A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Thursday at the state Capitol. Click here for more.
• Consideration of Mike Wilson to be an associate Supreme Court justice. (10 a.m., Room 016)
Photo: Hawaii state Capitol. (Civil Beat)
From the Hawaii Tribune-Herald:
An unnamed farmer filed a lawsuit seeking relief from requirements of Hawaii County’s recently enacted ban on genetically modified crops.
The suit, John Doe vs. County of Hawaii, was filed Monday in Hilo’s 3rd Circuit Court and seeks relief from the registration provisions of the GMO ban, which were required to be fulfilled by today. Read more.
And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:
Photo: Kamuela. (mahinui)
The Hawaii House of Representatives has sent to the state Senate for its consideration three bills that address issues and concerns identified from the molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor last September.
House Bill 2621 requires the adoption of rules “including time limits” on the reporting dangerous or damaged property, and requires cooperation between government agencies and their contractors in the investigations of issues raised.
Previously, the House passed on to the Senate House Bill 2620, which updates the state’s oil spill response planning and adds molasses and other contaminants in emergency response plans. House Bill 2622 directs settlement funding from coral and reef damage lawsuits toward reef and marine habitat restoration.
"Combined, all three measures seek to correct the shortcomings in harbor operations management, oversight and reporting procedures that also contributed to the emergency unpreparedness of the state agencies and private contractors involved, including the Harbors Division of the state Department of Transportation,” according to a House press release.
Photo: Pritchett. (Civil Beat)
Gov. Neil Abercrombie yesterday announced the release of more than $65.6 million to the state Department of Education for capital improvement projects.
Allotment of funds for the projects, identified by state legislators, include the following:
• $25.8 million – King Kekaulike High New Auditorium, Maui.
• $15 million – Farrington High Campus Modernization (Phase 1), Oahu
• $3.5 million – Pahoa High and Intermediate Gym, Hawaii Island.
• $450,000 – Kaiser High Track & Field Facility Improvements, Oahu.
Photo: Kaiser High School’s track. (Abercrombie Administration)
For a second consecutive year, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism will showcase Hawaii entrepreneurs, “highlighting innovative and dynamic ideas, projects and products created in the islands,” according to a press release.
Exhibitors at the state Capitol — from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second, third and fourth floors — will “represent the broad diversity of entrepreneurship” in the state, representing fashion, food, music, arts and culture, technology and software applications.
It’s a great opportunity to graze the grinds, gang.
Photo: Logo. (DBEDT)
Rep. Scott Saiki, the House majority leader, has scheduled a campaign fundraiser tonight at the Royal Hawaiian Golf Club.
The suggested donation is $250.
Yesterday was the 25th day of the 2014 Legislature. Tomorrow is the 26th. Bills, lobbyists, interest groups, testimony, money, laws, public service. … elections.
Photo: Cash call. (Tax Credits)
A selective list of bills, resolutions, hearings, briefings and events for Wednesday at the state Capitol. Click here for more.
• House Bill 1638 Funding the state Judiciary. (2 p.m., Room 308)
• House Bill 1700 Funding the state budget. (2 p.m., Room 308)
• An update on the status of opihi. (9 a.m., Room 325)
• An update on bills and issues regarding the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. (10 a.m., Room 325)
• An investigation into the Hawaii State Hospital. (10 a.m., Room 016)
Photo: Hawaii state Capitol. (Civil Beat file photo)
Jesse Souki, who has lead the State Office of Planning, will be taking the place of Esther Kiaaina as deputy director for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Kiaaina is taking a job as senior advisor to Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior.
President Barack Obama nominated Kiaaina to be assistant secretary for insular affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior last September. However, her confirmation has been held up by Senate Republicans trying stymy Obama’s nominations.
DLNR Chair William Aila said that Souki would be a natural fit as his new deputy given his experience with environmental issues.
"We look forward to welcoming Jesse to our DLNR ohana," he said in a statement. "He knows our leadership team very well as we already work closely with him and the Office of State Planning on climate change, ocean resources, and other important natural resource management issues."
From a DLNR press release:
As director of the State Office of Planning, Souki led the passage of Hawaii’s climate change adaptation and sustainability laws in 2011 and 2012. Before joining the state, Souki practiced in the areas of land use, and environmental law and litigation. He was a deputy corporation counsel for the County of Maui and the City and County of Honolulu, and a senior associate with a boutique land use law firm in Honolulu.
Previously, Souki worked in Congress for former U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka before attending law school. He currently volunteers as the treasurer for the Natural Resources Section and the co-chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Hawaii State Bar Association.
Souki earned a Bachelor’s degree in economics and Master’s degree in political science (alternative futures option) from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, and a Juris Doctorate from the Seattle University School of Law.
— Sophie Cocke
With only Republican Sam Slom objecting, the Democrat-controlled Hawaii Senate this afternoon passed legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2017 and provide a blank amount for now in the bill concerning a tip credit.
The Hawaii House of Representatives is expected to vote on its version of a wage hike today.
Photo: Hawaii Senate. (Civil Beat)
The Hawaii House of Representatives just passed HB 2533, which would create a system to publicly fund campaigns for seats in that chamber.
Although it’s up for third reading, some lawmakers seemed a little leery.
In honor of that, here’s the list of top fundraisers currently in the House since the Nov. 6, 2012 election, according to data from the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission.
Rep. Sylvia Luke pulled in more than $73,000 by the end of the last campaign spending cycle, which ended Dec. 31. That’s more than any of her colleagues.
Luke is followed by House Speaker Joe Souki, who raised about $37,000.
A couple notes on the chart:
1) The numbers only include donations of more than $100.
2) Reps. Mele Carroll, Richard Creagan, Kaniela Ing and Lauren Matsumoto were not included in the Campaign Spending Commission’s data set.
Photo via Flickr courtesy of 401(K)2013
— Nick Grube
Hawaii lawmakers were discussing a relatively innocuous bill to protect lifeguards from liability during Tuesday’s House session. But tensions quickly escalated when Rep. Faye Hanohano from the Big Island gave her comments in Hawaiian and Rep. John Mizuno, who was presiding over the session, asked her to translate.
She replied in Hawaiian. And then added, “I don’t want to translate.”
Mizuno quickly called a recess and conferred with the rest of the Democratic House leadership. When he called the House back into session, Mizuno recited from the House rules.
"Members should conduct themselves in a respectful manner," he said.
Rep. Gene Ward, a Republican, rose to come to Hanohano’s defense, explaining that the issue of translating Hawaiian had come up on the House floor a couple of years ago.
"The legal prevailing authority was that there was no need for a translation," said Ward, emphasizing that Hawaiian and English are both the state’s official languages.
Mizuno quickly moved on to the next bill, but the moment marked yet another episode in Hanohano’s ongoing conflict with House leadership over her conduct in session and hearings.
The Native Hawaiian representative has been under fire from critics who say she made racist remarks while presiding as chairwoman of the Committee on Oceans, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs.
— Anita Hofschneider
From The Garden Island:
Extra! Extra! Calling anyone who is comfortable on the water. Oh, and please no fear of gigantic, extinct predators. You guessed it. The fantasy and glamour of Hollywood is returning to Kauai and bringing with it a virtual world of dinosaurs.
The casting directors from EBB Tide Productions Casting will be on the lookout Sunday, March 16 for actor wannabes who would like to be an extra in “Jurassic World.” Men and women, and children between the ages of 10 and 15, are welcome at the free casting call at Kauai Community College in the Performing Arts Center between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Read more.
And here’s the latest in other neighbor isle gov’t, biz, culture and politics:
Photo: Screen shot, March 4, 2014. (The Garden Island)
It’s First Crossover week at the Hawaii Legislature, a key deadline for each chamber to vote on its bills before sending them to the next chamber.
For the House, that means a 32-page agenda, lots of speeches and the expectation that it’s going to be a really long day.
House lawmakers convened around 9 a.m. and passed several pages of bills that they had agreed on beforehand.
Among them were a bill to allow the Charter School Commission to levy certain fees to help offset operating costs for charter schools, and a proposal to combat the coffee berry borer, a beetle that’s hurting Hawaii’s coffee crops.
After a quick vote on all 37 measures, the representatives went into recess to discuss the many bills still remaining. To read today’s full House agenda, click here.
— Anita Hofschneider
Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released more than $96.6 million for the construction of capital improvement projects at state airports.
The projects, identified by state legislators, include the following:
• $50 million – Taxiway Z Structural Improvements, Honolulu International Airport, Oahu.
• $35.7 million – New Diamond Head Commuter Terminal, Honolulu International Airport, Oahu.
• $4,789,771 – Restroom Renovation (Phase 2), Kahului Airport, Maui.
• $410,000 – Runway Safety Area Improvements, Lihue Airport, Kauai.
Photo: Rendering of new Diamond Head Commuter Terminal at Honolulu International Airport. (Abercrombie Administration)
Tuesday is a day of floor sessions for the Senate and House of Representatives. Members will be voting on hundreds of bills that face Thursday’s “crossover” deadline.
The House session begins at 9 a.m., followed by the Senate at 9:30 a.m.
Will the Senate finish its work by lunchtime, as has been the practice recently? Will the House finish before dinner?
Capitol TV will broadcast the proceedings live.
Photo: Hawaii State Capitol (Civil Beat file photo)