Showing posts with label legislative session. Show all posts
Showing posts with label legislative session. Show all posts

Friday, August 25, 2017

Rail deal reached-- special session starts Monday, lawmaker seeks recreational marijuana, Maui police suspended in probe, mumps could linger another year, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Mayor's Office photo
Caldwell unveiling rail, May 30, 2017, Mayor's Office photo
State lawmakers announced their new plan Thursday to raise $2.37 billion to bail out the city’s financially troubled rail project, but Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell warned the money is “not sufficient” to cover the budget shortfall for rail. Star-Advertiser.

Four days ahead of a planned special session, state House and Senate leaders outlined their proposal to save Honolulu’s struggling rail project. Civil Beat

Full text of SB1, rail funding bill to be heard Monday can be found here.

State lawmakers have struck a breakthrough compromise to keep Honolulu's rail project going, but the city says the deal falls short. Hawaii News Now.

Just days before a special session, Hawaii lawmakers announced late Thursday they've come up with a measure that could fund Honolulu's mass transit rail project. KITV.

Hawaii lawmakers reached a tentative agreement Thursday, which means a special session to address funding for Honolulu’s rail project can begin Monday. KHON2.

Hawaii lawmakers have reached a tentative deal to solve the funding shortfall of Honolulu's rail project by drafting a bill that combines extending Oahu's general excise tax surcharge as well as raising the transient accommodations tax by one percent. Pacific Business News.

A bill to fund completion of the $8.2 billion rail project on Oahu will be considered during a special legislative session next week. Garden Island.

Governor and lawmakers react to new rail funding ideas. KITV.

The ongoing friction between several state lawmakers and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is a key subplot in the drama playing out this week in the Legislature as it decides whether, and how, to raise the money to bail out the city’s financially strapped rail project. Star-Advertiser.

State House and Senate leaders have come up with a compromise measure to help the City and County of Honolulu pay for cost overruns on its rail project that includes raising the hotel room tax — assessed in all state counties — by 1 percent and increasing Maui County’s share of the revenues by $2.3 million per year. Maui News.


Homeless shelters are bracing for change — and the potential loss of funds — as the state begins requiring them to move the homeless more swiftly into permanent housing. Civil Beat.

Hawaii’s desire for higher tax revenue could eventually lead to the legal sale of recreational marijuana, a state legislator said. Star-Advertiser.

The fate of America’s largest protected conservation area — the 580,000-square-mile Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands — remains in doubt after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Thursday sent undisclosed recommendations to President Donald Trump about 27 national monuments that Trump ordered reviewed. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii again ranked No. 1 in a national nonprofit’s survey of state investments in energy efficiency projects. Star-Advertiser.

Fundraising accounts have been set up for two of the five Hawaii Army aviators missing from the Aug. 15 nighttime crash of a Black Hawk helicopter off Kaena Point as a sonar search for wreckage and the crew continues about a mile offshore. Star-Advertiser.

Royal Hawaiian heiress Abigail Kawananakoa wants a state judge to issue a gag order to her former attorney, James Wright, saying he has inappropriately revealed sensitive details about her and her partner, Veronica Gail Worth. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Department of Health says it could be a year or more before the state's mumps outbreak finally subsides. Hawaii News Now.


City audit discovers high costs in employee overtime in the bulky waste pick-up program. KITV.

Grandmother who launched Kealoha corruption probe believes indictments are coming. Hawaii News Now.

A bill that would establish a special entity to manage parking and traffic in Waikiki will go before the full Honolulu City Council for a final vote. KITV.

Risking fines, thousands of moped owners flout new requirements. Hawaii News Now.

According to a report from the Honolulu Police Department, the department paid more than $171,000 for overtime and expenses over the last fiscal year on protecting visiting dignitaries. KHON2.

Matson Inc. on Wednesday said it reached a deal with Paceco Corp. for the purchase of three new 65 long-ton capacity cranes and modifications to upgrade three existing cranes at its Sand Island Terminal in Honolulu Harbor. Pacific Business News.

Bank of Hawaii’s renovation of its main branch downtown will be unveiled Wednesday after five months of construction. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Electric Co. ranks among the top 10 utility companies in the United States for solar capacity per customer, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance "2017 Utility Solar Market Snapshot." Pacific Business News.

A live boa constrictor found in a shipment of household goods was spotted Thursday morning by workers who were unloading a pallet and then used a stick and bucket to capture it. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

The University of Hawaii’s Board of Regents adopted a resolution Thursday in Honolulu stating it affirms its commitment to the “collaborative stewardship” of Mauna Kea and its resources. Tribune-Herald.

Pohakuloa seeks citizens for advisory board. West Hawaii Today.

Fall enrollment at the University of Hawaii at Hilo appears to be lower than predicted, but interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai said she’s optimistic the campus can reverse the decline. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii's state-funded aerospace agency, Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems, has launched a new credit-based internship program for students at the Big Island's Hawaii Community College to gain high-tech skills. Pacific Business News.

The lawsuit over the state’s Kaʻū Forest Reserve Management Plan reached the Hawaii Supreme Court. Big Island Video News.

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has awarded $646,886 in grant funding to restore the Kawaihae watershed in West Hawaii. Garden Island.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park will temporarily close portions of the popular Thurston Lava Tube, also known as Nahuku, and its rainforest loop trail for maintenance work. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County will become the first county in the United States to receive a Blue Zones designation. Hawaii Public Radio.


Maui Police Department investigations lead to suspensions. Maui News.

Two people testifying Wednesday in a sand mining lawsuit recalled seeing earthmoving work in a Maui Lani development in February without a required archaeological monitor. Maui News.

A single family residence located at 150 Luna Place in Paiia, is being proposed for transformation into a commercial building. Maui Now.

Ocean water levels remain unseasonably high, said a University of Hawaii coastal expert. Maui News.


Watershed restoration: Waipa Foundation’s holistic management of the ahupua’a is showing signs of success. Garden Island.

Bus shelters on the way: Project expected to cost nearly $900k. Garden Island.

When it comes to converting to renewable energy, the biggest success story in the islands is on Kauai. Hawaii Public Radio.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Bills for free tuition, school funding, Zuckerberg's land plans, $2B housing bond flow in new legislative session, Ige's State of the State address today, lower coffee rules to stay, Maui to vote on GMO repeal, veto override, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Wind farm on Big Island
President Donald Trump has disputed climate change, pledged a revival of coal and disparaged wind power, and his nominee to head the Energy Department was once highly skeptical of the agency’s value. What this means for states’ efforts to promote renewable energy is an open question. Associated Press.

Hawaii could soon join other states in offering tuition-free college under legislative proposals to have the state pick up the cost of tuition and other school expenses for needy students enrolled at University of Hawaii community colleges. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Cash-Strapped Small Schools Struggle To Operate. The teachers union and a Maui state representative will push proposals to better fund remote neighbor island schools. Civil Beat.

Lawmakers are introducing dozens of measures that aim to solve Hawaii’s homelessness crisis and increase affordable housing, including a proposal to issue $2 billion in state-backed bonds to develop public housing, shelters and apartments. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority faces losing its sunshine exemption in the wake of criticism from lawmakers and members of the visitor industry that it isn’t transparent about how it spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to market the islands. Star-Advertiser.

State health officials are pushing this year to restore adult Medicaid coverage for basic dental care nearly eight years after it was cut amid the 2008 financial crisis. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii struggles to stem homelessness and prison overcrowding, Gov. David Ige wants to take a new approach: connecting people arrested for low-level drug crimes with social services rather than putting them behind bars. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige will give his third State of the State address to the Legislature at 10 a.m. Monday in the chamber of the state House of Representatives at the Capitol. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: Fellow Democrats faulting governor for lack of decisiveness and clear leadership. Star-Advertiser.

Robert Farrell, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ new chief of enforcement, pledged to work on improving efficiency and providing more resources to staff as he takes the reins as helm of DLNR’s Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement. Star-Advertiser.


The Honolulu Police Department let millions of budgeted dollars lapse unspent, while some divisions, including the police commission, have seen spending soar in recent years. KHON2.

Honolulu motorists whose commute includes the east end of H-1 and the adjoining Kalanianaole Highway should plan detours when heading home this week, as workers are expected to be repairing a broken water main until Thursday. Star-Advertiser.


Six Hawaii County department heads and seven deputy directors make less than their subordinates, an issue the county’s Salary Commission will focus on at a meeting next month. Tribune-Herald.

A compromise among coffee producers statewide is leading to continuation of lower standards that were temporarily put in place in 2014 in the wake of an invasion of coffee berry borers. West Hawaii Today.

Two Kona legislators are pushing for management changes at the Honokohau Small Boat Harbor as its state of disrepair, and the overall quality of other harbors like it, have become a growing source of frustration across Hawaii Island. West Hawaii Today.

Honomu residents will ask the county Parks and Recreation Department to save their iconic banyan trees. Tribune-Herald.

Starting today, all Priority Mail stamps sold around the country will feature an image of Hilo’s Liliuokalani Park and Gardens. Tribune-Herald.


The Family Life Center’s new state contracts for emergency shelter and other services for Maui homeless people have forced the facility to reduce its number of beds from 50 to 18 and to discontinue shelter services for families and men. Maui News.


Over 120 years have passed since a handful of businessmen with loyalties to the U.S. led a coup d’etat to overthrow the Kingdom of Hawaii, but some Native Hawaiians on the Garden Isle continue to advocate sovereignty. Garden Island.

Solutions to Kapaa’s traffic will be discussed Thursday at a public meeting hosted by the Kapaa Business Association. Garden Island.

Council to vote on mayor veto, GMO repeal. Garden Island.

School transgender guidelines implemented smoothly. Garden Island.


Entire Island of Lana'i without power. KITV.

Lanai High & Elementary School will be closed Monday due to the power outage on the island, the state Department of Education announced at 9 p.m. Sunday. Maui News.

A Hawaii lawmaker said Friday he plans to introduce a bill aimed at closing what he calls a “legal loophole” that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is using to gain ownership of small pieces of land, or kuleana lands, within his 700 acres of oceanfront property on the island of Kauai. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii Dairy Farms, a long-planned 699-cow operation on the island of Kauai being funded by billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Honolulu investment firm Ulupono Initiative, has reached a key milestone. Pacific Business News.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hawaii Legislature's opening day, Zuckerberg sues over Kauai locals, audit calls for midwife licensing, Native Hawaiian health, FBI raid update in Kealoha case, lawmakers question loss of school superintendent, Hard Rock Cafe leaves Maui, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2017 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii state Capitol © 2017 All Hawaii News
Today marks the opening day of the state Legislature, with the House and Senate scheduled to convene at the state Capitol at 10 a.m. Star-Advertiser.

State lawmakers are pushing for energy independence, easing the high cost of living and improving working conditions in the state’s commercial fishing fleet as they begin the 2017 legislative session. Associated Press.

Lawmakers interrogated several members of the Board of Education on Tuesday over the decision not to retain schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, and demanded to know what prompted the call for a leadership change. Star-Advertiser.

Two groups of lawmakers wanted answers Tuesday as to why current Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi is being replaced when the Board of Education has said she’s done a good job. Civil Beat.

The accounting practices of the State Public Charter School Commission came under scrutiny during a legislative budget hearing at the Capitol.  Civil Beat.

A plan to ease overcrowding in Hawaii jails by releasing nonviolent accused or convicted petty criminals hasn’t gotten off the ground yet, and might not have much impact when it finally takes effect because too few inmates will qualify. Star-Advertiser.

A state audit calls for all midwives to be licensed in Hawaii. KITV.

A group of health leaders is proposing public policy changes such as a minimum wage hike and public dental benefits for low-income residents in an attempt to reduce health disparities among Native Hawaiians with a higher proportion of chronic diseases. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii typically ranks among the top states when it comes to the health of its residents, but its indigenous population suffers disproportionately from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and high incarceration rates. Civil Beat.

Senate president’s goals include rail, health care services. Garden Island.

Counties Again Seek Greater Share Of Hotel Tax, Lifeguard Immunity. Protection from civil litigation expires July 1 unless lawmakers act. Counties want lifeguards treated the same as some state workers. Civil Beat.

Counselor Involved In School Sex Case Now Works For State. Scott O’Neal didn’t admit liability but paid $750,000 to settle. The Department of Health said it could find no reason not to hire him. Civil Beat.

Women legislators across the country are launching a bi-partisan effort to address the opioid abuse epidemic.    Local lawmakers conducted a news conference today on their proposed legislation. Hawaii Public Radio.

The state Department of Health levied an administrative penalty of $2,800 against Safeway Inc. “for failure to submit payments and reports required of beverage distributors.” Tribune-Herald.


The FBI raided another county building late last week as part of its public corruption case against Honolulu's police chief and his deputy prosecutor wife, Hawaii News Now has learned.

Hawaii Sen. Will Espero has added his name to the chorus of people urging the Honolulu Police Commission to hold off on inking a cash settlement with Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who is under federal investigation for corruption. Civil Beat.

What will police chief Louis Kealoha walk away with when his retirement becomes official? It’s a question the Honolulu Police Commission will answer at its meeting Wednesday. KHON2.

How Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell's pay stacks up against other big city mayors. Pacific Business News.

State officials say they’ll have to relocate the 450-foot-tall radio tower near the Kapalama Canal in the next several years to help make way for more harbor capacity — but where the tower will go hasn’t been decided. Star-Advertiser.

The City and County of Honolulu expects to select a company in the coming months that will replace about 52,000 of its streetlights with more efficient LED lighting, a city spokesman confirmed to Pacific Business News Tuesday.

State officials recovered an illegal 4-1/2-foot ball python over the weekend, the Department of Agriculture said. Star-Advertiser.

The first residents of a new apartment complex in Kapolei that feels like a hotel for seniors received a grand welcome along with a kahu’s blessing and a Champagne toast Tuesday as part of the project’s opening ceremony. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Harry Kim headed to Honolulu Tuesday, ready to meet, greet, request and repeat. West Hawaii Today.

Amidst concerns expressed by residents neighboring the planned East Hawaii Organics Facility in Panaewa, the mayor is taking another look at the enhanced mulching project. Big Island Video News.

Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara interrupted a burglary at her Pahoa council office Monday when she found a man making himself a little too comfortable. Tribune-Herald.

Demolition of two Pahoa landmarks — the Akebono Theatre and Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant — started Tuesday afternoon following a late-night blaze that heavily damaged both buildings Sunday. Tribune-Herald.

The Hawaii Police Department and residents of Puueo have taken steps toward the creation of a neighborhood watch to help address ongoing concerns about crime and drug use in the area. Tribune-Herald.


The titles, membership and duties of each committee were finally decided at 9:30 p.m. Monday after the Maui County Council unanimously approved a proposal to create four committees with seven voting members and four with nine voting members. Maui News.

Closed for months following massive flooding in September, Iao Valley State Monument and Kepaniwai Park are both expected to re-open this year, county and state officials said. Maui News.

A peek through the windows of Lahaina’s Hard Rock Cafe on Thursday afternoon shows that the Front Street landmark has been closed and cleaned out after a 26-year run. Maui News.


Lawsuit: When Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg paid around $100 million for 700 acres of rural beachfront land on Kauai two years ago to create what Forbes magazine described as a secluded family sanctuary, he actually acquired a not-so-secluded property. Close to a dozen small parcels within Zuckerberg’s Kauai estate are owned by kamaaina families who have rights to traverse the billionaire’s otherwise private domain. Star-Advertiser.

When the Legislature opens today, a slew of key issues await Kauai legislators. Garden Island.

With today’s opening of the 2017 Hawaii State Legislative session, some on Kauai are redirecting the spotlight to restricted use pesticides. But the agribusiness industry is waiting for the opening of the session to take up the issue. Garden Island.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing regarding the departmental draft of the General Plan update. Garden Island.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hawaii Legislature prepares for session opening, 300 rally for health care, tourism bureau prefers closed meetings, foreclosure increase bucks national trend, homeless, squatters plague Big Island, candidates set for Kauai electric coop, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Democratic Party of Hawaii
Health-care rally, with U.S. Sen. Schatz, courtesy Hawaii Democratic Party
More than 300 people gathered Sunday at the Hawaii State Capitol for a rally to save the Affordable Care Act. KITV.

The Legislature will gather for its 29th biennial session Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the state Capitol. Among the nagging problems that confront lawmakers are the lack of affordable housing, the condition of congested state highways, and aging facilities such as the Oahu Community Correctional Center that need to be refurbished or replaced. Star-Advertiser.

Commentary: The first legislative pass over Gov. David Ige’s $28.5 billion, two-year state budget drew only catcalls. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority, empowered by the Legislature to spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to market the islands, is operating behind closed doors at least half the time, according to a three-month review of records by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s tight housing market is the result of a “costly, time-consuming, and politically and economically uncertain” development process and not short-term Airbnb rentals, says a study conducted for the online vacation rental company. West Hawaii Today.

With President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration a week away, Pacific Business News took the temperature of local industries on their expectations of the new administration. Hawaii Public Radio.

Embattled telecommunications provider Sandwich Isles Communications Inc. is disputing findings by the federal government that the company received more than $26 million in overpayments of federal subsidies over 10 years. Star-Advertiser.

Schatz Gets Key Role On Military Panel. Hawaii senator hopeful that new post will bring money to the state. Civil Beat.

Hawaii experienced an increase in foreclosure activity in 2016, contrasting the national trend with foreclosure activity sinking to its lowest level since 2006 according to a report by property database Attom Data Solutions. Pacific Business News.


An FBI raid on the Honolulu prosecuting attorney's office is the latest action in a growing corruption scandal involving the chief of police and his prosecutor wife. Associated Press.

The Honolulu Police Commission won’t meet with the City Council about a retirement deal for Police Chief Louis Kealoha, who has agreed to leave the department in the midst of a federal criminal probe but is still negotiating his exit. Civil Beat.

In the first rent increases in years, the city on Feb. 1 will begin raising rates on 10 “affordable” residential properties across Oahu, including those for low-income senior citizens. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu City Councilman Ikaika Anderson wants to move quickly on a proposal that would presumably end the idea of developing the Malaekaha­na section of Laie. Star-Advertiser.

A former Honolulu police officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Associated Press.


It’s that time of year again, and Big Island legislators are brimming with new ideas for laws and projects they want to see in their districts. West Hawaii Today.

Harry Kim ordered the removal of a baseball diamond from the Kukuihaele Park redevelopment plan. The facility had the neighborhood sharply divided. Big Island Video News.

Homeless at Old Kona Airport Park say they’ve been told to clear out; but ‘very few places to go’ West Hawaii Today.

New players are starting to emerge in Hawaii Island’s international tourism game, as 2016 saw a noticeable increase in arrivals and expenditures from South Korean and Taiwanese visitors. Tribune-Herald.

A destructive house fire last week underscores the problem of squatters on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Workers from entry level to highly trained professionals are needed for high-paying East Hawaii health care jobs. Tribune-Herald.

An assessment of Hawaii Island’s sandalwood supply is being planned to help state officials improve protection of what remains of the sweet-scented tree. Tribune-Herald.


Maui County’s state legislators will continue to push for a smooth transition for Maui Memorial Medical Center and will remain vigilant in ensuring that long-term projects such as the Kihei high school get the money and support they need. Maui News.

Renters in the Lahaina Front Street Apartments fear they’ll eventually be forced out of their affordable units, due to a loophole in the tax code that would allow the units to be bumped up to market rates by 2019. Maui News.

Wailuku/Kahului was one of five communities statewide chosen to join the Blue Zones Project, a community well-being improvement initiative. Maui News.


The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative has confirmed seven candidates that will run for three seats during its board of directors election in March. Pacific Business News.

During the first week of January, 17 animals were transferred to the Mainland from Kauai Humane Society as a direct result of the community’s involvement. Garden Island.

For the Surfrider Foundation, which announced its landmark 400th coastal victory over the past decade, consistently moving forward and improving coasts and oceans is the primary goal. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Press release: Hawaii House names committee leadership, creates new Intrastate Commerce Committee to focus on business regulation

Hawaii House of Representatives
 The House of Representatives Majority named its 2017 Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs during a caucus meeting today.

A new committee, Intrastate Commerce, will focus on regulations and licensing of Hawaii businesses such as banking, telecommunications and property insurance.

House Leaders, Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs are:

Speaker: Joseph M. Souki
Speaker Emeritus: Calvin K.Y. Say
Vice Speaker: John M. Mizuno
Majority Leader: Scott K. Saiki
Majority Floor Leader: Cindy Evans
Majority Policy Leader: Marcus R. Oshiro
Majority Whip: Ken Ito
Assistant Majority Leaders:
                Chris Lee
                Dee Morikawa
                Roy M. Takumi

Agriculture (AGR)
Chair: Richard Creagan
Vice Chair: Lynn DeCoite

Consumer Protection & Commerce (CPC)
Chair: Angus L.K. McKelvey
Vice Chair: Linda Ichiyama

Economic Development & Business (EDB)
Chair: Mark M. Nakashima
Vice Chair: Jarrett Keohokalole

Education (EDN)
Chair: Roy M. Takumi
Vice Chair: Sharon E. Har

Energy & Environmental Protection (EEP)
Chair: Chris Lee
Vice Chair: Nicole Lowen

Finance (FIN)
Chair: Sylvia Luke
Vice Chair: Ty J.K. Cullen

Health (HLT)
Chair: Della Au Belatti
Vice Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
Higher Education (HED)
Chair: Justin H. Woodson
Vice Chair: Mark J. Hashem

Housing (HSG)
Chair: Tom Brower
Vice Chair: Nadine Nakamura

Human Services (HUS)
Chair: Dee Morikawa
Vice Chair: To be announced

Intrastate Commerce (IAC)
Chair: Takashi Ohno
Vice Chair: Isaac W. Choy

Judiciary (JUD)
Chair: Scott Y. Nishimoto
Vice Chair: Joy San Buenaventura

Labor & Public Employment (LAB)
Chair: Aaron Ling Johanson
Vice Chair: Daniel Holt

Legislative Management (LMG)
Chair: Bertrand Kobayashi
Vice Chair: John M. Mizuno

Ocean, Marine Resources & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH)
Chair: Kaniela Ing
Vice Chair: Cedric Gates

Public Safety (PBS)
Chair: Gregg Takayama
Vice Chair: Matthew S. LoPresti

Tourism (TOU)
Chair: Richard H.K. Onishi
Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Transportation (TRN)
Chair: Henry J.C. Aquino
Vice Chair: Sean Quinlan

Veterans, Military & International Affairs & Culture and the Arts (VMI)
Chair: Ken Ito
Vice Chair: James Kunane Tokioka

Water and Land (WAL)
Chair: Ryan I. Yamane
Vice Chair: Sam Satoru Kong

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Ige signals veto of social media, Airbnb tax, seven other bills, signs Maui stream diversion bill, Maui's first mayor dies, Djou gets rare union endorsements for Honolulu mayor, Hawaii Island police switching to Glocks, Kauai police files lawsuit, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy office of the governor
Gov. David Ige singles vetoes, courtesy photo
Gov. David Ige said he plans to veto nine bills. Among the nine is a bill that would prohibit employers from accessing or obtaining employees’ social media accounts and passwords. Associated Press.

The Governor today released the list of bills he intends to veto or needs more time to look over. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Monday that he intends to veto nine bills, including a measure that would allow vacation-rental companies to collect taxes on behalf of the state. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige expects to veto a hotly contested bill that would allow transient accommodations brokers, such as Airbnb, to act as tax collection agents for the state, as well as eight other bills that he’s determined to be legally questionable, fiscally unsound or generally problematic. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Monday he intends to veto a bill that would allow Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and other alternative accommodations companies to act as tax brokers on behalf of the state. Pacific Business News.

Gov. David Ige detailed his "Intent To Veto" list in a press release Monday.  On the list are nine bills. KITV4.

Gov. David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers Monday that he intends to veto nine bills. KHON2.

Gov. David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers that nine bills are on the Intent to Veto list. The Hawai‘i State Constitution requires the governor to give notice to the Legislature by Monday’s deadline. Maui Now.

Young Brothers, Hawaii’s largest interisland cargo service provider recently invested tens of millions of dollars in four new tugs — the first to be delivered to the state in 2018 and the fourth by 2019. Garden Island.

The city wants 10 additional months to submit to federal transit officials a plan for how it intends to proceed with its increasingly expensive rail project. Star-Advertiser.

Officials overseeing Oahu's billion-dollar rail project have expressed concern in recent months about staffing issues that could potentially delay progress on the rail. Associated Press.

The images of the mural taggers left on the rail cars were jaw dropping not just because they're elaborate... But for the apparent easy access to Honolulu's very expensive train. KITV4.

Rail officials hope the cleanup of a rail car vandalized by graffiti is done by the end of the week. KHON2.

A 1st Circuit Court of Hawaii judge ruled Monday that state Sen. Laura Thielen properly filed her nomination papers for re-election this year. Civil Beat.

Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the Navy’s plan to secure and prevent future leaks at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility is moving forward and making progress. Star-Advertiser.

Three monitoring wells will be built near where 27,000 gallons of fuel spilled from the U.S. Navy’s Red Hill fuel storage tanks in January 2014. Civil Beat.

In seven months the Hale Mauliola homeless shelter on Sand Island has managed to get 61 individuals into permanent housing, but perhaps the greatest benefit is the lessons learned from the first-of-its-kind project that can be translated to other homeless projects in the future, according to Mayor Kirk Caldwell. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu mayoral candidate Charles Djou scored endorsements Monday from five organized labor unions that had backed incumbent Mayor Kirk Caldwell in two previous bids. Star-Advertiser.

Charles Djou’s campaign acknowledged the novelty of the occasion of having received union endorsements in his campaign for Honolulu mayor. After all, the Republican politician had not received labor backing since 2006, and Democrats have historically sided with Democrats. Civil Beat.

The owner of a company that sells Hawaiian-themed souvenirs was sentenced to six months in jail this afternoon and fined $40,000 for smuggling walrus ivory and whale teeth into and out of the country and for importing black coral without a permit. The company, Hawaiian Accessories Inc., was also fined $50,000. Star-Advertiser.

Column: A Rare Chance To Explore Chinatown’s Mysterious Lofts. History is preserved in the apartments and businesses that most people will never see above street level in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Civil Beat.


The Hawaii Police Department is going the way of many federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, and exchanging officers’ clunky old Smith &Wessons for sleek, new Glock 9 mm semiautomatic handguns. West Hawaii Today.

The latest lava flow from Kilauea’s Pu‘u ‘O‘o vent has begun to peek over the pali, providing curious onlookers an early glimpse of its glow from Kalapana. Tribune-Herald.

Things just got a lot louder at Kahaluu Beach Park, not to mention safer, thanks to a recently gifted long-distance communication system. The system lets lifeguard messages reach surfers 300 yards away from the north tower. West Hawaii Today.

Construction on the Waimea District Park continues, with the frame of the initial structure visible from Ala Ohia Road. A metal roof in nearly completed on one side of the covered play courts building that can be seen from the southeast side of town, atop exposed beams. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County consumers spent an average of $51,700 per household in 2014, with the bulk of those expenditures falling in three categories: housing, transportation and food. The number is less than both Oahu’s average ($62,280) and the nationwide average ($53,495). Hawaii County spends more on housing and food, but less on transportation as compared to the U.S. average. Tribune-Herald.


Elmer F. Cravalho, who served as speaker of the state House, Maui County chairman and mayor for 12 years, died Monday afternoon under hospice care after a long illness. He was 90 years old. Maui News.

Elmer Cravalho, Maui’s first mayor, has died, county officials confirmed. Hawaii News Now.

Gov. David Ige on Monday signed a bill allowing Alexander & Baldwin to continue its more than century-old practice of diverting water from East Maui streams for at least three more years under current lease terms to the jeers of East Maui taro growers and environmentalists. Maui News.

Among the nine bills Gov. David Ige put on his list of potential vetoes Monday is one that aims to help Maui County public hospital employees as the facilities move to become privately operated by Kaiser Permanente. Maui News.

With some using Brexit as a cautionary tale of rushing a vote, dozens of testifiers made their case to a Maui County Council committee on Monday on a new form of county governance, which could be placed on the general election ballot in November depending on what council members decide in the coming weeks. Maui News.

California-based U.S. Realty Partners Inc. said Monday that it has acquired the Lahaina Cannery Mall in West Maui from an affiliate of Safeway for an undisclosed price. Pacific Business News.


An assistant chief in the Kauai Police Department is suing the department and Kauai County. The civil court filing by assistant chief Mark Begley claims he was harassed and intimidated for following department procedures after a female officer accused another assistant chief of inappropriate behavior. KHON2.

Salvaging of the Coco Palms property is wrapped up, and demolition has begun. On Monday, heavy demolition equipment took to the 46-acre lot, tearing down the former cottages. Garden Island.

With Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump the presumptive presidential nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties, many voters on Kauai have mixed feelings on who they’re supporting to be the next president of the United States. Garden Island.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Hawaii counties count legislative blessings, IBEW taken over by parent as probe into nepotism widens, tax credits for organic farmers, 75th Pearl Harbor anniversary planned, University of Hawaii money has strings attached, no funding for UH Cancer Center, solar company cutbacks after incentive plan cut, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii elder hula © 2016 All Hawaii News
Hawaii ranks seventh among the 50 states in which to grow old, according to a new report. The report looked at several factors affecting people age 55 and up. The ratings incorporated data on quality of life, health care, long-term care, support for seniors and family caregivers, affordability of senior care and more than 100,000 ratings of senior care providers. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii would become the first state to pass a plan that would set up tax breaks for farmers to offset the cost of becoming certified as organic. Under the plan farmers could get up to $50,000 in tax credits for qualifying expenses. The state Legislature approved the proposal this year. Associated Press.

New Political Parties Get Their Shot On Hawaii Ballots This Year. The Hawaii Constitution Party, the Hawaii Independent Party and the American Shopping Party have qualified. Civil Beat.

The state’s newly selected medical marijuana dispensary operators could be permitted to grow under natural sunlight, and advanced practice registered nurses might be allowed to certify new patients. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii’s solar industry continues to struggle after the state ended a popular solar incentive program in October. The Hawaii Solar Energy Association, a solar advocacy group, said Monday a survey of 11 member companies showed 73 percent have decreased staff since the incentive program ended. Star-Advertiser.

The takeover of one of Hawaii's largest unions by its international parent comes amid longtime complaints of nepotism in the office. A Hawaii News Now review of the IBEW Local 1260's filings with the U.S. Labor Department shows that the union employed at least four people related to business manager Brian Ahakuelo. Hawaii News Now.

Only half of Hawaii’s public high schools with football teams have access to the top-rated helmets, and even at the campuses with the best helmets available, your child may still be handed a lower-rated piece of equipment. KHON2.


The Legislature passed 275 bills and appropriated more than 7 billion dollars in state general funds before it adjourned last week. But the UH Cancer Center did not receive a single cent of what it asked for. Hawaii Public Radio.

Lawmakers are trying to prohibit the University of Hawaii from spending any of the nearly $50 million the Legislature has budgeted for the university’s repair and maintenance backlog on the College of Education at UH Manoa — unless the college is relocated. Star-Advertiser.

Kakaako Waterfront Park has a reputation as a giant, uninviting grassy mound with crumbly walking paths and shade pavilions popular with the homeless. But the state’s biggest park in urban Honolulu would become a grand public recreation destination under a new master plan. Star-Advertiser.

Planners of the 75th anniversary of the Dec. 7, 1941, attacks on Oahu are optimistic that either an aircraft carrier or “big deck” amphibious assault ship and vintage aircraft will participate in the milestone commemoration, which likely will be the last major hurrah for a rapidly dwindling number of Pearl Harbor survivors. Star-Advertiser.

The ordinance that bans sitting and lying on public sidewalks has been a handy tool for Honolulu Police Department officers to clear the homeless and other sidewalk dwellers off of busy sidewalks in Waikiki and the downtown/Chinatown areas over the past two years. But in the 15 neighborhoods from Waimanalo to Wahiawa that were added to the sit-lie law by City Council members, the law does not appear to have been used. Star-Advertiser.


Kona International Airport improvements and an expansion of the Hawaii Community Correctional Center are among the big ticket items lawmakers approved for the Big Island this session. In total, the state Legislature approved $389 million in capital projects for the island during the session that ended last week. Tribune-Herald.

State lawmakers are touting the $389 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding secured for Hawaii Island under the state budget (biennium of Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017 ) passed by the Legislature last week. The Big Island’s elected officials were also able to secure $8.5 million in Grants-In-Aid CIP for Hawaii Island nonprofit organizations. Big Island Video News.

Travel to and from Kahakai Elementary School will soon become smoother, and Principal Jim Denight hopes substantially safer after the State Legislature allocated $355,000 to improve safety conditions on Kahakai Access Road. West Hawaii Today.

Government and nonprofit groups are pitching in to keep the vision of botanist Amy Beatrice Holdsworth Greenwell alive. West Hawaii Today.


Dozens gather in solidarity with Maui lifeguards fighting for better pay. KITV4.

In a follow-up to our March 6th MAUIWatch interview with Kai Pelayo, the new Monsanto Maui community affairs director, Pelayo forwarded a 32-page update to the company’s Memorandum of Understanding with the County of Maui for the year 2015.

The Department of Natural Resources was called to investigate the discovery of an unidentified object/device that washed ashore overnight at the beach in Spreckelsville off of Stable Road. Authorities say the item appeared to be some type of Naval sonar equipment, but the DLNR Maui Boating District Manager is looking into the case to assess what it is and how to get it removed. Maui Now.

Hana and Lanai high and elementary schools are among 23 schools statewide being added next school year to a U.S. Department of Agriculture free meal program, the state Department of Education announced Thursday. Maui News.


Kauai representatives secured over $141 million in Capital Improvement Project funding for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. Garden Island.

The Kauai Community Correctional Center will be receiving $15 million for new housing and support offices after Kauai lawmakers secured more than $140 million in Capital Improvement Project funding this week. Garden Island.

Senate President Ronald Kouchi frequently drives on Puhi Road, which means he knows about its condition firsthand. Garden Island.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Sine die for Hawaii Legislature, Ige signs cool schools bill, group pushes expansion of Papahanaumokuakea marine monument, new Maui Metropolitan planning group forms, geothermal bills die, study coming for interisland ferry, abused Kauai monk seal gives birth, $20M for UH to study water quality, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Senate Majority
Hawaii Senate chambers, courtesy Senate Majority
2016 Session: AC For Schools, Help For Housing And Homeless. The House and Senate also killed bills to let psychologists prescribe drugs and fund a new jail on Oahu, but did hand water permits to A&B on Maui. Civil Beat.

The 2016 Hawaii legislative session has ended, and Hawaii lawmakers have passed dozens of bills including those to ban sex trafficking and combat homelessness. Associated Press.

The 2016 Legislature adjourned today but not before participating in a ceremony to enact one of the state’s top priorities this session. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii lawmakers set aside more money to tackle the highest rate of homelessness in the nation — a crisis that has left families with children living on sidewalks alongside the beaches of paradise. The Legislature allocated $12 million in new funding during the session ending Thursday. It will go toward social services and clearing out homeless encampments. Associated Press.

The Department of Education on Thursday issued its first bid request for work to begin installing air conditioning in at least 1,000 public school classrooms — the same day Gov. David Ige signed legislation to fund the $100 million initiative. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige signed into law on Thursday legislation that spends $100 million to fund equipment and installation costs for air conditioning in public schools statewide, as well as heat-abatement and energy-efficiency measures. Civil Beat.

Will a state-owned ferry system prove seaworthy? Transportation officials are expected to find out after lawmakers approved funding a study on establishing a publicly owned fleet similar to Washington State Ferries, the largest ferry system in the United States. Tribune-Herald.

Two Hawaii nonprofits are urging Gov. David Ige to sign a bill that makes it easier for health care providers to distribute medicine that reverses opioid overdoses. Civil Beat.

Local environmentalists, scientists and lawmakers banded together Thursday to announce that the Obama administration has responded to their proposal to expand Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and make it, once again, the largest marine sanctuary in the world. Star-Advertiser.

A group of roughly 20 Native Hawaiians, local fishermen, scientists and conservationists rallied Thursday morning at Kewalo Marine Laboratory, armed with a 43,000-signature petition urging President Barack Obama to expand federal protections around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Civil Beat.

A Native Hawaiian proposal that calls for the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is picking up steam and this week a delegation from the Obama Administration is meeting with stakeholders to discuss the possibility. Garden Island.

The University of Hawaii has been awarded a $20 million grant for its clean water research project. The money comes from the National Science Foundation. KITV4.

Hawaii will receive $3 million in new funding from the National Housing Trust Fund to pursue affordable rental housing. Star-Advertiser.

Schatz Takes On D.C., Homelessness And The Donald. The U.S. senator says he wants to help local, state and federal officials boost the housing stock. He also calls Trump “dangerous.” Civil Beat.


Engineering experts raise quality concerns over Honolulu’s rail construction. KHON2.

U.S.VETS this fall will take over the city’s efforts to find 100 permanent homes for some of Honolulu’s chronically homeless households through a model known as Housing First. Star-Advertiser.

Virgin America today expands its Hawai‘i service with the launch of daily nonstop flights from Los Angeles International Airport to Honolulu International Airport, with connecting flights from most Virgin America markets. Maui Now.


The Big Island’s fights against rapid ohia death and the spread of invasive albizia trees will get much-needed booster shots of funding in the coming fiscal year. Tribune-Herald.

A bill aimed at giving the state sole regulatory authority over geothermal power plants died in conference committee. Tribune-Herald.

Critics of geothermal development in Puna left a Windward Planning Commission on Thursday a little more hopeful that they can break through a bureaucratic logjam that has held up a study on impacts to Native Hawaiians. Tribune-Herald.

All three legacy bills signed by the late state Sen. Gil Kahele have died at the Legislature. However, efforts to preserve land at Kapua Bay — an issue which was perhaps most near and dear to the Hilo Democrat’s heart — might still move forward. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiian Airlines on Wednesday requested U.S. Department of Transportation Sec. Anthony Foxx to immediately approve its application to provide service between Kona and Haneda Airport in Tokyo. West Hawaii Today.


The newly formed Maui Metropolitan Planning Organization elected the chairman and vice chairman of its policy board at its first meeting Wednesday. Maui News.

A 300-pound male spinner dolphin beached itself and died on a rocky Kuau shoreline early Wednesday afternoon, officials said. Maui News.


Major strides were made in many areas during Hawaii’s 2016 Legislative session, but some Kauai officials are saying they feel slighted by the state. Garden Island.

Low-income families on Kauai who are searching for affordable housing are about to get help from the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation. Garden Island.

Ross Kagawa is running for another term in the Kauai County Council because he wants to be sure the less fortunate people of Kauai are represented. Garden Island.

The Hawaiian monk seal that was caught on camera being beaten by a man last week on Kauai gave birth on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hawaii farmland dwindling, dairy seeks state bailout, Honolulu Police sued for racial discrimination, cocaine possession mars Maui legislator's medical marijuana dispensary application, bad year for coffee, Legislature pares bill list, Kauai lobbying bill advances, Humane Society in Big Island group's cross-hairs, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2016 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Island farmland © 2016 All Hawaii News
There's a drop in the number of acres devoted to agriculture between 1980 and 2015: a decline of 200,000 acres of cropland and 340,000 acres of pastureland, representing drops of 57 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Star-Advertiser.

A state Department of Agriculture study of agricultural land use aimed at helping industry, government and the community in decision-making also tells the story of the accelerated decline of farming in Hawaii, punctuated by this year's announcement of the end of sugar cultivation on Maui. Maui News.

A baseline study of agricultural land use created by a team of Big Island researchers and planners is intended to help inform future decisions as Hawaii’s agriculture continues to evolve. Tribune-Herald.

Bad weather and a lingering pest problem delivered major blows to Hawaii coffee farmers this past season, according to a new report that estimates production of one of the biggest crops in the state fell 16 percent. Star-Advertiser.

And Then There Were 2,633 — Hawaii Legislature Pares List Of Bills. A look at some of the measures that survived the first major deadline of the session, and some of what has fallen by the wayside. Civil Beat.

Owning a car could soon become more expensive as lawmakers consider increases to the state’s fuel tax and vehicle registration fees. Tribune-Herald.

Big Island state Sen. Lorraine Inouye expressed confidence Friday that a bill requiring a feasibility study for an interisland ferry would at least advance from the Senate to the House this legislative session. Maui News.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and surgeon Ben Carson have qualified for Hawaii’s March 8 presidential caucus. They join Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, businessman Donald Trump and Ohio Governor John Kasich on the ballot. Civil Beat.

Under a bill making its way through the Legislature this year, an independent review board administratively attached to the attorney general’s office would conduct a separate investigation in police cases. Star-Advertiser.

A bill that would give the state's counties the power to acquire electric utility property through eminent domain has passed second reading in the state House of Representatives, but it doesn't appear headed out of the House. Maui News.

State Sen. Josh Green has more than a half-million dollars in his campaign coffers, far more than any of his 24 colleagues. Civil Beat.


Bicycling advocates are worried that a push by Honolulu City Council members to gain more control over planned bikeways and other Complete Streets projects could stymie efforts to make streets more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. Star-Advertiser.

A racial discrimination lawsuit involving three Honolulu police officers who say their lives were put at risk because of the color of their skin appears to be about to come to an end. Civil Beat.

SunEdison Inc. is urging Hawaii regulators to not approve Hawaiian Electric Co.’s termination of the power purchase agreement between the two companies regarding the Missouri company’s three proposed Oahu solar farms, according to public documents. Pacific Business News.

A $5.5 million federal grant will aid the University of Hawaii Cancer Center’s research into why cervical cancer rates are so high among certain Pacific Island populations. Civil Beat.

Christian leader Franklin Graham is scheduled to be in Honolulu Wednesday to hold a prayer rally, preach the Gospel and challenge believers “to take a stand and take action.” Civil Beat.


Hawaii’s largest dairy is seeking state help to develop a $10 million milk processing plant after the only local processor dramatically cut what it pays Hawaii’s last two dairy farms for their milk last year. Three bills at the Legislature backed by the administration of Gov. David Ige seek to allow Big Island Dairy LLC to finance a milk processing plant by selling bonds under the state’s authority. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s Cuts To Pest Control Have Allowed Dengue To Thrive. The state aggressively attacked previous outbreaks of dengue fever that were quickly stopped but response efforts have been gutted. Civil Beat.

Fewer county police officers were fired or suspended last year compared to the year before, according to an annual report submitted to the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

The University of Hawaii is pulling out of geothermal research projects on Hualalai. West Hawaii Today.

Administrators of East Hawaii’s hospital system began last week to publicly build a case for the possibility of shutting down the Extended Care Facility at Hilo Medical Center. Tribune-Herald.

How to reduce the number of unwanted animals that are euthanized on the island? That’s the question some animal advocate groups want to answer, and they attended a town hall meeting to tackle just that. West Hawaii Today.


A federal judge denied United Public Workers' request to prevent the privatization of the Maui state hospitals. Pacific Business News.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor rejected Friday an attempt by the United Public Workers union to derail the privatization of Maui Memorial Medical Center and Kula and Lanai Community hospitals, according to an announcement from the state Department of the Attorney General. Maui News.

A legislator involved in a cocaine possession case in 1988 is part of a medical marijuana dispensary application.  Sen. J. Kalani English’s guilty plea on a charge of promoting a dangerous drug was deferred and the case later dismissed after he completed court requirements. Associated Press.

After two decades of steadily processing the island's green waste into compost, Maui EKO Compost recently diverted its millionth ton of waste. Maui News.

The state will pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit against the Department of Transportation for failing to offer the driver’s license test in Chuukese and Marshallese. Star-Advertiser.


The eight-member citizen fact-finding group on pesticide use by Kauai’s major agricultural operators will release the draft of its final report on March 10. Garden Island.

A bill that would regulate lobbying on Kauai evolved in committee last week, and is expected to go before the County Council Wednesday. Garden Island.

The state is renewing its efforts to tackle a decades-long problem of accumulated trash and damage to heiau in Kauai’s Kalalau Valley — the result, for the most part, of illegal camping. Star-Advertiser.

Better bus system one solution to congestion. But an all-or-nothing approach difficult with tight budget. Garden Island.

Carol Bain says she is running for another term on the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative Board of Directors because she wants to see certain projects come to fruition. Garden Island.

Invasive species are still successfully staking their claim on Kauai. Garden Island.