Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Hawaii to fly homeless back to the mainland, another mystery balloon spotted off islands, Legislature mulls gun control bill, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii to pay to return homeless people back to mainland. The Hawaii-backed plan to provide $100,000 in airfare over each of the next two fiscal years to send homeless people back to the mainland underscores the persistent urban legend that Hawaii’s homeless population is driven by cities, counties and state governments on the mainland that send their homeless people to the islands. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers construct statewide sensitive places, gun safety bill. Senate Bill 1230 is the state Legislature’s encompassing gun legislation measure, which would define where concealed carry firearms are not allowed and add new provisions on concealed carry laws. Hawaii Public Radio.

Military: Balloon recently spotted off Hawaii not a threat. The U.S. military tracked an unidentified balloon transiting through Hawaii’s airspace over the weekend, but have so far determined that the object poses no threat either to civilian aircraft or national security. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.  Kauai Now.  Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Hawaii's 2023 legislative session will end on Thursday, when lawmakers will take final votes on hundreds of bills. To prepare for that, lawmakers were busy Monday making sure the final wording is right on bills and any last minute problems have been corrected. KITV4.

Hawaii doctors who treat Medicaid patients to get significant pay raise. Many Hawaii doctors will be getting a pay raise thanks to the state Legislature. Experts say new rates for treating Medicaid patients will keep some doctors from leaving the business of medicine. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers pass bill ensuring schools provide timely learning materials to blind students. State lawmakers have reached an agreement on a bill that ensures blind students in public schools receive timely learning materials. That means textbooks, posters and audio recordings will be provided to students in braille and tactile graphics. Hawaii Public Radio.

Food And Farming Advocates Look To State Budget After Mixed Results This Session. The number of bills aimed at revitalizing Hawaii’s agriculture sector that have passed through conference committees both deflated and buoyed industry advocates, and they now wait for the full state budget to understand what the industry will take from this legislative session.  Civil Beat.

HTA survives another takedown attempt by lawmakers amidst dwindling funds. A bill that would have disbanded Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority to create a new destination management agency was deferred Friday, after a long life in the state Legislature.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Visitors to Hawaii won’t pay more ‘green fees’ for now
. Hawaii won’t impose new fees after all on tourists who want to visit more of the state’s most popular state parks and trails. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio. Garden Island.

So-called clean elections bills dies ‘in the shadows’ of the Legislature.
A state Senate bill pushing for publicly financed elections, or “clean elections,” died Friday during a conference committee meeting. Tribune-Herald.


More Oahu Beaches Would Be Open To Business Under Mayor’s Plan.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is heading for a showdown with North Shore and Windward Oahu communities over his plan to create an island-wide commercial use system that would wind back established protections for some of the island’s most photogenic and popular beaches. Civil Beat.

All 10 red-light cameras on Oahu have been activated
. All 10 red-light safety cameras that are part of the state’s two-year pilot program Opens in a new tab on Oahu are now activated, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii officials seek to quell concerns about unsafe drinking water at school
. For weeks, community members and state lawmakers representing Ewa Beach have been soliciting donations of bottled water for students at Iroquois Point Elementary School amid myriad concerns about unsafe drinking water due to either lingering effects of the 2021 Red Hill water crisis or the detection in 2022 of unsafe lead levels in a number of the school’s water fountains and sinks. Star-Advertiser.

More Honolulu water sources sought. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is still trying to find new water sources to make up for the capacity it lost after the 2021 Red Hill water crisis prompted it to take its Halawa shaft and two smaller wells offline to ensure jet fuel didn’t make its way into the public drinking water system.  Star-Advertiser.

City, HPD create new database for bikes reported stolen amid uptick in thefts. The Honolulu Police Department now has a new database of bicycles that have been reported stolen. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi County Mayor Names New Department Execs. Frecia Cevallos has been appointed Deputy Director of the Department of Research and Development, while Robert Ewbank has been named Director of the Department of Information Technology. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Funding for preferred boat ramp option not in state budget. The plan to reopen the Pohoiki Boat Ramp has gone sideways after a funding snafu, Big Island lawmakers said. Tribune-Herald.

Five years after eruption, rebuilding takes hold for USGS, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
. The Thomas Jaggar Museum held a lot of memories for visitors to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. But the building on Uekahuna Bluff overlooking the Kilauea caldera will be coming down this summer, another casualty of the 2018 eruption. Hawaii News Now.

Waikoloa Solar + Storage Project Goes Online. Hawaiian Electric says the AES Corporation’s Waikoloa Solar + Storage project is now feeding lower-cost renewable energy to the Hawai‘i Island electric grid. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.


Molokai property to be added to state legacy land.
Two properties on Oahu, one on Kauai, and one on Molokai are being added to the 2023 Department of Land and Natural Resources Legacy Land Conservation Program after the Board of Land and Natural Resources approved $6.35 million in grant awards from the Land Conservation Fund to acquire these properties. Maui News.

Wailea hotels enjoy high revenues but lag in occupancy. In March, Wailea hotels brought in the most revenue across the state, but also saw some of the lowest occupancy rates in Hawaii, according to a recently released Hawai’i Hotel Performance Report. Maui News.


Kaua‘i issues $25 million bond for affordable housing project. The largest affordable housing project ever undertaken by the County of Kaua‘i received a major financial boost on April 26 with the county council’s approval of a $25 million bond issuance. Garden Island.

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