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Wednesday, February 7, 2018
February 7, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:32 PM :: 3921 Views

Ige Asks Legislators to 'Governmentize' Services

Honolulu GOP Against Sanctuary State Bill

'Money Begins Disappearing' from Bikini Atoll Trust Fund

Guaranteeing Reelection: Ige on Same Page as HSTA

KGI: Gov. David Ige said Tuesday that teachers have the most important job in state government.  (Getting him reelected.)

“I believe in school empowerment and really entrusting that those closest to the children should be making all of the decisions.,” he said to about 30 teachers during a talk story session at the Kauai High School library.

Jeri Yamagata, Hawaii State Teachers Association Kauai Chapter president, presented the governor with a plaque of appreciation for his support of public education.

“We wanted to thank him for all he has done positively for our schools, keiki and teachers,” said Michael Kline, Kauai chapter HSTA vice president. “He established the Governor’s ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Team, which created the Hawaii blueprint for public education. It will empower schools and develop more innovation and creativity in our students.”

Ige committed to a four-year contract with the union to have time to look at real issues that make a difference in the classroom, including requirements of special needs educators, retention of teachers, securing pensions and funding schools, Kline said.

“He bargained directly with our HSTA negotiation’s team in providing our teachers with a contract that shows us a great deal of respect for what we do for Hawaii’s children,” Kline said. “He negotiated a contract with us to the early hours of the morning on a couple of days showing that he really believes in teachers.”…

read … Reelection Guaranteed

SHOPO Files Complaint Over New HPD Chief

HNN: … The police union has filed a legal complaint with the state labor board claiming its leaders are being mistreated by HPD's new chief.

The complaint says SHOPO's President, Sgt. Tenari Maafala, and three other elected union leaders, were involuntarily transferred to less attractive posts directed by Chief Susan Ballard.

The union accused Chief Ballard of defaming Maafala by falsely stating in a news report that he had abused overtime in his role with a Peer Support Unit….

read … Defamation, transfers lead police union to file complaint over HPD's new chief

Prosecutors to go After HIEMA Death Threats?

SA: …There have been no new death threats this week against the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and its employees over the Jan. 13 bogus missile alert, but state officials want police to track down people who may have crossed the line in venting their frustrations in the aftermath.

Dozens of threats were posted online, faxed and phoned in after the alert triggered statewide panic.

Some of the threats — especially ones posted on social media — are easily traceable, said Lt. Col. Chuck Anthony, spokesman for Hawaii’s Department of Defense, which overseas HI-EMA.

Anthony said anyone who threatened HI-EMA or its employees needs to be prosecuted because “somebody who makes a very specific threat directed at an employee, even if they are just blowing off steam, something should be done to that individual to discourage that practice. It clearly had an impact on a lot of employees. I do know a lot of folks are very concerned for their own personal safety.”

Hawaii law includes several provisions — from harassment to misdemeanor and felony terroristic threatening — that could conceivably cover death threats. Threats made against a public servant also could elevate misdemeanor, second-degree terroristic threatening to felony, first-degree terroristic threatening punishable by up to five years in prison….

read … Death Threats

Anti-Telescope Protesters panic over HB1565

SMK: …This bill is fully meant to undo not only our Contested Case Hearings (CCHs) but to completely due away with the whole CCH process itself—this is one of the only processes —quasi-judicial processes that real people (non-Lawyer people) can seek and actually achieve justice without going to court or at least without have the extended burden of costly legal battles. Remember, we have won a number of CCHs….  

read … Panic

HB2564: Abolish Contested Case Hearings

IM: On Friday, February 9, 2018, the Legislature will hold a hearing on HB 2564 to end land and water based contested case proceedings.

Contested Case proceedings allow community groups to protect their interests before county and state agencies.

HB 2564 which would eliminate contested case proceedings before the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR), the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM), and land use disputes at the county level.

If Mauna Kea activists are upset with the University of Hawai`i running rough-shot over cultural sites on Mauna Kea, if the community is concerned about potential pollution caused by dairy farms, if environmentalists and Native Hawaiians are concerned about restoration stream flows, then they would have to hire attorneys and fight the action in court…. 


read … Abolish

Hawaii County Politicians Bob and Weave Trying to Trick Each Other into taking responsibility for 12.5% GE Tax Hike

BIVN: “You’ve demonstrated a lot of … conflicted emotions on this matter,” Councilmember Aaron Chung told Mayor Harry Kim, whose administration introduced the measure that would levy the one-half percent surcharge. “You prefaced your presentation by saying it’s a regressive tax. Your statements were ambiguous as to whether you supported it. I want to know, are you in support of this measure? If so, are you asking us, in no uncertain terms, to pass it?”

“My position on excise tax has not changed, because of the repressiveness of the tax,” the mayor answered. “I’ve said it many times over, had the state come through with their commitment… their commitment, not ours… the purpose of the (Transient Accommodations Tax) and the distribution of the TAT, this presentation would not be necessary.”

Chung was less interested in the talk about the TAT tax. “If you’re ambiguous on your position on this matter, it projects to all of us. You gotta be strong about this.”

“The timing of this was horrible. Horrible,” Chung continued. “And to just spring it up on us, that’s kind of unfair. It’s almost like the real property tax thing. During the initial submission to us, no tax increase. And you yet stated on numerous occasions that you’re not gonna raise the taxes. Boom. We have one month to try to work out something when we get the amended budget back.”

“You – and you some of you (councilmembers) – talk about the TAT. You guys are fixated on this TAT matter,” Chung declared. “You spent more than half of your response to me talking about the TAT and how it was unfair and how these guys took it away. I told you guys on numerous occasions, over the last three years. Never mind about the TAT, we don’t have any control over that.”

HTH: Council Votes 3-6 to forward Bill 102 with a negative recommendation for the first of two required hearings

read … Tense Back And Forth Over Proposed County GE Tax

MECO Paying a Mind-Blowing $0.17 per kwh for Solar

PBN: …The project has the potential to lower the island's electricity bill, according to a statement. Under the terms of the power purchase agreement, MECO would pay a rate of about 17 cents per kilowatt hour for the electricity generated by the facility. That's less than the present cost of diesel generation, the utility said, adding it does not take any profit on electricity purchased from independent power producers.

The facility is expect to provide savings to the island's 3,200 customers annually over the course of the 22-year contract, MECO said. The projection is based on the assumption the project applies and receives a federal New Markets Tax Credit provided by Puanawai O Puuhonua, a Hawaii-based Community Development Entity.

The U.S. Department of Treasury in 2016 allocated $55 million in New Market Tax Credits to POP, which was formed in 2010 by American Savings Bank and the Oahu Economic Development Board.  (and Pono Shim)….

The new facility would be located on land owned by Molokai Ranch, adjacent to the utility's Palaau Power Plant. The 55,575-acres property was put on the market last year with an asking price of $260 million….

IM: Proposal: 100% Renewable Electricity on Molokai by 2020

read … More than Retail

Lawmakers propose to remove Caldwell's bicycle stations and bulbouts from Chinatown

KITV: …It could soon be bye-bye Biki Bikes and bulbouts in downtown Honolulu.

Nearby business owners say some drivers mistake bulbouts for a four-way stop that can cause crashes.

City Council member Carol Fukunaga introduced a bill seeking to ban all bike-stations and curb extension bulbouts in the Chinatown district.

In addition to the driver confusion, the City Council heard a complaint Monday, Chinatown's bulbouts have become a place for some to set up their tents at night. …

read … Caldwell to be Removed

HI DOE Violates Title IX for Decades

CB: …Teeming with close to 3,200 students as the state’s largest public school, Campbell High hasn’t had a girls’ athletic locker room since it opened in 1962.

It’s a different story for the boys, who have their own athletic locker room with storage units and restrooms.

The boys’ facility can’t be shared due to safety concerns, and the locker rooms used for regular physical education class are not open and available for athletes’ after-school activities.

The gender disparity when it comes to facilities isn’t just a concern at Campbell but at a handful of other schools around the state. It’s also against federal law — Title IX, to be exact….

read … Title IX

Hooser Lists Hysteria Caucus Legislative Priorities

KGI: My personal priorities of current legislation now pending at various stages of the process include:

SB2922 proposes to support increasing funding for public education via a Constitutional Amendment.

SB3095 proposes to require full disclosure for large users of Restricted Use Pesticides. This measure is scheduled for a hearing on Monday Feb. 12.

SB3101 proposes to close the tax loophole for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and use funds generated to fund affordable housing.

SB2291 proposes to increase the minimum wage in Hawaii to $15 per hour by 2020, eliminates the tip credit and ensures automatic cost of living increases in the future.

SB833 proposes amendments to the constitution to provide for “direct initiative”. This is my “sick and tired of the status quo” at the legislature and am not going to take it any more, Bill.

SB3008 proposes to increase protections for borrowers utilizing “Pay Day Loans” who are currently charged up to 450% interest on small loans. This is my “prove you are democrats” Bill aimed to regulate an industry that preys on low income working people.

Note: My focus above is on Senate bills (SB’s), however there are also “House vehicles” and HB’s, for each of these measures as well….

read … Hooser Priorities

In fight to Bring More Muslims into USA, AG Chin takes a page from GOP

P:…“The older model of how state governments react to what comes from the federal government is just completely demolished,” Doug Chin, Hawaii’s attorney general, said. “Now we have hours to react, to make a statement, to file a temporary restraining order, because if we don’t react, if we don’t react quickly, then something new comes down, comes out that we have to move against as well.”

A successful run as attorney general may serve as a launchpad for higher political aspirations…

“With the sheer volume of different controversies that are out there, it helps to know that other states are working on fighting this or putting together legal reasons for why this doesn’t work,” Chin said. “And this allows Hawaii to research more closely reasons why three different versions of the travel ban were all illegal or unconstitutional.”…

The new approach kicked off just days after Trump’s inauguration last year. Nearly all of the country’s Democratic attorneys general were huddling in sunny Fort Lauderdale when President Trump handed down an executive order restricting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries….

That fight played out quickly in the courtroom over the coming week, with a flurry of challenges coming around the country – first by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and shortly afterward by Hawaii’s Chin. It’s a multi-front fight that is dragging into 2018 as the Trump administration and lower courts and the Supreme Court itself debate implementation and the legality of the order….

read … Politico

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