Secret Timeline Shows OHA Lying to Legislature While Stonewalling LLC Audit
Stop Anti-Vaxxers From Putting Hawaii Kids At Risk
CB: … The Hawaii Department of Health provided a huge public service last month when it released school-by-school information about the percentages of students who aren’t getting vaccinated against communicable diseases.
For the first time in the islands, when it comes to the risk of illness, parents can see how safe of an environment exists in every public and private school — except for the few that have so far ignored the DOH directive to report their vaccination exemption rates.
The information set off some alarms. For instance nearly a quarter of public, charter and private schools on Kauai have extremely high rates of unvaccinated children. And pockets of extremely high numbers can be found throughout Hawaii.
This is crucial data at a time when anti-vaccine activists threaten public health by attempting to convert others to their misguided thinking. Vaccines have been proven to be safe for the vast majority of people, and yet immunization rates have been going down, allowing potentially deadly diseases such as measles, mumps, chickenpox, diphtheria, hepatitis, polio, rubella and whooping cough to make comebacks after they had been nearly eradicated in much of the developed world….
In Hawaii, most children who go unvaccinated do so because their parents request exemptions on religious grounds. No further justification is required, and while some religious organizations do oppose vaccinations, many people are no doubt claiming the exemptions based on purely secular beliefs.
Rep. Gene Ward, a Hawaii Kai Republican, proposed a bill this session to allow people to obtain exemptions “based solely on moral conscience,” eliminating the need to claim religious reasoning.
House Bill 1182 never got a hearing, an appropriate result for any measure making it easier to avoid vaccinations.
read … Stop Anti-Vaxxers From Putting Hawaii Kids At Risk
Does Hawaii Really Want Agriculture?
SA: … Two bills at the Legislature exemplify the difference between a proposed policy that promotes greater ag production and one that doesn’t.
House Bill 1326 goes straight to the heart of something that’s absolutely essential for farmers: a reliable supply of water. It’s truly unfortunate that this bill — which was shelved Thursday — has been badly misconstrued as some kind of criminal corporate conspiracy. Fundamentally, what HB 1326 aimed to do was give farming operations on multiple islands the breathing space they need to continue farming while working through a very time-consuming, complicated and legally complex situation involving water usage in Hawaii.
A tenant with a long-term lease has a more stable living situation than one with only a month-to-month rental agreement. Likewise, a farmer with no assurance of water next year, or the year after that, is less able to plan for the future and is at greater risk of losing his/her farming operation. That is why the state must take a longer-term view of ag policy and be willing to give farmers the time they need to succeed.
To be clear, HB 1326 was not a permanent fix and there’s much collaborative work that must be done to balance Hawaii’s long-term water needs. But HB 1326 did try to address an urgent and time-sensitive need to enable local ag production, at least for the next few years.
Another bill considered by legisators, HB 593, sought to allow large-scale solar operations on the state’s best lands for agriculture. These Class A ag lands are the most productive for local farming, with ideal soil and conditions for raising a variety of crops. However, HB 593 would put local ag production at risk of displacement by solar facilities, and would benefit energy companies at the expense of local farming. So, it was gratifying to see the bill deferred last week….
read … Increased production must be core of Hawaii’s ag policy
The future of marijuana: Island cannabis industry reps talk hurdles, economic woes
HTH: … Shropshire and Phillips both declined to discuss the specifics of how their businesses handle their finances, but they confirmed their dispensaries deal in high amounts of cash and are subject to an elevated level of scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service: Phillips said they are required to submit to an audit every year.
While Shropshire said he expects financial institutions will standardize how to work with marijuana businesses within the next few years, Chu noted that in 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled back Obama-era directives to minimize marijuana enforcement in states where the drug is legalized. As Sessions’ replacement William Barr has yet to reverse that decision, Chu said the federal administration appears to be falling even further behind the states’ trend toward legalization.
Meanwhile, Vally pointed out that research on cannabinoid products and their influence on patients is still scant. Too much of cannabinoids, he said, are prescribed based on anecdotal evidence and assumptions that what works for one patient will work equally well for another.
“If we’re going to use it as a medication, then we should treat it like a medication and do more testing,” Vally said.
As an example, Vally pointed out the state’s list of conditions that qualify patients to use medical cannabis. The conditions on the list were taken from similar lists in other states, but there has been little to no research as to whether cannabis is an effective treatment for any of them. In fact, one condition, post-traumatic stress disorder, has been observed to be exacerbated by marijuana use, but remains on the list.
While each of the panelists agreed that eventual recreational legalization will ultimately benefit the state …
HNN: Medical marijuana industry hopes an inside look will blow away misconceptions
SA: One of Hawaii’s first state-licensed pot growers shows off its operation
read … The future of marijuana: Island cannabis industry reps talk hurdles, economic woes
Former Real Estate Commission vice chairman sentenced to jail, court supervision for theft
HTH: … The former vice chairman of the state Real Estate Commission was sentenced Friday to 10 years of court supervision, including six months in jail, for embezzling more than $200,000 from Hilo clients.
Scott Alan Sherley, 54, pleaded no contest Dec. 11 to first-degree theft. As part of a plea agreement, a similar charge will be dropped against Sherley’s 53-year-old wife, Penny Sherley, aka Penny Honda.
Shirley will be allowed a two-year period before reporting to serve his jail sentence, because Penny Sherley is seriously ill, according to Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville.….
Hilo Circuit Judge Greg Nakamura is also ordering Sherley to pay restitution to the victims, the revocable living trust of Edward Pereira and Frances Pereira, owner of Lehua Apartments, and the Kawili Regency condominium owners’ association, both Hilo entities.
Police said Sherley misappropriated $135,633 from the Pereira trust between Oct. 19, 2011 and Nov. 2, 2015, and drained about $80,000 in funds from the condo association when he was the property’s manager.
“He’s contesting the exact amount of … restitution, so we’ve got a hearing,” Damerville said. “A lot of the victims are … senior citizens and they want their money back.”…
read … Former Real Estate Commission vice chairman sentenced to jail, court supervision for theft
Moving Hawaii’s Technology Out Of The Dark Ages
CB: … The Legislature is considering bills that would help modernize decades old and outdated systems. ….
read … Moving Hawaii’s Technology Out Of The Dark Ages