Monday, April 22, 2024

Tourism impact fee dies in Legislature, Mitsunaga arrested again in Kaneshiro bribery case, TMT project manager says he won't move forward without Hawaiian buy-in, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii tourism impact fee appears dead, expected to be retooled. An effort to increase the state hotel tax by $25 to offset the impact of visitors on the environment and climate change has stalled this legislative session but the concept of a “green fee” remains alive and will likely return with a new funding plan next session. Star-Advertiser.

Bill establishing labor standards in Hawaii moves forward. Senate Bill 2615 has the backing of some county officials who say they have seen cases of labor law violations in their districts. Star-Advertiser.

House passes bill to increase penalties for driving without a driver’s license on state roads.  Upon a third conviction within five years, the offense would become a Class C felony, carrying a maximum term of five years in prison.  Maui News.

Bill would establish regular state funding for DA BUX food program.
The initiative cuts the price in half for eligible produce grown by Hawaiʻi farmers, and this year’s state budget bill could allocate a recurring $1 million annually to DA BUX. Hawaii Public Radio.

Invasive Parakeets Are Threatening Hawaii Farms. Is Killing Them The Answer? A proposed bill would create a one-year pilot program to cull the birds on Oahu and Kauai, where the animals are destroying an estimated 10% of crops on small farms. Civil Beat.

Political Fight Over School Construction Could Slow Hawaii’s Preschool Expansion Plans. Four years after its creation, a state agency created to expedite school construction projects is at risk of losing all of its staff and funding. Civil Beat.

Hawaii among states sued over voter registration record.
The conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation, often known as PILF, has active lawsuits in Hawaii, Michigan and South Carolina over their voter roll maintenance.  Stateline.


Federal agents arrest high-profile businessman tied to Kaneshiro bribery trial.  Businessman Dennis Mitsunaga, a defendant in the sprawling criminal bribery trial in which former city Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro is also indicted, was arrested Friday night. Federal agents took Mitsunaga into custody at his Waialae Iki home. Hawaii News Now.

Head of HART under fire after top executive resigns. The executive management team of the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has faced challenges this month. Star-Advertiser.

Regenerative tourism draws groups to Hawaii. Members of the American Association of Geographers, who were in Honolulu for their 2024 annual meeting, volunteered Sunday during an ocean and beach park cleanup at Magic Island where tons of trash were removed from the polluted peninsula and ocean. Star-Advertiser.

Hundreds bid farewell to Haiku Stairs during final hike before removal.
Despite it being illegal, hundreds of people climbed the Haiku Stairs, better known as Stairway to Heaven, for a final hike before it’s gone for good. KHON2.

Waimea Valley plans renovation project.
A planned project to renovate Waimea Valley on the North Shore is rooted in restoring the land’s cultural and historical significance. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

TMT project manager admits past mistakes, notes project is dependent on NSF funding, support from Hawaiians. TMT project manager Fengchuan Liu said that after the extensive protests against the observatory’s construction in 2019, it became clear to him that no future for the observatory exists without first building up bonds of trust and respect toward the local community, something he said the project disregarded in the past. Tribune-Herald.

Pilot program for marijuana possession state-initiated record expungement passes. A state legislative bill to create a pilot program for a state-initiated expungement process for Hawaiʻi County passed a final reading in the House and will be transmitted to Gov. Josh Green for approval. Hawaii Public Radio.

Increased Kīlauea Activity Prompts Daily Updates From Scientists.  A moderate swarm of earthquakes beneath the Kīlauea summit indicated movement of magma in the subsurface, scientists say. Big Island Video News.

UH-Hilo faces enrollment challenges. Some 2,781 students enrolled at UH-Hilo in fall 2023, a 6.5% drop from the previous year, and the second year in a row that fall enrollment has decreased, UH-Hilo Chancellor Bonnie Irwin told a County Council committee Tuesday. Tribune-Herald.

More setbacks for Honua Ola: Ongoing lawsuit against HECO seeks $1B in damages. Honua Ola Bioenergy on Tuesday filed an objection to an order by U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth J. Mansfield denying its request to add three subsidiaries of Hawaiian Electric Industries as defendants in an ongoing lawsuit. Tribune-Herald.

Lead contamination at Kolekole Gulch Park still an issue as Hawai‘i County readies to reopen it following accessibility upgrades. Hawaii County plans  reopen Kolekole next week following the completion of a $6.3 million project to upgrade aging infrastructure and bring the park into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, making it more accessible for everyone. Big Island Now.


Bill’s new version deals with emergency Maui wildfire recovery funding. State senators are pushing a bill that would fund and govern a Maui wildfire death and injury compensation fund, but the measure runs a risk of violating the Hawaii Constitution. Star-Advertiser.

Big ask for FEMA homes for Maui fire survivors meets resistance.
Gov. Josh Green and other local government leaders early this year asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build 1,000 homes as part of a multilevel government effort to relocate evacuees of the Aug. 8 Lahaina disaster, but FEMA is only committing to build 169 modular homes in Lahaina under a contract expected to be awarded May 24. Star-Advertiser.

Unequal Treatment By Lenders Is Hurting Lahaina Homeowners. The lenders' policies and an obscure thicket of state and federal regulation and law determine which homeowners will get interest on their sizable insurance payouts. Civil Beat.

HTA report: Maui County hotels led state in average daily rate in March. Maui County hotel performance remains affected by the aftermath of the August wildfires, reports the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, but the county still led the state in revenue per available room in March due to comparatively higher average daily rate.  Maui Now.

State Reduces Meal Service For Lahaina Fire Survivors Still Living In Costly Hotels. Dinner is now the only meal being provided to the approximately 1,254 displaced adults and children still living in hotel rooms in West Maui through the emergency housing program. Two months ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency stopped reimbursing the state for meals served as part of the temporary housing program. Civil Beat.

It Will Take Years And Millions Of Dollars To Replace Lahaina’s Trees
. Volunteers are working to jumpstart the effort by tending to surviving trees, planting seedlings and pushing the county to hire a second arborist. Civil Beat.


Corrections Commission ‘Taken Aback’ By Use Of Restraint Chairs In Kauai Jail
. The state Correctional System Oversight Commission wants Hawaii jail and prison officials to suspend the use of potentially dangerous inmate restraint chairs after commission members discovered one in the Kauai jail. Civil Beat.

 Ambulance service providers vying for contract as procurement process restarts following controversy. A longtime ambulance service provider for Kauaʻi and Maui will once again compete for an emergency services contract alongside the previously chosen provider, whose contract was canceled late last year following protests that led the state to cancel and restart the application process.  Kauai Now.

No comments:

Post a Comment