Monday, February 7, 2022

Green tops in approval rating, Blangiardi and Ige ratings low, Legislature mulls sunscreen ban, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaii bill banning more sunscreen chemicals advances. The Senate version, SB 3001, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment Committee at 1:30 p.m. today, and the House version, HB 1519, is scheduled to be heard by the House Committee on Energy and Environment at 8:50 a.m. Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Josh Green’s approval ratings surge in Hawaii governor’s race.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the leading candidate so far to become Hawaii’s next governor, has a commanding 65% overall approval rating among Hawaii voters — and an even more impressive 70% approval for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll shows. Star-Advertiser.

Undecided votes critical in tight race for Hawaii lieutenant governor. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Hawaii Poll shows the five-way race to become Hawaii’s next lieutenant governor is tight, but a huge chunk of undecided voters means every candidate still has a path to victory. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Poll reveals isle voters’ attitudes toward Gov. David Ige, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi just started his second year in office and Gov. David Ige is in his final year, but approval ratings for both are among the worst of the nine island politicians included in the Honolulu Star-­Advertiser Hawaii Poll. Star-Advertiser.

U.S. Secretary of State to stop in Hawaii following visits to Australia, Fiji. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken plans to stop in Hawaii next week after a trip to Australia and Fiji, when he plans to push back on “aggression and coercion” in the Indo-Pacific region, a sign the administration is keeping China high on its agenda even as it finds itself focused on the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Bloomberg.

Lawmakers consider banning peer-to-peer car rentals amid overtourism concerns. State Rep. Sean Quinlan was one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill. He doesn’t expect it to pass but said it’s a signal to the industry that discussion over taxation and regulation is needed. Hawaii News Now.

Should Hawaii Gamble On Online Sports Betting? Measures that would regulate online sports betting could generate some tax revenues for the state, but experts worry easy access could fuel gambling addictions. Civil Beat.

House bill influenced by murder of 6-year-old Waimānalo girl moves forward. The House Committee on Health, Human Services, and Homelessness passed a bill that would provide more protection for adopted children by allowing for more check-in visits from the state. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Civil Rights Agency Grapples With Solving Long-Delayed Cases. The commission already was dealing with a backlog when the pandemic hit, leading to budget woes and a hiring freeze. Civil Beat.

Board of Education weighs qualifications for tough superintendent job. Don’t read anything into the fact that it’s been six months and counting that Keith Hayashi has been acting as the interim state superintendent of Hawaii’s public schools. So says the head of the search for the next permanent superintendent. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s blood shortage triggers tax incentive bill for donors. The state Legislature is considering tax breaks for people who give blood because of low donor numbers in recent months. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii records 4 new coronavirus-related deaths, 916 additional infections. The  new confirmed and probable infection count includes 537 new cases on Oahu, 155 on Hawaii Island, 107 on Maui, 95 on Kauai, one on Molokai, three on Lanai and 18 Hawaii residents diagnosed outside the state. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Pressure to further ease COVID rules mounts as cases decline, hitting a 46-day low. Earlier this week, the city’s restrictions on large gatherings of 1,000 or more lapsed and the mayor said no new restrictions are planned. Hawaii News Now.

Shut down Red Hill fuel facility, most Hawaii voters say. An overwhelming majority of Hawaii voters say the Navy should permanently shut down its Red Hill fuel tanks, according to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Police Commission Calls For Public Input On Next Police Chief. The commission plans to survey public opinion in the ongoing search for Honolulu’s next chief of police. Civil Beat.

Caldwell believes former city officials are innocent. Former Mayor Kirk Caldwell believes his one-time corporation counsel, managing director and chair of the police commission did not break the law while arranging a $250,000 retirement settlement for former police Chief Louis Kealoha that bypassed City Council review. Star-Advertiser.

Bill would establish state park along Kaiwi Coast. A bill to create a state park along East Oahu’s Kaiwi Coast is among a range of measures involving the state Department of Land and Natural Resources under consideration at the state Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

COVID testing contracts examined: County Council to get update Tuesday on testing and spending. TrueCare24 Inc., the company that last month lost more than 400 coronavirus test samples, was the lowest bidder of four vendors selected by the county and the least compliant with bidding requirements, according to an analysis of bid documents and purchase agreements West Hawaii Today received from the county in response to a public records request. West Hawaii Today.

Banyan Drive Redevelopment Bill Proposed. A new House Bill will create the Waiakea Peninsula Redevelopment District and planning committee for the redevelopment of public lands on Banyan Drive. Big Island Video News.

Effort to secure new hospital for Kona renewed. A bill in the state House to provide funding for a site assessment to find a viable location for a new hospital site in North Kona passed its first committee hearing Thursday. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui County dropping booster requirement to be considered 'fully vaccinated' beginning Feb. 7. Maui County is relaxing its rule requiring business patrons to show that they’ve received a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated. The revision goes into effect Monday, Feb. 7. KITV4.

Airbnb removes 1,300 unlicensed Maui rentals under new county agreement. Airbnb said it recently removed more than 1,300 vacation rentals without licenses under its agreement with Maui County. The company signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the county last year. Hawaii Public Radio.

Study shows Maui's polystyrene ban had a limited impact on beaches. Of the five beaches studied, only two showed a minor reduction in polystyrene debris after the ban, said Dr. Jennifer Lynch, the co-director of the Hawaiʻi Pacific University Center for Marine Debris Research and one of the scientists who worked on the study. Hawaii Public Radio.

Council mulls report outlining ways to manage tourism on Maui. Regulating peer-to-peer car sharing, setting a cap on tourist accommodations and banning transient vacation rentals in certain districts are among ideas to manage tourism on Maui that were presented this week by a county group. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kauaʻi sponsors sought for summer food programs.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is seeking sponsor organizations on all islands to help provide children in low-income communities with free meals during the summer months. Garden Island.

Nonprofits invited to apply for funding from Kauaʻi United Way. Feb. 18 is the deadline for nonprofit organizations to contact Lori Almarza, acting director of the Kaua‘i United Way, indicating intent to apply for KUW funding. Garden Island.


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