Showing posts with label Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Senate President Donna Mercado Kim. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Kim to be ousted as Senate president, medical marijuana dispensary bill advances, Maui anti-GMO lawsuit in court, Honolulu City Council lukewarm about housing department, Kenoi's campaign manager gets county job, Ellison closes only Lanai hotel for upgrades, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy House Majority Office
Conference committee on medical marijuana dispensaries, courtesy House Majority

Hawaii state Senate factions are realigning to make Ron Kouchi the chamber’s new chief, replacing Senate President Donna Mercado Kim after less than two years, sources confirmed Monday night. The votes are there to reorganize leadership before the session ends Thursday, sources said, noting that at least 16 senators in the 25-member Senate have signed on. It’s possible the Senate could vote on the resolution as soon as Tuesday. Civil Beat.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim
confirmed late Monday night that she is likely to be replaced in a leadership shake-up that will put Kauai State Sen. Ron Kouchi in the Senate president's chair. Hawaii News Now.

Patients have waited nearly 15 years for legal access to medical marijuana in Hawaii, and they are now one step closer to reaching that goal. A bill to set up a system of medical marijuana dispensaries cleared its final committee hurdle on Monday, sending the bill to the full Legislature, where it’s expected to pass. Associated Press.

A bill to create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii cleared a huge hurdle on Monday. The measure seemed doomed last week, but patients celebrated after House and Senate negotiators finally approved the bill. Hawaii News Now.

Some 15 years after medical marijuana use became legal in Hawaii, lawmakers are suddenly on the verge of permitting dispensaries to sell the drug to the 13,000 patients across the state. In a highly unusual move, House and Senate negotiators Monday revived and then unanimously passed a medical pot dispensary bill that many observers had thought was dead and buried last week. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii could have medical marijuana dispensaries as soon as July 15 next year under a bill approved by a House-Senate conference committee Monday. Civil Beat.

Care home measure is deferred. The bill would have let separated couples live in one home. Star-Advertiser.

A Rundown of Survivors and Casualties at the Hawaii Legislature. Rail tax, Alii Place, Turtle Bay and autism bills advance. Payday loans, adult care home reform, school bullying and public housing bills die. Civil Beat.


City Council Chairman Ernie Martin says he and his colleagues still have a lot of concerns about the lack of accountability and financial transparency surrounding the $6 billion rail project. Before the tax can be implemented it must get past Gov. David Ige’s veto pen and then be approved by the Honolulu City Council. Civil Beat.

Honolulu City Council members are lukewarm to the idea of re-establishing a city housing department. The idea came up last week during a discussion on Resolution 15-43 before the Council Executive Matters and Legal Affairs Committee meeting. Star-Advertiser.

After a tumultuous year, managers of the city's Handi-Van service have reassigned the head of the operation to a lower position in what's being called a “reorganization.”  Hawaii News Now.

Officials are looking for a new vice president take lead Oahu's paratransit service in the wake of John Black's demotion to safety coordinator. Associated Press.

HPD arrests more than a dozen women in massage parlor prostitution sting. Hawaii News Now.

Concerned Maili residents are upset at several NOAA volunteers who they say are harassing a pregnant monk seal. KHON2.


Mayor Billy Kenoi’s campaign manager has been hired to head the county Office of Aging, a $110,000-plus position that oversees a department of 12 employees. Kimo Alameda was selected by a panel that did not include the mayor, said county officials. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii Department of Health has cited Sanford’s Service Center Inc. in Pahoa for operating a solid waste management facility without a state permit. The department announced on Monday the filing the Notice of Violation and Order against Sanford’s. West Hawaii Today.

Prominent Hilo attorney Gerard Lee Loy died Friday of an apparent heart attack. He was 67. Tribune-Herald.


The SHAKA Movement on Maui filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court, seeking an evidentiary hearing before continuing an injunction that delays the implementation of the Maui GMO moratorium. Maui Now.

The group that campaigned for a Maui ban on the cultivation of genetically modified organisms has appealed to a higher court in an attempt to free up the legal logjam that has prevented the law from going into effect.Star-Advertiser.

Panel sends $621 million budget to full council. Proposal includes reduced property tax rates and increased user fees. Maui News.


Pesticide watchdogs are billing their recent trip to Syngenta’s hometown as a success. Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser returned from Basal, Switzerland, where he addressed nearly 1,000 Syngenta stakeholders at the company’s shareholders meeting, asking the company to drop its lawsuit against the County of Kauai. Garden Island.


The 201-room Four Seasons Resort Lanai at Manele Bay, which is owned by billionaire Larry Ellison, will temporarily close on June 1 for at least three months, taking nearly every room on Lanai offline for the summer and fall. Pacific Business News.


A remote peninsula that has been the home of leprosy patients since the 19th century could be opened more fully to the public as the last remaining residents near the end of their lives. Associated Press.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hawaii Legislature opens with 55 years of statehood, poi pounding, talk of taxes, medical marijuana, GMOs and more. News reports from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Senate majority courtesy photo
Hawaii Senate opening day courtesy photo
State House Speaker Joseph Souki on Wednesday called for bold shifts in tax policy, urging the state to give the counties a greater share of hotel room tax revenue, collect taxes on Internet commerce and impose a pension tax on wealthy seniors. Souki suggested raising the $93 million annual cap on hotel room tax revenue that goes to the counties to $141 million, perhaps over several years, a recognition that the counties cover police, lifeguard, parks and other services used by tourists. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Legislature opened its 2014 session Wednesday with lei and speeches, and by recognizing former representatives and senators, including Gov. Neil Abercrombie, former Gov. John Waihee and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, in honor of 55th anniversary of statehood. Pacific Business News.

The Legislature convened for its 27th session today, with both Houses honoring more than 80 former lawmakers who served since Statehood 55 years ago. Hawaii Public Radio.

The 28th session of the State Legislature opens with several proposals that may impact your pocket book. KITV4's Andrew Pereira has more on what topics made the most impact on the House's first day. KITV4.

Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki started the 2014 legislative session Wednesday by calling for lawmakers to remove a cap on how much counties can share in the state’s hotel room taxes, a move that would be welcomed by mayors on the islands. Associated Press.

If House Speaker Joseph Souki has his way, Hawaii could be the next state to allow marijuana dispensaries for residents using the drug for medicinal purposes, following a national trend to loosen laws restricting access to cannabis. More than 12,000 residents take advantage of the Hawaii law that allows people to use marijuana for medical reasons, but patients have to grow their own weed. Civil Beat.

Shops selling pakalolo. State House Speaker Joe Souki says it's the next step given Hawaii's medical marijuana law, and not to raise state revenue. KHON2.

The University of Hawaii told lawmakers Tuesday it needs $33.5 million to replenish tuition revenues that have been used to cover salary restorations and increases in a six-year faculty contract. In return, the university promises to dedicate about half of the money to debt service on revenue bonds to start tackling the university's massive repair backlog. Star-Advertiser.

It's difficult to picture Donna Mercado Kim as a little girl, riding a bicycle and drinking water from a garden hose. And yet, there was the Senate president waxing nostalgic at the Capitol today about Hawaii's past, a time before PlayStation and bottled water. She was inspired by the presence of 40 former state senators who were honored on opening day of the 2014 Legislature. Civil Beat.

Rising Waters, Stinging Ants and GMOs Top Legislative Environmental Priorities. Civil Beat.

Minimum Wage, GMOs and How to Spend $844 Million Surplus, Will Take Center Stage at Legislative Session. Hawaii Reporter.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
(c) 2014 All Hawaii News
Today was opening day at the Hawaii State Legislature. Hundreds came to the Hawaii State Capitol to pound kalo into pa‘i ‘ai and poi. Hawaii Independent.

As Senate and House leaders proposed ways to propel the state toward a more prosperous future, a hui of community groups rang in the 2014 legislative session by gathering in the Capitol courtyard to honor the past by continuing one of Hawaii's most-revered ancient practices: pounding taro into poi. Until 2011, producing and consuming handmade poi was illegal because it violated Department of Health food safety laws, event coordinator David Anthony said. A law passed that year exempted hand-pounded poi, or paiai, from those laws. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s four mayors stood together before the House and Senate money committees Wednesday afternoon in the Capitol Auditorium and asked the Legislature to give the counties a broad new taxing authority. But the reaction from state lawmakers suggests their plea for the power to raise the General Excise Tax by as much as 1 percent will not pass this legislative session. Civil Beat.

Opening Day speeches:

Speaker Souki Calls on House to Create Opportunities for All.

Creating a Better Day for Hawaii - Senate Minority Opening Day Speech.

Opening Day Remarks by House Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson.


Navy officials said Wednesday night they're investigating a possible fuel leak in a tank at an underground facility built in Hawaii in the 1940s. Associated Press.

Federal Authorities are taking the city to task for delays in spending $8 million in federal housing money. In a Dec. 13 report, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said the city may have to repay the money if it's unable to spend the money this year. Hawaii News Now.

Opposition is building to plans from Los Angeles-based PACREP LLC to construct a second tower in its Ritz-Carlton Waikiki Beach Residences complex — an addition the developer and proponents say could bring a much-needed boost to an aging and constrained tourist destination. Star-Advertiser.

House lawmakers are peeved over a public service announcement they say is aimed at pressuring the Legislature to fund the controversial pharmacy college building at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposed budget includes $28 million in state-backed bonds for the Daniel K. Ino­uye College of Pharmacy building, and state Budget Director Kalbert Young has said the project is a top priority for the administration. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi has a laundry list of projects he wants the state Legislature to consider during the 2014 session that began Wednesday. But he emphasized at a hearing of the Senate Ways and Means and House Finance committees that the projects he’s outlined are the responsibility of the state, not the county. West Hawaii Today.


Last legislative session, Maui's lawmakers were able to secure more than $300 million in funds for various initiatives on-island, including $130 million for a long-awaited Kihei high school, $20 million for the acquisition of Lipoa Point and millions more in airport and harbor improvements. Maui News.


Kauai’s largest agricultural companies have shared how much restricted use pesticides they applied in December. Garden Island.

A County Vehicles Audit Report says the county needs to improve how it monitors, reports and authorizes employee vehicle use. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Drama in Hawaii as House advances gay marriage bill, Senate President Kim running for Congress, security tightened for Kauai GMO hearing, first above-average test score for Hawaii students, likely tsunami debris washes up on Windward Oahu, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 The Hawaii House on Wednesday night moved forward a bill to legalize gay marriage to the chamber’s final vote after a nearly 11-hour hearing that featured political maneuvering and chanting crowds outside the gallery. In a roll call vote, House lawmakers voted 30-18 to move forward the bill for a final reading, with three members excused. The bill will go to a last vote on Friday. Associated Press.

The state House voted late Wednesday to move forward with a marriage equality bill after a day of drama and emotion where lawmakers plowed through numerous procedural motions and amendments that would have postponed action or significantly amended the bill to expand a religious exemption. The 30-18 decision sets up a final House vote on Friday to fulfill a 48-hour notice requirement. If the House approves the bill, it would return to the Senate for another review next week. Star-Advertiser.

After 11 hours of emotional floor speeches and failed attempts to have the issue put on the ballot, the House passed Senate Bill 1 on second reading by a vote of 30 to 18 (three members' absences were excused). The decision brings the measure to its third reading, set for 10 a.m. Friday. From there, the bill returns to the Senate for its consideration. Civil Beat.

As passage of Hawaii’s same-sex marriage bill grows ever closer and more likely, opposition groups are growing ever louder and more angry. HuffPost Hawaii.

Dozens of people opposed to a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii have been chanting “Let the people vote” for hours Wednesday in the Capitol rotunda. Civil Beat.

House Republicans released an internal count showing overwhelming public opposition to SB 1 and urged colleagues to listen to the voice of the people. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaii House of Representatives passed a second reading of an amended version of SB 1, the "Hawaii Marriage Equality Act of 2013" Wednesday night passed 30 to 18, with 3 legislators excused. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii House has moved forward a bill to legalize gay marriage to a final vote after a nearly 11-hour hearing that featured political maneuvering and crowds outside the chamber. KITV.

The state House of Representatives voted 30-to-18 to move forward the same sex marriage bill to a third reading. The announcement of the vote caused an uproar at the State Capitol. KHON2.

After hours of debate and numerous floor amendments, the State House voted to approve SB1. Hawaii Independent.

The state House of Representatives voted 30-18 on Wednesday to advance an equality bill relating to same sex marriage in Hawaii. Maui Now.

How they voted, plus links to updates and testimony here.

congressional candidate #HI01
 State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim officially jumped into the 2014 1st Congressional District race on Wednesday, immediately positioning herself as the most experienced and, arguably, the best known among what is now a field of six. Star-Advertiser.

What do age, experience, smarts, ambition, name recognition and a knack for raising lots of money amount to? If you are Donna Mercado Kim, it means you are the frontrunner for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District. Civil Beat.

The race for Colleen Hanabusa's soon to be vacated seat in the First Congressional District is up for grabs and a sixth candidate has entered the field. KITV.

Hawaii public school fourth-graders exceeded the national average for math on a national standardized test -- the first time Hawaii has surpassed its national peers in any subject on the National Assessment of Educational Progress since state results began being recorded in the 1990s. Star-Advertiser.

State officials say Hawaii is spending $32 million to rebuild a tax collection system that has never worked properly. And lawmakers are questioning why Hawaii’s health insurance exchange would hire the same contractor to build the state’s online marketplace at the center of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Associated Press.

Hawaii will receive more than $1.45 million from Johnson & Johnson as part the $2.2 billion the drug giant has agreed to pay to settle criminal and civil allegations over the illegal promotion of two of its antipsychotic drugs, Attorney General David Louie said Wednesday. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii ranks third among all states when it came to adding new residents from the mainland or from overseas, according to the Census Bureau's recently released results of the 2012 American Community Survey, but that doesn't mean that our population is exploding. Civil Beat.

Hawaii's newest immigrants will get a better shot at pursuing the American dream by visiting one of four Immigrant Resource Centers the state is opening. Star-Advertiser.

Matson Inc., the state's largest ocean shipper, will pay tribute to late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye by naming one of two new container vessels it is acquiring after the longtime maritime industry supporter. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Army in the Pacific said it is exploring a new deployment concept for exercises and engagements with foreign nations that would have rotational forces travel from exercise to exercise to exercise for months at a time. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 7. Associated Press.


Three large pieces of lumber, perhaps tsunami debris from Japan, have washed up on Windward Oahu over the past several days. Star-Advertiser.

Citing concerns about delays and threats of NCAA sanctions if fast-approaching completion deadlines aren’t met, a University of Hawaii Board of Regents committee ordered an immediate audit of the Clarence T. C. Ching Athletic Complex project on Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.


Christmas is coming early for 31 appointed legislative staffers who will get 4 percent raises retroactive to July 1, thanks to action Wednesday by the Hawaii County Council. The raises, calculated to match similar raises granted unionized clerical staff, will bring a council aide’s salary to $31,512 and the special assistant to the council chairman to $50,444. West Hawaii Today.

A corporation recently formed in Hawaii has made the top bid for the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort. Ramco Properties LLC of Honolulu is offering $3.7 million for the troubled hotel on Hilo’s Banyan Drive. Tribune-Herald.

The state’s land board is set to consider a preliminary approval of the purchase of land for the Kona Judiciary Complex. The proposal to buy 10 acres of North Kona property from the Queen Liliuokalani Trust for the long-planned complex goes before the board Friday. West Hawaii Today.

Much of Hawaii Island continued to see below-average rainfall during the month of October, with severe and extreme drought conditions persisting in several locations, according to a National Weather Service report filed Wednesday morning. Tribune-Herald.


In recent years, Maui County's young people have outpaced the rest of the state in the severity of underage drinking, according to the executive summary of Maui County's Strategic Underage Drinking Prevention Program. Maui News.


Kauai County will heighten security at Thursday's special County Council meeting because of reported threats since Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s veto of Bill 2491, limiting pesticides and GMO. Associated Press.

Anybody planning to attend the meeting will be screened by handheld metal detectors. Personal belongings, including bags, containers, food and beverage containers will not be allowed in the chambers. Garden Island.

A Kauai County Council subcommittee will consider amendments to a measure that would fund a group charged with creating a study of pesticide use on the island. The unanimous council decision to refer the proposed resolution Wednesday to the Committee of the Whole came after most of the six  council members expressed disapproval of the measure in its current form. Garden Island.

Kilauea Irrigation Company is responsible for defending the state against lawsuits brought in the aftermath of a deadly 2006 Kauai dam break, a state appeals court has found. Associated Press.

The Kokee State Park Advisory Council will take another month or so to review the state’s master plan for Kokee and Waimea Canyon state parks before it makes a decision. Garden Island.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hawaii GOP seeks probe of Senate president, Stryker Brigade to stay in Hawaii, Maui raises property taxes, clams coming to Kauai, Honolulu's Ala Wai studied, quiet hurricane season predicted, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ala Wai (c) 2013 All Hawaii News

Ala Wai Canal: A $100 Million Problem. Complete series on the history and future of the Ala Wai. Civil Beat.

The Central Pacific, which includes the Hawaiian Islands, probably will experience another season of below-average tropical cyclone activity, the Central Pacific Hurricane Center announced Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s hurricane forecasters are calling for a relatively quiet tropical cyclone season for the Central Pacific Ocean Basin. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii’s wet season, which runs from October through April, was the driest wet season in 30 years, the National Weather Service in Honolulu said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The head of the U.S. Army in the Pacific said Hawaii is expected to keep its 22,500 active-duty soldiers as the Army downsizes, but it makes sense to re-evaluate whether the Stryker Brigade should keep its 320 armored vehicles or revert to a light infantry unit without Strykers. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Republican Party on Wednesday urged the state Ethics Commission to investigate whether state Senate President Donna Mercado Kim violated the ethics code when she called the University of Hawaii president last spring about her son's law school application. Star-Advertiser.

Even if the Senate president did not exert pressure on the university president, Kim may have violated the State Ethics Code and the Senate's own rules with just the phone call itself. Civil Beat.

As the University of Hawaii searches for a new president, critics are revisiting concerns about the relatively few local hires in top positions at the university. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s office announced Wednesday that $48.3 million will be spent to improve public housing throughout Hawaii, including $25.8 million for non-routine repairs, maintenance and renovations statewide. Pacific Business News.

Two years after tests first indicated the presence of a sexually transmitted disease in a handful of Hawaii Island cattle, state officials imposed a statewide quarantine order requiring testing of new dairy and beef bulls brought to the state and moved from one herd to another. West Hawaii Today.

KHON-TV is advising viewers of the Fox network affiliate or its CW network affiliate via Oceanic Time Warner Cable that the stations may be blacked out for most of Hawaii on May 31 if negotiations for a new retransmission contract are not successful. Star-Advertiser.

State 5/22. Associated Press.

State roundup for May 23. Associated Press.


A federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought against the city of Honolulu by members of a protest group that has been camping on the sidewalks around Thomas Square. Star-Advertiser.

In the last three years, the University of Hawaii has spent $1.3 million on repairs and upgrades to College Hill, the presidents' home that UH President MRC Greenwood has chosen not to live in. Hawaii News Now.

The James Campbell Co. is looking to sell 516 acres of mostly undeveloped land in West Oahu known as Kapolei West, a potential mixed-use residential and commercial master-planned community that would connect the City of Kapolei with Ko Olina Resort. Pacific Business News.

The city's aging Neal S. Blaisdell Center could be a site of one of three proposed 700-foot residential towers under a draft plan proposed by a state agency regulating development in Kakaako. Star-Advertiser.

For the more than 20,000 people who live there, there’s only one way in and out of Mililani Mauka. After years of traffic headaches, there are some options on the table to ease the frustration. KHON2.


Hikes in property taxes, park fees, bus fares and vehicle registration and weight taxes will balance Mayor Billy Kenoi’s proposed $394.3 million 2013-14 budget, a 7.9 percent increase over this year. But there’s still a wild card in the mix: Two major public worker unions have yet to complete collective bargaining agreements. West Hawaii Today.

All the right factors need to be in place for Hawaii County to successfully convert Alii Drive to one-way traffic in the downtown area, community members and business stakeholders told officials Wednesday in North Kona. West Hawaii Today.

Last June, the Department of Education launched a small pilot program in Kona on the Big Island, testing just how well GPS tracking systems, with real-time data, would streamline bus service. And it worked beautifully. KITV4.

The Hilo Brewfest, scheduled for June 1 from 2-6 p.m., will take place on the grounds of the Wainaku Executive Center and will feature sample beers from 20 different breweries. Tribune-Herald.


A resolution that would increase property tax rates for majority of island residents and businesses was approved by the Maui County Council Wednesday morning. Maui News.

Maui Tea Partier In D.C.: IRS Scrutiny 'Chilling' Civil Beat.

Updated tsunami evacuation maps have been released by the Maui County Civil Defense Agency. Maui Now.

While developers of the 670-acre Honua'ula golf community have made efforts to meet a number of the 30 conditions set by the Maui County Council when the project's zoning was approved in 2008, some community groups said on Tuesday that many critical conditions have still not been met. Maui News.

Community voices opposition to ‘danger zone’ Corps seeks larger safety area during live target practice. Garden Island.

For the first time in decades, the state Department of Health has approved the growing waters and sale of shellfish by a local grower. Health officials approved the permit for Sunrise Capital, doing business under the name Kauai Clams. Hawaii News Now.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources announced Friday the opening of archery, muzzleloading rifle and high-powered rifle hunting seasons for feral goats on the island of Kauai. Garden Island.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hawaii cattle quarantined, UH President Greenwood-Senate President Kim feud turns personal, five inmate deaths in two months, DHHL called to Senate hearing, GMO group meeting on Kauai, solar farm in Ka'u, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserverd
Cattle and calves at pasture (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
All beef and dairy bulls coming into the state or moved between herds here must be tested for bovine trichomoniasis, under a quarantine order issued by the state Department of Agriculture Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Officials from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are to address concerns of lawmakers raised by a state auditor's report in April that said the agency lacks clearly defined roles and responsibilities for trust administration and kept insufficient data on loan delinquencies and other programs. Star-Advertiser.

The string of five inmate deaths — including four suicides — in Hawaii correctional facilities in just over two months is indeed a crisis, as Ted Sakai, the state’s director of public safety said recently. Civil Beat.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim acknowledged Tuesday that she called University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood last spring to ask about the status of her son's application to law school, but she denied that she was angry or claimed law school administrators were incompetent. Star-Advertiser.

State Senate President Donna Kim Tuesday denied allegations by UH President MRC Greenwood that Kim threatened to hold hearings into the UH William Richardson School of Law when Kim asked Greenwood last spring about whether UH had received her son's law school application. Hawaii News Now.

Now that it is law for all passengers in cars to wear a seat belt some also want to ban riding in the back of pickup trucks. Hawaii News Now.

A former state judge has been suspended from the practice of law for a year and a day for violating rules governing lawyers’ conduct. Star-Advertiser.


An emerging condominium development boom in Kakaako got a lot bigger Tuesday, with the owner of Ward Centers announcing it will build 900 units in three towers — at the same time. Star-Advertiser.

For more than two decades, the Ala Wai canal has regularly failed state and federal water quality standards for recreational bodies of water, limits that are in place to keep people from getting sick. Civil Beat.

It appears fiscal catastrophe has been averted at Honolulu Hale, despite some budgetary posturing by the Caldwell administration. Civil Beat.

Bring your luggage and be ready to leave your fingerprint. That could be the future of air travel for foreigners visiting Hawaii. KHON2.


A University of Hawaii-Hilo spokeswoman insists a $28 million dorm project will be ready by August, but a report obtained by Hawaii Reporter and outlines numerous flaws in the taxpayer-funded project. Hawaii Reporter.

Construction on a series of solar panels in Ka‘u could begin as soon as 60 to 90 days, a solar company official said Tuesday. West Hawaii Today.

One of the most important duties of those who care for Hawaii's highest peak is conserving the natural resources. That includes both keeping invasive species out, and replanting endangered species. Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui County filed a lawsuit against Wailuku Main Street Association Inc./Tri-Isle Main Street Resource Center on Monday afternoon claiming that the organization violated its county grant agreement and that the agency should return more than $11,000 worth of personal property bought with county funds and any remaining funding obtained under the agreement. Maui News.

The removal of the wreckage and debris of three vessels that were grounded Friday and Saturday by high surf off Mala Wharf in West Maui continued. Maui News.


For the first time in its 42-year history, the Hawai‘i Crop Improvement Association will hold its annual meeting on Kaua‘i. The HCIA is composed of five member companies — Syngenta, BASF, DOW, Pioneer and Monsanto. Garden Island.

The traditional fireworks show will not be included in this year's Freedom celebration at the Pacific Missile Range Facility because of budget constraints. Garden Island.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hawaii Legislature opens with leadership changes, protests, tax concerns, Honolulu mayor wants rail tax money, Hawaii County mayor wants state parks, plastic bag ban begins, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

opening day 2013 Legislature
Hawaii Senate opening day, courtesy Senate Majority Office
The Hawaii Legislature opened its 2013 session at the Capitol in Honolulu on Wednesday with speeches from new leadership and music and dance from local entertainers. Pacific Business News.

Senators and representatives were sworn in and new leadership was chosen in both houses Wednesday as the 2013 Hawaii legislative session got under way. Associated Press.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said Wednesday that despite anticipating a better economy, lawmakers should not impose new tax burdens on residents or reflexively expand state programs. House Speaker Joseph Souki said the state must generate new revenue if legislators want to restore the social safety net, improve public education and repair infrastructure. Star-Advertiser.

On Wednesday, Calvin Say's 14 years as speaker ended, and the man he deposed — Joe Souki — was returned to power with the votes of 25 Democrats and all seven Republicans.Civil Beat.

on Wednesday, January 16, during the first day of the 60 working day session, both the Senate president and House speaker expressed their concern over Hawaii's high tax burden. Hawaii Reporter.

The 27th State Legislature opened Wednesday, and an expected change in the House of Representatives leadership has given more — or at least some — power to the Republican minority in Hawai‘i’s Democratic-dominated political arena. Garden Island.

Sen. Donna Mercado Kim takes helm as Senate president, Rep. Joe Souki installed as House Speaker. KITV4.

The State Legislature convened today with many focusing on the House of Representatives where a new leader was formally installed… resulting in a major shift in power for the first time in 14 years. Hawaii Public Radio.

Joseph Souki officially took over as state House speaker, succeeding Calvin Say. But supporters of the outgoing leader voiced discontent at Say's seat assignment. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds marched on the state capitol on Wednesday hoping lawmakers will hear their call to action. KHON2.

With swooping, rhythmic motions, hundreds of men, women, teenagers and preschoolers pounded taro into roughly 1,000 pounds of poi Wednesday at the state Capitol as part of a protest that drew hundreds of residents hoping to have their voices heard on the opening day of the legislative session. Star-Advertiser.

On Wednesday, there was a cadence of movement, as hundreds gathered in a convocation of various groups coming together to push for labeling of genetically modified foods. Hawaii Independent.

[VIDEO] Legislature's Opening Day: Speeches, Songs, Chants and Cheers. Civil Beat.

This is a copy of Speaker Joseph M. Souki's prepared remarks to the opening session of the state House of Representatives on Wednesday. Maui News.

A Honolulu-based nonprofit law firm wants state lawmakers to establish a Hawaii earned income tax credit and eliminate the income tax on the poor to ease the burden on low-income individuals and families. West Hawaii Today.

Toxic chemicals released in Hawaii from facilities such as electric utilities and fuel refineries increased slightly in 2011, according to the latest Toxics Release Inventory data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. is considering asking environmental regulators to extend deadlines for complying with new regulations that they say would cost ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk  Caldwell told lawmakers this week the city has been shortchanged when it comes to a special tax that's earmarked for rail and that an accounting error led to the loss of $10 million last year. Civil Beat.

The explosion at a Waikele storage facility that killed five people in 2011, along with a fireworks-related Fourth of July fatality in Kansas, shows a clear "regulatory gap" when it comes to the disposal of fireworks in the United States, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board said in a report expected to be released this morning in Washington, D.C. Star-Advertiser.

Preliminary necropsy findings on a humpback whale calf that died off an East Honolulu beach indicate the mammal may have been battling some sort of respiratory infection, according to one of the scientists at Hawaii Pacific University involved in the examination. Star-Advertiser.

Chevron Corp. will likely follow Tesoro Corp.'s lead and close its Campbell Industrial Park refinery within a few years as the environment to do business in Hawaii becomes more difficult, an East-West Center energy expert said Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.


One of Mayor Billy Kenoi’s legislative priorities — a county takeover of Hapuna Beach and Mauna Kea State Recreation Areas — is already encountering some resistance in the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

If you want to save a few cents at area supermarkets and shopping malls, now is the time to start toting your shopping bags into the store with you. West Hawaii Today.

The Four Seasons Resort Hualalai on Hawaii island took top honors in four categories in the TripAdvisor 2013 Travelers' Choice Hotel awards: best overall in the U.S. and in the world and best luxury hotel in the U.S. and in the world. Star-Advertiser.


A lecture, a performance and a display are part of the events that will be held Thursday on the University of Hawaii Maui College lawn fronting Kaahumanu Avenue to commemorate and educate the public about the 120th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom that occurred on Jan. 17, 1893. Maui News.

The Department of Water Supply will be providing combined water and wastewater bills on a monthly basis starting next week. Maui News.


The Department of Water will bill its customers on a monthly basis instead of bi-monthy beginning Jan. 22, according to a county news release. DOW officials say the change was made to provide better customer service. Garden Island.