Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Lawmakers push utilities to reduce wildfire risk, animal cruelty bills die, no tax breaks for the wealthy, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii lawmakers push electric utilities to reduce wildfire risks. The state Legislature appears poised to create a new way for Hawaii electric utilities to pay for wildfire risk mitigation that reduces the cost possibly passed onto ratepayers in an effort to help prevent another tragic fire in the state. Star-Advertiser.

1,100 Pieces Of Testimony Against A Bill Went Missing For Days. The Bill Passed And Then The Opponents’ Letters Showed Up. Hundreds of Lahaina fire victims came out strongly against a bill that could allow HECO to impose a new fee on customers to help prevent wildfires. Civil Beat.

Taxes, Housing And Fighting Chickens Are Up For A Vote As The Hawaii Legislature Heads Into The Home Stretch. Lawmakers also hope to put a question securing same-sex marriage on the ballot this fall. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers debate estate tax breaks for family businesses. State lawmakers killed a bill that would give wealthy families a break on estate taxes, but kept alive a different estate tax bill that would cut the costs of passing along some family businesses. KITV4.

Bill to increase penalties for unlicensed driving remains in the Legislature. A bill with harsher penalties for drivers without valid licenses is alive in the state Legislature — but some want more to be done. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill advances to give condo owners a new way to buy into rooftop solar. The Hawaiʻi Senate is considering a bill to create a Solar Hui Program, allowing multi-family property owners to pay into a collective investment fund that would go towards energy projects and loans.  Hawaii Public Radio.

State senators fail to pass animal cruelty bills. The state Senate on Tuesday passed dozens of bills on mandatory third reading, a key step before becoming law, but senators rejected one contested measure that aimed to combat an increase in animal cruelty cases in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

Frequent Turnover At Hawaii’s Education Board Is Weakening School Oversight. A lack of institutional knowledge among board members and staff is limiting the BOE's effectiveness and leaving it open to legislative interference, education advocates say. Civil Beat.

Ongoing inspections find more inoperable fire alarm systems at Hawaii public schools. Amid ongoing efforts to bolster safety at public schools, inspectors are finding more Hawaii campuses with inoperable fire alarms. Hawaii News Now.

Few people have successfully expunged their marijuana possession records. The Hawaiʻi Criminal Justice Data Center says about 12,000 records could qualify for expungement. Over the last four years, only two people have been able to clear their criminal records. Hawaii Public Radio.


Defense In Kaneshiro Bribery Trial Probes Architect About Side Jobs At Mitsunaga & Associates.
During its cross-examination of Laurel Mau, the defense focused on her use of company time and resources to conduct side jobs it says were unauthorized. Civil Beat.

‘For us taxpayers, that’s a good thing’: City eyes $8.6 million expansion for HPD headquarters. The Honolulu Police Department has a plan to add some much-needed space to its Alapai Headquarters. A half-acre property right next door could solve several problems. Hawaii News Now.

AES launches Oahu solar project.
AES Hawai‘i is launching the West Oahu solar-plus-­storage project in Kapolei, which will produce enough energy to reduce Oahu’s use of fossil fuels by 750,000 barrels of oil and the associated pollution and greenhouse gases emitted over its lifetime. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu permitting office cites Hawaiian lūʻau for being in a residential area. The operator of a lūʻau in a residential area of Honolulu said he plans to continue his business despite city officials ordering him to stop. Hawaii Public Radio.

Several H-1 freeway repair projects scheduled for the week
. The Hawaii Department of Transportation said there are several improvement projects taking place on the H-1, including viaduct repairs near the airport off-ramp. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Flurry of legal action in case involving home built on wrong property. Both Hilo Circuit Court judges have bowed out from hearing a case involving a California woman sued by a developer whose contractor mistakenly built a house on her lot in Hawaiian Paradise Park. Tribune-Herald.

Waiakea High math teacher receives $25,000 award
. Rory Inouye, a 35-year-old Waiakea High School class of 2007 alumnus and math teacher, was awarded a $25,000 Milken Educator Award in Hilo on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Now.

State confirms 2 cases of whooping cough on Hawaii Island. Hawaii Department of Health officials said today that it is investigating two confirmed cases of pertussis — also known as whooping cough — along with eight probable cases. Star-Advertiser. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now.

Kolekole Gulch Park set to reopen end of April. The 5.5-acre park has had a rough several years, having first been closed for three years in 2017 when parts of the park were found to contain lead-contaminated soil stemming from lead-based paint used on the overspanning Kolekole Bridge. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News.  Big Island Now.


Council extends Kula water deal timeline, requests community meeting, compares financial analyses. After a community meeting in Pukalani on March 27, concerns arose about the timeframe for assessing a 30-year water purchase agreement for drilling one to four wells in Kula. Maui Now.

Mold forces Maui County prosecutors to relocate temporarily.
As if fighting for justice weren’t tough enough, now attorneys and staff in the Maui County Department of the Prosecuting Attorney have a new foe: an infestation of mold in their Old Wailuku Courthouse offices. Maui Now.

SBA approves $300M for Maui wildfire relief. The Small Business Administration has approved over $300 million in federal disaster assistance loans for Hawaii businesses and residents affected by the August wildfires on Maui, the organization announced Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Foodland Farms Lahaina will reopen 8 months after devastating wildfires. 8 months after the devastating Maui wildfires, Foodland Farms Lahaina will reopen Wednesday. Hawaii News Now. Maui News.


Fentanyl task force following Big Island blueprint coming to Kaua‘i. The County of Kaua‘i is planning on launching a fentanyl task force in the coming weeks, inspired by a model implemented on the Big Island nearly three years ago. Kauai Now.

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