Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Recreational marijuana bill dies in House committee, fee on electric bills could finance HECO fire prevention, Kauai police chief loses his gun twice, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii bill to legalize recreational marijuana stalls. The latest effort to legalize recreational marijuana for adults appears dead once again after House Finance Chair Kyle Yamashita declined to hold a vote on Senate Bill 3335. Star-Advertiser. Tribune-Herald.  Big Island Now. KHON2.

Your Electric Bill Could Be Going Up To Help Pay For Wildfire Prevention Measures. Hawaii lawmakers are considering a new fee to help HECO's fire-fighting plan but there was strong testimony against it. Civil Beat.

Bill aims to exempt private practice physicians from GET. A bill resurrected from last year’s legislative session to exempt medical providers from the state’s general excise tax will be heard today by the House Committee on Finance. West Hawaii Today.

LGBTQ+ support push for same-sex marriage bill. House Bill 2802, which calls for a state constitutional amendment to repeal the Legislature’s authority to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, remains alive as advocates worry about a conservative-­leaning U.S. Supreme Court possibly overturning same-sex marriages across the country. Star-Advertiser.

Bill could remove government powers to limit communication during emergency. Some members of the press say a section of the Hawaii revised Statutes, allowing for the seizing of control of electronic communications in a time of emergency, is out of date. A bill striking those powers is being heard this week. KITV4.

Senate Bill 2575 prohibits deep-sea mining in Hawaii waters. Senate Bill 25-75 aims to protect Hawaii's marine life by prohibiting the removal of rare metals from Hawaii's seafloor with certain exemptions. KITV4.

Lawmakers advance measure to address misinformation and objective reporting. A resolution in the state Senate is asking the Hawaiʻi chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists to establish a process to identify ethical and objective sources of news. Hawaii Public Radio.

Push for more homes on smaller lots statewide suffers setback. Three state House committees have eviscerated a bill to increase single-family housing densities statewide after receiving much more negative than positive testimony. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii Public Radio.

UH Regents Are Stepping Up The Search For A New President. Public forums are set to begin this month with finalists to be named by September and a new leader announced in October.  Civil Beat.

Deadline Extended To Apply For Vacancy On Hawaii State Ethics Commission. The deadline to submit applications to fill a vacancy on the Hawaii State Ethics Commission has been extended to April 15 from March 22, the Judiciary Council announced Tuesday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s Deaf Community Is Struggling With Lack Of Certified ASL Interpreters. There are no state-credentialed American Sign Language interpreters living on Kauai, Molokai, Niihau or Lanai. Civil Beat.


Rift emerges on Honolulu Ocean Safety department plan. During the City Council’s Committee on Budget meeting, the proposal to establish, staff, fund and perhaps have public oversight over a larger city lifeguard department caused division between Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s administration and a few Council members. Star-Advertiser.

‘No aloha’: Council grills head of preservation society opposing hula show venture. Honolulu City Council members put the head of a preservation group on the hot seat for opposing a Hawaiian nonprofit’s effort to pay for its free hula show. Council members are trustees of Kapiolani Park, where the show is offered. Hawaii News Now.

Guilty plea expected in pandemic benefits theft case. A 54-year-old Kunia woman is expected to plead guilty today to federal charges that she stole $52,270 from a pandemic unemployment insurance program using other people’s identities. Star-Advertiser.

‘Cloudy’ tap water stirs concern, but tests show it’s safe to drink. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply says there’s a new timeline to fix cloudy tap water in Mililani Mauka. Officals say the pump that needs to clear air bubbles from the lines will take two months to get here. Hawaii News Now.

Queen’s completes purchase of Wahiawa General Hospital. The Queen’s Health System is now the owner of the Wahiawa General Hospital, the purchase was finalized on Tuesday. Hospital officials said the facility will be closed for services but they are prioritizing reopening the emergency room by the summer. KHON2.

Hawaii Island

Hawaiʻi Island Beekeeping To Expand Under New Council Bill.
A bill that would remove some of the existing barriers to beekeeping on the Big Island was heard by the Hawaiʻi County Council’s Policy Committee on Health, Safety, and Well-being on Tuesday.  Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Island’s ‘cryptic’ potential name change explained. The Hawaiʻi Board of Geographic Names is mulling alternatives. A decision on the naming was not made on Tuesday, the two main options are still Hawaiʻi and Hawaiʻi Island. KHON2.

How one Hawaiʻi Island teacher is setting an example for AI in classrooms. To speed up the work, Anderson-Moxley, who is a teacher at West Hawaii Explorations Academy, launched an artificial intelligence tool called Roborubrics this year.  Hawaii Public Radio.

No tickets required this year for Hō‘ike, donations encouraged at event to help those impacted by Lāhainā fire. The hula exhibition and folk dance from across the Pacific takes place tonight at 6 p.m., a day before the three-night competition commences. Big Island Now.

Big Island author talks new novel about Maunakea. The Conversation thought it would be a good time to talk to Big Island author Tom Peek about his new novel, "Mauna Kea: A Novel of Hawaiʻi."  Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui Budget Earmarks $2.6 Million For Lahaina Wastewater Permit. One line item in particular in the Department of Environmental Management’s proposed budget triggered questions over $2.6 million in proposed funding for preparation of a federal Clean Water Act permit for treatment of Lahaina’s wastewater. Civil Beat.

Mayor Bissen’s Weekly Disaster Recovery Community Update Meetings resume Wednesday in Lahaina. Officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency will offer current information on Lahaina debris removal during this week’s meeting. Maui Now.

COFA citizens can now apply for FEMA disaster assistance
. Citizens of the Freely Associated States, collectively known as COFA citizens, whose primary residences on Maui were affected by the August wildfires and high winds may now apply for FEMA disaster assistance, according to a press release from FEMA.  Maui News. Maui Now.


Kauai police chief could face disciplinary action after losing his firearm a second time.
According to a complaint filed with the Kauai Police Commission, Chief Todd Raybuck seems to be making a habit out of leaving his service weapon in the same stall of the same restroom. Hawaii News Now.

‘Death threat’ investigation against Kaua‘i councilman remains ongoing. Kaua‘i County Councilmember Bill DeCosta remains on administrative leave from his second job at Kapa‘a High School due to an undisclosed January incident that coincided with the local politician receiving an alleged handwritten death threat. Kauai Now.

Visitors spend big in February on Kaua‘i.
Visitor spending broke through the $200 million barrier in February for the second time, in turn setting a new high for the month on the island of Kaua‘i. Garden Island.

Emergency zone declared near Kῑkῑaola Boat Harbor.
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation plans to declare a traffic emergency zone on Kaumuali‘i Highway near mile post 24.4 in in the vicinity of Kῑkῑaola Boat Harbor for emergency culvert repair. Kauai Now.

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