Thursday, June 2, 2022

Lobbying and ethics reform in the works, Honolulu council passes $3.2B budget, youth sue DOT for harming climate, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Gov. David Ige signals acceptance of bill to alter emergency declaration powers. Ige indicated Wednesday that he’s probably OK with a bill the Legislature passed recently that would make several amendments to the state’s emergency declaration statute, including giving Hawaii lawmakers the ability to partly or wholly terminate such a state of emergency by a two-thirds vote. Star-Advertiser.

Lobbying And Ethics Reforms Top Agenda At New Hawaii Standards Commission Meeting. A commission tasked with beefing up government transparency in Hawaii kicked off its first regular meeting Wednesday with a two-hour long discussion on proposals to increase reporting requirements for lobbyists and address conflicts of interests with state lawmakers. Civil Beat. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s Aging Schools Need A Facelift. With about 20% Hawaii’s public schools more than 100 years old, the DOE is struggling to meet a growing backlog of repairs. Civil Beat.

Hawaii coalition urges Biden to expand remote marine national monument. A coalition of Hawaii scientists, conservationists and cultural practitioners is calling on President Joe Biden to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to create the largest highly protected marine sanctuary in the world. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Maui Now.

Environmental advocates sue state Department of Transportation. Fourteen Hawaii youths, ages 9 to 18 from five islands, sued the state Department of Transportation in federal court Tuesday, alleging its operation of a transportation system that results in high levels of greenhouse gas emissions is harming their communities and violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment. Star-Advertiser. Associated Press. Hawaii News Now.

What's in the works to further electrify Hawaiʻi transportation? The Legislature took steps to address that in the last session by increasing the number of public charging stations. But that same measure also takes on a more ambitious goal of encouraging inter-island flights powered by electricity. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hearings on federal resources for Native Hawaiian community. During a meeting Wednesday, leaders of multiple agencies serving Native Hawaiians said they are grateful to Sen. Brian Schatz for what they believe he has done for the Hawaiian people. KHON2. KITV4.

Hawaii reports more than 8,000 new COVID cases, 6 additional deaths in past week. Hawaii’s average COVID-19 cases rise for 10th week in a row. The COVID-19 surge in Hawaii continues heading into summer, with the state Health Department on Wednesday reporting a seven-day average of 1,210 new coronavirus cases over the past week, representing the 10th consecutive weekly increase. The state’s average positivity rate, meanwhile, increased slightly to 18.4% from 18.3% on May 25 — representing more than two months of weekly increases. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

No New Covid Mandates Expected For Hawaii. While Gov. Ige is concerned about rising hospital cases, those numbers are still far below peaks seen last summer. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Honolulu City Council unanimously passes $3.22 billion budget. The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday unanimously passed a $3.22 billion executive operating budget and a $1.03 billion capital improvement plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Federal money helped pay for housing initiatives, job training and the Weed and Seed program. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Passengers will soon be paying more to ride TheBus, TheHandi-Van. Ordinance 21-7, which enacts the fare price increase, was a recommendation of the Honolulu Rate Commission in 2020. This will be the first change to the fares since 2018. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

City Council approves slimmed down rail construction plan, but not everyone is on board. The Honolulu City Council approved the financially troubled rail project’s recovery plan on Wednesday. However, it was not a unanimous vote. The City Council voted 6-3 to approve the plan. Hawaii News Now.

Ousted police union official sues SHOPO, alleges blackmail and discrimination
. The former vice president of the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers is suing the union and its executive board, alleging they conspired to remove him by falsely accusing him of double-dipping into travel funds from the union and the Honolulu Police Department, and blackmailing him with the threat of criminal charges. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Health Department Fines Marine Corps For Fecal Bacteria Discharges In Kaneohe. In addition to the fine, the Marine Corps will have to take corrective action to upgrade its wastewater treatment system to include “disinfection of final effluent,” DOH said. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now.

Approved City Council budget includes $1.3M to tear down Haiku Stairs. Critics say the so-called “Stairway to Heaven” is unsafe and attracts trespassers. But the group “Friends of Haiku Stairs” is fighting to keep the landmark and says the city is underestimating costs. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial to charge parking fees next year. The Pearl Harbor National Memorial will begin collecting parking fees next year. The National Park Service announced Wednesday that it would begin charging $7 a day to visitors beginning Jan. 15. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Council split 6-2 on suncreen bill. A legal advisor for the county has determined that a proposed bill to ban the sale of all but a few types of sunscreen on the Big Island does not interfere with a similar state law, but County Council members remain divided on the matter. Tribune-Herald.

$5M annually for affordable housing: Bill advances on first reading despite vague wording. A bill requiring at least $5 million be budgeted annually for affordable housing projects passed the County Council on first reading Wednesday, despite some council members’ concerns that they don’t know how the money will be spent. West Hawaii Today.

‘Optimist’ official: Kalanianaole construction on schedule. Steve Pause, Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works, told the County Council Committee on Public Works and Mass Transit on Tuesday that the current contractor on the long-delayed Kalanianaole rehabilitation project is on track to meet a scheduled completion date by the end of 2022. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Management plan, funding approved for Waikamoi. Noting the importance of protecting native wildlife, forests and watersheds within the 8,951-acre Waikamoi Preserve, a long-term management plan and funding were approved Tuesday to streamline conservation efforts to control feral ungulates and invasive plants in the area. Maui News.

Hirono visits Maui, tours site of Honoapiʻilani realignment project. A visit to Maui by US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) highlighted federal investments in Hawaiʻi communities and efforts to support ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Maui Now.

Highway closed at Mile 39 in Kīpahulu for two months. Piʻilani/Hāna Highway is closed at Mile 39 in Kīpahulu at the Kukuiula Bridge. Repairs began at 2 p.m. today at the location, and are expected to last for two months. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.

Mayor Victorino to speak at Climate Mayor’s Leadership Forum. Mayor Michael Victorino will speak at the Climate Mayors Leadership Forum on Thursday, June 2, where he will present Maui County’s case study about the costly impacts of climate change, including drought, wildfire, floods, and sea level rise. Maui Now.

Kauai

Kawakami, Council proclaim June as Kaua‘i LGBTQ+ Pride Month; parade Saturday. There will be a Pride Parade, Saturday, announced a group of Kaua‘i Pride Parade Committee members, Thursday, when the group accepted proclamations from Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, and the Kaua‘i County Council as a whole announcing that June is celebrated as Kaua‘i LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Garden Island.

Lanai

Billionaire Larry Ellison's company to extend Lanai airport runway. Public documents show that the $5 million project, which is being done in partnership with the state Department of Transportation, would likely increase the number of visitors to the island by allowing more planes to fly in. KITV4.

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