Thursday, November 13, 2014

Reorganization pits Hawaii House vs. Senate in GMO fight, Maui residents sue for GMO home rule, Abercrombie sparse with pardons, woman sentenced to jail for damaging Iolani Palace, Kauai anti-war group allowed in job fair, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News
Hawaii state Capitol © 2014All Hawaii News
The coalition of dissident Democrats and minority Republicans that brought state House Speaker Joseph Souki to power last year has officially ended. Souki's postelection reorganization of the House reflects his expanded support among Democrats and sheds the alliance with Republicans, who had held three committee vice chairmanships — including the vice chairmanship of the House Finance Committee — through the coalition. Star-Advertiser.

GMO Debate to be Shaped by New Senate, House Ag Chairs. Sen. Russell Ruderman and Rep. Clift Tsuji are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to regulating the seed industry. Civil Beat.

House Speaker Joe Souki and the Democratic majority met in caucus briefly Wednesday afternoon before unveiling the 2015 leadership team and committee chair assignments for next legislative session, which convenes Jan. 21. Star-Advertiser.

The Hawaii House of Representatives has named new leaders for its key committees and top posts. Speaker Joseph Souki and Vice Speaker John Mizuno will head the chamber with Majority Leader Scott Saiki. Associated Press.

The Hawaii Ethics Commission must release the financial disclosure statements of all members of the University of Hawaii Board of Regents, state Land Use Commission and Agribusiness Development Corp.'s board of directors, a state judge ruled Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

First Circuit Judge Rhonda Nishimura has granted Honolulu Civil Beat’s request for a preliminary injunction to require the Hawaii State Ethics Commission to make public the financial disclosure statements of certain state board members. Civil Beat.

Consumer finance site NerdWallet has a new study out that estimates gay weddings could have a $26.6 million benefit to Hawaii in additional annual revenue. Civil Beat.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has pardoned significantly fewer criminals than his three most recent predecessors, according to records obtained by Hawaii News Now.

While the Hawaii Supreme Court already has dinged the state for failing to provide sufficient funding to operate the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, the debate now turns to what constitutes sufficient funding. Star-Advertiser.

Hawai'i Short 50K New Housing Units by 2016. State Lawmakers conducted a comprehensive briefing on Housing requirements state-wide today. Hawaii Public Radio.

Oahu

A 22-year-old woman who admitted that she damaged a 130-year-old glass panel when she kicked in a door to break into Iolani Palace could be spending 12 more months in jail. Star-Advertiser.

A Civil Beat analysis of Honolulu death records found that 139 of the 417 homeless people who passed away from March 2006 to July 2014 died of natural causes, most often heart disease and pneumonia. That’s second only to drug and alcohol-related deaths, which totaled 142 in the same period.

A decision to expand the city's contentious sit-lie law outside of Waikiki and into business sections of other Oahu neighborhoods is delayed until Friday to allow Honolulu City Council members more time to examine and research the latest draft they received Wednesday morning. Star-Advertiser.

The Honolulu City Council on Wednesday suspended a final vote on a bill that would extend the city’s ban on sitting and lying on sidewalks in Waikiki to commercial districts throughout Oahu after four council members said they hadn’t been given sufficient time to review last-minute amendments. Civil Beat.

Construction equipment may begin rolling again next week on the site of the 801 South St. Building B condominium tower in Kakaako after a state court injunction that stopped work in May was lifted Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

For the first time in four years, Honolulu motorists can look forward to seeing $3.50-per-gallon gas prices, and not five or 10 years from now, but in three to six months. Pacific Business News.

Bikeshare Hawaii, a nonprofit that will work to establish a bike-sharing transportation system on Oahu, is under new leadership. Star-Advertiser.

The public will get its first look at a planned $38 million affordable rental complex aimed at local artists in the Honolulu neighborhood of Kakaako on Dec. 17. Pacific Business News.

Starting Wednesday night, it’ll be a nightmare to drive through the Kalihi area. That’s when a Department of Transportation pavement resurfacing project begins. KHON2.

Hawaii

Following the destruction Monday of the first home in Pahoa to be hit by the advancing lava flow, one question is likely on the minds of many homeowners in the area. When will the state request federal assistance for individual homeowners and renters as a result of the June 27 lava flow? Tribune-Herald.

As lava slowly oozed its way into Pahoa last week, University of Hawaii at Hilo researchers were out on the flow field, providing aerial imagery to emergency responders. Big Island Video News.

courtesy Hawaii County government
courtesy Hawaii County
Firefighters doused two power poles threatened by lava with water and foam Wednesday to help protect them from temperatures that can exceed 2,000 degrees. Tribune-Herald.

The lava flow from Kilauea Volcano is lingering near Pahoa's $3.9 million waste and recycling center while county officials keep an eye on a breakout upslope that moved 225 yards Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

If public meeting laws were applied to the scientific investigations of a board trying make a determination on public policy, they would create “unworkable and absurd conditions.” So argues the state Commission on Water Resource Management in its response to an allegation it violated the Sunshine Law during site visits to West Hawaii this fall. West Hawaii Today.

Facing sanctions from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and striving to keep Kailua Bay clean, Hawaii County is undertaking a $6.5 million sewer project mauka of Kuakini Highway in an area residents have dubbed “Hamburger Hill.” West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Global seed companies Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences promised litigation after Maui County residents approved a voter initiative to ban on genetically modified crops on Election Day, but five residents have beaten them to the punch. Civil Beat.

The group responsible for putting a moratorium on genetically engineered crops on the Maui County ballot launched a pre-emptive strike against agricultural giants Wednesday by filing a lawsuit in Maui Circuit Court. Star-Advertiser.

With the dust still settling from last week's election, two dozen California lawmakers are flying to luxury resorts in Hawaii for conferences subsidized and attended by interests that lobby the Legislature: oil companies, public employee unions, drug and tobacco firms, and others. L.A. Times.

Kauai

Hawaii Peace and Justice — an organization that supports the demilitarization of Hawaii — will be allowed a spot at the upcoming Hawaii College and Career Fair after initially being told it could not participate. Garden Island.

A decision could be issued soon on whether two Kauai fishermen will get a chance to challenge new rules approved for the state's first community-based subsistence fishing area in Haena on Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Former Hanalei boatyard owner Michael Sheehan’s civil action alleging former neighbors built un-permitted structures that caused environmental damage will move forward with the same judge in 5th Circuit Court. Judge Kathleen Watanabe on Wednesday denied a plaintiff’s motion to recuse herself as presiding judge in the case. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Shipping company buyouts to change Hawaii's commerce, HUD investigates public housing, Supreme Court to hear gay marriage, lava reaches garbage transfer station, Maui 'coup' changes council leadership, Sheraton fined for coastal work, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Matson shipping company courtesy photo
The domestic shipping business that is Hawaii's main lifeline for goods is reverting to a duopoly next year after nearly a decade of three-way competition, though local consumers and businesses are not expected to see significant price or service changes. Star-Advertiser.

Two business transactions announced Tuesday will significantly change the seascape of the shipping industry in Hawaii. Matson Inc., which has the largest share of the U.S. mainland-to-Hawaii market, said it will buy Horizon Lines Inc. for $69 million. Matson also will acquire Horizon’s debt. Tribune-Herald.

Matson Inc., which has the largest share of the U.S. Mainland-to-Hawaii market, said it will buy the Alaska operations of Horizon Lines Inc. for $69 million. Matson will also acquire Horizon’s debt. Separately, Horizon will sell its Hawaii operations to The Pasha Group for $142 million and shut down its Puerto Rico business. Garden Island.

Commentary: State Senate will lean left, House will go right. In analyzing the power shifts in leadership and committee assignments for the upper house of the Hawaii State Legislature, we predict a more liberal Senate in the 2015-16 Legislature. But the House will likely shift right. Hawaii Independent.

The state Supreme Court will hear arguments in December on a state House lawmaker's legal challenge to Hawaii's marriage equality law. Star-Advertiser.

A federal investigation is underway into whether tenants at 68 federal housing projects across the state are violating the rules and taking advantage of taxpayers, sources told Hawaii News Now. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department, known as HUD, began an Inspector General's investigation into tenants at federal housing projects across Hawaii several months ago, sources said.

The Hawaii Health Connector has quadrupled the number of call center workers at the state's insurance exchange to make it smoother for residents to enroll in medical coverage after a disastrous rollout a year ago. Star-Advertiser.

The nonprofit Faith Action for Community Equity is hosting a summit on Saturday focused on Hawaii’s affordable housing crisis. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Voters Didn’t Show Up Because the Election Was Boring. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Service to the country by veterans past and present — including a legacy of contributions by Hawaii's sons and daughters — was remembered Tuesday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl. Star-Advertiser.

More than 400 homeless people have died on Oahu in the past eight years, a Civil Beat review of medical examiner’s death records has found. Civil Beat.

State and city agencies want the Navy to either double-line its operational underground fuel storage tanks at Red Hill within the next 10 years or shut them down, according to a draft report issued last week by the Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility Task Force. Star-Advertiser.

PBS Hawaii held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning morning on the site of its future home — 315 Sand Island Access Road in Kalihi. The public television station’s lease with the University of Hawaii at Manoa is expiring. Thus far, PBS Hawaii — it’s a 501(c)(3) nonprofit — has raised more than 75 percent of its $30 million capital campaign goal. Civil Beat.

Hawaii

A day after the June 27 lava flow claimed its first Pahoa home, Hawaii County Civil Defense reported that the leading edge of the flow remained stalled 480 feet from Pahoa Village Road. But activity taking the form of a number of breakouts further up slope behind the flow front continued. Tribune-Herald.

courtesy Hawaii County
courtesy Hawaii County
Lava from Kilauea Volcano flowed through a fence surrounding Pahoa's $3.5 million waste and recycling center Tuesday afternoon, one day after it burned a nearby house. Star-Advertiser.

As the lava flow from Kīlauea’s Pu’u ‘O’o Vent continues to creep through Puna just outside of Pahoa, Hawai'i County officials are facing a series of decisions. A major one concerns roads. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense officials say they're very closely monitoring three active Puna lava flow breakouts in the Apa‘a Street vicinity. Hawaii News Now.

A local resort is scrambling to get an after-the-fact permit after it was cited by the county Planning Department for unauthorized construction and landscaping work. West Hawaii Today.

The new Hawaii Community College — Palamanui center must become its own master while pushing the envelope to develop innovative offerings. That was the message at a community forum Tuesday evening at Old Kona Airport Park, with several speakers saying the West Hawaii population has lacked proper access to higher education for too long. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Council Member Mike White announced Monday that he will chair the Maui County Council in the next term, unseating current Chairwoman Gladys Baisa, who characterized her deposing as a "coup." Maui News.

The Maui region of Hawaii Health Systems Corp., which includes Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital, could plunge into a $46.4 million cash-flow deficit by fiscal 2017 if it continues on its current financial trajectory. Maui News.

A standing room only crowd showed up to testify at an informational briefing and hearing on Maui focused on the state health system and district plans to address anticipated budget shortfalls. Maui Now.

Kauai

Company officials from ABC Stores, a popular Honolulu-based convenience store chain, are seeking to build a fourth store on Kauai. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Puna Lava flow burns first home, Abercrombie starts new business, Honolulu named best place to retire, state sues Hawaii County over hunting, raises for Kauai officials, Patsy Mink awarded posthumous Medal of Freedom, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

 courtesy Ena Media Hawaii and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters
First house torched by lava courtesy Ena Media Hawaii and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters

The destruction of her grandparents’ house Monday brought the reality of the June 27 lava flow home for Kanoe Pelfrey. Tribune-Herald.

First video of the house fire ignited by lava in Pahoa, filmed by Mick Kalber of Tropical Visions Video aboard Paradise Helicopters. Big Island Video News.


 

 Lava from Kilauea Volcano's so-called June 27 flow ignited its first house in Pahoa on Monday and threatened more destruction in the days ahead. Star-Advertiser.

The slow moving lava flow on Hawaii Island has set fire to its first home, making contact with the residence just before noon.  The home’s renters had already left the residence. Hawaii Public Radio.

The first home has been claimed by the Puna lava flow, just across the street from the Pahoa Transfer Station along Cemetery Road/Apaa Street. Hawaii News Now.

A home is burning after coming into contact with the June 27 lava flow. Darryl Oliveira, Hawaii County Civil Defense administrator, said he received confirmation at about 11:55 a.m. that the home off Cemetery Road had ignited after lava reached the vacant 1,152-square-foot residence. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Civil Defense says that an upslope lava breakout on Cemetery Road destroyed a home and shed at around noon Monday.  This is the first residence claimed by the June 27th lava flow. KITV4.

With just weeks left in his 44-year career of public service, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie is listed as the sole officer of a new company called Pacific Strategies LLC. The business was registered with the state Oct. 3, about two months after Abercrombie’s re-election effort was derailed by state Sen. David Ige in the Democratic primary. Civil Beat.

Some 1,853 of Hawaii’s 13,505 marriages held since Dec. 2, 2013, were between same sex couples. But Hawaii’s same sex marriage law, passed by the Hawaii Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in Nov. 2013, could come to an end if the Hawaii Supreme Court rules the law invalid. On Dec. 18, the state’s high court will hear oral arguments in the challenge brought by Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican in the Hawaii Legislature. Hawaii Reporter.

The U.S.-China agreement to extend short-term visas for tourists and business travelers from one to 10 years drew applause from Hawaii business leaders and politicians, including Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley, who called it a "significant step in the right direction." Pacific Business News.

Starting today, a reciprocity agreement will extend short-term business and tourist visas to-and-from China to 10 years, and student and exchange visas to five years. The move is aimed at providing economic benefits in tourism, trade and investment. Garden Island.

President Barack Obama on Monday named Patsy Mink one of 19 people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Star-Advertiser.

Health insurance rates for nearly 13,000 individuals will rise Jan. 1, while close to 33,000 people may be pleasantly surprised to see premium decreases. The state Insurance Division has approved an average 9.2 percent rate hike for 9,600 individuals covered by Kaiser Permanente Hawaii and 3.8 percent increase for 3,141 members with the Hawaii Medical Service Association. Star-Advertiser.

The state Health Department says a restaurant can have roaches and rodents and still pass inspection. Hawaii News Now.

Switching from diesel oil to liquefied natural gas for electric power generation could drop Hawaii's highest-in-the-nation electric rates from 6 to 25 percent by the year 2040, according to a working paper posted online last month by the Economic Research Organization at the University of Hawaii. Maui News.

The longtime head of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly says he’ll leave the organization next August. The search is underway for a replacement for J.N. Musto, who has been with the union for more than 35 years. Civil Beat.

The Hawaii Association of Independent Schools Board of Directors has named Robert Landau the organization’s new executive director, replacing longtime Executive Director Robert Witt, who is retiring. West Hawaii Today.

Oahu

Livability.com has named Honolulu a Best Place to Retire, 2014. Honolulu, the website says, “offers access to affordable and quality health care, practical cost of living, retiree-friendly businesses and services, as well as several amenities to help keep residents active.” Star-Advertiser.

Luxury high-rise condominiums planned in Kakaako have been big sellers this year. Really big. So big that a single developer has sold $783 million worth of residences slated for completion in 2016 and 2017. Star-Advertiser.

Cash, cars, jewelry. All kinds of property are taken by law enforcement every year and sometimes, there are no arrest or criminal charges. But authorities get to keep the goods, and it’s legal. KHON2.

Former state prison guard Mark Damas was sentenced Monday to just shy of five years behind bars for accepting bribe money to smuggle meth­am­pheta­mine, cigarettes and other contraband into Halawa Correctional Facility and for scheming with inmates to do so. Star-Advertiser.

An additional 6,000 hatchery-raised sea urchins were recently placed in Kaneohe Bay on Oahu by Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Aquatic Invasive Species team divers in the battle against invasive seaweeds that threaten to smother coral patch reefs. West Hawaii Today.

Unanticipated costs and delays might doom Mayor Kirk Caldwell's controversial plan for a temporary transition center for up to 115 homeless people at Sand Island. Star-Advertiser.

Starting Wednesday night, state transportation officials plan to make full and partial lane closures in both directions of the H-1 freeway in Kalihi from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The state is suing the county over its aerial hunting ban. The suit, filed Thursday in Hilo Circuit Court by the Office of Attorney General David Louie, seeks to exempt state employees and private contractors hired by the state to eradicate feral sheep, goats, swine, cattle and axis deer from the 2012 county ordinance prohibiting aerial hunting. Tribune-Herald.

Kawaihae South Small Boat Harbor, the first new harbor opened in the state in 34 years, was dedicated Monday. West Hawaii Today.

New court program gives veterans a second chance. West Hawaii Today.

Maui
A standing room only crowd showed up to testify at an informational briefing and hearing on Maui focused on the state health system and district plans to address anticipated budget shortfalls. Maui Now.

It's been a week since the controversial initiative calling for a moratorium on the cultivation of all genetically engineered crops in Maui County managed to squeak by in one of the closest races of this election. Now that the campaigning is over, its passage has left residents wondering, “What now?” Hawaii Public Radio.

Kauai

Raises may be on the horizon for some top county officials whose salaries have been frozen for nearly five years. The county Salary Commission, by a 6-0 vote, approved a measure that would raise the maximum salary limit for 22 department heads by a total of $150,265. Garden Island.

The Missile Defense Agency released video of the Hawaii-based destroyer USS John Paul Jones shooting down a simulated ballistic missile and a "raid" of cruise missile targets Thursday off the coast of Kauai. Star-Advertiser.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hawaii officials urge U.S. Army not to leave islands, Navy working on renewable energy research, Abercrombie recognized for gay marriage, lava flow poised to consume garage, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Pohakuloa Training Area © 2014 All Hawaii News
State and city officials are asking for the public's help in fending off a proposal that would reduce Army personnel in Hawaii by 20,000 and cost the state $1.35 billion. Star-Advertiser.

With the U.S. Army looking at restructuring its forces, community leaders, lawmakers and military supporters gathered at Honolulu Hale this morning to launch a campaign that aims to keep Hawaii's heroes in the islands. KITV4.

The U.S. Army is considering a proposal that would eliminate close to 20,000 soldiers and civilian workers from Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter as part of its 20-20 “force structure realignment.” This could severely impact Hawaii’s economy, with officials estimating a loss of $1.35 billion. KHON2.

The U.S. Navy is putting millions of dollars into renewable energy research in Hawaii. The Defense Department is the largest energy consumer in the U.S., and has long been worried about having to rely on expensive fuel oil for military operations. Associated Press.

Hawaii has become ground zero for a Pentagon research drive to develop alternative energy in areas including Asia and the Pacific, where the need to travel long distances -- and use lots of fuel oil to do it -- has been identified as a national security risk. Star-Advertiser.

Outgoing Gov. Neil Abercrombie will be given an award for his work to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. Associated Press.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who leaves office Dec. 1, will be given an award next week for his work to legalize same-sex marriage in Hawaii. Civil Beat.

Gov.-elect David Ige took his first step as the incoming leader of Hawaii, announcing he will appoint Mike McCartney as his chief of staff. Associated Press.

David Ige: Engineer, Technocrat … and Ballet Dad? Hawaii's governor-elect recently opened up to Civil Beat about his entry into politics, why he stayed and how fatherhood may have slowed his legislative ascent. Civil Beat.

David Ige takes office with few political debts. The new administration's first test may be dealing with powerful interests. Star-Advertiser.

With 12.5 percent of all children born prematurely in the islands, Hawaii once again earned an average "C" grade for premature births even as the national rate dropped to a 17-year low of 11.4 percent. Star-Advertiser.

Students and faculty at the University of Hawaii are joining forces to try to force solutions to the system's spiraling financial crisis. Hawaii Reporter.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration is having second thoughts about relocating 100 homeless people to a vacant lot on Sand Island. Civil Beat.

Interest in Hawaii as a test bed for wave energy technology is swelling as companies flock to Kaneohe Bay to prove the durability of their power-generating devices in the Pacific. Star-Advertiser.

A house in the Windward Oahu town of Kailua that Hawaii native Barack Obama once used as a getaway just months before he was elected president has been sold for $9.5 million. Pacific Business News.

Hawaii

A lava breakout in the area of Apa’a Street near the cemetery has entered a private property and is only 5 yards away from the garage area of a residential structure. Civil defense says it is possible that these buildings may be affected by the advancing flow later today. Big Island Video News.

According to Hawaii County Civil Defense, Sunday morning’s assessment of the June 27 lava flow from Kilauea Volcano shows that the flow front remains stalled with very little activity and has not advanced over the past 10 days. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said Friday officials are not considering re-opening Pahoa Village Road despite the front of the June 27 lava flow from Kilauea stalling for more than a week.Tribune-Herald.

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard might have been in Pahoa as a member of the Hawaii Army National Guard, but her fatigues hardly helped in her blend in with the other men and women in uniform at a lava informational meeting Thursday evening. Tribune-Herald.

People seriously late on their sewer bills could soon find their water shut off, under a measure winning initial approval Friday. West Hawaii Today.

A team of representatives from the research and development company Makani spent Wednesday evening in Waimea assuring pilots that an experimental wind project won’t interfere with flights. West Hawaii Today.

Group launched to stop alleged turtle poaching. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Some Maui parents cheered the Legislature's approval of $130 million for a new high school last year, believing it meant a new school would open by 2016. But due to how the funding was structure, the state Department of Education said the school will have to be built in phases and won't open until perhaps 2020. Associated Press.

The Maui County Council on Friday approved amendments to the county's public sign ordinance in accordance with a U.S. District Court settlement involving a free-speech lawsuit stemming from a Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in Wailuku. Maui News.

Maui County Council Chairwoman Gladys Baisa and other concerned citizens have been assured by Gov. Neil Abercrombie that he will not sign off on proposed changes to cesspool rules in Hawaii, Baisa told The Maui News on Friday. Maui News.

Kauai

Living treasures honored. Garden Island.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Hawaii House leadership unchanged, public employee overtime out of control, state technology lacking, Augie T hired by Hawaii County mayor, Maui measles van mobilizes, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy photo
Hawaii Legislature 2014 courtesy photo
State House Speaker Joseph Souki will keep power in the House with expanded support from fellow Democrats. House Democrats, meeting privately in caucus Thursday, backed the veteran Maui lawmaker by acclamation. Star-Advertiser.

Joe Souki, speaker of the Hawaii House of Representatives, will remain in his post for another two years. All 43 Democrats — including the handful of new ones elected Tuesday — met today at the Capitol and gave unanimous support to Souki. John Mizuno will also continue as vice speaker. Civil Beat.

Longtime Central Maui Rep. Joe Souki was re-elected House speaker "by acclamation" Thursday, winning the support of his fellow Democrats, avoiding a repeat of a leadership battle and leaving minority Republicans out in the cold. Maui News.

Temporary emergency rules that went into effect Wednesday will continue state-funded medical assistance benefits for noncitizens, including some 13,700 Micronesian migrants, Hawaii officials said. But advocates for noncitizens say the rules will mean more out-of-pocket costs for migrants. Star-Advertiser.

The state Department of Human Services says Gov. Neil Abercrombie has approved temporary emergency rules that will allow non-citizens to receive state-funded medical benefits in Hawaii. The department said Thursday the rules will be in effect for 120 days. Associated Press.

The time a veteran waits in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific to see a primary care doctor for the first time has dropped to 35 days — a reduction from 110 days since May 15, the head of the system said. Star-Advertiser.

Now that Hawaii knows who the next governor will be, we can take a look at where Gov.-elect David Ige stands on energy. Pacific Business News.

The average daily room rate at Hawaii hotels rose 6.2 percent to $217.60 last week, while the statewide average occupancy rate rose 2.5 percentage points to 71 percent, according to the weekly hotel report from Hospitality Advisors LLC and STR, Inc. Pacific Business News.

Opinion: While fears grow about the feds tracking us too keenly, we should be equally wary of the state's near-inability to track us at all. Civil Beat.

Opinion: Ballot Issue Grew Out of Abercrombie’s Retreat Into Secrecy. The Hawaii governor continued to fight over judicial transparency long after he should have given up.  Civil Beat.

Oahu

Next time the state or city bring up budget cuts, remember this: More than $100 million a year gets shelled out in overtime alone. What’s being done to crack down on this costly problem? KHON2.

Oahu's housing market is looking like it will reach new annual highs this year by producing moderate gains in median prices for a third consecutive year. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Navy should be forced to shut down its massive Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility unless it double lines its 18 active underground tanks within 10 years to prevent leaks, according to a draft report from a state task force formed to study the facility and make recommendations to the Hawaii Legislature. Civil Beat.

A lawyer who was entrusted with sensitive criminal trial documents that were found unattended in a downtown Hono­lulu restaurant is facing penalties that could include paying for the prosecutors' time and expenses in connection with recovering the missing documents. Star-Advertiser.

The Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful part of Oahu, but there is an ugly dispute brewing with some folks who live nearby. The Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary is a restricted area, but right across the driveway is the ocean which is not. Hawaii News Now.

After getting a busy signal for two days from the Handi-Van's reservation line, Mary Wilkinson called the telephone company out of frustration Wednesday and had the phone company test Handi-Van's number to be sure it was actually working. Star-Advertiser.

The bench on Kalakaua Avenue across the street from the Waikiki Circle Hotel is in the heart of the city's tourist hub.  The popular place to take a break is also the center of a loophole in the city's sit-and-lie and park closure laws. KITV4.

Halau Lokahi Public Charter School is facing another financial shortfall after Kame­ha­meha Schools declined to provide $1,500 per pupil this academic year, or $238,500. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii

The tide has turned on early County Council opposition to an e-cigarette ban at beaches and parks. Riding a wave of apparent public support, the council Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee on Thursday voted 6-2 to forward Bill 302 — outlawing the use of e-cigarettes anywhere tobacco smoking is prohibited — to the County Council with a positive recommendation. West Hawaii Today.

A lull in lava activity is giving officials more time to test methods for re-establishing access over Highway 130 should it be covered by the June 27 flow. Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira told reporters today that the state Department of Transportation on Friday will begin applying aggregate over the portion of Apa‘a Street covered by lava. Tribune-Herald.

The agony of watching and waiting for what many consider inevitable -- even though there's still uncertainty -- is weighing on the residents of Pahoa. Perhaps there's no one who understands better what they're going through than Harry Kim, who served as Hawai'i County's Civil Defense Director for 16 years and another 8 years as Mayor. Hawaii News Now.

No joke. Augie T is the latest addition to Mayor Billy Kenoi’s staff. The award-winning comic is now an executive assistant to the mayor, one of five top aides charged with handling various projects and public relations for the chief county executive. West Hawaii Today.

The National Park Service on Thursday pressed its case that the agency does indeed have the science to back its petition to designate the Keauhou aquifer a state water management area. West Hawaii Today.

The CEO of an electrical power plant under construction in Pepeekeo said the project is “moving forward” despite mounting legal problems, including a foreclosure suit filed by the project’s former general contractor. Tribune-Herald.

Work to reduce wildfire threat on Hawaii Island continued this week as a community meeting was held to generate concerns and solutions. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

A mobile measles treatment area has been set up outside of the Kaiser Maui Lani Clinic in Wailuku as a precautionary measure to prevent additional exposure, officials tell Maui Now.

With the hotly contested and historic genetically modified organism moratorium on Tuesday's ballot, Maui County posted the highest voter turnout rate in the state at 52.7 percent - a reversal from the August primary's lowest turnout of only 33.1 percent.  Maui News.

Kauai

For the past several months, some county officials admit that they have heard their share of complaints from residents who called upon them to cut costs and not raise taxes. Garden Island.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Monsanto, Dow, to sue over Maui GMO, Kauai Council won't repeal GMO law, state Senate reorganizes, Inouye library restarts, Sunshine violations charged in Big Island water fight, Ige rode big swell of support, iconic Fisherman's Warf coming down, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

University of Hawaii scientist
GMO seed corn research, courtesy University of Hawaii
A day after Tuesday's stunning election victory of a Maui County moratorium on genetically engineered crops, the new law appeared destined to share the fate of similar measures in Kauai and Hawaii counties -- being decided in the courts. Monsanto, the agricultural giant that operates two farms in Maui County, said Wednesday that the company and "allied parties" will ask the court to declare the initiative legally flawed and unenforceable. Star-Advertiser.

Biotech giants Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences are poised to legally challenge Maui County’s temporary moratorium on cultivating genetically engineered crops. Both companies issued statements to that effect Wednesday morning after Maui County voters on Tuesday narrowly approved a ballot initiative imposing the ban even though its advocates were outspent by a ratio of 87 to 1. Civil Beat.

Monsanto Hawaiʻi responded to the passage of a moratorium on genetically modified organisms in Maui County by releasing a statement this morning, and also confirming that a lawsuit will be filed challenging the legality of the initiative. Maui Now.

Maui County spokesman Rod Antone says the county is finalizing how much manpower and equipment will be needed to implement a new law temporarily banning the cultivation of genetically engineered crops. Antone says Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration will need to get approval for a budget amendment once it finalizes the resources needed. Associated Press.

Gov.-elect David Ige is making news in Japan as the first person of Okinawan descent to be elected a U.S. governor. Star-Advertiser.

Gov.-elect David Ige claimed 44 of the state's 51 House districts, a Honolulu Star-Advertiser analysis shows, taking the neighbor islands and all but portions of the west side, North Shore and Windward Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Increasingly indifferent voters and a state where public life is overwhelmingly dominated by one political party contributed to a record-breaking low voter turnout rate of 52.3 percent in Tuesday's general election, according to several experts who spoke to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Wednesday. The experts also said Republicans James "Duke" Aiona, a candidate for governor, and Charles Djou, the 1st Congressional District nominee, could have benefited immensely from higher voter turnout Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Voter turnout for the 2014 General Election was the lowest since Statehood in 1959, when nearly 94 percent of Hawai’i voters cast ballots. Hawaii Public Radio.

The Hawaii state Senate has reorganized its leadership following Tuesday’s elections. Donna Mercado Kim will remain president and Les Ihara will remain policy leader. But other top jobs have new faces. Civil Beat.

State Senate President Donna Mercado Kim will preside over a new leadership coalition in the Senate that includes a new vice president and majority leader and changes to the influential Senate Ways and Means and Judiciary and Labor committees. Senate Democrats met privately Wednesday to reorganize after Tuesday's election results. Star-Advertiser.

Governor-elect David Ige might find himself surrounded by fellow Democrats when he begins his new job next month, but the same can't be said of Hawaii's congressional delegates. KITV4.

Hawaii’s two Democratic U.S. senators will be in the minority when they return to Washington, D.C. in January 2015. So what will that mean for the billions of dollars in federal funding for the islands, especially just two years after the death of Sen. Daniel Inouye? KHON2.

One year after the University of Hawaii agreed to slow down hurried plans to build a center to honor the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, university officials want to spend $5 million to complete the design phase of the project, which could break ground in a year to 18 months. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii voters turned down two of five constitutional amendments, including one that would have allowed the use of taxpayer funds for private preschool education. Another amendment that would have allowed judges to remain on the bench until 80 years old instead of retiring by their 70th birthday as the constitution now requires, was soundly defeated with 73 percent of the voters opposed. Hawaii Reporter.

Opinion: Now that the political campaign circus has finally left town, all of us should clear our heads and focus on the form of citizen participation that is far more important than voting. Civil Beat.

Oahu

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration is hiring a consultant to help assess whether it’s safe to relocate some 100 homeless people to a vacant lot on Sand Island after reports surfaced in September that the soil could contain high levels of contaminants left over from ash and solid waste dumps. Civil Beat.

A $390 million condominium tower and flagship Whole Foods Market proposed for Kakaako on the site of an Office Depot store and former home of Nordstrom Rack got a largely favorable public response Wednesday at a state hearing. Star-Advertiser.

The iconic 67-year-old Fisherman's Wharf building at Kewalo Basin in Honolulu is getting closer to being demolished. The state Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which owns the shuttered restaurant building at 1011 Ala Moana Blvd., was recently issued a permit to demolish the 7,441-square-foot, two-story building, which has become an eyesore over the years. Pacific Business News.

Deputy prosecutor involved in state's largest rave. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

The state Commission on Water Resource Management is being accused of violating the Sunshine Law during site visits to the Big Island in September and October. West Hawaii Today.

The front of the June 27 lava flow, stalled for a week near Pahoa Village Road, might not move another inch after cooling significantly, according to a Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist. Tribune-Herald.

The lava from Kilauea Volcano continues to flow, but the cooling at its front matched with sluggish upslope breakouts may indicate some relief for Pahoa Village residents. Star-Advertiser.

An environmental review for constructing an emergency access route along a lava-covered section of a Hawaii road identifies concerns including the spread of invasive species and possible harm to endangered birds. Associated Press.

Significant progress has been made on the Chain of Craters Kalapana Road, according to a spokesperson from Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Big Island Now.

The public is reminded that classifications of certain crimes are elevated during an emergency declaration that's in effect for lava flowing in the Puna district. Mayor Billy Kenoi proclaimed a state of emergency for the Puna district on Sept. 4. Associated Press.

Maui

If it had been up to voters on Molokai and Lanai, the Maui County ballot initiative to prohibit GMO farming would have been rejected — although just barely on Lanai. The measure to ban the cultivation of genetically engineered crops until the county studies its health impacts squeaked by on Election Day despite majority opposition in two of the county’s three islands. Civil Beat.

Leaders from the two sides of the GMO debate share their thoughts after Maui County voters passed a moratorium on further GMO production yesterday. Hawaii Independent.

Kauai

The Kauai County Council on Wednesday rejected a proposal that would have repealed Ordinance 960, the county’s law regulating the disclosure and use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms by large-scale commercial agriculture companies. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council killed a bill that proposed to repeal a controversial pesticides and genetically modified crops' regulation law. Star-Advertiser.

After tallying the highest voter turnout in a primary election in 12 years back in August, Kauai led the state in Tuesday’s general election with the highest percentage of registered voters making their way to the polls. Garden Island.

Jay Furfaro says he has had a good run as a public servant. For the past two decades, the 66-year-old Princeville resident has served three years on the Planning Commission, spent two years working on the county’s general plan, and held his spot on the Kauai County Council for seven terms. Garden Island.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ige Hawaii's next governor, Maui GMO ban passes, Democrats hold congressional delegation, voter turnout low, big money PAC candidates and issues defeated, all the top election news from all the Hawaiian Islands

courtesy Ige campaign
Governor-elect David Ige courtesy photo
State Sen. David Ige coasted to a win as Hawaii’s next governor Tuesday night, allowing Democrats to hold on to the state’s highest office after voters resoundingly ousted incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the primary. Associated Press.

State Sen. David Ige, riding disenchantment with Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the primary and party loyalty among Democrats in the general election, was elected Hawaii's governor on Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Democrat David Ige has been elected governor of Hawaii. Hours after the polls closed, Ige was ahead of Republican Duke Aiona by a wide margin — 49 percent of the vote compared with 37 percent for the former lieutenant governor. Civil Beat.

Democratic candidate David Ige has been elected as the next governor of Hawaii, defeating Republican candidate James "Duke" Aiona and Independent candidate Mufi Hannemann. Hawaii News Now.

David Ige, who defeated incumbent Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the primary election for the Democratic nomination, held off Republican and Independent challengers Tuesday to be elected Hawaii's next governor. Pacific Business News.

BLUE HAWAII: While change sweeps country, Hawaii remains the same. Hawaii Reporter.

Democrat Brian Schatz easily won Hawaii's U.S. Senate race, holding on to the seat he was appointed to after the 2012 death of longtime Sen. Daniel Inouye. Star-Advertiser.

Democrat Mark Takai has defeated Republican Charles Djou in the race to represent urban Oahu in Congress for the next two years. Civil Beat.

Largely unknown outside of his own state House district when he launched his campaign more than a year ago, Mark Takai rode a surge of momentum in the final stretch of the campaign and turned out the Democratic vote in the hotly contested race for Hawaii's 1st Congressional District. Star-Advertiser.

In the closest of the top races decided Tuesday, Hawaii state Representative Mark Takai, a Democrat, defeated Republican Charles Djou in Hawaii's 1st Congressional District with 51 percent of the vote. Pacific Business News.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was sailing smoothly into a second two-year term Tuesday night, leading Republican Kawika Crowley in the race to represent rural Oahu and the neighbor islands in the U.S. House. Civil Beat.

Hawaii voters rejected the idea of using public funds for private preschool programs, defeating a proposed amendment that pitted early learning advocates against the public teachers union. Star-Advertiser.

For now, it looks like the state won’t be able to tap into private providers if it wants to develop a comprehensive preschool system accessible to all of the state’s 17,500 4-year-olds. Civil Beat.

Oahu will continue to hold all the at-large seats on the Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, according to final returns Tuesday that showed the sole neighbor island candidate running fourth. West Hawaii Today.

The power of incumbency carried the day as three current Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees retained their seats Tuesday night. Star-Advertiser.

Three incumbents running for re-election to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees fared well in Tuesday’s election. Civil Beat.

Even the high stakes of this year’s general election were not enough to get many Hawaii voters to the polls. Once again, voter turnout appeared to be abysmally low Tuesday, continuing a trend that has given the state the distinction of being worst in the nation. Civil Beat.

Tuesday's general election may have set a Hawaii record for voter apathy with a turnout of 52.2 percent, as of the fourth printout at 11:30 p.m. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Carol Fukunaga was re-elected and Trevor Ozawa narrowly beat Tommy Waters in their Honolulu City Council races Tuesday night. Civil Beat

Political newcomer Trevor Ozawa beat former state Rep. Tommy Waters by just 47 votes for the Honolulu City Council District 4 seat to represent East Honolulu. Star-Advertiser.

First-time candidate Andria Tupola, a music educator and Maili resident, ousted state Rep. Karen Awana, whose career was tarnished by four fines for campaign finance violations. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Mayor Billy Kenoi hugs  Daniel Paleka
Hawaii

Daniel Paleka defeated Tiffany Edwards Hunt in the Hawaii County Council District 5 race. With all precincts reporting Tuesday, Paleka had 2,294 votes, or 53.2 percent. Edwards Hunt received 2,015 votes, or 46.7 percent. Tribune-Herald.

A huge infusion of outside money wasn’t enough Tuesday to propel Council District 9 challenger Ron Gonzales over first-term incumbent Kohala Councilwoman Margaret Wille. With all precincts reporting, Wille led Gonzales by 1,005 votes, or 3,154, to his 2,149. West Hawaii Today.

Hawaii County’s Democratic candidates for state Senate seats all appeared to be smoothly sailing to victory Tuesday evening, with all precincts reporting in shortly before 10 p.m. Tribune-Herald.

There were no shakeups in the Big Island House races this election season. West Hawaii Today.

Voters Tuesday approved three proposed state constitutional amendments and the sole Hawaii County charter amendment. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui voters have approved an initiative that places a moratorium on GMO cultivation in Maui County. Maui Now.

A Maui County ban on genetically modified crops pulled off a stunning turnaround late Tuesday night. After trailing by 19 points in the first two printouts, the ballot initiative took the lead, passing by more than 1000 votes. Hawaii Public Radio.

A controversial Maui County Charter amendment temporarily banning genetically engineered crops passed Tuesday night, but just barely. About 50.2 percent of voters -- the minimum needed to pass the initiative -- voted in favor, while 47.9 percent voted against. Supporters are expecting a lawsuit by corporations opposed to the bill. Star-Advertiser.

A Maui County initiative that would ban the growing of genetically modified organism garnered support late Tuesday. The controversial measure had a slight edge of 50 percent to 48 percent as of the third printout of results with 22,647 votes supporting the ban of GMO crops and 21,807 votes against the ban. Associated Press.

Maui County voters approved a ballot initiative calling for a moratorium on genetically engineered organisms. Maui News.

Alan Arakawa has won re-election and will retain his seat as mayor of Maui County. Hawaii News Now.

In the West Maui Council race, incumbent Elle Cochran is reelected after a very close race early on in which her opponent, Ka’ala Buenconsejo led after the first printout. Maui Now.

Kauai

Bernard Carvalho Jr. will serve as mayor of Kauai and Niihau for another four years. With his re-election, he will become the first person to serve 10 years in the position. Garden Island.

Two challengers won seats to the Kauai County Council Tuesday night. Arryl Kaneshiro and KipuKai Kualii earned victories by finishing third and fourth, respectively, bumping incumbents Tim Bynum and Jay Furfaro off the seven-member board. Garden Island.

The incumbent Kauai state representatives won big on Tuesday night. Garden Island.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day to decide governor, other top political offices amid low voter turnout, Obama declares disaster in Puna lava flow, Maui GMO top ballot issue, Gabbard activated to National Guard, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Hawaii Sen. Ruderman's band kicks off Democratic Party grand rally in Hilo Monday © 2014 All Hawaii News
After his stunning defeat of Gov. Neil Abercrombie in the Democratic primary, state Sen. David Ige is facing a tough fight to claim Hawaii’s top office. Outside money from mainland super political action committees has poured in to the island state to fuel ads that have blanketed the airwaves in a race that’s difficult to predict. Associated Press.

Voter turnout for the November elections is expected to be low, political analysts predict, a reflection of a lack of enthusiasm for the candidates and a disengagement from politics. Turnout in Hawaii might not reach the 55.8 percent who voted in 2010, the last gubernatorial election, and could mirror the record low of 52.7 percent in 2006. Star-Advertiser.

copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
Ige with son and Dems chair Tarnas
It’s Election Day: Here’s What’s At Stake in Hawaii. Voters will pick a new governor and congressman and settle ballot questions on preschool funding and GMOs in Maui County. Civil Beat.

It's the year of the underdog in Hawaii, where a soft-spoken Democrat knocked out the sitting governor in the primary election, and a strong third-party candidate is making one race difficult to predict. Associated Press.
copyright 2014 All Hawaii News all rights reserved
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz

Hawaii voters will decide Tuesday whether Democrat Brian Schatz will hold onto the U.S. Senate seat he was appointed to when Daniel Inouye died in 2012. Schatz faces Republican Cam Cavasso in the Senate race. Associated Press.

Hawaii residents will decide both of the state’s U.S. House races Tuesday, including whether Democrats keep control of the 1st Congressional District. West Hawaii Today.

The Congressional District One race is dead even according to the latest media polls.  The two leading candidates are last making a final push for votes. Hawaii Public Radio.

President Barack Obama is trying to help Hawaii hold on to a Democratic seat in Congress with a recorded message the day before the election that asks voters to support state Rep. Mark Takai in the state’s close House race. Associated Press.

Commentary: Who are Undecided Voters, and Will They Actually Vote. Pollsters think some top candidates' unfamiliarity increases undecided voters. But campaigns' best bet is to ensure solid supporters actually vote. Civil Beat.

An emotional Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed off on a new two-year labor contract for the University of Hawaii's more than 4,000 faculty members Monday, a day before Hawaii voters elect a new governor. Star-Advertiser.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld Monday a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that allows the state to reduce its health care coverage of noncitizens, which includes 13,700 Micronesian migrants. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiʻi’s business tax climate scores below average according to a report issued last week by the country’s leading independent tax policy research organization. Maui Now.

Oahu

Hawaiian Electric Co. plans to clear the way for thousands of rooftop solar energy systems on Oahu to connect to its grid by December 2015, according to a letter the utility sent to Hawaii regulators last Friday. Pacific Business News.

This afternoon, HECO announced plans to clear the backlog of thousands of customers waiting for approval to connect their PV systems to the grid. KHON2.

An aerial advertising company will need to make its case to fly over Oahu skies before a district judge after all. Star-Advertiser.

The state's second busiest unemployment office is getting downsized. State Labor Director Dwight Takamine said the state plans to close the Waipahu unemployment office, four months after the department shutdown its Kaneohe office. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii

President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration Monday in response to the June 27 lava flow, a move that authorizes federal reimbursement of state and county relief efforts. Tribune-Herald.

courtesy photo
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard volunteered for and is being called to state active duty by the Hawaii Army National Guard to support Hawaii County's response to the lava flow threatening Pahoa, officials said. Star-Advertiser.

On the eve of her re-election bid, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii District 2, announced that she can been activated by the Hawaii Army National Guard. The congresswoman serves as a Military Police Captain in the Guard, and will be supporting response to the ongoing Kilauea lava flow. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii's Chief Election Officer Scott Nago is telling voters that all polls on the Big Island will be open on Election Day. That's despite the lava that's been creeping into a district that had a hard time voting during the primary because of the tropical storm that knocked down trees and power lines. Associated Press.

Chief Election Officer Scott Nago said Monday that all polls, including the four in the Pahoa area, will be open on Election Day. Voters assigned to Pahoa Community Center will still have the option to vote at Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Center. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii County Civil Defense officials say the leading edge of the Puna lava flow remains stalled and hasn't advanced since last week Thursday, leaving it 480 feet from Pahoa Village. Hawaii News Now.

Threats, arrests and a potential challenge in court.  The battle over who can see the lava flow on the Big Island, and when, is putting a new law to the test. KITV4.

A $4 million appropriation from the state Legislature is providing a boost to Hawaii County’s efforts to have a regional park completed in Waimea by fall of 2016. West Hawaii Today.

Maui

Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu and newly selected Deputy Chief Dean Rickard were officially sworn in to their respective posts today during a ceremony held at the Kīhei police station in South Maui. Maui Now.

The Sugar Cane Train in Lahaina may be back in service in several months, announced West Maui resident and local businessman Craig Hill, who is the new owner of the historic steam engine. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai residents have been sounding off via absentee ballots and early walk-in voting. Today, they’ll take to the polls to decide the island’s next mayor, seven-member Kauai County Council and three state representatives, as well as cast their vote for candidates running in several key state and federal races. Garden Island.

The Kauai County Council will address a proposal to repeal a new county law pertaining to pesticide use and genetically modified crops that a federal judge recently ruled invalid. Star-Advertiser.