Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Senate Majority Leader Kalani English stepping down following COVID-19 complications, Legislature passes hotel tax surcharge, car rental fee increases, automatic voter registration passes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Sen. Kalani English

Hawaii state Sen. Kalani English stepping down due to long-term COVID-19 symptoms. Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English announced Tuesday that he is stepping down from his Senate seat on May 1, citing lingering symptoms from a COVID-19 infection. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now. KITV4.

Lawmakers pass budget and suspend pay raises. In one of their last days to make or amend state law, state legislators passed a budget they say avoided catastrophic cuts to the most needy, killed a bill aimed at restricting police no-knock warrants and suspended raises for themselves and other key state officials. Star-Advertiser.

New County Hotel Tax Is Approved In Final Vote. The Hawaii Legislature also approved a hefty rental car surcharge increase to squeeze more money out of tourists. Lawmakers gave final approval Tuesday to a package of bills that will wring more cash out of the rapidly recovering tourism industry while simultaneously scaling back on the sums the state spends each year to market Hawaii to visitors. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald.

State House kills bill curtailing emergency powers. The state House on Tuesday killed a bill that would have curtailed the governor’s emergency powers, a measure that was introduced after the coronavirus pandemic prompted Gov. David Ige to issue 19 emergency proclamations to suspend laws, impose travel quarantines and take other steps to address the public health crisis. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii House quashes bill eliminating no-knock warrants. The Hawaii House on Tuesday quashed a bill that would have eliminated no-knock warrants, a centerpiece of police reform legislation proposed in the wake of high-profile killings by police across the nation. Associated Press.

Lawmakers pass automatic voter registration bill. State lawmakers Tuesday passed a measure that would make Hawaii the latest state to implement automatic voter registration. West Hawaii Today.

State lease extension measure clears state Legislature. A bill that cleared the Legislature on Tuesday would allow the state to extend leases on state lands by 40 years, a measure applauded by developers such as those for Prince Kuhio Plaza, but that would apparently not apply to federal leases such as held by the U.S. Army at Pohakuloa Training Area. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii Close to Honoring Juneteenth, Leaving 1 State Holdout. Hawaii was poised to become the 49th state to recognize Juneteenth after the House and Senate passed legislation Tuesday designating June 19 as a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Associated Press.

Most UH students will likely remain at a distance until Spring 2022. UH Provost Michael Bruno said Tuesday the university system likely won’t resume normal campus procedures until Spring of 2022. Hawaii News Now.

Matson Inc. earns huge profit on heels of China growth. Matson Inc. earned a monster first-quarter profit that even it underestimated less than two weeks ago. Star-Advertiser.

As Tourists Return, Hawaii Is Looking At New Ways To Keep Them Safe In The Ocean. Ocean safety officials are relying on mobile response units, extended hours and data to protect visitors, some of whom are drawn to remote locations without lifeguards. Civil Beat.

Hawaii restaurants struggling to find employees despite nearly 60K unemployed residents. Many people remain out of work due to conditions outside of their control, including child care and health concerns, among others. KHON2.

Local reactions to new CDC rules on mask-wearing are mixed. Some celebrated, while others remained wary of, new federal guidelines saying fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear a mask outdoors — unless at large, crowded events. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Garden Island. KHON2.

Health Department reports 1st COVID-19 death of child with underlying conditions. Health officials said the boy experienced COVID-19 symptoms shortly after arriving in the islands, and was taken to a hospital, where he died. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.  Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

April 27, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 54 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Tuesday, including 37 on O‘ahu, seven on Maui, five on Hawai‘i Island, two on Kaua‘i, and two in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.

Oahu


City again takes first steps to relocate landfill. For the third time, the city has started evaluating sites to replace the island’s only municipal landfill, Waimanalo Gulch, on the West side of Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Prosecutors Have Long Been Stymied When Investigating Police Killings. That’s About To Change. The city largely leaves it to the police to investigate themselves when a civilian is killed. The new prosecuting attorney has plans for reform. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Roundabout eyed for busy Hilo intersection. The state Department of Transportation is working through the process to plan and fund improvements at the intersection of Waianuenue Avenue, Bayfront Highway and Kamehameha Avenue in downtown Hilo. Tribune-Herald.

6 of 14 North Kona wells remain offline. Nearly half of the water wells servicing the North Kona community remain offline, the Department of Water Supply said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Lawsuit: Former Maui Prosecutor Says The Mayor Was Wrong To Fire Him. Don Guzman says his struggles with diabetes caused him to behave irrationally at times but that he warned the mayor that might happen. Civil Beat.

Most public schools to offer in-person summer programs. As Maui County public schools prepare to offer in-person summer programs, other popular child care programs like Summer PALS are still mulling their plans during the pandemic. Maui News.

Kauai

Hideaways access cut off; county seeks easement. Posts went up Tuesday blocking the entrance of a trailhead that leads to Kenomene Bay, or Hideaway Beach, in Princeville. Garden Island.

Public input sought on Kalaheo water project. The county Department of Water is expecting to build a new Clearwell tank on a portion of state land, replacing the existing Clearwell tank in Kalaheo later this year. Garden Island.




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