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Friday, April 30, 2010
April 30, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 12:39 PM :: 7442 Views

Naming Names: Legislators override Lingle's veto of 2000% oil tax increase

Veto Overrides “increase tax burden, discourage job creation, impede recovery”

Gay Marriage foes caught off guard, outline plan to retaliate

Groups and churches against same-sex marriage said yesterday that they already were rallying their members to speak out against the vote, and predicted that the governor's office would be flooded with telephone messages and e-mails by today.

Other civil-union opponents said the vote yesterday likely will fuel conservative organizing efforts and make civil unions an issue in the September primary and November general election. They said it could even be a factor in next month's special election for Hawai'i's 1st Congressional District seat.

REALITY: Hooser, Hanabusa predict HB444 will bring gay marriage back before Courts

A Question: Which kills more: ideology or religion?

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Burris: Lawmakers test voters' sentiment

Every member of the House, which voted 31-20 in favor of civil unions, is up for re-election. Half of the Senate, which earlier approved the idea 18-7, is in the same boat.

This is a classic example of political sentiment at odds with popular sentiment. After the Hawai'i Supreme Court made national headlines by ruling in 1993 that same-sex couples have an equal protection right to marry, the backlash was immediate. The Legislature proposed a constitutional amendment that marriage should be reserved to couples of the opposite sex and the voters overwhelmingly approved that amendment.

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SB: Restore days, reform schools

In lockstep with the union, Garrett Toguchi, chairman of the state Board of Education, insists in the spirit of union solidarity that all employees are necessary for schools to be open. He is supported by other board members who have relied on endorsements by HSTA for their election.

That would likely change if voters in November approve a state constitutional amendment allowing the governor to appoint school board members, which could be important in reducing the union's influence over the board, depending, of course, on the governor's relationship with the union. The authority to select the schools superintendent remains with the board.

Systemic changes are needed in the school system, from decentralizing decision-making, to lifting the cap on the number of innovative charter schools as encouraged by the Obama administration but opposed by interim Superintendent Kathryn S. Matayoshi. The powerful influences that sway Hawaii's decisions need to stop protecting the status quo and instead, be open to real improvements for student learning. Attention must now shift from teachers' wages to educational reform.

(That’s nice.  But these are empty words unless someone steps up RIGHT NOW to form a PAC and campaign in favor of the constitutional amendment.)

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Atheists disrupt Senate: 1 arrested, 1 hospitalized 

Mitch Kahle (rhymes with pale), president of Hawaii Citizens for the Separation of State and Church, was arrested at about 9:50 a.m. at the Senate chambers, deputy sheriffs said.

He was charged with obstructing government operations, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Kahle said he posted his own $300 bail.

"We were there to protest the ongoing violation of the Constitution," he said. "We stepped up the pressure by engaging in peaceful civil disobedience."

His lawyer advised him not to discuss the incident, which involved him, the sergeant-at-arms and the sheriff deputy. He added, "There's going to be some action against the state."

Kevin Hughes, another member of the group, was injured and had to be taken to the hospital for an X-ray, Kahle said. He did not know the extent of Hughes' injures.

Hughes could not be reached for comment. Kahle is scheduled to appear in court May 27.

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ADV: A good idea hampered by terrible timing

The result was Senate Bill 2650, which rejects Human Services Director Lillian Koller's plan and replaces it with a pilot project for O'ahu.

We are troubled by the Legislature's micromanagement of administrative functions; mandating headcounts, locations and practices of state agencies is a bad idea.

But this politically charged election year was probably the wrong time to press ahead with such a radical overhaul of such a sensitive social services operation. The streamlining idea was a good one but the timing was terrible.

Legislators must believe there is a germ of a good idea in this, too, or they wouldn't have allowed the O'ahu pilot program to move forward.

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8 Hawaii legislators prepare to leave Capitol

Five are considering runs for lieutenant governor, all of them Democrats: Rep. Lyla Berg, Sen. Robert Bunda, Sen. Gary Hooser, Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu and Sen. Norman Sakamoto.

Two House members would likely run for Senate to fill potential vacancies created by Bunda and Sakamoto. They are Reps. Michael Magaoay and Glenn Wakai, both Democrats.

Republican Sen. Fred Hemmings is retiring.

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Maui Testifiers: Keep property taxes low

Maui Tea Party President Brett Glass said it was a "misrepresentation" for the county to say that taxes would stay the same or go down at the proposed rates.

"This is still a sizable increase," he said.

With less income, Glass said he was relieved when he saw his property values went down this year.

"I'm sure many families here were looking forward to that same break in property taxes," he said.

Glass said he wanted to "commend" the County Council for taking a more conservative approach to property taxes than Mayor Charmaine Tavares, who had initially proposed a bigger rate increase.

But he added, "I don't think it goes far enough."

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HMSA rates rise 7.8% on average: Hike affects nearly 120,000 employees in small businesses

The increase covers about 120,000 workers employed by small companies and enrolled in HMSA's preferred provider plan that includes drug, dental and vision coverage.

In filing for the increase the insurer had said it would have a shortfall of $64.4 million this year if it didn't raise rates.

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States Face Their First ObamaCare Test today—sign up for bankrupt, high-risk pool?

States have until April 30 to let Washington know if they plan to participate in one of the first government programs to be launched under ObamaCare—new high-risk pools for the uninsured. The question states should be asking is: Why would we participate?

The high-risk program is essentially insurance for individuals who have pre-existing conditions and are expensive to insure. The new health law allocates $5 billion for insuring them until 2014 when enrollees would be transferred to new health-insurance exchanges. But Richard Foster, chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reported last week that the high-risk program will run out of money next year or in 2012. Therefore, if states sign up for the program, they'll end up shouldering the burden for about two years after it runs out of federal money.

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Waters of Life plans on hold  “Beating a dead horse”

Waters of Life applied for and received nearly $50,000 in federal Title I funds to finance a summer session aimed at completing work not finished during the regular school year, but the review panel maintains that doing so is a misuse of funds designated solely for summer school.

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Hawaii Charter Schools are ‘Canaries in a Coalmine’ Due to Toxic Funding Levels, Supporters Say

Students, parents, staff and community volunteers built the school’s 3,000 square foot workshop pavilion, constructed a 8,600 gallon reef simulation tank and 14,000 gallon live shark display, literally building the school from the ground up with nearly no facilities support from the State.

Now, WHEA’s fate hangs in the balance. The school must find a new location due to the Kona Airport expansion scheduled for 2012.

The Legislature removed the governor’s request for $10 million in funding for charter schools on state land from the budget passed this week.

Without access to capital improvement funding and with draconian cuts in State charter school operational funding, the charter school may not survive.

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Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: Silence From Djou on Wall Street Reform is Deafening

DCCC desperation speaks volumes.

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