Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gay marriage now Hawaii law but faces court challenge today, newborn monk seal closes park, Kauai council mulls GMO veto override today, state stumbles into Obamacare, residents search for loved ones, offer aid in wake of Philippine disaster, no GMO conflict of interest for Big Island councilwoman, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

same-sex marriage, Hawaii, courtesy photo Governor's Office
Hawaii Gov. Abercrombie signs same-sex marriage bill, courtesy photo
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, weaving marriage equality into Hawaii's definition of aloha and religious liberty into the nation's rich tradition of freedom, signed a bill into law on Wednesday granting gay and lesbian couples in the islands the right to marry. In an emotional celebration at the Hawai‘i Convention Center's Liliu Theater, the Democratic governor made Hawaii the 15th state plus the District of Columbia to approve gay marriage. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Dec. 2, gay couples will be able to wed in the Aloha State. Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act into law Wednesday during an invitation-only ceremony at the Honolulu Convention Center. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a bill Wednesday legalizing gay marriage in Hawaii, the state that kicked off a national discussion of the issue more than two decades ago. Now, the island chain is positioning itself for a boost in tourism as people take advantage of the new law and the state provides another example of the nation’s changing views on marriage. Associated Press.

At 10:51 a.m. HST, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, Hawaiʻi became the 15th state to legally recognize same-sex marriage, as Governor Neil Abercrombie signed the bill into law before an invited crowd at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center. Maui Now.

Full video of same-sex marriage bill signing. KHON2.

With same-sex marriage legal in Hawaii as of Wednesday, the local wedding industry is gearing up for hundreds of same-sex ceremonies on the islands during the next several years. It's also looking forward to hundreds of millions more tourism dollars that likely will accompany those weddings, as a local economic study shows. Star-Advertiser.

As Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed Senate Bill 1  Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the bill passed its final reading in the state Senate, opponents were promising a legal challenge to the new statute. Hawaii Reporter.

Same-sex marriages could start in less than three weeks, but a hearing at Circuit Court on Thursday could put that on hold. Opponents have filed a lawsuit that could order the state to not issue wedding licenses to same-sex couples. KHON2.

Supporters of same-sex marriage celebrated the signing of the Marriage Equality Law, even as opponents continued to express disappointment, and prepared to challenge the new law in court. Hawaii News Now.

President Barack Obama praised Hawaii's state legislature Tuesday for passing a bill allowing same-sex marriage in the Aloha State. "I’ve always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. HuffPost Hawaii.

Did you hear about the special session drinking game? Every time key words and phrases were repeated during the Hawaii Legislature's marathon hearings and floor sessions on same-sex marriage, it was time to take a sip or a shot. Civil Beat.

Hawaii is one of only three states that did not provide data to the federal government on the number of people who have signed up for private health insurance through the online marketplaces created by President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Health Connector still has not disclosed the number of Hawaii residents that have enrolled in the state-run online health insurance exchange, making it one of only three states that did not provide enrollment data to the Obama Administration. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii residents with ties to the Philippines and others are joining together to get donations and assistance to the country as soon as possible to aid victims of last week's Typhoon Haiyan, which left a trail of mass destruction. Star-Advertiser.

The AARP Foundation is hoping to raise $500,000 for the Philippines through its 'Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund'.  The organization will match every dollar up to that amount for a total of a million. Hawaii News Now.

Family members of state Rep. John Mizuno are among the missing in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Star-Advertiser.

Verizon Wireless said Wednesday that it is providing free phone calls and text messages to the Philippines for its U.S. customers following Typhoon Haiyan last week. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii's largest public pension fund, which has an unfunded liability of $8.4 billion, began the new fiscal year on a positive note as its return on investments rose 5.3 percent in the July-September quarter. The strong performance boosted the assets of the state Employees' Retirement System portfolio to a record $12.9 billion. Star-Advertiser.

Different types of possible tsunami debris are starting to wash up on the islands' shorelines. KITV.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is looking to establish a control order allowing certain agencies to take without permit nonnative cattle egrets and barn owls in Hawaii, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and part of the Midway Atoll. West Hawaii Today.

The first of up to 3,500 houses for Castle & Cooke Hawaii's Koa Ridge project could be occupied by 2016 with the City Council's 9-0 approval Wednesday of the developer's rezoning plan. The go-ahead came despite lingering concerns about what opponents estimate will result in 7,000 more cars on the H-2 freeway, the loss of valuable agricultural lands and whether homes Castle & Cooke must set aside for lower-income families will be within their financial reach. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday paved the way for one of Oahu's largest development projects with the unanimous approval of Koa Ridge, a 576-acre community off of H-2 freeway near Mililani. The project would add 3,500 homes to the rural area, and promises to provide a thousand construction jobs as well as 1,600 more jobs at a planned hospital and other businesses. Civil Beat.

The Honolulu City Council today unanimously passed an open data bill that aims to make government more transparent. If Mayor Kirk Caldwell signs the bill it will essentially help to open up reams of government statistics and data in a format that can be manipulated to build apps, create visualizations of complex information and help citizens analyze government services. Civil Beat.

The alleged theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars at a Leeward Oahu homeless shelter has triggered an investigation by the state Department of Human Services. Earlier this year, the Waianae Community Outreach program sued its former program director Laura Pitolo, saying she signed checks to herself and family members and made dozens of unauthorized ATM withdrawals. Hawaii News Now.

The $262 million sale of Oahu real estate assets of Kaneohe Ranch Co. and the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation moved forward Wednesday after one beneficiary settled a legal petition that raised concerns that the deal was being rushed and hadn't been properly vetted. Star-Advertiser.


Hawaii County Councilwoman Brenda Ford did not have a conflict of interest when she sponsored a bill banning genetically modified crops, the county Board of Ethics unanimously ruled Wednesday. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County Dept. of Parks and Recreation
Newborn monk seal
North Kohala’s Keokea Beach Park is being closed at 7:30 p.m. nightly to protect an endangered Hawaiian monk seal and its mother. Tribune-Herald.

The land ranges from sea level up to 2,500 feet, covering coffee farms and ranch land on 5,880 acres in Ka‘u. And it’s all for sale. Lehman Brothers acquired the properties earlier this year through a foreclosure auction, and recently began looking for a new owner. Tribune-Herald.


A unit still photographer, who has worked on the sets of movies including "Legally Blonde," "Meet the Fockers" and "Remember the Titans" and is a former National Football League kicker, has been named the new Maui County Film Commissioner, the county announced Tuesday. Maui News.

Recent heavy rains and forecasts calling for more wet weather, prompted a cancellation today of the 20% voluntary water restriction that was in place for Upcountry water customers. Maui Now.

The proposed $220 million consolidated car rental facility for Kahului Airport moved one step closer to construction with the Maui Planning Commission approving a special management area use permit for the facility Tuesday. Maui News.

A&B Properties has amended a Wailea commercial-residential development to include a new hotel. Maui News.

Nēnē breeding and nesting season has started at Haleakalā National Park, prompting an advisory to visitors to obey posted speed limits and exercise caution while driving in the park. Maui Now.


State Department of Agriculture officials Wednesday released details about a plan to put in place voluntary pesticide-use guidelines on Kauai starting Dec. 1. The announcement came a day before the Kauai County Council is slated to meet to consider overriding Mayor Bernard Carvalho's veto of Bill 2491, which calls for mandatory disclosures pertaining to large-scale pesticide use and farming of genetically modified crops. Star-Advertiser.

Less than two weeks after receiving approval from the Public Utilities Commission to begin charging new fees for old electric meters, the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative validated a member petition submitted with the intent to reverse the commission’s decision. The additional charges include a one-time set-up fee — ranging from $50.64 for residential meters to $138.80 for commercial ones — as well as a monthly fee of $10.27 for customers who opt not to use a standard, wireless smart meter. Garden Island.

Even before Tyler Greene and Chad Waters decided to purchase the long-vacant Coco Palms Hotel in Wailua, the investment partners said they heard stories from many residents and visitors about their personal connection to the hotel. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Abercrombie to sign gay marriage bill 10 a.m. today, reactions from Legislature, media, interest groups, and more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Hawaii Senate Majority
Hawaii gay marriage rally courtesy Senate Majority
Gov. Neil Abercrombie will hold a bill signing ceremony for SB1 HD1 – Relating to Equal Rights. 10 a.m. today, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013. Liliu Theater (Room 310) Hawaii Convention Center. The bill signing ceremony is by invitation only. This event will be streamed live and accessible at the governor's website.

Olelo Community Media will cablecast Gov. Neil Abercrombie signing the historic marriage equality bill into law. The event will air from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Olelo Channel 55. The signing is expected to be at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Same-sex marriage in Hawaii will become law Wednesday morning during a signing ceremony at the Hawaii Convention Center. Hawaii News Now.

About a dozen opponents of same-sex marriages greeted Gov. Neil Abercrombie with protest signs in Aiea he appeared for talk story session on the eve of the historic signing of the controversial measure. Hawaii News Now.

Drawing the curtain on a historic special session, the state Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to a marriage equality bill. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who had called the special session, will sign the bill into law this morning at a ceremony at the Hawai‘i Convention Center. Star-Advertiser.

Sometimes history is anti-climatic, yet no less historic. That was the case Tuesday when Hawaii's Senate passed a highly controversial gay marriage bill, sending it on to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his expected signature as soon as Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Governor Neil Abercrombie plans to sign a controversial same-sex marriage bill into law Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after it was approved by the Senate.  The "Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013", Senate Bill 1 House Draft 1, passed Tuesday 19 to 4 with 2 Senators excused. Hawaii News Now.

The Hawaii Senate passed a House-amended bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Tuesday. HuffPost Hawaii.

The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday legalizing gay marriage, putting Hawaii a signature away from becoming a same-sex wedding destination. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Senate passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Tuesday before sending the special session to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. KITV.

Opponents feel wronged by Capitol. Islanders object to having their religious beliefs disregarded, and criticize lawmakers for ignoring testimony against the bill. Star-Advertiser.

Gays put hurt, dismay behind them. Young and old, the marriage equality vote heartens people who have had to hide their sexual orientation from friends and family. Star-Advertiser.

With Tuesday’s final passage of Senate Bill 1, the bill providing for same sex marriages in Hawaii, all of the protests and religious zeal of recent weeks becomes nothing more than prologue to a new era of marriage equality. Governor Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill into law on Wednesday morning, and it will go into effect on Dec. 2. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie is expected to sign the bill on Wednesday, making Hawaii the 15th state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. But a challenge lies ahead at Circuit Court. KHON2.

Same-sex marriage in Hawaiʻi is one signature away from becoming law after passing  in a final 19-4 vote by the Hawaiʻi Senate today. Maui Now.

Hawai`i continues on its track to be the 15th state in the nation to legalize gay marriages. Big Island Now.

Hawaii moved one step closer to becoming a same-sex wedding destination on Tuesday when the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to pass an amended bill to legalize same-sex marriage that grants broad exemptions to religious organizations and officiants. The final vote on the House-amended Senate Bill 1 was 19-4 with two excused. Pacific Business News.

The Hawaii Independent and others have been live-tweeting from the Capitol. Here are some of the best from today's Senate vote.

State roundup for November 13. Associated Press.


A new molasses spill prevention and response plan filed with the state Harbors Division by Kahului Trucking & Storage in Maui is heavily focused on early detection. Civil Beat.

A bill requiring the City and County of Hono­lulu to create a policy making publicly available government data easily accessible on the Internet whenever possible comes up for a final vote before the City Council today. Star-Advertiser.

The days of marine mammal shows, dolphin rides, and parties at Sea Life Park may be numbered. The popular East Oahu theme park is likely going to have to become more of a learning center now that its landlord, Oceanic Institute, is being subsumed into Hawaii Pacific University. Civil Beat.

Castle & Cooke Hawaii’s 3,500-house Koa Ridge project will either bring much-needed homes and jobs, or unmitigated traffic and the elimination of valuable agricultural land. The Honolulu City Council is scheduled to hold a final vote today on Bill 48, allowing the agriculturally zoned land to be developed into commercial, residential and industrial uses for Koa Ridge Makai, one of three original parts of the Castle & Cooke plan. Star-Advertiser.


The buyers of the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort plan to use a marine theme — with art provided by world-renowned artist, Robert Wyland — to transform the beleaguered hotel on Hilo’s Banyan Drive. Tribune-Herald.

Bidding for the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort ended Tuesday but not before allegations of bid rigging were cast upon two prospective buyers. Tribune-Herald.

A partnership between eRealty Fund founder Ed Bushor and the marine artist Wyland is buying the Naniloa Volcanoes Resort from its bankrupt owner for $5.2 million and plans to turn the Hilo hotel into an environmentally friendly, artistic boutique hotel. Pacific Business News.

The U.S. Coast Guard is establishing permanent safety zones at two Hawaii Island commercial harbors to expedite evacuation in the event a tsunami warning is issued. West Hawaii Today.

After learning they had no authority over money being set aside for maintenance of open space, members of the Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission agreed Tuesday to include their concerns in the commission’s annual report to the mayor and the public, rather than try to take official action. West Hawaii Today.


A search is under way for an entangled whale that was spotted around 1.5 miles from Lahaina Harbor on Monday, Nov. 11 at around 4 p.m. Maui Now.


The journey for Ross Martineau, and his partner Jeff Demma, has been a long one — one that has crossed oceans, state lines and more than 15 years of courtship. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

U.S. and China military train in Hawaii, state responds to Philippine disaster, same-sex marriage bill heads to Senate, Tulsi Gabbard getting lots of Mainland support, HECO mum on power plans, vets recognized, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

September 2012
U.S.-China naval exercises Sept. 2012 DOD courtesy photo
Army officials from China and the United States are meeting in Hawaii for an annual disaster relief exercise that will include field training for the first time this year. Specifics of the exercise scenario starting Tuesday have not been publicly released. U.S. Army Pacific officials have only described it as a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operation requiring U.S. and China military cooperation in a fictional third country.  Associated Press.

Chinese troops are taking part in disaster relief exercises in Hawaii today, in what China's state media billed as the first time the country's soldiers have drilled on U.S. territory. People's Liberation Army soldiers are taking part in humanitarian assistance drills in Hawaii until Thursday with their U.S. counterparts, simulating relief operations after an earthquake hits a third country. Star-Advertiser.

At the request of the Philippines, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel directed the U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith to support humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines. Associated Press.

Hawaii organizations are offering ways for Hawaii residents to reach friends and relatives affected by Typhoon Haiyan. West Hawaii Today.

How to donate or help Philippine typhoon victims. Hawaii News Now.

The state Senate is poised to approve a same-sex marriage bill today and send it Gov. Neil Abercrombie for approval, setting up Hawaii to become the 15th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Abercrombie is expected to sign the measure into law soon after, and the state Department of Health says it is ready to implement the law by its Dec. 2 effective date. Star-Advertiser.

The jubilation is expected to continue for same sex marriage supporters. The Senate already voted 20 to 4 backing the bill and the amendments aren't expected to change any minds in Tuesday's final vote. Then it goes to the Governor for final approval. Hawaii News Now.

Civil union versus marriage. Some wonder what's the difference? Supporters of gay marriage say the rights and benefits. There are more than 1,000 federal benefits for same-sex couples, if they're allowed to marry. And it's not just federal tax benefits. KHON2.

In the past three years, the total number of homeless residents in Hawaii seeking help from publicly funded services has dropped slightly, indicating modest gains in the effort to curb homelessness across the state, a report released today shows. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Tulsi Gabbard (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Hawaii candidates for federal office love to play up their local support. But a Civil Beat analysis of U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard's most recent campaign filing shows a candidate who has been traveling a lot and raising money throughout the country. The filing, covering July 15 through Oct. 15, with the Federal Election Commission shows that Gabbard had three times as many donors on the mainland — 146 total — as compared with Hawaii.

Severe assaults on employees at the state's only public mental hospital have resulted in some of them being out of work for months and even years, a Hawaii News Now investigation revealed. Four employees came forward to say the State Hospital is understaffed and they don't feel safe going to work.

Hotel revenue through the third quarter rose above $4 billion for the first time ever, putting Hawaii's hotel industry on track to set an annual revenue record, according to a hotel flash report set for release today by Hospitality Advisors LLC. Star-Advertiser.

International students contributed $108.5 million to Hawaii's economy in tuition and living expenses in the 2012-13 academic year, an institute reported Monday. Star-Advertiser.

State roundup for November 12. Associated Press.

In brief | State Nov. 12, 2013. Associated Press.


Hawaiian Electric Co. is hoping to fast-track nine solar farms on Oahu that could mean hundreds of thousands of solar panels stretching across areas equivalent to 40 Ala Moana Shopping Centers. The power is expected to lower consumer electricity bills, in addition to moving Hawaii away from its dependency on oil-fired generators. But where will all of these solar panels go? HECO won’t say. Civil Beat.

About 1,000 people — many of them current or former service members — came to the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Veterans Day to pay respect to past and present military members for their service to the nation. Star-Advertiser.

Twelve additional sets of video cameras are expected to be placed at intersections through Waikiki and other neighborhoods that will be traveled by Honolulu Marathon runners next month. The new cameras are part of a series of security measures being put in place by the city in advance of this year's marathon, which runs Dec. 8, in the wake of April's Boston Marathon bombing. Star-Advertiser.

Soon Honolulu residents will get a chance to own a piece of Genshiro Kawamoto. Alexander and Baldwin Inc. is planning to soon auction off all the naked women and lion statues it removed from Kawamoto’s Kahala Avenue properties. Civil Beat.

24 violate Department of Hawaiian Home Lands rules, review finds. Star-Advertiser.

Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children began demolition of the 35-year-old Bingham parking garage on Monday, marking the start of a multi-phase master plan to rebuild the hospital, starting with a $120 million five-story tower that will house new neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care units. Pacific Business News.


Hundreds of people gathered Monday at the West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery in North Kona, where they paid tribute to Americans who have given selfless service to our country in times of war and peace. West Hawaii Today.

On November 6, Hawaii Public Radio initiated broadcast of its HPR-2 programming stream on KAHU-FM 91.7, serving the southernmost district of Hawai‘i Island. KAHU had gone off the air earlier this year and ownership of the broadcast license for this community radio station was transferred to HPR in August 2013. Yesterday’s resumption of service also returns to the communities of Pahala and Na‘alehu critical access to emergency information.


Attorney files appeal, challenges Rock & Brews’ minor SMA permit. Maui News.

While Maui veterans are hopeful that the Department of Veterans Affairs will soon eliminate the disability claims backlog, some say more needs to be done, especially for those disabled veterans who need the help the most. Maui News.


As Philippines President Benigno Aquino III declared State of National Calamity Monday in the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan, Kauai residents had already been at work trying to raise relief funds for those affected. Garden Island.

About 10 percent of Kauai’s population, said Capt. Bruce Hay, is composed of former and current soldiers. “That’s a pretty impressive statistic that no other town of equal size, that I am aware of, has,” said the commanding officer of the Pacific Missile Range Facility in Mana. “So Kauai, in particular, answers the call of service and continues to do so.” Garden Island.

A group of Kauai Island Utility Cooperative members wants to reverse a utility decision to charge $10.27 per month to customers who chose not to have a wireless smart meter installed at their home. Star-Advertiser.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Who sucked the aloha out of the Aloha State? Behaving badly over gay marriage: A commentary

Churches encouraging people to cheat and lie?

A high-ranking police officer vowing "you would have to kill me," before he'd enforce a duly enacted law?

A House member comparing same-sex marriage to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks?

An openly gay state representative voting against the measure?

Who sucked the aloha out of the Aloha State?

You could say it's all over but the shouting. Unfortunately, the shouting started long ago. And it's sure to continue.

Among the most egregious actions in the past few weeks:

The pastor of one of Honolulu's mega-churches, in a bold "citizen's filibuster," encouraged his flock-- nay, whipped his flock into a frenzy-- to drag out their testimony, rally and even pull their kids out of school to carry signs opposing gay marriage. Nothing wrong with that; all part of the legislative process.

It's when the church began distributing a list of testifiers and encouraging its followers to testify under other people's names in order to speak more than once, that it crossed the line. Compounding the apparent moral lapse is confirmation from Capitol officials that a sign-up list was stolen from the clerk's check-in desk.

Meanwhile, Tenari Maafala, president of the cops union, State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers, and an officer with the Honolulu Police Department, vowed not to enforce a gay marriage law should it pass. It is counter to his religious beliefs, he told a House panel.

Hawaii is wrapping up its special session on same-sex marriage, with both houses apparently settled on a bill that should get its final blessing Tuesday. Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who called the special session after the Hawaii Legislature dragged its feet, has said he'll sign it.

In the gayest state in the union (trailing only Washington, D.C., according to a February 2013 Gallup poll) the real question is, "What's taken so long?"

Hawaii has wrestled with the issue for decades. The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled 20 years ago that the statute limiting marriage to heterosexual couples was discriminatory and unconstitutional.

But in 1998, voters in Hawaii approved a constitutional amendment empowering the Legislature to limit marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ten years later, civil unions were created to allow same-sex couples to enjoy some of the benefits, if not the actual right to marry, that heterosexual couples have enjoyed for centuries.

Now, Hawaii is poised to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex marriage. That's if the alleged Aloha State beats Illinois, where the governor is scheduled to sign its bill Nov. 20, to the punch.

It's been a hell of a special session at the Hawaii Capitol so far, and one can only wonder what will happen next. But however it's played, our state leaders need to remember: Tourism is the single biggest economic driver in this state.

Word travels fast, and gay activists are known to freely boycott to make their voices heard. Remember what happened to Florida orange juice in the late '70s?

But money aside, what about aloha?

Hawaii has a reputation for welcoming everyone with open arms. Do we really want to mess with that?

Veterans honored throughout Hawaii, state prepares for same-sex marriage, schools lag on digital learning, Kauai hit by invasive bingabing trees, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Soldier at Pohakuloa Training Area @2013 All Hawaii News
Events across the state have been planned for Monday to celebrate Veteran's Day and honor the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. Hawaii News Now.

Today, on Veterans’ Day, we recognize the 110 thousand veterans in Hawai’i.  Most are living happy productive lives, but service providers here say housing is the biggest challenge.  The U.S. Secretary of Veterans’ Affairs, Eric Shinseki, has set a goal of ending homelessness among veterans by 2015. Hawaii Public Radio.

courtesy USPS stampThe late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye will receive another tribute on Veterans Day -- this time for his service with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II, for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service will introduce a new format, the prestige folio: 20 stamps of the Medal of Honor in a four-page design, with the first page highlighting historic photographs of the last 12 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. The two center pages list the names of all 464 medal recipients. Star-Advertiser.

With the state Senate poised to send a marriage equality bill to Gov. Neil Abercrombie's desk Tuesday, the Department of Health says it is ready and willing to implement the law by its Dec. 2 effective date. Dr. Alvin Onaka, the state's registrar of vital statistics, said Friday that his agency, which manages marriage certificate applications, won't need to do too much to enable same-sex couples to apply because of changes that were required when civil unions became legal Jan. 1, 2012. Star-Advertiser.

Garret Hashimoto of the Hawaii Christian Coalition is asking opponents of same-sex marriage to give money to the attorney handling a lawsuit against the state should Senate Bill 1 become law. Civil Beat.

With the state Legislature poised to pass the controversial same-sex marriage bill, gay and lesbian couples are beginning to line up at wedding podium. Hawaii News Now.

The head of Hawaii’s Senate judiciary committee said Saturday he expects an amended bill legalizing gay marriage to pass easily in the Senate next week, with no changes to the measure passed by the House Friday night after two grueling floor sessions and a lengthy public hearing. Senate approval would send the bill to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his signature. He is expected to sign after calling the lawmakers into special session and saying he approved changes to the bill made by the House. Associated Press.

Same-sex marriage legislation is expected to smoothly pass the Hawaii Legislature Tuesday and head to Gov. Neil Abercrombie for his expected signature. Clayton Hee, chairman of Senate Judiciary and Labor and the key legislator behind Senate Bill 1, told reporters Saturday that he did not expect a drawn-out Senate floor session along the lines of what happened this week in the Hawaii House of Representatives. Civil Beat.

Eager to avoid the loud and lengthy protests over  same-sex marriagethat disrupted the Hawaii House of Representatives this week, the state Senate may act swiftly on Senate Bill 1. Senators are considering accepting the House's amended version of SB 1 that expands religious exemptions, removes language concerning parental rights and changes the effective date to Dec. 2. Civil Beat.

New House Majority Floor Leader Under Scrutiny for Campaign Spending Violations, After Legislator She Replaced Resigned for Similar Problems. Hawaii Reporter.

Eight schools were selected in July to pilot a digital device program that could eventually put laptops in the hands of all public school students, but students at only two of the schools are learning on the devices. The state Department of Education bought more than 6,700 devices for students and teachers at all eight schools, but teachers at the remaining six schools requested additional time for training before their laptops are delivered. Star-Advertiser.


As the Army re-evaluates its warrior transition units for wounded soldiers nationwide, five members of Congress have raised alarm at plans to downsize Schofield's Warrior Transition Battalion. Star-Advertiser.

Tommy Tanaka of the Military Order of the Purple Heart congratulated Sgt. 1st Class Takumi Abe of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team after Abe received a Purple Heart during a ceremony Sunday at the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Headquarters at Kalaeloa. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu Police Department wants to draw $4.2 million in unspent money from a variety of its accounts to help pay for recruit classes this year. Police Chief Louis Kealoha, in a letter to the City Council earlier this month seeking approval of the transfer, said the move is necessary "due to insufficient salary funding for police recruits" and "shortages due to lump-sum vacation payouts for personnel." Star-Advertiser.


At 102, Pahoa resident Gerald Booken may well be the oldest veteran living on Hawaii Island. Tribune-Herald.

Monday is Veterans Day — a time to take a moment to stop and not only thank, but honor and remember America’s military personnel for their service and sacrifice. West Hawaii will host several services this year to commemorate those who protected the nation during war and peace. West Hawaii Today.

The Marine Mammal Center of Sausalito, Calif., is on track to open the first phase of its $3.2 million hospital for monk seals in Kona by the end of the year. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Transportation is moving forward with plans for $133 million in improvements at Kawaihae Harbor. West Hawaii Today.


Veterans now have a place to call their own with the opening of a resource center at the University of Hawaii Maui College, providing a venue to study, be tutored, network and - best of all - a place to bond with buddies. Maui News.

The state Department of Health has notified the Maui County Department of Water Supply that it has violated drinking water regulations for the presence of E. coli bacteria, the water department announced Saturday morning. Maui News.

State Highway personnel officially broke ground on Phase 1 of the Kahului Airport Access Road, which was designed as a traffic mitigation measure to meet continuing growth in use and demand at the Kahului Airport, enhance traffic circulation, and alleviate congestion. Maui Now.

Safeway affiliate Property Development Centers said Friday that it has completed the purchase of a 24.5-acre parcel of land in Maui that will be the site of the Target-anchored Puunene Shopping Center. Pacific Business News.

Plans for the Maui Medical Plaza hatched nearly eight years ago when doctors sought help from Montana multimillionaire and part-time Wailea resident Ben Brown Sr. Maui News.


Life goes on after a solider leaves the service, and some don’t know which way to turn once they hang up their helmets. Garden Island.

The Kauai Invasive Species Committee has a new, and rather large, problem on its hands. More than a dozen Bingabing trees — an invasive, large-leafed plant that chokes out nearby vegetation and can reach heights of up to 30 feet — have been discovered growing on several properties near the mouth of the Hanalei River. Garden Island.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

House passes amended same-sex marriage bill, Senate to vote Tuesday

courtesy Hawaii House
Hawaii House votes on gay marriage courtesy photo
(news release) The Hawaii House of Representatives voted about 10 p.m. Friday to pass SB1 HD1, relating to equal rights, on third reading. The measure was approved by a vote of 30 to 19, with two members excused.

The House draft includes amendments, modeled after similar language in Connecticut law, significantly broadening exemptions for religious organizations and clergy performing solemnization. Religious organizations and affiliated nonprofits would be exempted from having to furnish goods, services, or its facilities or grounds for the solemnization or the celebration of solemnizations if it is in violation of its religious beliefs or faith.

It also specifies that clergy and religious officers are not required to solemnize if it is against their religious beliefs or faith. The measure also grants immunity from administrative, civil and legal liability to religious organizations and officials for the failure or refusal to provide services, goods, or facilities as described.

The issue was discussed in House committee hearings spanning five days and nearly 57 hours of public testimony. There were 5,184 registered testifiers, with over 1,000 people testifying, and nearly 24,400 written testimonies submitted. As far as House members could recall, the public hearing on SB1 was the longest hearing on a single bill in the modern history of the Hawaii House of Representatives.  Based on concerns and issues raised during the public hearing the bill was amended to expand the religious exemptions for churches and religious organizations that do not want to solemnize same gender marriages.

The bill is now transmitted to the Hawaii State Senate for their consideration. Upon approval of the changes by the Senate, the bill will be transmitted to the Governor for his signature into law.  If the Senate rejects the amendments, the bill will go into conference committee. The Senate is scheduled to convene on Tuesday, November 11, to vote on the amended House bill (SB1 HD1).

More information on the bill is available on the Capitol website here.

(news release)
Gov. Neil Abercrombie stated:

“I commend the House of Representatives for taking this historic vote to move justice and equality forward.

“After more than 50 hours of public testimony from thousands of testifiers on both sides of the issue, evaluating dozens of amendments, and deliberating procedures through hours of floor debates, the House passed this significant bill, which directly creates a balance between marriage equity for same-sex couples and protects our First Amendment freedoms for religious organizations.

“I applaud Speaker Souki, Judiciary Chair Rhoads, Finance Chair Luke, Majority Leader Saiki and the rest of the leadership team for their patience, fairness and hard work in shepherding this bill through the House.

“I am confident that the Senate will address the bill in the same spirit. I look forward to a successful conclusion to this major step in affirming everyone’s civil rights.”

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tune in today to Hawaii House debate on gay marriage, rules split Capitol in half as security tightened, Senate expected to go along with House version, judge says gay marriage lawsuit premature, Honolulu school suspends cheerleading because of cyber-bullying, Kauai sets Thursday GMO override session, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaii Legislature gay marriage
Hawaii United for Marriage courtesy photo
Today's special session of the state House of Representatives will be televised live on Oceanic Cable's ‘Olelo Channel 54 and over the Internet on ‘Olelo's website starting at 10 a.m. The website, which is available to anyone in the world with access to the Internet and a device able to show live streaming video, is Star-Advertiser.

A state circuit judge Thursday declined to stop a marriage equality bill from becoming law but appeared open to hearing whether expanding marriage to gay couples violates the state Constitution. Judge Karl Sakamoto rejected a request by state Rep. Bob McDermott for a temporary restraining order to prevent Gov. Neil Abercrombie from signing a bill into law and the state from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu Circuit Judge Karl Sakamoto refused on Thursday, November 7, to issue a temporary restraining order against the Hawaii Legislature to prevent lawmakers from legalizing gay marriage. The lawsuit, filed by Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican, centered on a 1998 ballot issue on same-sex marriage. Hawaii Reporter.

State senators are inclined to agree to the state House's version of a marriage equality bill rather than take the debate into conference committee. The House is expected to vote today on a bill that would allow gay couples to marry as soon as Dec. 2 but would broaden a religious exemption for churches and religious organizations that do not want to be involved in gay weddings. If the House approves the bill, it could be heard by the Senate on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

House Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Kuroda announced Thursday afternoon that the Capitol Rotunda, the public gallery's legislative chambers and even Beretania Street would be divided equally between people on opposing sides of the debate over Senate Bill 1. The mauka (toward the mountains) side of the rotunda will be designated for people who support gay marriage and opponents will get the makai (toward the sea) side. This line will be extended into the gallery. Civil Beat.

Officials are expecting an even larger crowd than Wednesday's to gather at the Capitol for a third reading and likely final House vote Friday morning on a controversial same sex marriage bill. Hawaii News Now.

A huge crowd and beefed up security are expected at the State Capitol on Friday, as House lawmakers take a final vote on the same-sex marriage bill. The House session is expected to be another marathon one. KHON2.

A determined group made up primarily of church ladies from Chinese Lutheran church and New Hope Leeward started in a prayer circle at the state Capitol, but would soon branch out. KITV.

Hawaii Least Politically Engaged State, but Some Believe Gay Marriage Debate Could Turn the Tide. Hawaii Reporter.

The Hawaii Independent and other news sources and citizens have been live-tweeting updates since the first day. Here are some of the best, mostly from the JUD/FIN hearing and yesterday's 2nd reading.

Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said the state is "committed to continuing the momentum" seen on national test results released Thursday showing Hawaii's public school fourth-graders for the first time surpassed national peers on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The state's fourth-graders scored an average 243 points in math out of a possible 500 points — two points higher than the national average, marking the first time Hawaii has topped the national average in any subject since state results were first recorded in the 1990s. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s fourth- and eighth-grade students continue to make gains in reading and math, although their scores remain below the national average in reading at both grade levels and in eighth-grade math. West Hawaii Today.

In an effort to clean up its food finances, the DOE told charter schools to figure out their own arrangements for meals, which include breakfast and lunch, according to state Charter School Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton. The only charter schools exempt from the change are those that share cafeteria facilities with regular DOE schools. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. eked out a 1 percent increase in third-quarter net income as gains in its banking business helped offset lower earnings at its utility subsidiary, the company reported Thursday. HEI earned $48.2 million in the third quarter, up from $47.7 million during the same three-month period in 2012.  Star-Advertiser.

In brief | State 110813. Associated Press.

State roundup for November 8. Associated Press.


Civil Beat on Thursday filed suit against the Honolulu Police Department over the agency's refusal to release the names of police officers who have been disciplined for serious misconduct.

About 46 traffic cameras have been knocked off­line at streets and highways across Oahu and will likely stay that way for up to 30 days, city officials say, after they found two pipes containing fiber-optic cable severed and damaged Monday. Star-Advertiser.

Is it a case of modern day slavery? Bad working conditions? Or just sour grapes over pay? Allegations are flying about distress on the docks from the crew of some Honolulu fishing vessels. KHON2.

A proposal that would have penalized people for lying down on public sidewalks is getting a makeover. Bill 59 met stiff resistance when it was heard by a Honolulu City Council committee last week. So its sponsor pulled it back and promised to introduce a rewritten version. Civil Beat.

Scams against the elderly are on the rise.  And there are so many different scams, police have a hard time keeping up. Since 2008, elder abuse cases have risen almost 300%.  Hawaii News Now.

McKinley High School administrators temporarily suspended cheerleading activities after learning some members of the cheerleading squad were involved in cyberbullying. KHON2.

The Sheraton Princesss Kaiulani is expected to close Aug. 1 for a massive redevelopment totaling $500 million, the highest reinvestment ever made in a single Waikiki property. Star-Advertiser.


The Windward Planning Commission unanimously voted Thursday to “demand” that representatives of an Ocean View swap meet come to its Dec. 5 meeting to explain what they’re doing to alleviate traffic and parking problems, or face sanctions. West Hawaii Today.

North Hawaii Community Hospital and Queen’s Health Systems next month will render a decision on a formal affiliation. West Hawaii Today.


Overwhelming support for Maui County's only public access channel, Akaku: Maui Community Television, poured out before state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs officials Wednesday night. Maui News.

Maui County’s housing market remained positive in October with the median sales price of both single-family homes and condominiums rising from the same time period last year, according to the Realtors Association of Maui. Pacific Business News.

The Maui Police Department announced the planned blessing and dedication of the new Kīhei Police Station on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Maui Now.

A revamped mixed-use project on former ranch property in north Kihei seemed, at the least, more palatable to Kihei residents Tuesday night, which is a shift in public opinion from when developers originally proposed two large outlet malls that outraged some community members and led to a challenge at the state Land Use Commission. Maui News.


The Kauai County Council will meet Thursday to consider overriding Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.'s veto of Bill 2491, which creates disclosure requirements for large-scale pesticide use and the farming of genetically modified crops and establishes other restrictions. Star-Advertiser.

The fate of Bill 2491 will be decided Thursday by a smaller, six-member Kauai County Council. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council has scheduled a hearing for November 14 to consider overriding Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491, relating to pesticide and GMO disclosure.  Civil Beat.

A date has been set for a Kauai County Council meeting to vote on whether to accept or override Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491. The bill would require large agriculture companies to disclose the use of pesticides and genetically modified crops. Hawaii Public Radio.

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.

Hawaii House: How they voted on gay marriage bill

Hawaii House of Representatives file photo
The Hawaii House voted 30-18 on Wednesday on a second reading of a same-sex marriage bill.

YES (30)

Della Au Belatti (D, Moiliili-Makiki-Tantalus)
Tom Brower (D, Waikiki-Ala Moana-Kakaako)
Denny Coffman (D, Naalehu-Captain Cook-Keauhou)
Cindy Evans (D, Kaupulehu-Waimea-Halaula)
Faye Hanohano (D, Hawaiian Acres- Pahoa-Kalapana)
Mark Hashem (D, Hahaione Valley-Aina Haina-Kahala)
Linda Ichiyama (D, Salt Lake-Moanalua Valley)
Kaniela Ing (D, South Maui)
Derek Kawakami (D, Hanalei-Princeville-Kapaa)
Bert Kobayashi (D, Diamond Head-Kaimuki-Kapahulu)
Chris Lee (D, Kailua-Lanikai-Waimanalo)
Nicole Lowen (D, Holualoa, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau)
Sylvia Luke (D, Punchbowl-Pauoa-Nuuanu)
Angus McKelvey (D, Lahaina-Kaanapali-Honokohau)
John Mizuno (D, Kamehameha Heights-Kalihi Valley)
Dee Morikawa (D, Niihau-Koloa-Kokee)
Mark Nakashima (D, Kukuihaele-Laupahoehoe-North Hilo)
Scott Nishimoto (D, McCully-Moiliili-Kapahulu)
Takashi Ohno (D, Nuuanu-Liliha-Alewa Heights)
Richard Onishi (D, South Hilo-Keaau-Honuapo)
Karl Rhoads (D, Chinatown-Iwilei-Kalihi)
Scott Saiki (D, Downtown-Kakaako-McCully)
Calvin Say (D, Palolo-St. Louis Heights-Kaimuki)
K. Mark Takai (D, Halawa-Aiea-Newtown)
Gregg Takayama (D, Pearl City-Waimalu-Pacific Palisades)
Roy Takumi (D, Pearl City-Waipio-Pearl Harbor)
Cynthia Thielen (R, Kailua-Kaneohe)
Jessica Wooley (D, Kahaluu-Ahuimanu-Kaneohe)
Kyle Yamashita (D, Sprecklesville-Upcountry Maui)
Joseph Souki (D, Waihee-Waiehu-Wailuku)

NO (18)

Henry Aquino (D, Waipahu)
Karen Awana (D, Kalaeloa-Ko Olina-Maili)
Mele Carroll (D, Holualoa, Kailua-Kona, Honokohau)
Lauren Cheape Matsumoto (R, Mililani-Schofield-Kunia)
Ty Cullen (D, Waipahu-Royal Kunia-Makakilo)
Richard Fale (R, Waialua-Kahuku-Waiahole)
Beth Fukumoto (R, Mililani-Mililani Mauka-Waipio Acres)
Sharon Har (D, Kapolei-Makakilo)
Ken Ito (D, Kaneohe-Maunawili-Kailua)
Aaron Ling Johanson (R, Fort Shafter-Moanalua Gardens-Aliamanu)
Jo Jordan (D, Waianae-Makaha-Makua)
Bob McDermott (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point)
Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-Poamoho)
James Tokioka (D, Wailua-Hanamaulu-Lihue)
Clift Tsuji (D, Hilo-Waiakea-Keaukaha)
Gene Ward (R, Kalama Valley-Queen’s Gate-Hawaii Kai)
Justin Woodson (D, Kahului-Wailuku-Puunene)
Ryan Yamane (D, Mililani-Waipio-Waikele)


Rida Cabanilla (D, Ewa Beach-West Loch Estates)
Romy Cachola (D, Sand Island-Kalihi-Airport)
Isaac Choy (D, Manoa-Punahou-Moiliili)

More information on SB1 here.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Same-sex marriage advances in Hawaii, police boss under fire for anti-gay marriage remarks, audit again slams recycling program, Hawaii tax program millions in overruns, more GMO, $10 milk on Maui, Big Island council balks at diluting Sunshine Law, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2013 All Hawaii News
Honolulu gay rights rally file photo (c) 2013 All Hawaii News
Two state House committees sent a bill that would legalize gay marriage to the full chamber Tuesday night, ending a five-day public hearing that exposed deep divisions in Hawaii on an issue being considered across the United States. Members of the House Judiciary and Finance committees voted for the bill after hearing more than 55 hours of public testimony, leading to alterations in the measure. Associated Press.

The state House is preparing to take a critical procedural vote today on a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry but would expand a religious exemption. Several lawmakers are expected to push for amendments that would broaden the religious exemption even further, which, if successful, could put the House version of the bill in sharp conflict with the Senate's and possibly prolong the legislative special session. Star-Advertiser.

Same-sex marriage legislation finally cleared another major hurdle. Despite 55-plus hours of oral testimony, most of it weighted heavily in opposition, two Hawaii House committees passed Senate Bill 1 Tuesday by a comfortable margin. The Judiciary Committee passed the bill 8-5. The Finance Committee passed it 10-7. Civil Beat.

Today the joint House committees recommended to pass SB1 out of committee with amendments. The joint House committee hearing on SB1 (between the Judiciary and Finance committees) recommended to pass SB1 back to the full house today but with three amendments. Hawaii Independent.

A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii has passed through a House joint committee. Senate Bill 1 passed through with three amendments: Adopts law consistent with Connecticut law. Remove sections on parental rights (§572-C) Effective date moved to Dec. 2, 2013. KHON2.

A Joint House Committee ended public testimony this afternoon on the marriage equality bill. Hawaii Public Radio.

A controversial same-sex marriage bill has passed a joint House committee and will advance to the House floor for a second reading and vote Wednesday morning. SB 1, the "Hawai'i Marriage Equality Act of 2013" passed 18 - 12 Tuesday afternoon. The biggest change in this amended version is the expanded exemption that will apply to both non-profit and for-profit religious organizations -- protecting them from fine or penalty if they refuse to perform a wedding ceremony for same-sex couples. Hawaii News Now.
SHOPO President Tenari Ma'afala
The head of Hawaii's police officers union said he is standing by his opposition to the same-sex marriage bill and other comments he made before a legislative committee Monday despite the charge by a gay Honolulu police officer who said the actions cast a shadow over the Police Department's integrity when dealing with the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Star-Advertiser.

A gay Honolulu police officer is asking Chief Louis Kealoha to distance the department from comments made by police union president Tenari Maafala. On Monday, Maafala, an HPD officer and president of the State of Hawaii Police Officers Union, told Hawaii legislators he would never enforce such same-sex marriage legislation should it become law. Civil Beat.

"You would have to kill me." Any way you slice it, it's a dramatic, provocative statement. So it's easy to see why those six words — spoken by police union President Tenari Maafala during marathon hearings on same-sex marriage — resonated with Civil Beat.

Holding his bible, SHOPO President Tenari Ma'afala testifies against SB1, the same-sex marriage bill.  He told lawmakers this bill will turn him, a law abiding citizen, into a law breaker. While many in the crowd threw up shakas in support, members of the gay community listened in shock.   Including another Honolulu Police Officer, Corporal John Zeuzheim.  Hawaii News Now.

The contractor responsible for the troubled Hawaii Health Connector website is the same company the state hired 14 years ago to build a tax collection system that state officials say has never worked properly. Canadian-based CGI Group Inc. was paid $87.5 million between 1999 and 2011 to modernize the Hawaii Department of Taxation's collection system. Because of flaws in the system CGI built, the state is preparing to spend at least another $32 million to redo the project, Tax Department officials said. Star-Advertiser.

The state's Deposit Beverage Container Program has been around for a decade, but a new report claims the program is broken. KHON2.

Long-standing problems with the state's beverage container recycling program continue to result in overpayments of millions of taxpayer dollars, exposing the operation to abuse and possible fraud and undermining its financial viability, according to a new state audit. Star-Advertiser.

A new administrator is poised to take over the embattled State Historic Preservation Division. The news comes four months after the division's previous head stepped down, following repeated criticisms by federal officials of how the division was run. Alan Downer will join the agency Dec. 2. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has released a request for qualifications for a contractor to represent Hawaii in the Latin America market in an effort to boost tourism from the area to Hawaii. Pacific Business News.

State roundup for November 6. Associated Press.


HECO warns solar companies about unapproved PV systems. KITV.

An attorney representing many Kahuku Village V residents has launched a new salvo in a fight to keep his clients from being evicted from their rental homes -- a 233-page lawsuit filed in state court Monday. Star-Advertiser.

A pedestrian spotted a live 2 1/2-foot-long boa constrictor on a Nuuanu Avenue sidewalk Tuesday morning. The nonvenomous rainbow boa constrictor was seen on the sidewalk in front of the Kukui Plaza condominium at about 7 a.m., captured and turned over to police, the state Agriculture Department said. Star-Advertiser.

Sometime before the end of 2013, Bank of Hawaii will distribute the last $5.6 million in assets of the George Galbraith Trust to more than 1,300 current heirs. That final distribution will terminate both the trust and the bank’s own role as trustee, just over 109 years after Mr. Galbraith’s death. Civil Beat.


The Hawaii County Council will not support attempts by other counties to weaken the state Sunshine Law. The council Committee on Governmental Relations and Economic Development voted 8-0 Tuesday to reject a proposal from Maui County, a move that removes it from a package of initiatives the Hawaii State Association of Counties will present to the Legislature for the regular 2014 session that starts in January. West Hawaii Today.

University of Hawaii officials want to extend the leases that authorize telescope usage on Mauna Kea by another half century. West Hawaii Today.

The Hawaii County Council recessed its meeting on Bill 113, limiting GMO, on Tuesday evening after receiving over four hours of public testimony. Supporters of the bill exceeded opponents by more than 4-1. Tribune-Herald.


Buying locally produced milk in upcountry Maui is likely going to cost a bit more than buyers may be used to. Photos courtesy of MAUIWatch show a gallon of Haleakala Dairy milk at the Safeway store in Wailuku costing $10.19. Hawaii News Now.

While the presence of sharks is seldom enough to deter Maui's most avid watermen and -women, some say they are taking more precautions before entering the water in light of recent attacks. Maui News.

A waterline break reported at around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5, will result in a water outage along a portion of Baldwin Avenue in Pāʻia until around 9 p.m., water officials announced. Maui Now.


The state Senate approved $7.3 million in emergency funding Tuesday to sustain two rural Kauai hospitals through spring. The Senate passed House Bill 3, unamended, to help keep the Hawaii Health Systems Corp. Kauai regional health care system afloat. Sen. Sam Slom (R, Diamond Head-Kahala-Hawaii Kai) was the lone opponent of the bill. Star-Advertiser.

Emergency funding for Kauai’s public hospitals appears to be on its way. The Hawaii State Senate Tuesday passed House Bill 3 that will provide $7.3 million in emergency funds to the Kauai Regional Health Care System of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Garden Island.

Proponents of Bill 2491, restricting GMO and pesticides, are saying Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. added insult to injury last week by vetoing the bill and releasing the County Attorney Office’s legal opinion on the matter. Garden Island.

The stage is almost set for deciding the future of Bill 2491, restricting pesticides and GMOs on the island. Four of the council members, including Jay Furfaro, Tim Bynum, JoAnn Yukimura and Gary Hooser, said their initial vote to approve the measure is not likely to change.Garden Island.