Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Minimum wage battle continues in Legislature, illegal campaign contributions investigated in Honolulu mayoral race, Maui loses a round in homeless sweeps court case, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


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Hawaii lawmakers tussle over 1 minimum wage bill. A clash of wills and philosophies among state lawmakers over how to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage now appears centered on one bill at the Legislature instead of two. Star-Advertiser. Garden Island.

State funding for Hawaii Tourism Authority up for debate. The state House of Representatives is allotting the Hawaii Tourism Authority a dollar to pay for its operations, and has eliminated all money for staffing in the version of the state budget that it transmitted to the Senate. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Kids Could Lose Access To Free Meals At School With End Of Federal Funding. Public school students have been eligible for free breakfast and lunch during the pandemic through a program that is set to expire in June. Civil Beat.

Red Hill crisis could be a pivotal moment for discussions on the U.S. military's future in Hawaiʻi.
Native Hawaiians have long had a contentious relationship with the federal government — and the military in particular — over its land use, from the bombing of Kahoʻolawe to water contamination at Red Hill. Hawaii Public Radio.

Burning Wood For Power? It’s A Question Utilities Commission Nominee Will Face. A key state senator is pushing for adding “firm renewables” to Hawaii’s mix of electricity sources, including two controversial projects. Civil Beat.

Careless Mistakes’ And Other Problems Are Keeping The Hawaii State Hospital Closed. The $160 million new hospital building has remained empty for more than a year as the state resolves personnel issues, construction problems and design flaws. Civil Beat.

State Wants $1 Million To Accredit Conservation Officers. A joint panel of House lawmakers Tuesday morning voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 3019, which would require the state Department of Land and Natural Resources to get accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. Civil Beat.

Longtime BOE member Herb Watanabe dies at 93.
Herbert S. Watanabe, former elected member and chairman of the state Board of Education, died Feb. 21 in Honolulu. He was 93. Tribune-Herald.


Billionaire-backed developer under investigation for illegal political donations. The state Campaign Spending Commission is investigating a local developer for alleged campaign finance abuses. In a complaint made public Tuesday, the commission alleges that Timothy Lee, CEO of JL Capital, improperly reimbursed three employees and a former worker after they gave $12,000 to the political campaigns of former Honolulu mayoral candidates Kym Pine and Keith Amemiya in 2020. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Health Department says Red Hill response has cost it $1.5 million.
The state Department of Health is seeking $1.5 million in emergency funds to cover its ongoing costs from responding to the Navy’s Red Hill water crisis. Star-Advertiser.

City extends downtown preschool lease for six months. Plans for a major overhaul to the city’s Civic Center underground parking structure are forcing a large preschool sitting atop it to vacate the premises, but Mayor Rick Blangiardi on Tuesday announced a six-month lease extension and admitted to miscommunication with school officials. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Board of Water Supply says restrictions may be necessary
amid dry weather and fuel contamination. Board of Water Supply Manager and Chief Engineer Ernie Lau told state lawmakers that rising salt levels have been detected in its Beretania Well in Honolulu. Hawaii Public Radio. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Mauna Kea stewardship bill runs into opposition at Senate hearing. A bill that would establish a new authority to oversee the stewardship of Mauna Kea’s summit ran into a volley of opposition Tuesday in a hearing before a state Senate committee. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

Bill to select site for new Kona hospital awaits final committee hearing.
House Bill 1638 was passed 4-0 by the Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Homelessness following a hearing Friday afternoon. West Hawaii Today.

Ige: No to Roth’s Energy Emergency Request.
Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth is so concerned about how much higher energy costs could increase, he asked Gov. David Ige last week to declare an energy emergency, which could expedite decisions by the state Public Utilities Commission on renewable energy projects. Big Island Now.


Lawsuit over “houseless sweeps” at Kanahā advances, County of Maui plans to appeal. A Maui judge rejected the County of Maui’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by residents of a “houseless encampment” at Kanahā during “sweeps” conducted late last year. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

King steps down from council, leaves door open for state run. She endorses Robin Knox, who’s set to face King’s 2020 challenger Tom Cook. Three-term Maui County Council Member Kelly Takaya King is stepping down from her South Maui seat, though she left the door open for a possible run at state office. Maui News. Maui Now.

Mayor Victorino to present FY 2023 proposed budget. Mayor Michael Victorino will present his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2023 at 1 p.m., Thursday, March 24, in the Council Chamber on the 8th floor of the Kalana O Maui Building, 200 S. High Street in Wailuku. Maui Now.


State House resolution urging Waimea park renaming. A state House committee moved forward a resolution to formally rename Waimea’s Russian Fort Elisabeth State Historical Park to Pa‘ula‘ula. Garden Island.

State, county celebrate completion of Lihu‘e Airport Ticket Lobby Improvements. The state Department of Transportation hosted the blessing for the recent improvements to the ticket lobby. Useable area was increased by relocating the the U.S. Department of Agriculture baggage-screening equipment and filling in four garden areas. Garden Island. KHON2.

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