is looking to slash a popular solar tax credit. But environmentalists and clean energy advocates say the measure will not only hurt the economy but will make it more difficult for the state to achieve its clean energy goals. Hawaii News Now.

House aims to suspend raises for Hawaii legislators, governor, judges. Pay raises of 10% that were scheduled to go into effect for state legislators July 1 were tentatively suspended Tuesday, pending another House floor vote on Thursday. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

HMSA’s Mark Mugiishi To Chair State Redistricting Panel. The decision came after a 6-2 vote Tuesday with some concerns raised about the process. Civil Beat.

Patients fear losing access to medical cannabis amid push to restrict amateur grow operations. Since the day medical cannabis was legalized in Hawaii more than two decades ago, the program has centered around the rights of patients and caregivers to grow their own marijuana. But now, state health officials want to create new rules that would drastically restrict the number of people who could use the same grow site. Hawaii News Now.

Budget cuts may be on the horizon for HTA, its community programs. Tourism is ramping back up just as House Bill 862 could cut the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s budget and some of its key programs. KHON2.

State, city leaders still considering business rent assistance. A coalition representing Hawaii commercial landlords and tenants announced Tuesday that difficulty paying rent is subsiding as the state economy improves but that government aid is still sorely needed. Star-Advertiser.

American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii wants scrutiny of prisons’ virus response to go on. The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii has called for continued judicial supervision of COVID-19 safety measures in Hawaii correctional facilities, arguing that the state’s incarcerated population remains at risk of contracting the virus and causing clusters in jails, prisons and the community. Star-Advertiser.

Ige sees public schools being able to fully reopen for in-person learning by this fall. Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he anticipates public schools to be fully reopened for in-person learning this fall. Tribune-Herald.

Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause will have little effect on isles, health director says. Despite a nationwide pause on the use of the Johnson &Johnson COVID-19 vaccine due to six cases of serious blood clots, including one death, Hawaii remains on track to open up COVID-19 vaccinations by Monday to those 16 and over. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Associated Press. Garden Island. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now.

April 13, 2021 COVID-19 Update
: The state Department of Health reports that there were 64 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Tuesday, including 38 on O‘ahu, 18 on Maui, six on Hawai‘i Island, and one in a Hawai‘i resident diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu

Another $800M For Rail? Don’t Count On It, Schatz Says. Hawaii’s senior senator says there’s little appetite in Washington to appropriate more federal funds for Honolulu’s troubled and overbudget rail. Civil Beat.

Honolulu building inspector is 4th to plead not guilty to federal bribery charges. The last of the five former and current city Department of Planning and Permitting employees who were federally charged for accepting bribes has pleaded not guilty and will proceed to trial. Star-Advertiser.

Mountain Of Evidence Weighs Down Defendants In Miske Racketeering Case.
Defendants ask the court how they’re supposed to review gigabytes of digital evidence without special access to prison computers. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s pick for Police Commission withdraws nomination.
Mayor Rick Blangiardi, who had nominated Benjamin Mahi, sent a memo to the Honolulu City Council on Tuesday of the decision. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

City seeks input on redesign of Ala Wai Boulevard. The city is looking for input from members of the public for a project to improve safety and enjoyment of Ala Wai Boulevard, the one-way, three-lane corridor that traces the makai banks of the Ala Wai Canal from Kapahulu to Kalakaua avenues in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

Despite potential flooding threat, Wahiawa dam owners get more time to make repairs. Dole Food Company Hawaii, one of the owners of the Wahiawa Dam at Lake Wilson, has been given more time to make improvements to the aging facility. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige’s ‘powering past coal task force’ to track projects replacing Oahu’s coal plant.
Gov. David Ige has established a new task force to help move Oahu’s renewable projects along in a more timely manner. Star-Advertiser.

Demand, Bellows closure make Honolulu camping reservations scarce. One of Hawaii’s most popular camping spots, Bellows, will be closed for camping starting April 19 as nesting sea turtles have moved into the area. KHON2.

Aggressive takeoff caused 2019 skydiving plane crash at Dillingham Airfield that killed 11. A pilot’s aggressive takeoff led to an aerodynamic stall, causing the 2019 crash of a skydiving plane in Mokuleia that killed all 11 people on board, government safety investigators have determined. Associated Press. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Mayor, council settle down to budget business.
The county’s finances are in a “precarious” position and the administration and County Council need to put aside “petty politics” and work together, Mayor Mitch Roth said Tuesday in his first budget presentation before the council’s Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Island residents driver’s license renewal deadline extended. Hawaii Island residents with a driver’s license that expires on or after March 16, 2020 can have until June 8 to renew. KHON2.

HCCC remains in quarantine: Inmate COVID-19 test results pending, court operations affected. No new positive COVID-19 tests were reported Tuesday among inmates or staff at Hawaii Community Correctional Center, which remains in quarantine after an employee recently tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Department of Public Safety confirmed. West Hawaii Today.

Future of Keauhou Shopping Center post office in the air. The contract holder for the Post Office in the Keauhou Shopping Center must vacate the space he has run since 2015 by Friday, and it’s unclear what services will be offered — if any — beyond then. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

March rain erases remaining drought for Maui County. The wettest March on record since 2006 for many areas of the state helped eliminate remaining severe drought areas for Maui County, according to the National Weather Service. Maui News.

Seabury Hall to Host In-Person and Virtual Summer School. Seabury Hall on Maui announced the return of its summer school for students who will be entering grades 4-12 during the upcoming 2021-2022 school year. Maui Now.

Kauai


Revitalizing the hog industry
. ‘Aina Ho‘okupu O Kilauea received two Innovation Grants from the county recently, one a Kaua‘i pigpen system that will hopefully revitalize the industry, and another grant for new farm technology that can be used on small farms by tracking trends and detecting disease. Garden Island.

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