Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Tax breaks, legal pot, abortion rights, transparency bills advance as Legislature reaches midpoint, Supreme Court rules taxpayers not liable for Kealoha legal fees, Kilauea eruption pauses, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Tax Breaks, Legal Pot, Abortion Rights Get The Green Light At The Hawaii Legislature — So Far. House and Senate lawmakers voted Tuesday to advance an array of tax breaks for hard-pressed, low-income Hawaii residents, but left many of the difficult details for later. Civil Beat. Garden Island.

Hawaii’s Budget May Be Smaller Than Expected This Year, Council Says. Hawaii is likely to collect about $328 million less in revenue than previously anticipated during this fiscal year, the Council on Revenues said Tuesday.  Civil Beat.

Hawaii Senate passes abortion protections bill. Advocates of a woman’s right to an abortion celebrated Tuesday’s passage of a state Senate bill protecting health care workers who perform abortions across the islands, including procedures performed on women coming in from out of state. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald. KITV4.

Legalized adult recreational marijuana bill passes Senate. A bill that would legalize adult recreational use of cannabis in Hawaii passed its final state Senate floor vote Tuesday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

GET bill clears state Senate. The state Senate voted 25-0 to pass Senate Bill 1035, which would exempt medical providers treating Medicare, Medicaid and TRICARE patients from the state’s general excise tax. Tribune-Herald.

Some essential workers push for their own collective bargaining groups at the Legislature. The state has always been leery of the creation of new collective bargaining units for public employees, and with four measures up at the state Legislature this session, those decisions are at the table again. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers consider boosting wages for childcare providers amid critical shortage. Underpaid early childhood education providers are abandoning the profession at an alarming rate in what experts call a red flag for the economy. Hawaii News Now.

Voters Support Nearshore Water Protection Despite State Scrapping 30×30 Goal, Polling Finds
. Four out of five voters are supportive of stricter fishing regulations, according to a poll commissioned by The Nature Conservancy. A recent poll commissioned by conservation groups found Hawaii’s voters support more protective measures for nearshore waters, despite the Department of Land and Natural Resources recently scrapping the “30×30” marine management goal in response to what it said were community concerns. Civil Beat.

Thousands Of Hawaii ID Cards Were Misprinted In February, State DOT Says.
The state Department of Transportation announced in a press release Monday that it discovered an error on licenses and ID cards. The “Hawaii” text in the top left corner was misprinted due to hardware used by the state’s license vendor. The misprinted cards show “Hawaii” in plain sans-serif typeface instead of a script typeface. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Maui News.  Garden Island.


Ex-HPD chief not entitled to city-funded attorney, high court finds. The state Supreme Court has reversed a decision that Louis Kealoha was entitled to taxpayer-funded legal representation while on trial for the scandal he was involved in as chief of the Honolulu Police Department. Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Hawaii Public Radio. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Medical Examiner backlog of reports causing death certificate delays
. The Honolulu Medical Examiner is working on an 877 report backlog dating back three years ago and 400 reports have been completed so far. KHON2.

Kakaako Makai bill is rejected again. A bid by the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs to permit residential development on land it owns in Kakaako Makai has been blocked at the Legislature. Star-Advertiser.

$600 A Month In Kakaako Gets Seniors Mold, Shocks And The Smell Of Death. Maintenance problems at a state-owned apartment building for seniors underscore another challenge in providing affordable housing. Civil Beat.

Housing project for formerly incarcerated women opens.
Mohala Mai, meaning to “blossom forth,” is Oahu’s first permanent, supportive housing project for formerly incarcerated women. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Ex-athletic director allegedly used nonprofit to pay bills. A 2021 investigation by Mililani High School officials into allegations of theft from the athletic booster club revealed that then-athletic director Glenn S. Nitta Opens in a new tab allegedly used the nonprofit’s money to pay $364,709 for personal expenses, including gambling in Las Vegas; business, car and student loans; credit cards; and a Chinese dinner on New Year’s Eve. Star-Advertiser.

Plans to convert sports courts on Oahu for pickleball receives pushback
. In order to add nearly 70 pickleball courts to Oahu, the city says it plans to convert some tennis courts, like the ones at Kilauea District Park, to make room for the pickleball courts, but some are saying it will have a negative impact on children. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Kilauea volcano activity pauses after 61 days.  Lava is no longer flowing on the Halemaumau Crater’s floor, where all recent eruptive activity has been confined, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory said in a statement. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Video News. Hawaii News Now.

Tax relief measure aimed at helping farmers advances. The measure would modify the county’s tax code to allow agricultural properties with residences built on them to qualify for the county’s homeowner tax exemption. Tribune-Herald.

Cockfight in Kona: New info revealed. Hawaii Island revealed more information Tuesday about a cockfight Saturday in South Kona that drew an estimated 800 to 1,000 people to the illegal event. West Hawaii Today.


Couple sues Maui snorkeling firm after being left behind. A Hayward, Calif., couple is suing a Maui snorkeling operator, along with the boat captain and other unnamed defendants, for abandoning them in waters off Lanai while on a snorkelng tour during their 2021 honeymoon. Star-Advertiser.

Speed limit reduction along Kaʻahumanu Avenue takes effect March 22
. The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation notifies Maui motorists of a speed limit change on Kaʻahumanu Avenue (Route 32) between Kainani Street/Lunalilo Street and Mile Marker 1.96 (vicinity of Mile Marker 2). The speed limit will be reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph in both directions. Maui Now.

Larry Ellison’s Company Helps Hawaii Find Housing For Key Mental Health Hire
. A state mental health agency has filled a key position on Lanai, restoring in-person social services to patients with severe psychiatric conditions amid a housing crisis that had forced two prior applicants to pull out of the job because they could not find an affordable place to live.  Civil Beat.


Kaua‘i North Shore schools top list of religious vaccine exemptions.
Students on the North Shore of Kaua‘i are among the most likely in Hawai‘i to opt out of routine vaccinations for religious reasons, data from the state Department of Education shows. Garden Island.

Dangerous waves up to 40 feet on the way to Kauaʻi, Niʻihau starting Wednesday morning. The forecast is for dangerously large breaking waves building to 30 to 40 feet along north-facing shores and waves of 20 to 30 feet along west-facing shores of Niʻihau and Kauaʻi. Kauai Now.

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