Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Electric vehicles may be taxed for mileage, $160M psychiatric facility sits empty, red light cameras coming to Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii’s cannabis industry calls for reduced regulations amid concerns over future of dispensaries. A new report from Hawaii’s medical marijuana industry calls for less regulation as concerns grow over the sustainability of dispensaries in the state. Hawaii News Now.

As lawmakers look to add mileage tax to electric vehicles, critics worry it’ll deter sales. State lawmakers are proposing a mileage tax for electric vehicle owners who are currently able to skirt the gas tax. A rate has not been set, but Senate Bill 3313 would charge owners annually during safety checks. Hawaii News Now.

Months after its completion, state’s $160M psychiatric facility sits empty
. Nearly a year after construction was completed on the state’s $160 million high-security psychiatric facility in Kaneohe, the building remains empty ― despite high need. Officials say a variety of issues are preventing patient admissions. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s national highest electric costs could be helped with HECO rollout. Hawaiian Electric is in the process of rolling out a new technology called advanced meters to help customers monitor and possibly reduce their use and bills. Advanced meters are making their way to homes, condominiums, apartments, and businesses on Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii Island. KHON2.

House committee unlikely to pursue penalty tied to lawmaker’s DUI arrest. A special House committee that was created to possibly investigate state Rep. Sharon Har following her drunken driving arrest 11 months ago appears unlikely to pursue potential sanctions against her, House Speaker Scott Saiki said. Star-Advertiser.

Longtime Corrections Officer Elected To Lead United Public Workers. Kalani Werner was elected state director of the union in a runoff contest, replacing longtime UPW leader Dayton Nakanelua. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers look to woo retired educators back to classrooms as substitutes. With schools facing record teacher absences due to COVID and preexisting shortages, lawmakers are trying to woo retired educators back into the classroom. Hawaii News Now.

Bill would require DOE to provide free menstrual products in schools.
The state Senate Committee on Education has advanced a bill that addresses menstrual equity and “period poverty” in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Health Department launches COVID-19 hotline. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced the launch of a new hotline for people with questions about COVID-19. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now. KITV4.

The Verdict Is Still Out On Fourth Covid Shots. As officials try to persuade as many people as possible to get booster shots, some Hawaii residents are skipping the line to get fourth doses. Currently, only Americans with moderate or severe immunodeficiencies – which can include recipients of organ transplants or people living with HIV – are eligible to receive a fourth shot per government regulations. Civil Beat.

Hawaii sees 1,068 new coronavirus cases, bringing statewide total to 220,356. The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 727 new cases on Oahu, 140 on Hawaii Island, 153 on Maui, 28 on Kauai, one on Molokai, five on Lanai and 14 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.


Green light nearing for red-light camera program on Oahu. A system to issue traffic tickets for running red lights using automated cameras at problematic Honolulu intersections should be ready for use in May after a nearly yearlong delay. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Prosecutors offer another round of DUI plea deals after state Supreme Court ruling forces dismissals. Instead of allowing scores of DUI cases to be dismissed, the city Prosecutor’s Office is once again offering plea deals to some suspected drunk drivers. Hawaii News Now.

Amemiya Attorney Argues There Was ‘Nothing Criminal’ About Kealoha Payoff. The former Honolulu managing director and two other defendants have been charged with participating in a conspiracy to misappropriate government funds. Civil Beat. KHON2.

Oahu bar claims new liquor commission laws discriminate against LGBTQ community. Scarlet Night Club said under the new rules, investigators can close a business without prior notice or a hearing if they believe there is a violation of “an emergency order.” Hawaii News Now.

Citric acid plan in the works for invasive coqui frogs found in Waimānalo. For the first time on Oʻahu, officials may have to resort to aerial spraying to beat back the population. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Roth: Large in-person events will return this year. During a livestreamed interview Monday, Roth said he believes that it will be safe to hold events such as the Merrie Monarch, which was cancelled in 2020 and held without a live audience last year. Tribune-Herald.

Open Letter by School Administrator Chronicles Brawl, Asks Community to Help Fix What Caused it. In an open letter to the community, a Pāhoa High and Intermediate School vice principal described last week’s fight at his school where seven students were arrested and 20 suspended as a sad, unfortunate event triggered by racial epithets toward a group of kids being made to felt as though they did not belong. Big Island Now.


Maui County Council asks Legislature to set visitor fees for the environment. Council Chair Alice L. Lee announced today that eight proposals have been introduced as the 2022 Maui County Council Legislative Package, including legislation to establish a “green fee surcharge”—a visitor fee that would fund environmental-protection and conservation projects. Maui Now.

NTSB: Pilot says plane appeared to be losing power after take-off from Hana Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report for a plane crash on Maui that left two people onboard injured. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Funding is being considered to recognize 8,000 Kalaupapa residents diagnosed with leprosy. Of the 8,000 Hawaii residents diagnosed with leprosy who were banished to Kalaupapa from 1866 to 1969, there are nine people remaining today who have the right to live at the isolated Molokai peninsula. Star-Advertiser.


DMV, County of Kaua‘i offices network restored.
A mechanical issue Monday night resulted in an outage of the County of Kaua‘i’s server and network early Tuesday morning. Garden Island. Hawaii News Now.

Community continues to back Malama Hule‘ia efforts at fishpond. Nonprofits Malama Hule‘ia and the Trust for Public Land have raised nearly $190,000 through its community fundraising campaign for the Alakoko “Menehune” Fishpond. Garden Island.

Emmalani Park boasts refurbished pickleball, basketball courts. It was a celebration Sunday morning as the newly refurbished Princeville pickleball and basketball court at Emmalani Park opened to the public. Garden Island.

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