Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Legislature mulls tax breaks, panel rejects UH Regents chair, Green releases $175M plan for Maui fire victims, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Counties Fight To Keep Excise Tax As Lawmakers Advance Other Relief Measures. Measures that won preliminary approval in the House Finance Committee would increase standard deductions and adjust tax brackets for inflation. Civil Beat.

Senate Panel Rejects Confirmation Of Interim UH Regents Chair. By a unanimous vote, the Hawaii Senate Higher Education Committee on Tuesday rejected the nomination of Alapaki Nahale-a to serve a four-year term on the University of Hawaii board of regents. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Hawaii News Now.

Maui Fires: Money For Victims, Housing For Survivors Are Hawaii Governor’s Priorities in $175M package. Gov. Josh Green renewed threats of a moratorium on vacation rentals in West Maui, citing a need for 850 long-term rentals. Civil Beat. Star-Advertiser.  Associated Press.  Maui Now.  KITV4.

A bill restoring counties’ regulation of tobacco products may die in state House.
A measure that would restore the counties’ power to regulate the sale of cigarettes, tobacco products and e-cigarettes appears to be stalled in the House Finance Committee, and it may die there Wednesday if no action is taken. Maui Now.

Report finds increase in Hawaiʻi's small farm closures, yet remaining prove profitable. Hawaiʻi lost hundreds of its smallest farms and thousands of acres in recent years, but local agriculture has been “significantly” more profitable. Those are some of the findings in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture, which was released this month. Hawaii Public Radio.

Agency disputes affordable housing loss projection. A risk assessment of potential Hawaii affordable housing losses presented Tuesday at the Legislature is overblown, according to a state agency that helps finance such housing. Star-Advertiser.

Legislature tries to play catchup on drone technology. A pair of bills in the state Legislature would establish “misuse of uncrewed aircraft” as a felony offense in Hawaii. Tribune-Herald.

Lawsuit filed to protect midwifery in Hawaiʻi.
A lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation an the Center for Reproductive Rights challenging a midwifery law that they say is preventing pregnant people in Hawaiʻi from using skilled midwives for their pregnancies and births, as they have for generations.  Maui Now.

Bill to create alert program for missing kūpuna advances in the House. The House Finance Committee advanced a bill on Monday that would create a statewide alert system for missing kūpuna with cognitive impairments or developmental disabilities. Hawaii Public Radio.


HART postpones discussion on scrapping internal audit. A call to scrap a previously sought top-down internal review of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation was postponed this week. Star-Advertiser.

Revised plan extends moving period for outgoing Ulu Ke Kukui tenants
having to find shelter by late February. The Ulu Ke Kukui apartments, which sit on Hawaiian Home Lands, are being repurposed into long-term affordable rentals for Native Hawaiians on the DHHL waiting list. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Island

Merrie Monarch organizers release 2024 list of participating halau, judges. On Tuesday, organizers announced on Instagram who will be competing and presiding over the world’s biggest Hula competition. Hawaii News Now.

Surveyors to assess topography of Waipi‘o Valley Road for future safety improvements.
Safety improvements on Waipiʻo Valley Road are slated to begin March 4. Control Point Surveying will conduct comprehensive surveying work to facilitate the enhancement of safety measures of the county roadway. Big Island Now.

Fire Closes Puʻuʻeo Community Center In Hilo. The Pu‘u‘eo Community Center at Clem Akina Park in Hilo is closed for the week, following a fire that damaged the building over the weekend.  Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Certified global, drink it local: Beer pros place Keaau business among ‘Best New Breweries of the Year’. Wailuku Brew Works in Shipman Business Park has been in business only seven months.  Tribune-Herald.


Bill to establish a nine-member Lele Community District Board for burned Lahaina lands heads to decision making. While the measure puts key decision making in the hands of elected Lahaina community members, some opposed to the bill worry that establishing a new authority under the department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority lacks precedent and raises concerns about centralizing power away from the affected community. Maui Now.

Temporary Kamehameha III Elementary School campus transferred to DOE, set to open April 1. The US Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday the successful installation and turnover of the newly constructed temporary campus for King Kamehameha III Elementary School students to the Hawai‘i State Department of Education. Maui Now. KHON2.

Kalaupapa Tours Remain Shut Down 4 Years After Pandemic Closure.
One would-be tour provider said the National Park Service has revoked the application process for companies that want to reinstate tours of the isolated peninsula on Molokai. Civil Beat.


Kauai Fire Deals $20 Million Blow To Affordable Housing.
The controversial project was nearing completion when it burned down over the weekend. Civil Beat.

Tour helicopter crashes on remote Kaua‘i beach, injuring one passenger.
According to a preliminary report, a Jack Harter helicopter carrying one pilot and four passengers crashed at Honopū Beach, with one passenger suffering a back injury. Kauai Now. Hawaii News Now.  KHON2.

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