Capitol Watch — Hawaii Politics and Government { Stay up-to-date with Civil Beat's live blog about Hawaii politics and government.

Maui County Officials Avoid Lanai Flight, Take Ferry

civilbeat:

From KITV:

It’s been nearly two months since a fiery plane crash on Lanai that killed two county workers and injured three other employees.

Maui County officials took a ferry Friday to the first Lanai Planning Commission meeting since that February tragedy.

A spokesperson for the County says the panning staffers took the ferry to Lanai Wednesday and remained there overnight before heading back. Meanwhile, donations are still being accepted for the families of the victim’s killed in the February plane crash. Read more.

And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:

Okada gives a Ukranian egg for a gift of life

Hawaii County takes first step toward Oceanside foreclosure

Nurse Aide training center opens in Lihue

Kohala High students explore hospitality careers, learn etiquette

Corpuz trial date continued

Convicted felon, 52, receives 10 months for forgery, meth

Maui Council panel to discuss property tax revenues

Hawaii County fights Little Fire Ants at parks, zoo

Kauai County supports Project Graduation

UH scientists chart seafloor of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 

Hawaiian Homes panel to meet on Maui

Learn about Hawaiian Nation-building in Lahaina

DAR official vows community input on fisheries

Molokai brushfires believed to have been intentionally set

Lava slowly creeping toward subdivisions

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Photo: The Valley Isle. (KITV)

—Chad Blair

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Anderson Joins Ige Seeking Speech Time at Democratic Party Convention

civilbeat:

Honolulu Councilman Ikaika Anderson, one of seven Democrats running for the 1st Congressional District seat, supports equal time for major candidates at the Democratic Party of Hawaii's convention next month.

Anderson’s request, issued today, follows demands made this week by state Sen. David Ige to also be allowed to deliver a speech. Ige, who is challenging Gov. Neil Abercrombie, was told by party officials that candidates running for statewide office would not be allowed to address the convention from the podium, as has been customary.

Only top elected officials — including Abercrombie, the congressional delegation and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, one of Anderson’s opponents — will be granted speaking slots. The reason given is that convention time has been shortened this year.

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Photo: Top Hawaii Democrats sing at the close of their state convention, Sheraton Waikiki, May 27, 2012. (Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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Hawaii Among States ‘Most Likely’ to Legalize Marijuana Next

civilbeat:

The Huffington Post has this article. Excerpt:

While debates on marijuana’s health effects should and will continue even beyond the next wave of legalizations, it’s clear that the floodgates have already been broken. More states will legalize marijuana, and some will do it relatively soon. In states around the nation, pro-pot legislators bolstered by public opinion and the examples set by Colorado and Washington are putting the once-taboo issue before their colleagues, hoping to become the first state to legalize legislatively. …

Lawmakers in Hawaii have considered a number of bills to both decriminalize and legalize marijuana this year — and killed them before allowing them to reach a full vote. Activists don’t have a citizen ballot initiative process to allow them to pursue legalization, so they’re hoping the pro-pot momentum will carry over to lawmakers in the Aloha State this year and beyond.

Hawaii has already legalized cannabis for medical use, and lawmakers recently passed legislation to improve the system. A poll taken earlier this year showed that 66 percent of Hawaiians supported legalization. …

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Photo: Screen shot, April 18, 2014. (The Huffington Post)

—Chad Blair

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Group Demands Answers from State Amid Child Abuse Claims

civilbeat:

From the Hawaii Tribune-Herald:

An advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse is asking the state Department of Human Services and Catholic Charities to explain how children were continually placed in the care of Jay Ram, accused in a lawsuit of abusing boys he fostered and adopted.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, which helped five men previously under Ram’s care file the lawsuit against him, said Thursday it is requesting Human Services and the charity do an independent investigation of the processes that allowed dozens of boys to be placed with the former Big Island resident.

“It is time for action,” Joelle Casteix, SNAP western regional director, said in a press release. Read more.

And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:

Pay hikes planned for Hawaii County officials

Review: Kauai police shooting justified

World premiere of Kilauea documentary at Palace Theater

Travel website names Makako Bay in its Top 10 dive sites

A modern day Kauai paniolo seeks assistance

Tourism chief expresses concerns

Maui island planning officials elect to take ferry after crash

Snorkler drowns off of Haena

EPA official tours Kona reuse site

Mala Wharf’s closed for repairs, forcing businesses to move operations

Leeward planners return site visit bill with negative vote

Rename of pool and field after Shiraishi and Amoral mooted

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Photo: Screen shot, April 18, 2014. (Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

—Chad Blair

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Rep. McKelvey: House ‘Wedded’ to Broader Version of Financial Disclosure Bill

civilbeat:

Sen. Clayton Hee wants to see how Gov. Neil Abercrombie feels about requiring some of the most powerful state boards and commissions to start filing public financial disclosure statements

If Senate Bill 2682 can avoid a veto, Hee said he’s inclined to go along with the House version of the legislation despite its broader reach. 

The Senate draft would just require the Public Utilities Commission to publicly disclose their financial interests. The House version adds 15 more agencies, including the Hawaii Community Development Association, Board of Land and Natural Resources and University of Hawaii Board of Regents.

Hee opened the conference committee debate on the bill Thursday by asking state Rep. Angus McKelvey how wedded the House was to its version.

“We’re very wedded to the House position,” McKelvey said.

Hee asked if there was any chance of “divorce,” but no. 

McKelvey agreed to defer the measure until Tuesday so Hee could take the administration’s temperature since a veto override seems unlikely.

Hee said if by Tuesday it’s still unclear how Abercrombie feels about the bill, the Legislature should just pass it and force the issue. 

Read past Civil Beat coverage of the financial disclosure bill here

Nathan Eagle

Photo: Hawaii Sen. Clayton Hee is seen here in this Civil Beat file photo.

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Sen. Slom: Government Accountability Office to Investigate Hawaii Health Connector

civilbeat:

State Sen. Sam Slom, a Republican, says the federal Government Accounting Office will investigate the Hawaii Health Connector's use of $204 million dollars in federal grant monies. 

David Lewis, the GAO’s assistant director for the Office of Congressional Relations, told Slom yesterday that Hawaii will join six other states being investigated for their health insurance exchanges.

Lewis, according to Slom’s office, said the investigation will be focused on whether the Hawaii Health Connector “followed procedures relating to the use of federal funds as well as issues pertaining to security.”

Slom said, “the fact that the GAO does not usually take up issues referred to them by state representatives reflects the serious nature of the issues surrounding the Hawaii’s Health Connector, and its failure to act in a transparent manner.” 

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Photo: Sen Sam Slom, left, and an aide. (Sen. Sam Slom)

—Chad Blair

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Mauna Kea Observatories Find Possible Habitable Planet

civilbeat:

From West Hawaii Today:

Two Mauna Kea observatories confirmed this week the discovery of the first potentially habitable Earth-sized planet found outside our own solar system.

“What makes this finding particularly compelling is that this Earth-sized planet, one of five orbiting this star, which is cooler than the sun, resides in a temperate region where water could exist in liquid form,” said Elisa Quintana of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center, who led a paper on the discovery published in the current issue of the journal Science. Read more.

And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:

Councilors advance a MAUIWatch settlement

Stop! Kapaa traffic study ahead

Terez Amato to run for Sixth District Senate Seat

Fate of Hilo man accused of shooting police rests with jury

Tagging Kioea: Learning about Molokai’s rare shorebirds

Kapaa woman sentenced for sexual assault

Astronomers discover potentially habitable, Earth-sized planet

Eight Big Isle vendors submit waste reduction bids

No alternative at hand yet for cane burning — HC&S

Nakamoto appointed judge

Firefighters tackle brush fire in Kihei

Real estate sales increase in Puna

Maui police lieutenant: Cluster of fatalities all ‘avoidable’

Kikiaola harbor project gets go-ahead

Kilauea lava flow watched closely as it creeps northeast

Coast Guard suspends search for Japanese crewmember

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Photo: The stars from Mauna Kea. (Matt Rafferty)

—Chad Blair

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On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: April 17

civilbeat:

A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Thursday at the state Capitol. Click here for more.

Conferences:

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Photo: Hawaii state Capitol. (Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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Man Aims to Paddle from Hawaii to Japan

civilbeat:

From The Garden Island:

When 51-year-old Duke Kaneko of Nagasaki, Japan wants to connect with Mother Earth, he paddles — often hundreds of nautical miles at a time.

In fact, a voyage earlier this month on a six-man outrigger canoe took him and a team of paddlers from Maui to Oahu and on to Kauai. Each portion of the trip demanded more than 14 hours on the water, with one day of rest in between. Read more.

And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:

Expanded infertility coverage weighed

Former Lihue grocery store part of county campus reconstruction plan

Council committee endorses purchase of Kau coastal lands

Pilot explains West Molokai accident

Maui water talk focuses on sources — of funding

Blanchard tries to shake off rocky start to 2014

Bill authorizing bonds for Maui hospital to go to conference

Big Isle Ram sex-abuse case gets national notice

Fire chief seeks delay in ocean safety transfer

Hawaii Island bill targeting the homeless is postponed

Waterline repair to close Main Street

Hundreds of Hawaii homeowners affected by mortgage rescue scam

Physical, occupational therapy can help Kauai folks stay strong

CERT training offered on Molokai

No testimony offered on Hawaii County budget

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Photo: One paddle, two paddle. (Thangaraj Kumaravel)

—Chad Blair

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It’s Kupuna Power Day at the State Capitol!

civilbeat:

The second-annual Kupuna Power Day at the state Capitol Rotunda runs from 9-11:30 a.m. today.

"It’s a fun-filled event bringing together more than 30 organization providing vital information for the health, safety and well-being for Hawaii’s kupuna," according to a press release.

Said Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, the event organizer, “Our population is aging and we need to continue to provide our kupuna with support so that they can live self-sufficiently. The silver tsunami is coming and we want to prepare all our residents for when that time comes.”

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Photo: AARP Hawaii members at a Kupuna Care Rally, State Capitol, March 29, 2011.

—Chad Blair

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On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: April 16

civilbeat:

A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Wednesday at the state Capitol. Click here for more.

Hearings:

  • Senate Concurrent Resolution 73 Requesting the DOH to convene a task force to study the effects of the Red Hill underground fuel leak. (9:30 a.m., Room 423)
  • Senate resolutions regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault in the U.S. military. (9 a.m., Room 423)

Conferences:

Briefings:

  • Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection and Ways and Means will receive an update on Hawaii Health Connector. (9 a.m., Room 211)

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Photo: Hawaii state Capitol. (Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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Hawaii Firefighters Back Abercrombie for 2nd Term

civilbeat:

The Hawaii Fire Fighters Association is backing Gov. Neil Abercrombie for a second term.

HFFA represents about 3,100 active and retired firefighters.

“Governor Abercrombie has stood by our side for over 40 years,” said Bobby Lee, HFFA president, in a press release today. “We first endorsed him in 1974. Since that time, he’s consistently supported us on labor issues and fire and public safety matters. There’s no one more qualified to  lead this state to a brighter future.”

Abercrombie faces state Sen. David Ige and possibly several other candidates in the Democratic primary.

Photo: Screen shot, April 15, 2014. (HFFA)

—Chad Blair

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Airlines Vie for Kalaupapa Service

civilbeat:

From The Molokai Dispatch:

The competition is becoming fierce between two airlines for the opportunity to serve the Kalaupapa community under a federal contract.

Makani Kai and Mokulele airlines are two of the four companies that applied for subsidies to provide regular flights into the small, isolated settlement. In a show of hands last week, 77 out of 78 Kalaupapa residents attending presentations by both airlines voted in strong support of Makani Kai, which has been serving the peninsula for the past two years.

Community members say they appreciate the personalized service that Makani Kai and its owner Richard Schuman provides. Read more.

And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:

Waipio group rejects bill

Accused con man considers run for Maui mayor

Kauai Fire Department proposes more overtime

Scott ex-boyfriend arrested in unrelated case

Bill would require Waikakuu Ranch project site inspection

Judge grants intervention in GMO lawsuit

Kahu Minnie Ka‘awaloa dead at 91

Maui Humane Society ad to arm public with ‘accurate information’

JROTC instructor has taken hundreds of students under his wing

Big Isle students organize drive for Typhoon Haiyan relief

2014 Molokai Earth Day

Connections fights for new campus

Richard’s Market on Lanai stops selling cigarettes, tobacco

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Photo: Screen shot, April 15, 2014. (Makani Kai)

—Chad Blair

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Will Hawaii Become 23rd State to Enact Pro-Hemp Legislation?

civilbeat:

The state Legislature has passed Senate Bill 2175, also known as the “Hemp Bill.”

It authorizes the dean of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at UH Manoa to conduct a two-year industrial hemp phytoremediation and biofuels research program.

According to a press release from the House, twenty-two states have already passed pro-hemp legislation and, should the governor allow SB 2175 to become law, Hawaii will become 23rd state.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Gabbard and championed by Rep. Cynthia Thielen.

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Photo: Rep. Cynthia Thielen. (PF Bentley/Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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On Tap at the Hawaii Legislature: April 15

civilbeat:

A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Tuesday at the state Capitol. Click here for more.

Hearings:

Conferences:

Briefings:

  • Senate Ways and Means will hear about the educational facilities improvement special fund and requests. (9:15 a.m., Room 211)
  • Senate Transportation and Ways and Means will hear from the DOT on CIP requests and federal funding. (10 a.m., Room 211)

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Photo: Hawaii state Capitol. (Civil Beat)

—Chad Blair

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