Thursday, February 10, 2022

English and Cullen get to keep half their pension even if convicted, House investigating bills for pay-to-play, Brian De Lima dies at 66, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Speaker Scott Saiki
Hawaii House speaker favors tough penalties to deter bribery. The speaker of Hawaii’s House of Representatives said Wednesday he supports stronger ethics laws and penalties to prevent bribery at the Legislature after federal prosecutors this week alleged two former lawmakers took bribes in exchange for shaping legislation while in office. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

Former Hawaii lawmakers J. Kalani English and Ty J.K. Cullen stand to lose half of their pensions if convicted of bribery. Former state Sen. J. Kalani English and former state Rep. Ty J.K. Cullen could lose half of their state pensions if convicted of federal bribery charges under a new law — and a review of Cullen’s voting record and introduction of bills this legislative session is now underway. Star-Advertiser.

Upset About The Corruption Charges? What Are You Going To Do About It? Democrats have such a complete lock on power in Hawaii — and Republicans are so marginalized —  that there may be little political fallout from even these egregious cases. Civil Beat.

Bribery allegations against two former legislators could affect mid-term election turnout. The seats of the entire Hawaii Legislature will be up for a vote on this year’s election ballot and party leaders said they are doing what they can to have a strong voter turnout, despite bribery allegations against two former legislators. KHON2.

Expanded ethics training up for hearing in wake of Capitol corruption. Momentum is building to widely expand mandatory ethics training and further crackdown on influence-peddling in the wake of high-profile corruption cases. KHON2.

Hawaii House considers bill to relax gift rule as watchdog group calls for culture shift. Common Cause Hawaii plans to submit testimony in strong opposition to House Bill 1871 bill, which aims to relax the rules when it comes to legislators accepting gifts by allowing things like gifts of aloha and foreign protocol gifts. KITV4.

Company at center of legislative bribery scandal a big political donor. State campaign spending records show that since 2014, company employees and officers, its owner and his relatives and related businesses and their workers have donated nearly $300,000 to more than 50 political candidates in Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

Bribery scandal could focus discussion on closing cesspools, environmentalists say. The bribery allegations against former lawmakers Kalani English and Ty Cullen are also shining a spotlight on the legislation they allegedly derailed regarding cesspools. Environmental groups say the sewage sites are an environmental crisis, but also see the scandal as an opportunity to fix it. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers consider bill to fund an emergency sex trafficking shelter for minors. HB1700 would provide funding for nonprofit or nongovernmental organizations to operate sex trafficking emergency shelter for children during the next fiscal year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Kahele Hints Strongly At 2022 Run For Hawaii Governor. U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, the Democrat  has represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District for barely a year, indicated on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser “Spotlight” program Wednesday that he is seriously considering entering the contest. Civil Beat.

Rising harassment of public school employees sparks bill to make it a misdemeanor. Harassment of Hawaii public school employees is on the rise, the state schools superintendent says, and that is why his department wants the state Legislature to classify it as a misdemeanor crime. Star-Advertiser.

More cruise ships scheduled to arrive at Hawaii ports as COVID-19 cases continue to trend down. In a sign that Hawaii has reopened its economy, dozens of cruise ships have been scheduled to arrive at Hawaii ports this year and through the summer of next year, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 7 new coronavirus-related deaths, 519 additional infections.
The new confirmed and probable infection count includes 323 new cases on Oahu, 54 on Hawaii Island, 53 on Maui, 33 on Kauai, four on Molokai, three on Lanai and 49 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Cameras positioned to record Red Hill fuel leaks inoperable, Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele says. Hawaii Congressman Kai Kahele says that the Navy’s Red Hill fuel facility is lined with surveillance cameras, two of which were perfectly positioned to record the May and November fuel spills that are believed to have led to jet fuel contaminating residents’ tap water. Star-Advertiser.

Experts Say HPD Report Fails To Review Tactics Used In Deadly 2020 Standoff. HPD increased training following the Hibiscus Drive shooting but did not update its policies. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers progress 4 measures aimed at preventing another Red Hill fuel contamination crisis.
The House committees on Health, Human Services and Homelessness, and Energy and Environmental Protection held a joint hearing on four bills related to the Red Hill water crisis. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Homeless earmark bill advances.
Most of an extra tax property owners already pay on their multimillion-dollar residential homes would be earmarked for homeless projects, under a bill advanced Wednesday by the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Puna access road bill advances for ‘ongoing discussion’. The state House Transportation Committee on Wednesday passed, with amendments, a bill that would require site surveys to identify the most suitable location for a Puna Makai Access Road to relieve traffic congestion on Highway 130. Tribune-Herald.

Officials: Hilo’s sewage plant in danger of failure that could trigger environmental disaster. Officials at Hilo’s Wastewater Treatment Plant warn the facility is in danger of complete failure, saying if the plant goes down it could trigger an environmental disaster. Hawaii County says it urgently needs $100 million to replace the facility. Hawaii News Now.

HPD seeks $2M for animal control.
The Hawaii Police Department has requested $2 million from the county to purchase a new animal shelter in Puna in order to improve its animal control capabilities. Tribune-Herald.

Brian De Lima, ‘a pillar of our community,’ dead at 66.
Hilo attorney and community leader Brian De Lima died Tuesday, according to his older daughter. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Maui

New Kaupō center took ʻlots of alohaʻ to build; E. Maui project gains approvals. Saying it took many years and “lots of aloha,” Kaupō community leaders highlighted the significance of their new community resource center on remote, historic East Maui grounds, which gained approvals Tuesday at Maui Planning Commission. Maui Now.

Tree Poaching reported at Lelekea Beach in Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park. The National Park Service is requesting assistance in identifying anyone responsible for poaching trees at Lelekea Beach in the Kīpahulu District of Haleakalā National Park. Maui Now.

Kauai

Public pushes Kaua‘i County Council to pass feral cat feeding ban. Speakers from throughout the island, state and mainland urged Kaua‘i lawmakers to ban the feeding of feral cats on county property, at Wednesday’s County Council meeting. Garden Island.

State, Kauai face suit over alleged pollution discharge into ocean. Environmentalists are threatening to sue the state and Kauai County over claims they are discharging untreated drainage water into the ocean in Kekaha. Hawaii News Now.

State tax bill could have major impact on Kaua‘i. A bill in the state Legislature could potentially mean more money in the pockets of working families on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

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