Elections: 64 Candidates Pull Papers
9th Circuit Causing Surge In Illegal Immigration, ICE Chief Says
Ige: Hanabusa is ‘Typical Old-Boy Politician Making Secret Deals on Behalf of Special Interests’
HTH: …Asked why voters should give him another four years, Ige said he’s not the “typical old boy politician who makes secret deals on behalf of special interests. I’m a collaborative, innovative leader; I believe in community engagement and engaging public servants to be part of the solution.”…
read … Not Hanabusa
Dods bankrolls Hanabusa Campaign
SA: …Hanabusa’s campaign, she demonstrates that it is good to have friends in high places, or at least on the very best big business boards.
Dods, for instance, is a major business and political entity, plus serves as a generous local philanthropist.
He is a big Hanabusa supporter ($10,000 between Dods and his wife) and it turns out that some of his business associates also are Hanabusa backers. The president, vice president, controller and an attorney with Alexander &Baldwin, where Dods served as chairman and as a member of the board of directors, gave a total of $11,000. Dods also led First Hawaiian Bank, Hawaiian Telcom and Matson, Inc. — companies that also all donated to Hanabusa’s campaign.
She also got some help from those who admire the woman who once held her congressional seat, the late Rep. Patsy T. Mink: Hanabusa reports getting a $6,000 contribution from the Patsy T. Mink political action committee.
And finally, campaign donations also show up with those who are not your buddy. Early on, Ige came out as an opponent of the attempt by Florida-based Next- Era Energy to buy Hawaiian Electric. The deal didn’t go through, as the Public Utilities Commission rejected the purchase. And in the end, the dollars spoke. Ige got nothing from NextEra, while Hanabusa got $6,000 from the energy company’s political action committee and $18,000 from NextEra executives….
read … Blast from the Past
Hawaii County Council takes up proposed 12.5% GET hike Tuesday
HTH: …County Council Finance Committee will try to answer Tuesday, giving the public its first chance to weigh in on the latest tax hike proposal — a one-half cent (12.5%) surcharge on the general excise tax…
The Finance Committee takes up Bill 102, proposed by Mayor Harry Kim, at 10 a.m. Tuesday in council chambers in Hilo. The public also can participate by videoconference from the West Hawaii Civic Center, the Pahoa and Waimea council offices, the Naalehu state office building and the old Kohala courthouse….
Estimated to raise anywhere from $25 million to as much as $40 million for the county annually, the extra half-penny must be passed by the council and approved by the mayor by March 31, or the county loses its opportunity, at least until the Legislature gives it another chance.
Resolution 488 on the same agenda asks the Legislature to extend the deadline until Sept. 30….
A similar bill was postponed indefinitely in 2016, when it became clear it was headed for a 7-2 negative vote. Council members seem equally hesitant this year, an election year following a year when the council and mayor raised both property taxes and the fuel tax….
read … Council takes up proposed GET hike Tuesday
Legislators Pretend to Throw Money at HSTA—Will Union Bosses Be Fooled?
HTH: …State lawmakers are considering a bill that would cap public school class sizes at 20 students and increase the new teacher salary to $55,000 per year.
The measure, filed as Senate Bill 2105, was introduced by Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u. It would take effect in the 2018-19 school year….
(Translation: Josh Green wants the HSTA endorsement for his LG candidacy)
Other education bills, if they become law, would:
• Require a minimum 30-minute period for students to eat lunch.
• Require the DOE to provide meals to students at public charter schools.
• Appropriate funds to the DOE to create a suicide prevention mobile application with 24-hour per day crisis support services.
• Create a DOE farm-to-school program.
• Establish a composting grant pilot project in public schools.
• Prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and sexual orientation in any state educational program or activity that receives state funding. (Trannies mandatory in every bathroom.)
• Increase the general excise and use tax by 0.5 percent for six years to serve as a dedicated funding source for the DOE, along with state programs addressing homelessness.
• Add a nonvoting, public school teacher representative to the state Board of Education.
• Require at least 20 percent of the total general fund per-pupil request be allocated for special education.
• Limit the number of standardized state tests a student takes each year.
• Require the DOE to maintain a list of priority schools in need of classroom cooling and allow those schools to apply for grants for cooling projects.
• Develop a statewide, public computer science curricula.
• Add interior locks to all classroom doors and mandate all schools have emergency management plans that are updated yearly.
• Allow public school students to opt out of dissection, vivisection and other “harmful” animal procedures and participate instead in alternative projects.
• Establish requirements for parents who want to home-school their child.
• Increase the fine to $1,000 for overtaking a school bus on a state highway, if the bus is stopped and its signals are turned on.
read … Elect Me Legislation
Legislation Would Allow Ex-Cons to Distribute Free Weed to Addicts
HTH: A slew of bills focused on revising the state’s medical marijuana dispensary system have been introduced during the 2018 legislative session.
While dozens of bills were introduced that would revise existing statutes to accommodate medical marijuana users, others proposed wide-ranging revisions that would allow more people to qualify for medical marijuana.
In particular, Senate Bill 2248 would, if passed, allow anyone who has been authorized to use cannabis in another state — or, in some cases, other countries — to qualify for medical marijuana use in Hawaii. At the same time, the bill expands the definition of “debilitating medical condition” to include opioid addiction, allowing
recovering addicts to use marijuana to alleviate the effects of opioid withdrawal.
Introduced Jan. 19 by Maui Sen. Rosalyn Baker, SB 2248 also broadens the range of products marijuana dispensaries are permitted to sell to include transdermal devices — the law currently only permits transdermal patches — and cannabinoid suppositories. (LOL!)
Furthermore, the bill also prohibits employers from firing employees for being qualified medical marijuana patients and extends the state’s prohibition of discriminatory practices to include prohibiting discrimination based on legal use of marijuana.
Similarly, SB 2651 would broaden hiring options for dispensaries. While Hawaii dispensaries are prohibited from hiring convicted felons, the bill would allow dispensaries to only deny employment to people convicted of Class A or B felonies, or certain Class C felonies involving fraud, embezzling, endangering minors or drug offenses.
Another bill, SB 2631, would permit dispensaries to provide cannabis free of charge to qualifying patients whose family income is at or below the federal poverty level, while SB 3053 would allow dispensaries to distribute edible cannabis products,
provided they fit rigid production requirements.
More dramatic, however, is SB 2537, which would legalize outright the cultivation, purchase, possession and use of marijuana for residents 21 years of age or older….
Another 2017 bill, HB 108, would establish a marijuana dispensary special fund within the state treasury, which would appropriate 15 percent of all general excise tax revenue reported to the Department of Health each year. (Thus making DoH dependent on weed sales just like the Cancer Center is dependent on Tobacco Tax revenue.)
read … A mound of marijuana legislation: Measure broadening access to pot among bills
Suicide: Elderly and disabled will be pressured by insurance companies
Shapiro: …the elderly and disabled will be pressured by family and insurance companies to end their lives….
read … Some People Just Aren’t Worth keeping Around
What Does the LG Do?
SA: …The state Constitution allows for other duties to be set in statute. Chapter 26 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes establishes that the LG assumes the role formerly performed by the “secretary of Hawaii,” a territorial post that oversaw elections and had custody over public records.
By law, “The duties and functions shall include, but not be limited to, recordation of all legislative and gubernatorial acts, certification of state documents, and maintenance of an official file of rules adopted by state departments.” In addition, the lieutenant governor oversees the state Office of Information Practices.
read … LG’s office needs to be reinvented
When Does Hawaii’s Famous ‘Aloha Kiss’ Become Sexual Harassment?
CB: In Hawaii’s hugging culture, it’s hard to tell when the traditional hug and kiss is innocent or inappropriate….
read … When Does Hawaii’s Famous ‘Aloha Kiss’ Become Sexual Harassment?
SB2343: Petty Misdemeanor Domestic Violence
CB: …A new bill aims to better protect domestic violence victims by adding a petty misdemeanor offense option for perpetrators and making it easier for the victims to obtain protective orders.
Under current law, an alleged offender may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Advocates hope that Senate Bill 2343 would increase conviction rates by creating a lesser option for prosecutors of a petty misdemeanor charge. People accused of petty misdemeanors are not entitled to a jury trial and can be kept in jail for no more than 30 days.
It can sometimes be hard to gain domestic violence convictions in jury trials, said Domestic Violence Action Center CEO Nanci Kreidman. So for some cases, it’s better to convict defendants of lesser charges than to allow them to walk free with acquittals on more serious ones, she said….
read … Misdemeanor
Another First for Hawaii: Legislators Move to Ban Drinking Straws
SA: …Overwhelming support at an initial hearing for a ban on plastic straws led to tentative approval last week from state lawmakers who were urged to act in a plea from 10-year-old Rylee Brooke Kamahele of Kipapa Elementary School….
Other supporters of Senate Bill 2285 included the Hawaii Association for Behavior Analysis, Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Club of Hawaii and Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaii.
Rafael Bergstrom, coordinator of the Oahu Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, said the effects of plastic on the coral reef are “terrifying and detrimental.”
However, Victor Lim, Hawaii Restaurant Association legislative chairman, opposed a ban and advocated instead for public awareness on proper disposal of plastic straws. “This bill is very, very vague,” he said. “It criminalizes the use of straws.”…
read … 10-year-old’s testimony helps push plastic straw ban forward
Snorkel Rentals Kill: Another Death on Maui Brings Total to 10
MN: …In January, there were nine ocean-related deaths in Maui waters, surpassing the high number of five in a month in January and June 2017, said Fire Services Chief Edward Taomoto.
Another death, the first in February, was reported Saturday morning at Ulua Beach, Taomoto said.
That brought the total, since Jan. 14, to 10 deaths. The nine fatalities in January occurred over a two-week period….
Eight of the nine January incidents occurred in calm waters, so rough ocean conditions were not a factor in the spike of deaths, Taomoto said. (There was heavy surf during the incident Sunday.)
Of the nine ocean deaths in January, seven were visitors and two were Maui residents. Of the seven visitors, five were snorkeling and two were scuba diving. Two of the snorkelers were wearing the new one-piece face snorkel masks that some water experts say may be in poor design. (The Sunday victim was snorkeling with a traditional two-piece set.)
As for the Maui residents, one was swimming and the other was shoreline fishing, Taomoto said.
Daniel Galanis, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Health, said that nine deaths over a two-week period in January “is an extreme total for a short period.”…
read … Snorkel Rentals Kill
Enviros Gain Control of Surf Schools, Aim to Kill Business
HTH: …The plan would limit the number of schools allowed to operate at the bay to four. The permitted schools would be selected through a competitive bidding process with a minimum fee of $3,000 a month.
The Kohala Center, which was selected to manage the program through an earlier bid process, is required by its agreement with Hawaii County to reinvest all of those fees back into the surf school program.
The nonprofit is accepting bids for the concessions, and bids must be received by 2 p.m. Feb. 20.
According to the invitation for bids, the surf school concessionaires can’t operate on 14 county holidays and “any other holidays added by the County of Hawaii.”
“So not only do we have Mother Nature to deal with,” said Ocean Eco Tours owner Rob Hemsher, referencing days when natural conditions restrict schools’ ability to do business, “what about these imposed blackout dates where you’re saying we cannot work? That’s pretty scary to me, very scary.”….
Over time, he said, that would lead to a reduction in surf school activity at the bay….
Big Q: Should some Hawaii Tourism Authority funds go to offset tourism impacts on natural resources and infrastructure?
read … Their Plan for You
Private school enrollment shrinks in favor of public charter schools
SA: …Enrollment in Hawaii’s private schools fell 12 percent over the last decade, a notable drop in a state where private education has long been highly prized.
Meanwhile, the number of students in public charter schools shot up 77 percent, as new campuses popped up across the islands, shifting Hawaii’s educational landscape.
The new charters are offering things that parents often seek in private schools, including small class sizes and innovative teaching methods. And the price is right. Like other public schools, charters charge no tuition….
SA: Oversight crucial for charter schools
SA: New charter schools offer different strokes
read … Private school enrollment shrinks in favor of public charter schools
Ige’s Affordable Housing Numbers
MN: …The answer was not forthcoming until The Maui News followed up Friday via email with an official in the Governor’s Office. Later, a spreadsheet titled “Housing Production Report” showed Maui with one completed project, the 56-unit “Kulamalu Affordable Family” project. It represented 1.7 percent of the 3,194 completed affordable housing units on the list. Projects in Kakaako in Honolulu amounted to 1,416 affordable and 1,924 market-priced units on the list, for a total of 3,340 units, or 62.2 percent, of the 5,367 completed units overall.
Hawaii island was listed with 166 affordable units completed, and Kauai had 134 units. Oahu had another 1,422 affordable and 249 market-priced units on the list.
In the “in construction” category, Maui has 39 units at the Hale Mahaolu Ewalu project. (The total “in construction” was 2,426 units, including 1,477 affordable and 949 market units.) And, in the “planned/pending category,”Maui has three projects — Kenolio Apartments, 186 units; Kahului Lani, 82 units; and Kaiwahine Village, 64 units. (The total “planned/pending” list has 4,655 units, including 3,050 affordable and 1,605 market.) Most of the homes being built or planned are on Oahu….
read … Affordable?
Risky revisionism of Second Amendment
SA: “Bowling for Columbine” documentary filmmaker Michael Moore and fellow anti-gun activists consider the constitutional right to bear arms “ancient and outdated.” The Second Amendment, which was implemented by the Founding Fathers as a tool to preserve the nation against tyranny, is under attack from those who believe that tyranny is no longer a legitimate concern….
SA: Look at economics of gun control
read … Risky revisionism of Second Amendment