Friday, May 6, 2022

Hawaii Legislature adjourns 'breakthrough' session, Blangiardi tackles rising crime against tourists, monk seal population rebounds to milestone, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii House Majority
Hawaii Legislature sine die 2022 PC:Hawaii House Majority
State Legislature ends ‘breakthrough’ session. Hawaii’s 31st Legislature was marked by gobs of extra spending in areas dominated by Native Hawaiian causes and affordable housing, made possible by roughly $2 billion in projected extra tax revenue collections that weren’t forecast when the session began Jan. 19. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii legislative bill removing cash bail for nonviolent crimes draws opposition. Hawaii law enforcement officials are urging Gov. David Ige to veto a bill passed Tuesday by the state Legislature that eliminates the requirement that defendants accused of nonviolent crimes post cash bail, allowing them to be released on their own recognizance to await their court dates. Star-Advertiser.

Native Hawaiians set to receive $600 million for housing after decades of neglect.
The Hawaii Legislature on Thursday unanimously passed landmark legislation appropriating $600 million for the state’s Native Hawaiian homesteading program, a chronically underfunded initiative that has long fallen short of its promise to return Native people to their ancestral land. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Retirement savings bill heads to Ige. The state Legislature voted this week to pass a proposal for a state-run retirement fund program. Tribune-Herald.

Monk seal population hits milestone, surpassing 1,500. The endangered Hawaiian monk seal population has reached a milestone, surpassing 1,500 for the first time in more than 20 years. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press.

Lettuce Joins Short List Of Local Ingredients Served In Public Schools. Student meals will include locally grown leafy greens and less cheese as the DOE modifies menus to meet food sustainability and nutritional goals. Civil Beat.

Testimony against indoor masking rule fills contentious Board of Education meeting. Dozens of testifiers called for an end to the COVID-19 indoor masking rule for Hawaii’s public schools during an unusually contentious meeting of the state Board of Education on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

With 71 COVID hospitalizations, Healthcare Association calls number a ‘surge’. This surge still pales in comparison to the Delta and Omicron surges, where roughly 30% of all hospital patients had COVID. Right now, that number stands at about 3%. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

Tupola’s City Council Term Limit Proposal Raises Ethics Concerns. The councilwoman hasn’t disclosed that she is getting paid by a candidate who would benefit from her legislation. Civil Beat.

Mayor Blangiardi met with officials to address rising crime, homelessness, and public safety issues.
Mayor Blangiardi was joined by Honolulu Prosecutor Steve Alm, Acting Chief of Police Rade Vanic, and Honolulu Emergency Services Department Director Dr. Jim Ireland in a briefing on public safety with leaders from Waikiki and the Hawaii visitor industry at the Hawaii Convention Center. KITV4.

Red Hill Water Contamination Sickened Some 2,000 People, Survey Finds
. Seventeen people were hospitalized, children experienced seizures and pets died, federal health officials found. Civil Beat.

Amid spike in crime, prosecutor seeks stricter rules for probation violators. City Prosecutor Steve Alm called the issue disturbing, and said a big part of the problem is there is oftentimes no consequences for people who violate their probation. Hawaii News Now.

Oʻahu parks named one of the most improved systems in the country. When it comes to park systems, Oʻahu is one of the most improved cities in the country, according to the Trust for Public Land's annual ParkScore Index. Locally, Honolulu jumped 14 places since 2021, ranking 43rd. About 71% of residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, according to the report. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Roth recommends rate rollback: Proposed $779.7 million budget is a 27.8% increase. Mayor Mitch Roth’s administration is recommending a rollback in property tax rates for almost all property classes, following updated assessments showing an additional $23 million on top of the $45.4 million increase estimated in March. West Hawaii Today. Big Island Now.

Mauna Kea management bill finds acceptance, opposition. The University of Hawaii on Thursday raised the white flag on its opposition to a bill that seeks to boot it from its role as manager of the Mauna Kea summit and its observatories. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

First Hydrogen Bus In Hawaiʻi Prepares For Service. The Hele-On service is transitioning its entire fleet to zero emissions by 2035 through the use of hydrogen and battery-electric technology. Big Island Video News.

No deal: Waimea nurses reject Queen’s proposed contract. The union said Thursday approximately 90% of its members in Waimea voted between Sunday and Wednesday, with a majority of them tendering votes against ratifying the contract offered by The Queen’s Health Systems. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui home prices break record at $1.2 million; inventory hits new low. As the third month this year to set a record for Maui County single-family home median sales price, April marked a new all-time high at more than $1.2 million. Maui Now. Maui News.

A Maui County law is providing relief to longtime families grappling with high property taxes. Maui County began offering tax relief to longtime families fighting to hold onto their ancestral lands — properties that have been passed down for at least three generations.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Staycations no more? Maui hotel room rates remain high so residents look elsewhere. A two-night stay for two adults next weekend on Maui ranges from $300 per night to $1,300 per night. Maui Now.

Lawsuit claims Molokai health center administered expired vaccines to children. The health center was under fire back in 2019 when it shut down for several days due to staff shortages. Since then, residents held protests and demanded a change in leadership. Hawaii News Now.

Kauai

Prosecutor continues to de-emphasize marijuana prosecutions. A Kaua‘i Police Department “Green Harvest” cannabis suppression program is poised to continue this year. Garden Island.

Kaua’i monitoring clusters, rising case counts. The state Department of Health’s Kaua‘i District Health Office is monitoring a number of COVID-19 clusters, two weeks into a rise in local case counts. Garden Island.

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