Friday, April 5, 2024

Legislative session good for tourism authority, vehicle insurance could rise, three-strikes bill advances, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

This legislative session has been good for the Hawaii Tourism Authority. For the first time in two years, the agency is not only getting funding, but it's a recurring event. This means the HTA won't have to ask lawmakers every year for money. KITV4.

House advances three-strikes law that would penalize repeat misdemeanor offenders. It would elevate the penalty to a Class C felony for people convicted of three offenses for certain misdemeanors within five years: assault against a law enforcement officer in the second degree, sexual assault in the fourth degree and assault in the third degree. Hawaii Public Radio.

Same-sex marriage bill remains alive.
  An effort to repeal the Legislature’s authority to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples continues to move forward as House Bill 2802 passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Under legislative proposal, thousands of Hawaii drivers would have to buy more insurance. A proposal that would force about a third of Hawaii drivers to buy more auto insurance is moving ahead at the state Legislature. Hawaii News Now.

Bill To Remove Salary Cap For Hawaiʻi DOE Superintendent Passed By House. A bill that removes the $250,000 a year salary for the Superintendent of Education was passed by the State House. Big Island Video News.

Command of U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii changes hands. On Thursday, the U.S. Pacific Fleet held a change of command ceremony at Pearl Harbor’s Kilo Pier as Adm. Samuel Paparo handed command to Adm. Steve Koehler. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii residents will see a ‘bite taken out of the sun’.  For those in the Hawaiian isles, only a partial eclipse — and not a total eclipse — will be visible. Star-Advertiser.


Architect Laurel Mau Testifies In Bribery Trial About Abrupt Firing From Mitsunaga & Associates.
Mau's firing and the theft charges against her are central to the government's corruption case against former Honolulu prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro and other defendants. Civil Beat.

Ex-HPD officer pleads guilty to child sex assault. Mason Jordan, 33, a “prolific sexual predator” who allegedly ran a child prostitution ring for five years while working as an officer with the Honolulu Police Department pleaded guilty Thursday as part of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. Star-Advertiser.

After controversial raises, voters may get a chance to weigh in on city salary system. West Oahu Council Member Andria Tupola is proposing an amendment to the City Charter that would limit any raise to 5% per year and require a council vote to approve it. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu City Council revisits measures to take down illegal game rooms.
The council held a hearing this week for Bills 57 and 58, which were introduced in September. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu permitting department touts new tech in backlog fight. Much like the infamous months-long wait to obtain a building permit in Honolulu, city Department of Planning and Permitting Director Dawn Takeuchi Apuna said even the data detailing the problematic permit backlog was not available. Star-Advertiser.

Disappearing Waikiki beach prompts sand replenishment project — and calls for better fix.
A sand replenishment project for Waikiki is in the works as concerns of beach erosion grow, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources says. Hawaii News Now.

Kapi‘olani nurses demonstrate in front of hospital as talks continue. Negotiations over a new contract between a nurses’ union and Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children appear to remain contentious after more than six months of negotiations. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

US senator tours Hilo, visiting hula hālau, small businesses and $4.8M paving project.
Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) recently spent a day in Hilo where she met with Lahainaluna students participating in the 61st Annual Merrie Monarch Festival, toured small businesses participating in this year’s 8th Hawai‘i on the Hill and viewed the Puainako Paving Project at Waiākea Intermediate School. Big Island Now.

Merrie Monarch honors 40th anniversary of Hawaiian language revitalization. Hula is not the only Hawaiian tradition honored on the Merrie Monarch stage this week in Hilo.  Hawaii Public Radio.

Royal Parade kicks off Saturday morning in downtown Hilo. The Royal Parade will meander Saturday through downtown Hilo to celebrate the 61st annual Merrie Monarch Festival. Tribune-Herald.


A Project Aimed At Helping Upcountry Maui’s Water Shortages Is Getting Pushback From Residents. There's agreement that the cost of water to users would rise but by how much is up for debate. Civil Beat.

Maui Council Wants To Fund Recruitment And Retention For Understaffed Police Department. Police Chief John Pelletier said he can start a signing bonus program for recruits with an extra $300,000 to his $83 million budget for fiscal year 2025. Civil Beat.

Maui residents say ‘loopholes’ in emergency proclamation is causing more homelessness.
Nearly eight months after the fires, the rental market is skyrocketing, thousands of survivors are still living in hotels, and many more have moved away. Hawaii News Now.

Maui’s median home price rises to $1.3M in March. Maui’s median home price rose to $1,303,692 in March of 2024, up 9.5% from 2023 when the median was $1,191,000.  Maui Now.

Central Maui Transit Hub expected to get certificate of occupancy April 26.
The project is located off of Vevau Street near Kane Street in Kahului. It will replace the current transit hub on the Wailuku side of Queen Kaʻahumanu Center.  Maui Now.

Maui County residents asked to participate in survey on the Lahaina Recovery Plan.
  The survey will be available through May 15, 2024, and can be found on Maui Recovers’ Ola Lahaina page at Maui News.


Opponents Of Kauai Hydro Plan Drop Lawsuit But Project Is Still In Limbo. The project was meant to boost renewable energy production, but local groups worried its proposed stream diversions would do severe harm to the environment. Civil Beat.

Kauai police officer who alleged racial discrimination by chief settles for $350K. Kauai County has agreed to pay $350,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused the police chief of discriminating against a captain for being Japanese American, including one instance when the chief squinted his eyes, bowed repeatedly and said he couldn’t trust Japanese people. Associated Press.

Kaua‘i Police Department getting new fleet of 10 pickup trucks. The Kaua‘i Police Department.  is introducing 10 new Chevrolet Silverado PPV pickup trucks specifically selected with advanced safety features suitable for the island terrain. Garden Island. Kauai Now.

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