Monday, June 13, 2022

LGBTQ measures advance, private school tuition climbs, House Speaker Saiki faces primary challenge, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Gay Pride parade in Hawaii pre-CVID ©2022 All Hawaii News
Lawmakers say 2022 legislative session was a success for LGBTQ community. Lawmakers say they want the community to know this past legislative session was a success for the LGBTQ community. They say three PRO LGBTQ bills passed out of the Capitol. KITV4.

Hawaii Moves To Improve Transgender Health Insurance Coverage. House Bill 2405, which is awaiting the governor’s signature, would prevent insurers from denying gender-affirming treatments due to “cosmetic” exclusions. Civil Beat.

Tuition at Hawaii private schools continues to climb. According to survey data from the nonprofit Hawai‘i Association for Independent Schools, the average annual tuition figures from 92 member private schools for this fall is $12,997 — 3.9% higher than last year and 28% percent higher than the $10,159 average in 2019-2020, the last full school year before the pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Gun Enthusiasts Keep Winning In Court. That Could Soon Weaken Hawaii’s Strict Gun Laws. When it comes to gun violence, Hawaii is one of the safest places in the U.S. The state has among the lowest number of registered guns and gun deaths per capita, and some of the nation’s toughest gun laws. Civil Beat.

Release of altered mosquitoes is questioned. A multiagency plan to release tens of millions of imported mosquitoes into the wild to help save Hawaii’s endangered forest birds is generating fears of unintended consequences. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Tourism Authority’s contract reversal leaves longtime marketer HVCB’s future in limbo. The reversal of fortune that has left the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau with a fraction of the tens of millions of dollars in state contracts it enjoyed will become clearer Tuesday after a formal debriefing on the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s decision to award its top U.S. contract to a Native Hawaiian nonprofit. Star-Advertiser.

Rear admiral assumes command of U.S. Coast Guard 14th District. Rear Adm. Michael Day, who presided over a historic maritime mass evacuation during Sept. 11, 2001, assumed command of the U.S. Coast Guard 14th District on Friday following a change-of-command ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

Efforts to improve marine conservation receive state funding. State funding is being provided to two ocean-based efforts in Hawaii — one to help conservation in the Pupukea area on Oahu and another to promote fishing statewide. Star-Advertiser.

New law aims to reel in fishing violations. House Bill 1653, which was signed into law by Gov. David Ige on Wednesday and takes effect July 1, would create a flexible, tiered system of fines based on the type of specimen caught illegally and whether it’s first-time or repeat offense. Maui News.

New group wants corporate money out of Hawaii politics
. A local political action committee is hoping a pledge to stop Hawaii’s politicians from accepting large campaign donations from lobbyists and corporations will help solve some of those problems and allow kamaaina to live more comfortably. KHON2.

Oahu

August primary to feature rematch between Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki, Kim Coco Iwamoto. At stake is whether Kaka­ako and Ala Moana voters will return Saiki to the House after 28 years or whether the House will get a new speaker and new leadership team in 2023. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu short-term rental owners sue city over law raising minimum stay to 90 days. The lawsuit alleges the new city ordinance, which goes into effect Oct. 23, is unconstitutional because it interferes with owners’ vested rights to own and rent property and violates state zoning law. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu police might limit amount of overtime officers can work, in response to audit. Honolulu police are considering capping the amount of overtime hours officers may work and bringing back a three-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day work schedule in response to a city audit that detailed HPD’s “ineffective” management of time-and-a-half policies from 2016 to 2020. Star-Advertiser.

Staffing Shortages At The Oahu Jail Are Raising Alarms About Safety And OT Costs. Officers at Oahu Community Correctional Center say they are exhausted from working extra shifts with more frequent lockdowns. Civil Beat.

Oahu Lifeguards Say They Need Help. But City Officials Are Stonewalling. A resolution that would let voters help chart the future course for the city Ocean Safety division has stalled in City Council chambers. Civil Beat.

Honolulu among 3 major U.S. tourist destinations to become coronavirus hot spots.
The three sizable urban centers in the United States where the coronavirus is spreading fastest right now have something in common: They are major warm-weather tourist destinations. New York Times.

Iwi kupuna returned to Oahu from New Zealand museum. The remains of three Native Hawaiians, illegally taken from Oahu in 1860, found their way to New Zealand, where they were housed in the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch for more than 150 years. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

County Council fields set. Villegas wins reelection to Kona council seat. The primary election is still months away, but incumbent Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas has already won reelection. West Hawaii Today.

State legislative races set: Incumbents win four seats without challengers. Sen. Dru Kanuha, a Democrat representing Kona’s District 3; Rep. Mark Nakashima, a Democrat representing Hamakua’s District 1, Richard Onishi, a Democrat representing Hilo’s District 2 and Nicole Lowen, a Democrat representing Kona’s District 7, will appear on their respective ballots without competition. West Hawaii Today.

Homeowner, kupuna exemptions to be considered Tuesday. Bill 182, to be taken up by the County Council Finance Committee at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, doesn’t change tax rates but would increase the value of property that would be taxed. The bill also adds two new categories for kupuna exemptions — 65 years and 75 years — while increasing the amounts exempted. West Hawaii Today.

More questions than answers regarding Naniloa hotel. The Board of Land and Natural Resources determined with some reluctance Thursday that granting a request to WHR LLC, the owner of the Naniloa, to take out a $62 million mortgage to cover its current $50 million mortgage with another lender would not be in the best interests of the state. Tribune-Herald.

Group claims Judges for Justice interfering with exoneration effort. The Hawaii Innocence Project has replied to a motion by a Seattle group seeking to unseal post-conviction DNA testing conducted on a key piece of evidence in the Dana Ireland murder, saying the leader of the group is interfering with HIP’s efforts to exonerate one of the men convicted in the case. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

County mulls creation of East Maui Water Authority. Board would oversee water lease agreements; charter amendment could be put on ballot. A County Council committee is considering a charter amendment proposed by Council Member Shane Sinenci that would let voters decide whether the county should establish an East Maui Community Water Authority and Community Board. Maui News.

Campaign begins to raise $2M for fire station in Olowalu. Property and station would be turned over to Maui County once it’s been constructed. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauaʻi Destination Management Action Plan approved. The plan is aimed at rebuilding, redefining and reseting the direction of tourism over a three-year period. The focus is on stabilization, recovery, and rebuilding to the desired visitor industry for each island.  Maui Now.

Tropic Care Kaua‘i is open. A medical innovative readiness training mission presented by the U.S. Department of Defense, Tropic Care Kaua‘i will be providing mobile clinics at Kilauea School from June 13 through 15, and moving to the Waimea Easter Seals facility on June 17, 18 and 20, all with the same hours as the main clinics. Garden Island.

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