Monday, February 12, 2024

Tax hikes sought on wealthy, smokers, hotel stays; bill paving way to remove Trump from ballot advances; state may sell naming rights to Convention Center, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Green Wants To Make Targeted Changes To Hawaii’s Tax Code. Will The Legislature Go For It? Gov. Josh Green is asking the Legislature for tax increases aimed at the ultra-wealthy and smokers along with his earlier proposals for income tax relief to help working families, but both requests may be a tough sell in this election year.  Civil Beat.

Proposed increase to Hawaiʻi's accommodations tax makes progress in the House. A measure that would increase the state’s vacation tax by 1% and apply an additional flat surcharge on accommodations per night is making its way through the Legislature. Hawaii Public Radio.

HTA seeks additional funds for destination management. The Hawaii Tourism Authority is still fighting for its life in the state Legislature but has come out swinging with a request to increase its budget by $9 million, add 14 more staff positions and raise salaries for its top executives. Star-Advertiser.

Bill advances that could remove Trump from Hawaii ballot.  A bill that could have far-reaching implications for the general election, may set up a process to bar former President Donald Trump from the ballot in Hawaii. KITV4.

Legislation to eliminate Hawaii’s tip credits deferred for vote again. Senate Bill 2784 has divided employees and employers over whether to pay tipped employees at least Hawaii’s minimum wage and has been deferred for a second time. Star-Advertiser.

Tenant screening fee law to protect renters set to go into effect. A new law regulating tenant screening fees, in an effort to protect renters and provide more transparency in the rental application process, will take effect May 1. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Department Of Education Is Nowhere Close To Meeting Its Mandate To Buy More Local Food. The Department of Education has blown past the deadline for a report intended to detail progress toward its mandated goal to buy more local food, delivering mixed messages to lawmakers about its progress in the meantime. Civil Beat.

Hawaii tourism outlook is flat amid challenges, economists say. The forecast for Hawaii tourism in 2024 is “same old”: a year of flat visitor arrivals, which aren’t even expected to recover to Hawaii’s benchmark 2019 level until after 2025. Star-Advertiser.

Bill aimed at targeting repeat violent offenders moves through legislature. A three strike rule aimed at locking up habitual offenders for felonies is moving through the legislature. KHON2.

Hawaii Could Join National Police Misconduct Database. If Only It Could Finally Get Its Police Standards Board To Work. A House bill would allow state law enforcement agencies to have more information on potential new hires. Civil Beat.

Bill exploring geothermal use on Hawaiian Home Lands passes first hearing. Senate Bill 2650 would set aside funds to continue the exploration of geothermal hot spots on lands overseen by DHHL.  Hawaii Public Radio.


A bill at the state legislature proposes selling naming rights to Convention Center. Should Hawaii's Convention Center be allowed to sell advertising and marketing on and in the facility? That's what a Senate committee considered on Thursday.  KITV4.

$4.25 million in Waimanalo park upgrades is pending, city says.  A proposed $4.25 million improvement project to repair or replace Waimanalo Beach Park’s aging pavilion, comfort stations, recreation building and related facilities is the topic of a Feb. 21 community meeting, the city says. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Update On Two Maunakea Telescope Removal Projects.  The University is working on the termination of the CSO sublease, and is preparing for the removal of the Hōkū Keʻa teaching telescope.  Big Island Video News.

Public input sought on Papaaloa Park. Two years after the demolition of the Papaaloa Gym, residents are asked to weigh in on a plan to improve the park where the building once stood. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.

DLNR: Uncle Billy’s demolition still on schedule. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says it expects to complete the demolition of the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel by November. Tribune-Herald.

Community gathers to dedicate Rockne Freitas Way.  Rockne Freitas may have been an all-pro NFL player for 11 years, but his legacy lives on as a great leader and visionary in higher education in Hawaii. West Hawaii Today.


Rebuilding Lahaina: An Oversight Board, A Dedicated Tax Stream, Even A Bank. Lawmakers are considering a number of bills that aim to play a role in the West Maui town's recovery after the Aug. 8 fires. Civil Beat.

School meals will be free for 6 Maui schools impacted by wildfires. Six Maui schools will provide free meals for all students for the remainder of the school year due to a federal food program aimed at serving students who attend schools in high-poverty areas. Hawaii News Now.

Maui welcomes Wall That Heals. The traveling three-quarter-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. is scheduled to be on continuous display at the stadium through Wednesday at 1 p.m. Admission is free.  Maui News.

Māla Tavern marks first business on Lahaina's Front Street to reopen after the fire. It’s lunchtime and Māla Ocean Tavern is packed with excited locals and tourists. You would never think from the inside that it’s just steps away from Lahaina’s burn zone. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lahainaluna football players, coaches serve as honorary coin toss captains at Super Bowl.
It was a very special moment for four Lahainaluna High School football captains as they represented Lahaina and the entire state of Hawaii as honorary coin toss captains at Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.


Below-average rainfall recorded in January at the wettest location on Kaua‘i. During January, the lack of trade winds resulted in most of the normally “windward” gauges along the north- and east-facing slopes recording below-average monthly rainfall totals. Normally “leeward” gauges on the south- and west-facing slopes had mostly above-average rainfall totals. Kauai Now.

Kauaʻi police urge community to take precautions against vehicle break-ins. With a recent surge in vehicle break-ins at the trailheads of popular hiking spots in the Kapa‘a and North Shore areas, the Kauaʻi Police Department is urging the public to take precautions to minimize the risk of being targeted by criminals. Kauai Now. Garden Island.

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