Friday, March 10, 2023

Hawaii may duck recession, Health Department reports death registry data breach, wage hikes recommended for Honolulu officials, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii to avoid recession, UHERO report says. The state’s gross domestic product — the value of Hawaii’s goods and serv­ices adjusted for inflation — will slow to 1.7% growth in 2023 from 2.5% in the previous year, according to quarterly report due out today by the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaiʻi's minimum wage rises, some lawmakers want to scrap the tip credit. By the time the minimum wage increases to $18 by 2028, the tip credit will increase to $1.50 — making the minimum wage for tipped workers $16.50 an hour.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Budget bill allocates much less to the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority than requested. House Bill 300 includes a $35 million appropriation to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority–thatʻs $40 million less than what was requested.  Maui Now. Garden Island.

Bill requiring clergy to report sacramental confessions of child abuse moves to Senate.
When religious clergy were added to the state's list of mandatory reporters, the law exempted the reporting of abuse disclosed during penitential communication. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Lawmaker Quietly Kills Bill To Allow Unlicensed Midwives To Continue Practicing
. House Bill 955 cleared two committees before stalling this month in the House Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Kyle Yamashita. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Health Department warns of breach to death registry. The Hawaii Department of Health today announced there has been a security breach of its Electronic Death Registry System. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

It’s not your imagination: The price of rice is way up. The price of rice has jumped 40% in just the last two years. And that’s spurring tough calculations for family households and eateries.  Hawaii News Now.


Honolulu Salary Commission recommends wage increases for city leadership. The Honolulu Salary Committee had not recommended salary increases in the last four years; but this year, it is proposing a big bump for some positions. KHON2.

Honolulu planning director says more employees are needed to solve permitting backlog. Dawn Takeuchi Apuna, the director of Honolulu's Department of Planning and Permitting, updated the City Council's budget committee on the department's needs for fiscal year 2024. Among those priorities, she requested a 26% bump for salaries across all of DPP's six divisions.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Mayor signs bill to encourage inclusion, protect diversity.  Bill 25 establishes a policy of anti-bias and inclusion for all City officers and employees. This includes different perspectives, views or opinions. KHON2. KITV4.

Waiahole Valley tenants get reprieves over rent. A state agency trying to increase ground-lease rents in Waiahole Valley for about 100 residential and farm tenants with decades-old low rates made several moves Thursday to defuse the tense situation where some fear evictions. Star-Advertiser.

Punaluu homeowner faces $188K fine for shoreline violations. An oceanfront property owner in Punaluu faces a $188,000 fine for numerous shoreline violations, including refusing to remove giant sandbags, heavy black tarps and boulders that form a tangled mess along the public beach in front of his home. Star-Advertiser.

Bathroom recording incidents at Ala Moana Center prompt police security message. Officers have arrested a man accused of using his cell phone to record a teenage boy inside a bathroom stall at Ala Moana Center. Police say it’s the second time a situation like this has happened in the mall’s public restrooms in recent months. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu’s Pig Farmers Want To Change The Conversation On Food Security. Hawaii's demand for pork is on the rise but slaughterhouses cater to beef. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Countyʻs transportation administrator leaving after 18 months revamping Hele-On. Hawaiʻi County’s Mass Transit Agency, commonly called Hele-On, will be looking for a new administrator. John Andoh, the current administrator, will be stepping down effective March 31 to transition to a similar role on the mainland. Big Island Now.

Geologist: It’s too soon to know if our recent Kilauea eruption has actually ended. With the latest Kilauea eruption on pause, geologists are monitoring the volcano to determine what will happen next. Tribune-Herald.

County’s Safe Place initiative expands. Mayor Mitch Roth’s office announced Tuesday the Hawaii County Mass Transit Agency, in partnership with National Safe Place Network, is expanding the Safe Place initiative to include The Salvation Army Family Intervention Services. Tribune-Herald.


Land Board weighs Kaanapali Beach restoration project.  The state Board of Land and Natural Resources is expected to decide today whether to approve an agreement forged between the Department of Land and Natural Resources and a private resort association requiring them to split the costs of a $10 million beach restoration project long planned for Maui’s Kaanapali Beach. Star-Advertiser. Maui Now.

Context for Maui hate crime ruling includes complex history. A recent federal hate crime ruling against two Native Hawaiian men from Maui is sparking discussions on the broader societal context in Hawaiʻi that enables hate and bias in the first place. Hawaii Public Radio.


Kaua‘i council supports birth attendant exemption. The Kaua‘i County Council resolution ultimately passed in a 5-1 vote, but the House bill may be dead in the water regardless. Garden Island.

Master plan would reshape Mahelona Hospital on Kaua‘i. Officials are closing in on a final master plan for Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and the surrounding areas, which will include a new library, police substation and hundreds of units of housing. Garden Island.

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