Showing posts with label 2017 Legislature. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2017 Legislature. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Hawaii state Capitol © 2017 All Hawaii News
HB 375, CD 1 (Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017) has been selected by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause Hawaii for their 2017 "Rusty Scalpel" award. The "Rusty Scalpel" award recognizes enactment of a bill whose subject has been substantially amended without opportunity for legislative review as required by the Hawaii Constitution.

Article III, Section 14 of our State Constitution provides “Each law shall embrace but one subject which shall be expressed in its title.”  HB 375 was titled “Relating to Taxation”.  

When introduced, HB 375 proposed amending income tax rates to negate any income tax liability for those at or below poverty thresholds. The Senate Ways and Means Committee was the first to drastically amend the bill, gutting its contents, and replacing it with provisions to repeal the sunset date for the refundable food/excise tax credit. Then during Conference Committee, the bill was drastically altered to appropriate $1 million, subject to a dollar for dollar match by the private sector, to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, working in conjunction with the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, for projects to address homelessness in tourist and resort areas. 

Corie Tanida, of Common Cause Hawaii said, “While addressing homelessness in Hawaii is important and commendable, an ‘appropriation’ is not the same as ‘taxation’.  The final version of this bill doesn’t pass the relatively ‘low bar’ of having the bill’s subject match the bill’s title.”

Article III, Section 15 of our State Constitution provides that “No bill shall become law unless it shall pass three readings in each house on separate days.”  The unambiguous intent is to provide  the House and Senate, separately, the  opportunity to thoroughly review every single bill.  Amending a bill’s subject in conference committee without such review ignores this Constitutional requirement.

According to Ann Shaver, President of the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, “The 2017 session was a ‘Good News, Bad News’ situation.  HB 375, CD 1 was the only real candidate for our 2017 ‘Rusty Scalpel’ award.  On the other hand, HB375, CD1 was the worst we’ve seen in the five years we have presented this award.”  On July 12, 2017, without the Governor’s signature, HB 375 became Act 214, Session Laws of Hawaii 2017.  


The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit

Common Cause Hawaii is a state chapter of the national Common Cause organization. Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to protecting and improving Hawaii’s political process and holding government accountable to the public interest. For more information, visit

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

State and county high-rise laws face changes in wake of fatal condo fire, Hurricane Fernanda threat lessens, Maui mayor cleared, Kauai salt makers react to climate change, Big Island couple pleads not guilty to starving 9-year-old, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

July 18
Hurricane Fernanda track NOAA

Fernanda continued to weaken overnight but remained a Category 2 hurricane. Hurricane Fernanda is packing maximum sustained winds near 100 mph while moving northwest at 9 mph. It’s located about 1,460 miles east of Hilo. Star-Advertiser.

Hurricane Fernanda continues to weaken as it churns toward the Central Pacific. Hawaii News Now.

The fire at the Marco Polo has put the spotlight on Act 53, formerly known as Senate Bill 611, which makes it illegal for any county to require single-family homes or duplexes to have sprinklers for the next 10 years. It’s a question of whether homeowners should be required to spend thousands of dollars to prevent potential tragedies, and whether raising the already-high price of housing in Hawaii is worth preventing loss of life. Civil Beat.

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii planned, then canceled, a celebration of a bill that prevents counties from mandating single-family homes have sprinklers. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers on the state and county level, as well as Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, want to make sure a deadly high-rise fire, like the one that broke out Friday in the Marco Polo building, doesn’t happen again. KHON2.

Hundreds of older high-rise apartment buildings in Honolulu aren’t required to have sprinkler systems, but city officials are pushing for change in the wake of Friday’s deadly 26th-floor blaze. Associated Press.

Three days after a major fire killed three people at the Marco Polo condominium complex, Mayor Kirk Caldwell has sent the City Council a proposal to require high-rise residential buildings without automatic fire sprinklers to install them. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell today introduced a bill that would require all residential buildings over 75 feet high to install sprinkler systems. The Honolulu Fire Department estimated there are about 300 highrise apartment buildings on Oahu that don't have sprinkler systems. Hawaii News Now.

Fire investigators said Monday the apartment where a deadly fire began in a Honolulu high-rise was near the two units on the 26th floor where the bodies of three victims were found, but they’re still working to determine the cause. Associated Press.

The Marco Polo fatal high-rise fire did not begin in the condominium units of the three people who died in the Friday five-alarm blaze, Honolulu fire investigators have determined. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Does The Risk Justify The Cost Of Sprinklers In Older High-Rises? Until now, the answer has been “no.” But the tragic fire in the Marco Polo condominiums could change the equation. Civil Beat.

Commentary: There are no easy answers to draw from Friday’s tragic fire that killed three people at the Marco Polo condominium tower. There is, however, one necessary answer: Heed the calls to retrofit older buildings with fire sprinkler systems. Star-Advertiser.


The State Department Monday expanded its definition of “close family” to include grandparents and other relatives that constitute a bona fide U.S. relationship for visa applicants and refugees from six mainly Muslim nations, in response to a Hawaii federal judge’s order last week. Associated Press.

Medical Aid In Dying Dealt Another Blow In Hawaii. An Oahu circuit judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit asking the court to prevent existing Hawaii criminal laws from being applied to medical aid in dying practices. Big Island Video News.

The state Public Utilities Commission has accepted an updated plan submitted by Hawaiian Electric Cos. detailing how it will reach the state’s goal of 100 percent renewable energy five years ahead of schedule. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric rates could rise 44% under plan OKed by state regulators. Pacific Business News.

Costco Wholesale Corp. paid a fine last week of nearly $5,000 for violating Hawaii's beverage container deposit requirements, the Hawaii State Department of Health said Monday. Pacific Business News.

They can’t quite top Bernie Sanders, but Hawaii U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono both rank among the three most popular senators in the nation, according to a recent poll by survey research company Morning Consult. Star-Advertiser.

Food safety inspectors will begin stepping up enforcement of a new law that bans the use of latex gloves in restaurants. KHON2.


Kaimuki charter school finds site to share. SEEQS — the School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability — will be sharing a campus with Kaimuki High School, 2 miles away. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Hawaii County is taking another crack at property tax reform. Fresh from raising taxes on most property types, county officials say they are convening an internal working group to recommend changes to the tax code. Tribune-Herald.

Public Works Director Frank DeMarco has decided to retire. West Hawaii Today.

Keith Okamoto, Hawaii County Department of Water Supply manager and chief engineer, came to Kona on Monday to offer a presentation on the area’s water emergency to the Hawaii County Council’s Agriculture, Water and Energy Sustainability Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Both parents accused of starving a 9-year-old Hilo girl to death last year pleaded not guilty Monday to second-degree murder. Tribune-Herald.


State officials are dropping a complaint against Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa that accused him of using campaign funds for personal purposes by sponsoring a softball team. Star-Advertiser.

A bill aiming to regulate and look into sand extraction in Maui County is undergoing changes, as a Maui County Council committee continues to mull the measure that arose from an uproar over a recent sand excavation and export case in Maui Lani. Maui News.

A new system will help forecast the effects of sea level rise and waves in West Maui. The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Pacific Islands Ocean Observing System has received a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop the model. Hawaii Public Radio.

A Stage 1 water shortage declaration for Upcountry, which calls for voluntary cutbacks by consumers, goes into effect today due to drier-than-normal trade wind flows so far this summer. Maui News.

Trilogy Excursions announced it has outfitted all six of its sailing catamarans with sunscreen that is free of reef damaging chemicals. Maui Now.


A community of traditional salt makers on Kauai is navigating the impacts of climate change on the generations-old practice. Hawaii Public Radio.

Swells could reach 8 feet on the Eastside today as the initial impacts of Hurricane Fernanda begin to reach Kauai. Garden Island.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is seeking new projects for its Hawaii Forest Legacy Program that will protect important working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses. Garden Island.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Call for sprinkler law follows five-alarm high-rise fire, former President Clinton visits Hawaii, no tech in high tech park, Oahu medical marijuana patients increase, Kauai studies bus plan, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Civil Beat YouTube video

 A five-alarm fire Friday at the Marco Polo condo is expected to spark renewed debate over a long-standing question of whether the city should require Oahu condo projects built before sprinklers were mandated in the mid-1970s to install them. Star-Advertiser.

The deadly fire at the Marco Polo building sparks a renewed push for sprinkler systems to be installed at condos and apartments. KITV.

If Honolulu is to require owners to install fire sprinklers in all pre-1975 residential buildings, it will involve heavy lifting to persuade the state Legislature to update the state’s fire code, according to a retired Honolulu fire official. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Friday called for legislation requiring the retrofitting of older residential high-rises with fire sprinklers after a blaze in Honolulu killed three people. Civil Beat.

The fire that killed three people at the Marco Polo Apartments condominium tower in Honolulu could have been less severe if the building had a sprinkler system in place. Pacific Business News.

At least three people died and 12 were injured Friday in a fire at a Honolulu high-rise that was not equipped with sprinklers, authorities said, and hundreds fled the giant condominium complex as smoke billowed from the upper floors. Associated Press.

Relatives of the three people killed in Friday's highrise fire are opening up about their devastating loss. Hawaii News Now.

Twenty six stories up. Island News got a first look inside the Honolulu high rise that was on fire for nearly 10 hours. KITV.

Estimated 40-50 units "total losses" following Marco Polo high-rise fire. Fire investigators were still on scene at the Marco Polo Apartments on Sunday, working to determine what caused the massive high-rise fire that injured dozens, and killed three. KITV.

How you can help victims of Marco Polo highrise fire. KHON2.


Why Is A High-Tech Agency Building A Center For Cops And Rescue Workers? The project raises questions about whether the Hawaii Technology Development Corp. is stepping away from its mission and legislative mandate. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s unemployment rate remains below three percent. And while that’s good news for the state’s economy, it’s creating a challenge for many businesses that are struggling to find good help. Hawaii Public Radio.

New care home law is called ‘a facade’. When Gov. David Ige held a bill-signing ceremony last week for a new law that aims to cut through the red tape that blocked certain elderly couples from living together in the same licensed care home, the one couple it was specifically designed to help was conspicuously absent. Star-Advertiser.

Officials, community say defunding tsunami detection system penny wise and pound foolish. West Hawaii Today.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton toured the Hokule‘a at Sand Island Sunday, about a month after the Hawaiian voyaging canoe’s return from its three-year journey around the globe. Star-Advertiser.

The 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, was seen on Oahu this weekend giving a speech, dining at a presidential favorite spot, and touring the Hokulea. Hawaii News Now.

Former President Bill Clinton is in the islands. KHON2.

Fernanda remains a category 3 hurricane according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. The storm is churning in the East Pacific as gradual weakening is expected over the next 48 hours. Hawaii News Now.

Big Island still has most medical marijuana users, but Oahu’s percentage grows. Hawaii Island historically has contained the lion’s share of medical marijuana patients, but that trend could gradually be changing, data released Friday by the state Department of Health indicates. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to have asthma, according to the latest research by the University of Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.


Honolulu rail leaders are laboring to maintain public confidence in the project, yet their decision to defer an audit that would investigate how its price tag nearly doubled and its schedule got pushed back six years has critics crying foul. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu inflation is heating up as the state’s economy continues to grow. Star-Advertiser.

This Group Is Helping The Needy By Rescuing Tons Of Food. Though the nonprofit typically relies on grants, Aloha Harvest is looking to the city of Honolulu in hopes of a contract. Civil Beat.

Statue to bring the aloha of Don Ho back to Waikiki. Don Ho, Hawaii’s best-known entertainer, is returning to the International Market Place on Aug. 13 — what would have been his 87th birthday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The latest chapter in the ongoing audit review of the management of Mauna Kea arrived in the form of a new report this month. Big Island Video News.

Court dates have been set for the 48 adults cited July 8 for trespassing into the closed Kohala Forest Reserve and Kohala Restricted Watershed. Tribune-Herald.

A father, mother and maternal grandmother are in custody for allegedly starving a 9-year-old Hilo girl to death. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island Crime Problems Seem Bigger On Social Media. Hawaii County crime isn’t on the rise. But the prosecutor says residents are justifiably upset by a clogged criminal justice system. Civil Beat.

While signs have been posted at some beaches in recent months warning beachgoers of high bacteria levels in the water, those counts don’t necessarily mean waters are contaminated with sewage. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County real estate trends continued ticking upward as the first half of the sales year came to a close, with the busy market leading to increases in new construction as existing inventory is bought up. Tribune-Herald.


Unlike some politicians who’d grab the center of attention at a public event, shaking every hand within reach, Gov. David Ige was characteristically laid-back recently when he visited Maui for a senior housing groundbreaking ceremony in Pukalani and a visit to Kula Hospital. Maui News.

Portions of the Kanaio Natural Area Reserve will be closed on dates in August and September while the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife conducts animal control via aerial shooting from helicopters. Maui News.

After serving under eight Maui County prosecuting attorneys and appearing before 13 2nd Circuit judges during a career that spanned 40 years, Deputy Prosecutor John Tam has retired. Maui News.

The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development announced that it has issued more than $2 million in grants to various local organizations during the second half of fiscal year 2017. Maui Now.

Sen. Rosalyn Baker inducted the Maui Chamber of Commerce’s new and existing board members for the 2017-18 term on June 2 at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in Kaanapali. Maui News.


The County of Kauai’s Transportation Agency will be holding islandwide, public information and community comment sessions on the Kauai Bus Short-Range Transit Plan starting this week. Garden Island.

The County of Kauai’s Transportation Agency will be holding islandwide, public information and community comment sessions on the Kauai Bus Short-Range Transit Plan starting this week. KHON2.

Soon, folks will have a way to get from Kawaihau Road to the rest of Kauai’s coastal path via a 1,000-foot boardwalk. Garden Island.

$6.6M for Mahelona hospital projects. Remodeled rooms for residents, upgrades to nurse stations are among the plans. Garden Island.

New enclosure last step to recovery for native seabirds. Garden Island.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ige vetoes 13 bills including aquarium fish restrictions and lifeguard liability, Honolulu ordered to pay EMTs $1M overtime, Maui's $354.5M Makena Resort approved, THAAD missile test successful, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo Hawaii Governor's Office
Gov. David Ige veto news conference, courtesy photo
Gov. David Ige used his veto pen to reject 13 bills Tuesday, including a measure that would have limited and eventually shut down the aquarium fish collecting trade in Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Governor Vetoes Aquarium Fishing Bill, 12 Others. Gov. David Ige faced a heavy lobbying campaign from both sides on a bill phasing out commercial collection of fish for the aquarium industry. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige vetoed 13 bills Tuesday, including a measure providing limited liability protection for county lifeguards, as a law with broader protections sunset on June 30. Maui News.

Gov. David Ige took the podium, spending around 10 minutes directly addressing a few of the 13 measures he chose to veto on Tuesday’s deadline for such action. West Hawaii Today.

Governor David Ige vetoed a bill that would have stopped new permits for aquarium fish collecting on Hawaii’s reefs, ending weeks of last-minute lobbying on the issue. Big Island Video News.

The Clift Tsuji Act became law on Tuesday with a stroke of Governor David Ige’s pen, ending an emotional journey for Ryan Tsuji, who helped shepherd the biosecurity-related bill through the legislature in fulfillment of his father’s dying wish. Big Island Video News.

Gov. David Ige signed a bill into law Tuesday that requires liability insurance for childcare providers. Hawaii News Now.


Hawaii is home to two of the three most popular U.S. senators, according to approval rantings (69 percent for Brian Schatz and 67 percent for Mazie Hirono) in a new survey published by Morning Consult. Civil Beat.

Hawaii has seen some improvement in its fiscal condition, according to a new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The Aloha State was ranked 27th among the U.S. states for fiscal health, a significant improvement from last year’s ranking, where it was ranked 45th. Pacific Business News.

A ballistic missile target simulating an intermediate-range North Korean threat that was launched by aircraft north of Hawaii was successfully intercepted Tuesday by a defensive missile in a key test of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

In a video interview with aviation analysis site CAPA, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Mark Dunkerley gave an update on competition, partnerships and attractive markets for the Honolulu-based airline, claiming that China will soon overtake Japan as Hawaii’s largest tourism market. Pacific Business News.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee has been bitten by an endangered Hawaiian monk seal while swimming at Midway Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s push to expand the list of relatives exempt from President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries is bogged down in court, where it has bounced from a federal judge to a federal appeals court and back to the same federal judge. Associated Press.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys urged a judge to deny Hawaii’s renewed attempt to expand the list of relatives exempt from President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries. Associated Press.

Kaiser grad accused of affiliation with ISIS made first Federal court appearance. KITV.

Forecasters are keeping a close eye on a new tropical storm in the East Pacific that has the potential to impact the Hawaiian islands. It is far too early to tell what kind of effects, if any, Tropical Storm Fernanda  will have on Hawaii, but early computer models show a track that moves in a direction toward the islands. Hawaii News Now.

This week, you'll be seeing an edgy new commercial targeting the Mormon Church in Hawaii, questioning its business practices. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii is again ranked next to last among U.S. states for business. The islands are ranked first, however, for quality of life for the fifth year in a row, according to a study released Tuesday by cable TV network CNBC. Star-Advertiser.

Jurassic World filming comes to an end, film's stars leave Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.


A federal judge has ordered the city to pay paramedics, emergency medical technicians and their attorneys $1.16 million for unpaid and late-paid overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Star-Advertiser.

There's an age-old problem in the valleys of Oahu, where experts estimate that more than 70,000 residents live in areas that have been geologically unstable since Hawaii’s peaks first burst through the Pacific Ocean. A legal battle over a landslide and sewer line break in the Nuuanu Valley is one example of the unstable ground many people live on. Civil Beat.

Hawaii business executive Duane Kurisu and a host of dignitaries broke ground Tuesday on Kurisu’s ambitious vision to use public and private resources to erect permanent homes near Sand Island for 150 homeless families — or 600 adults and children. Star-Advertiser.

The first-ever public-private partnership was launched today on Oahu to provide permanent housing for homeless families. Hawaii Public Radio.

A state representative and at least one community leader are accusing Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration of stalling on a long-discussed road improvement project in the upper part of Kalihi Street. Star-Advertiser.

A state lawmaker wants to see Kalihi Street widened so drivers will slow down, particularly where the it curves. KHON2.

Changes to Honolulu plastic bag ban will hurt a local family business. KITV.

A Honolulu ZIP code has come in at No. 6 in the nation on a list of the most expensive ZIP codes by state, according to Pacific Business News.

It's never been a secret that Honolulu has some traffic issues, and now Honolulu has been ranked as the seventh-worst city for driving in a newly released study by WalletHub. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu had the 10th-most cranes in operation in the country at the start of the year, signaling a significant growth in construction projects, according to the 2017 Rider Levett Bucknall Crane Index. Rider Levett Bucknall is a global construction cost management, project management and advisory company based in Hong Kong. Star-Advertiser.

Traffic was shut down on both sides of the Pali Highway around noon Tuesday as a woman threatened to jump from the highway on the Kailua side of the tunnel, Honolulu police said. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Part of Hawaii Island’s ambitious legislative package to revitalize two areas in Hilo was pulled back from the brink Tuesday when Gov. David Ige issued his final list of vetoed bills. Tribune-Herald.

More senior citizens are on the waiting list for units at a housing complex under construction in Hilo than the total number of units the complex eventually will offer. The second phase of construction at Hilo’s Mohouli Heights Senior Neighborhood, which is intended to provide high-quality, affordable housing for low-income senior citizens, is on track for completion in October. Tribune-Herald.

North Hawaii residents packed the Waimea School cafeteria Tuesday anxious to hear from administrators of The Queen’s Health Systems and North Hawaii Community Hospital in the wake of reports of layoffs at the hospital. West Hawaii Today.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo is asking for the public’s help with finding missing parts from a beloved sculpture at the corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Kalakaua Street. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Island Pictures Future in Film and Video. Hawaii Public Radio.

Colin “Bud” Love, a community champion and longtime per diem judge, died July 1. Love died peacefully at his home at the age of 81. West Hawaii Today.


With a lawsuit against the project settled, the Maui Planning Commission unanimously approved a special management area use permit Tuesday for the $354.5 million mixed-use Makena Resort. Maui News.

A senior affordable housing project is being proposed for development in Kahului at the intersection of Kane and Vevau Streets. Maui Now.

Last month’s auction of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.’s mill equipment will be the last time the former company’s assets go on the auction block, company and auction officials said Tuesday. Maui News.

A Maui Community Correctional Center guard told an inmate she would lose her work furlough privileges if she reported having sexual contact with him, the woman testified Tuesday. Maui News.

Maui’s residential real estate market sizzled in June as home prices and sales achieved double-digit percentage gains from the year-earlier period. Star-Advertiser.

Sales increased by double digits on Maui last month for single-family homes and condominiums, growing 21.2 percent and 11.8 percent, respectively, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.


The Opaekaa Road bridge is on the road to being replaced and the single-lane bridge’s character won’t change much, thanks to input from the community. Garden Island.

Kauai Community Recycling Services, who owns and operates the HI5 bottle redemption center in the Arzadon Industrial Park in Kapaa, has changed the schedule of this facility. Garden Island.

Broken television sets, dilapidated tires and other past-their-prime household items dotted the grounds around Wailua Reservoir before Lori Stitt took action. Garden Island.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Hawaii Gov. David Ige releases list of bills he may veto

Hawaii Gov. David Ige
(Press Release) Gov. David Ige has notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers of the 15 bills that are listed on his Intent to Veto list. The Hawaii State Constitution requires the governor to notify the Legislature of the bills he intends to veto by June 26.

On July 11, any measure that the governor has not signed or vetoed will become law.

Links to bills can be found here.



This bill requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to define “sustainable” and establish a policy for sustainable collection practices through take limits. This bill also prohibits the DLNR from issuing new aquarium fish permits to use fine meshed traps or fine meshed nets and prohibits the transfer of permits after five years.

Rationale: There is concern that the science does not support the claims made by the bill. It will be premature to ban aquarium collection before doing the necessary studies. The DLNR is committed to working with all stakeholders to come up with a better solution.


This measure broadens the scope of collective bargaining negotiations by requiring negotiations on the implementation of terms and conditions of employment, including making these violations grievable by employees who disagree with such working conditions.

Rationale: This bill directly impacts the ability of state departments to effectively manage its workforce by negating management rights to direct its workforce and requiring union consent on such matters as assignment, transfer and discipline.


This measure requires the Attorney General to defend any civil action or proceeding brought in any court against a county, based on any negligent or wrongful act or omission of a lifeguard who provides lifeguard services at a state beach park.

Rationale: This bill is objectionable because it requires the Attorney General to defend the counties for any civil action or proceeding, without exception.


This bill requires the auditor to investigate and report on problems with the Department of Taxation’s tax system modernization project.

Rationale: The Department of Taxation is awaiting findings and results of an independent verification and validation of the tax system modernization project. The audit would be redundant. The auditor stated that the audit may not yield useful results due to the difficulties tied to investigating a project that is incomplete and undergoing implementation.


This measure requires the Director of Finance to seek repayment of operating grants appropriated by the legislature if the grantee discontinues the activities or services approved in the grant.

Rationale: This bill is contrary to the intent of Chapter 42F, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, which authorizes the legislature to appropriate general funds to nongovernmental organizations through various state agencies. The Director of Finance does not have the capacity to monitor all grantee programs, and relies on each state agency to enforce the provisions of the grant application and contract between the agency and grantee.


This measure requires the Director of Finance and a selected state department to develop and implement the efficiency measures pilot project as part of the state’s budget system.

Rationale: Imposing additional requirements for data collection on our state budget system requires re-programming older software on mainframe computers at a time when the state is upgrading its IT systems to cloud-based applications. Limited state resources would be better spent updating our budget IT programs into cloud-based applications.


This measure requires the six-year program and financial plan and budget to include information on tax expenditures.

Rationale: There is uncertainty in quantifying future revenue loss attributed to certain tax expenditures as changes to tax laws usually elicit changes to taxpayer behavior. Further, there is a lag in the availability of certain tax expenditure data, which would not align with the preparation of the annual budget documents submitted to the Legislature.


This measure prohibits the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance the repair and maintenance of capital assets where the repair and maintenance costs incurred add value to, and prolong the life of the assets for a period of less than ten years.

Rationale: This measure aims to more closely align the financing of debt with the depreciation of the state’s assets. However, like many other state and county governments, Hawai‘i is faced with a growing number of deferred maintenance projects and a limited pool of operation funds for such projects. Further, the record-keeping necessary to ensure compliance with the tiered structuring of the debt could not be done within existing resources, and would therefore increase the costs of the state’s debt management program.


This measure appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to plan and coordinate the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Hawai‘i State Capitol.

Rationale: Current provisions of state law establishing the Works of Art Special Fund under 103-8.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, are very specific and do not allow for the financing of a celebration of this nature.


The measure appropriates funds to the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to support its artist fellowship program.

Rationale: Current provisions of state law establishing the Works of Art Special Fund under 103-8.5, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, are very specific and do not allow for the financing of an artist fellowship program.


This measure authorizes the Department of Accounting and General Services (DAGS) to establish a recycling pilot program for the onsite collection of recyclable materials at buildings and facilities.

Rationale: The amount of waste produced is insufficient to merit having an onsite recycling pilot program. The Department of Accounting and General Services regularly recycles cardboards and paper, and janitors recycle the limited amount of bottles and cans produced.


This bill authorizes the placement of “tiny homes” of 500 square feet or less of living space within the state agriculture district of Hawai‘i County. These “tiny homes” will be used by farm workers or their immediate families on land currently being used for agricultural production.

Rationale: The Hawai‘i County Zoning Code (HCC Chapter 25) already allows for a “farm dwelling” as a permitted use of agricultural-zoned lands. By Zoning Code definition, a “farm dwelling” means a single-family dwelling located on or used in connection with a farm, or if the agricultural activity provides income to the family occupying the dwelling.


This measure allows the operator of a motorcycle or motor scooter to proceed cautiously between stopped lanes of traffic and on the shoulder lane of highways. The intent is to alleviate congestion and reduce the risk of injury or loss of life.

Rationale: There is concern that this will compromise road safety. The shoulder lane is designed to accommodate stopped vehicles and emergency vehicles on highways, and bicycles on arterial roadways. While the intent of the bill is to reduce risk or injury or loss of life, there is concern that allowing shoulder lane use to these types of vehicles will instead create more danger for the operators of these vehicles.


This bill establishes a process for the re-leasing or re-negotiation of a lease for public lands classified as commercial or industrial use near the end of the lease. The bill permits the Department of Land and Natural Resources to extend public land leases to school or government entities without recourse to auction, with certain exceptions.

Rationale: There is concern that section 2 of this bill is special legislation and is in violation of Section 5 of Article XI of the Hawai‘i State Constitution. It limits application of the bill to commercial and industrial lands only, without distinguishing these lands from other public lands under lease.


This measure establishes the Office of Public-Private Partnerships within the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and appropriate funds for a state public-private partnership coordinator position.

Rationale: There is concern that the lone position of a state public-private partnership coordinator will not be sufficient to adequately coordinate interagency collaboration, maintain analysis reports, and develop future public-private partnership opportunities. Having one office manage all public-private partnership contracts, proposals, and negotiations for the state may create a bottleneck that will slow the progress for agencies already involved in these partnerships.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Special session for rail funding looming, Ige signs bill giving more tech oversight, $1M from nonprofit for homeless vets, HART study finally public, farmers market comes to Ala Moana Center, Oprah to speak on Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy HART
Rail plan for Honolulu transit, courtesy HART
Lawmakers haven’t yet agreed on the details, but leaders in the state House and Senate announced Monday they plan to hold a special session this summer to try to resolve their impasse over how to provide more funding for the city’s 20-mile rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii lawmakers plan to convene a special session in July or August to again try to reach a deal on how to fund the remainder of Honolulu’s 20-mile rail project, which is now billions of dollars over budget. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers on Monday told the Federal Transit Administration that they will hold a special session this summer to find a solution for the funding issue surrounding Honolulu's rail project. Pacific Business News.

More than two months after lawmakers wrapped up the legislative session with no deal on how to fund Oahu's beleaguered rail project, state lawmakers are trying to reassure the federal government that they'll hold a special session on the issue by August. Hawaii News Now.

House Speaker Scot Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi have sent a letter to the Federal Transit Authority assuring they intend to meet in special session this summer. KITV.

Hawaii State legislative leadership says there will be a special session before the end of the summer in order to take on funding for Honolulu’s rail project. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii lawmakers plan to hold a special session this summer to discuss funding for Honolulu’s troubled rail line. Garden Island.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Monday signed into law a bill that provides increased oversight and third-party verification of state information technology projects within the executive branch. Pacific Business News.

Rep. Beth Fukumoto was accepted into the Democratic Party on Saturday with the unanimous vote of the Oahu county executive committee. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii, led by Governor David Ige, is staking out an increasingly combative stance in opposing Trump administration policies. Civil Beat.

MacNaughton Group donates $1 million to help Hawaii’s homeless veterans. Star-Advertiser.

Scores of homeless vets to be housed thanks to $1M donation to Hawaii nonprofit. Hawaii News Now.

Commentary: Candidates so far for LG fail to spark voter enthusiasm. Star-Advertiser.


The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation in 2013 spent $35,000 on a peer review that yielded fairly routine findings. Its attorneys fought to keep the report secret for four years. Civil Beat.

Lawmaker demands answers after state boots deputy sheriffs from Honolulu airport patrols. KHON2.

The owner of Valley of the Temples Memorial Park will preserve and enlarge its historic main building, which includes Hawaiian heiau references, under a plan to establish mortuary services and a bigger chapel at the Windward Oahu property. Star-Advertiser.

Ala Moana Center is getting its own weekly farmers market. KHON2.

East Oahu neighborhoods experienced strong sales in May, with closed sales of single-family homes in the Aina Haina and Kuliouou area more than tripling, according to the Honolulu Board of Realtors monthly local market update.Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

A Kona coffee farmer whose fight against deportation has played out publicly in recent weeks is thanking Hawaii residents and lawmakers for their support. Hawaii News Now.

Researchers can now look with a bird’s-eye view at rapid ohia death in an entire forest and also microscopically within a single tree. Collaborating researchers showcased their wide-ranging technology for journalists Monday at the Hilo Air Patrol. Tribune-Herald.

The Department of Water Supply reported last week that North Kona consumers are largely ignoring the mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage the department first issued in January. West Hawaii Today.

Drought conditions on Hawaii Island are improving, according to the latest Drought Information Statement issued by the National Weather Service in Honolulu. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii County’s unemployment rate increased a fraction last month but remains near 10-year lows, according to recent figures from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations. Tribune-Herald.


Global media leader and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey will appear for a special conversation at Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s outdoor Alexander & Baldwin Amphitheater on Monday, June 26. Maui Now.

Haleakalā National Park is still seeking cultural practitioners from local communities for is Hana Noʻeau program, a series of cultural demonstrations that is offered in the park’s Kīpahulu and Summit Districts. Maui Now.

The county’s electronics recycling program on Maui and Molokai will be suspended for five weeks beginning July 1 in order to implement new processing and Mainland shipping systems, the Department of Environmental Management has announced. Maui News.

Kmart’s last day of business on Maui drew many loyal customers for the same reason it always has over the past two decades: all the great deals. Maui News.


County and industry leaders said Monday investments in renewable energy systems are key to lowering dependence on fossil fuels while strengthening the economy. Garden Island.

Sunday was a day when the more than 350 people involved with Tropic Care Kauai 2017 could let their hair down and enjoy the hospitality and gratitude of a grateful island at a luau put on by the Smith’s Tropical Paradise family. Garden Island.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Winners and losers in 2017 legislative session, Mauna Kea rocks marred by graffiti, lawsuit challenges Maui liquor law, Hawaii County faces tax hikes, Caldwell exemptions questioned, Hirono holds town hall meetings, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii ocean sunrise © 2017 All Hawaii News
A bill on its way to Gov. David Ige affirms the state of Hawaii’s commitment to addressing climate change. Tribune-Herald.

2017 should be another positive year for Hawaii’s economy, despite slowing growth in the construction sector. That’s the view of a local economic forecast group. Hawaii Public Radio.

State Legislature marred by secrecy, maneuvering and epic fail on rail. Star-Advertiser.

Who Won And Who Lost In A Legislative Session Marked By Failure. Civil Beat.

Deposed Thursday, former Speaker Souki ponders what’s next. Longtime Maui lawmaker seriously considering a run for lieutenant governor. Maui News.

A proposal to change inheritance rules for Native Hawaiian homeland leases unanimously passed both houses of the Legislature. If signed into law by the governor, House Bill 451 changes inheritance rules from requiring 1/4 Hawaiian blood quantum to 1/32 in order to inherit a parent’s homeland lease. Tribune-Herald.

A bill that would require Hawaii child care providers to obtain liability insurance is awaiting Gov. David Ige's signature. Hawaii News Now.

If the thousands of vacation rental houses in Hawaii were suddenly taken off the market, the state could lose 319,000 visitors annually, and their $431 million in spending and $37 million in taxes, a study says. Star-Advertiser.

New statistics about the health of Hawaii's LGB community were recently published by the state. KITV.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc., parent of the Hawaiian Electric Co. and American Savings Bank, reported first quarter net income of $34.2 million, or 31 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $32.4 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, during the same period last year. Pacific Business News.


Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s past use of a property tax exemption for historic homes that allowed him to pay only $100 to $300 for several years has come back to haunt him as the city considers raising property taxes to cover rail deficits. Star-Advertiser.

At a crowded town hall in Honolulu on Saturday, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono faced a barrage of questions from her Democratic constituents in Hawaii who are fearful about their future in a world of Republican political ascendancy on the mainland. Civil Beat.

Philippine Airlines, which for the past four years has been the only carrier to fly nonstop between Manila and Honolulu, will add 1,100 more seats a month on the route beginning next month. Star-Advertiser.

Airport’s low crime level reflects team effort, state says. Star-Advertiser.

A federal appeals court has upheld the Honolulu Police Department’s refusal to grant a firearm permit to a man who was convicted of petty misdemeanor harassment. Star-Advertiser.

The median sales price of $415,500 for condominiums on Oahu hit an all-time high in April as more buyers appeared to opt for condos while the supply of single-family homes remained low, the president of the Honolulu Board of Realtors said Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

The median price of a condominium on Oahu rose 7 percent in April to $415,500, while prices of single-family homes slipped, when compared to the same month a year ago, according to statistics from the Honolulu Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Fusion Waikiki closed its doors for the last time this morning after a 28-year run, supplying dance music into the early-morning hours, drag shows and male stripper shows in Waikiki. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Big Island motorists and property owners will feel the pinch of higher taxes this year, following a revised budget released Friday by Mayor Harry Kim. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Harry Kim will be looking to raise taxes in order to balance the county budget. Big Island Video News.

An investigation is underway after rocks within the historic Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve were found damaged by graffiti last month. West Hawaii Today.

A criminal investigation is underway after graffiti was found painted on rocks within the Mauna Kea Ice Age Natural Area Reserve last month. Associated Press.

The Hawaii County Democratic party has a new County Chair. Former councilwoman Margaret Wille, running unopposed, led a slate of progressive candidates to take over the Hawaii County executive committee. Big Island Video News.

Big Island Dairy will be fined $25,000 for illegally discharging wastewater into a stream, the state Department of Health announced Friday. Tribune-Herald.

The number of single-family homes sold on the Big Island increased by 7 percent last month, compared to April 2016, but the number of condominiums sold dropped 17 percent, according to information provided by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of Hawaii Island Realtors. Pacific Business News.


Kihei resident Madge Schaefer and the Committee for Responsible Liquor Control filed a lawsuit in 2nd Circuit Court on Friday seeking the repeal of recent rule changes approved by the Liquor Control Commission that included the removal of blackout periods for the sale of alcohol, allowed home delivery of alcoholic products and removed the cap on the number of hostess bars. Maui News.

A lawsuit challenging the 24-hour sale of alcohol was filed against the liquor commission on Friday and in just a couple of days, the commission is holding a special meeting to hear testimony from the public. KHON2.

The Committee for Responsible Liquor Control and Kīhei resident Madge Schaefer filed a lawsuit on Friday asking the Second Circuit Court to invalidate the recent actions of the Liquor Control Commission. Maui Now.

Money for construction of schools, roads and Kahului Airport improvements are among Maui’s big-ticket capital improvement projects in the state’s two-year, 2018-19 budget that lawmakers have sent to Gov. David Ige’s desk for approval. Maui News.

While agricultural diversification of Alexander &Baldwin’s 36,000 acres of former sugar lands on Maui is “coming along well,” there’s no expectation that the effort will be profitable in the near term, A&B President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Benjamin told investors Thursday. Maui News.


U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono didn’t pull any punches when asked about the current administration during her town hall meeting Saturday afternoon at Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School. Garden Island.

Hawaii counties will soon be seeing a $10 million decrease in their allocation of Transient Accommodations Tax funds. Garden Island.

Kauai legislators review 2017 session. Garden Island.

The median price of single-family homes sold on Kauai rose 18 percent last month, compared to April 2016, even as the number of homes sold dropped 30 percent, according to statistics provided by Hawaii Information Service on behalf of the Kauai Board of Realtors. Pacific Business News.

Barbara Weidner just stepped into a new role as chair of Surfrider Foundation Kauai, but she’ll still be cleaning beaches and visiting schools. Garden Island.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Legislative session ends, Saiki takes over as House speaker, no deal reached on rail, state schools superintendent finalists meet public, economy to grow more slowly, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Capitol, courtesy Henry Curtis, Ililani Media
The Hawaii Legislature concluded with a sudden change in leadership in the state House of Representatives, ending a session marked by a failure to pass a major bill to fund Honolulu’s troubled rail transit project and the death of many other significant proposals. Associated Press.

A divided state Legislature closed out the turbulent 2017 session and headed home Thursday without approving any bill to provide more funding for rail, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he plans to press lawmakers for a new rail funding agreement that could be ratified in a special session later this year. Star-Advertiser.

Lawmakers Adjourn Without Deal To Pay For Rail. Civil Beat.

With nerves raw and no clear timeline for future talks, state lawmakers wrapped up the legislative session Thursday without reaching a deal on funding for Honolulu's beleaguered rail project. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Legislature adjourned Thursday after passing a total of 233 bills this session, including a state budget of $14.1 billion for fiscal year 2018 and $14.3 billion for fiscal year 2019. Pacific Business News.

House Speaker Joe Souki has officially resigned from that post effective immediately in the aftermath of Wednesday night’s House leadership reorganization. Star-Advertiser.

State Rep. Joseph Souki has resigned as speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii House Speaker Joe Souki resigned from his leadership post on Thursday, the final day of the Hawaii legislative session, citing “disappointments” during the session that included a failure to reach a deal with the Senate over funding for Honolulu’s rail transit project. Pacific Business News.

The highest-ranking elected Republican in Hawaii also wants to lead the state party. State Rep. Andria Tupola said Wednesday that she was officially running to be chairwoman of the Hawaii Republican Party. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s economy is expected to keep growing at a slower pace even as tourist arrivals head for a sixth straight record year and the construction industry remains busy. Star-Advertiser.

In their first public remarks in Hawaii on Thursday, the two candidates vying to be the next superintendent of public schools emphasized a commitment to ensuring equitable access to a high-quality education. Star-Advertiser.

The two finalists for Hawaii schools superintendent made statements and fielded questions from reporters Thursday, and one of the two could be offered the job next week. Civil Beat.

The two women vying to become Hawaii public schools' next superintendent have made their first public remarks. The candidates are 48-year-old Christina Kishimoto and 46-year-old Linda Chen. Kishimoto and Chen have been selected from an initial candidate pool of 92 applicants. Associated Press.

Linda Lingle to join panel of ex-governors at Harvard. Associated Press.

State regulators approved a 0.12 percent increase in Young Brothers Ltd.’s interisland shipping rates, denying the company’s request for a 4.36 percent increase. Star-Advertiser.


With legislative session over, councilwoman demands tough rail decisions be made at city level. KHON2.

If the rail project continues, taxpayers may be left to pick-up the tab, and that's not likely to go over well. KITV.

Affordable-housing advocates maintain that a city proposal for interim housing requirements for projects with zoning exemptions in transit-oriented development areas does not go far enough to meet Oahu’s housing shortage. Star-Advertiser.

Immigrant Investor Project Gets Rocky Reception From City Council/ A developer is using a federal cash-for-greencards investment program designed for economically distressed areas to finance a condominium project near Ala Moana Center. Civil Beat.

Inmates become farmers at the Waiawa Correctional Facility. KITV.

The wife of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” reality TV star Duane “Dog” Chapman should have a role in helping select the next chief of the Honolulu Police Department, the Police Commission’s chairman said. Associated Press.

Police Commissioner Cites Another ‘Failed Investigation’ Of Possible Abuse. Civil Beat.

There's more turnover at the top of the Honolulu Police Department as another high-ranking officer is leaving. Deputy Chief Jerry Inouye announced his retirement after 30 years with the force. Hawaii News Now.

A rehabilitation project by the Hawaii Department of Transportation Highways Division will close Kipapa Stream Bridge (Roosevelt) over the weekend. KHON2.

Alexander &Baldwin Inc., one of Hawaii’s largest landowners, reported net income Thursday of $7 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter, compared to a loss of $7 million for the same quarter last year. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Island

Astronomers say the best place on earth to practice their science is on Hawai‘i Island: Mauna Kea. The mountain is also important to cultural practitioners, hunters, hikers and sightseers. The mayor of Hawai'i County has been sharing his vision for the mountain. Hawaii Public Radio.

Three Big Island airports are slated for lighting improvements, the state Department of Transportation announced this week. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaiian Ethos — one of the two medical marijuana-licensed entities permitted on Hawaii Island — hopes to have its cultivation site up and running later this year. West Hawaii Today.

About 45 Volcano residents met Wednesday at Cooper Center with Puna police commanders and community policing officers to express concern about a spike in crime, especially burglaries. Tribune-Herald.

The old Keauhou Beach Hotel is coming down. West Hawaii Today.

It took only five minutes for nearly the entire delta to disappear into the sea on May 3, USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory scientist Matt Patrick said. Big Island Video News.


Environmental and cultural preservation groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to invalidate the Maui Planning Commission’s approval of the proposed $354.5 million, mixed-used Makena Resort project. Maui News.

Maui County Councilmember Elle Cochran has coordinated a series of events that includes county, state and private property managers, in what is being called Maui’s first-ever large scale training series on alternatives to landscape pesticides. Maui Now.

The Honolulu-based concrete production company that has been moving sand from Central Maui to other places off-site, including Oahu, has stopped transporting sand, following a formal notice from Maui County regarding permit issues on Monday. Maui News.

There’s been a major breakthrough in the fight to stop sand shipments from Maui to Oahu. KHON2.

The Waiehu Golf Course driving range will be closed for repairs starting Monday, May 8, and will reopen again on Friday, May 19. Maui Now.


Water flow will more than double in the Waimea River system once all of the diversions in the Kekaha and Koloa ditch systems are addressed, and some if it is already back in the watershed. Garden Island.

John Lydgate was a family man, a teacher and a historian who invested the last two decades of his life to building a park for the Kauai community. Garden Island.