Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Hawaii residents prefer to keep their masks on, wave of bills sent to governor, state leads the nation in building permit delays, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Survey: Support strong among Hawaii residents for continued mask-wearing for travel, other activities. More than half of Hawaii residents recently surveyed said they would still wear a face mask even if there are no COVID-19-related mandates requiring them to do so, according to SMS Hawaii, a market research and consulting company. Star-Advertiser.

HiPAM model shows possible surge in COVID-19 cases in every county. The Hawaii Pandemic Applied Modeling (HiPAM) workgroup has released its two-week COVID-19 forecast for all Hawaii counties. The forecast shows the weekly average positivity rate is on the rise. Plus, cases are spreading at a greater rate than what is being reported due to many residents taking at-home tests. KITV4.

Wave of bills that could become law sent to Gov. David Ige. Legislators sent about 250 bills to Gov. David Ige for consideration, including an $8.7 billion state operating budget engorged by a record revenue increase and a personal income tax refund bill. Also included were highly divisive measures to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage and restructure management of Mauna Kea, where astronomy is under fire. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Lawmakers Pass Ban On Flavored E-Cigarettes Despite Intense Opposition. Hawaii’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes will land on the governor’s desk, having survived a rollercoaster legislative session that saw the bill near death on multiple occasions. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Lawmakers approve changes to cash bail system.
A proposal approved by state lawmakers on Tuesday is raising concerns that Hawaii’s crime rate could go even higher. A bail reform bill sent to the governor for approval would allow those arrested for non-violent crimes, including felonies, to be released without having to pay bail. KHON2.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs on cusp of ceded-land revenue boost. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs stands to receive a lot more proceeds from the state’s public land trust, including $64 million retroactively, under a bill sent to Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

Bill targeting plastic microbeads passes. Senate Bill 2290, which passed final reading Tuesday, would prohibit the manufacture of products containing microbeads — plastic particles less than 1 millimeter wide — beginning in July, and would ban their sale beginning next year. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i’s Building Permit Delays Top the Nation, Study Shows. A recent publication by Hawaiʻi economists found the state to be the most heavily regulated in the nation when it comes to homebuilding and that the average delay in issuing building permits is three times longer than the sample average. Hawaii Business Magazine.

Interest in Rep. Kai Kahele’s congressional seat grows. Several isle politicians have filed federal election papers to run for Kahele’s seat in the Aug. 13 Democratic primary, including Council Chair Tommy Waters, state Rep. Patrick Branco (D, Kailua-Kaneohe) and former state Sen. Jill Tokuda. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Council considering stricter term limits for city elected officials. The Honolulu City Council is considering proposed charter amendments that would impose stricter term limits for Council members, the mayor and the prosecuting attorney, closing off a provision that has allowed some to hold office for more than eight years. Star-Advertiser.

Effort to unionize first Starbucks store in Hawaii fails. Employees at the Mililani Town Center Starbucks voted 8 to 7 Monday against joining the roughly 50 locations nationwide that have unionized. Associated Press.

Lawmakers appropriate $14M for state Lab plagued by leaky roof, mold problems
. State lawmakers Tuesday appropriated $14 million for the state Department of Health’s laboratory in Pearl City, which critics say has fallen into disrepair. Hawaii News Now.

A Mysterious Lawsuit Is Raising Concerns Over The Public’s Right To See Court Records. In an unusual example of government censorship, a state court judge has issued a gag order preventing a public interest lawyer from sharing details of a case that the lawyer says the judge improperly sealed. Civil Beat.

Hit by supply chain issues, Ted’s Bakery to take their pies off the grocery shelves. Ted’s Bakery announced Tuesday that by the end of this month, you’ll only be able to get their famous pies at their Sunset Beach Bakery on Oahu’s North Shore. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Tax relief unlikely: Council told tax cuts unlikely. There will be no property tax credit for homeowners this year, and in fact, there’s very little chance property owners in any tax category will see their tax bills go down, following advice Tuesday from the county Corporation Counsel and Finance Department director. West Hawaii Today.

Permit request for satellite receiver project withdrawn.
The Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics submitted to the Windward Planning Commission a request for a special permit to build an array of 10 satellite dishes on a one-half acre rural lot in the sparsely populated area of Ka‘u. Tribune-Herald.

Preserving Kohala: BLNR approves subgrant of funding for trust to purchase Mahukona acreage. Hundreds of acres in North Kohala, rich in cultural sites and once slated for development, have been approved for purchase to be preserved and protected. Tribune-Herald.

Waipiʻo Valley Road To Close To All Traffic, May 9 to 13. The County of Hawaiʻi is requesting that all Waipiʻo residents plan for the temporary road closure accordingly. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Maui

Former Judge Bissen Is Top Fundraiser In Race For Maui Mayor. Former Judge Richard Bissen leads the Maui mayoral field with more than $176,000 in fundraising so far this year, according to new reports filed Monday with the state Campaign Spending Commission. Civil Beat.

Survey: Over half of employees in Maui County worked remotely during pandemic. Over half of Maui County workers transitioned to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, and many are still at their home desks, a survey of more than 300 businesses and nearly 1,000 employees in Maui County has found. Maui News.

Kauai

$600M bill will help fund Hanapepe DHHL project. A historic amount of funding for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands means more Native Hawaiians getting off the waitlist and into new homesteads on Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

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