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After Creating Year-Long Crime Wave, State Supreme Court ends failed pandemic prison release program
HNN: … The state Supreme Court ruled Friday that there was no longer a need for a pandemic prison release program, citing a decline in positive COVID cases in Hawaii’s correctional centers and facilities.
(Translation: We tried the ultimate soft-on-crime program and it failed.)
The court ruled there was no longer a need for a blanket order requiring low-level inmates and pre-trial misdemeanants out of custody.
Four of the justices ruled in favor for the end of the program, citing a low rate of positive cases, an increase in COVID testing and implementation of other health and safety measures in facilities. They also cited a vaccination program which is underway to inoculate inmates.
The prison release program was originally put into effect back in August to reduce the risk of COVID outbreaks in facilities.
The new ruling will also allow individual judges to decide whether or not to release someone.
One justice dissented saying the other four justices were not taking into consideration the
risk of new COVID prison outbreaks seriously (opportunity to ‘change society’ by letting lots and lots of criminals out onto the streets and giving them carte blanche to rape rob and pillage)….
read … State Supreme Court ends pandemic prison release program
Kauai—Island of Retaliation: Police Chief to serve unpaid suspension following investigation
KHON: … Kauai Police Chief Todd G. Raybuck has been issued a five-day, unpaid suspension beginning April 26, following an investigation into discrimination.
Raybuck must also complete equal employment opportunity and cultural sensitivity training.
On September 8, 2020, a Kauai Police Department employee made a complaint about the Chief to the Kauai Police Commission, which prompted an investigation….
The County of Kauai Department of Human Resources investigated these allegations and concluded that there was no evidence to support that the Chief failed to promote the employee based upon the employee’s ancestry, race, or national origin. They determined that the promotional selection was, “fair, objective,” and did not violate civil service laws or rules.
However, the investigation did conclude that the Chief’s comments related to a protected class made in the workplace on November 13, 2019, and July 29, 2020, violated the County Policy Against Discrimination….
read … Kauai Police Chief to serve unpaid suspension following investigation
Police shooting review board will resume work after a year-long pause
HNN: … The board tasked with reviewing officer-involved shootings in Hawaii is ready to resume meetings after a pause due to COVID.
The Law Enforcement Officer Independent Review Board was created in 2017 by the legislature to take a closer look at police related deaths….
The board had only reviewed two cases ahead of the pandemic and a member retired.
“The coordinator from the state attorney general’s office had retired in November, it all kind of culminated in this delay,” said member Gary Yabuta…
Yabuta also said they realize they have a lot of work to do -- with three fatal HPD shootings in just the last five months.
The Honolulu Prosecutor’s office also reviews all officer involved shootings for possible criminal charges against the officers.
Since 2008, none has resulted in charges….
read … Police shooting review board will resume work after a year-long pause
Safe Travels Hawaii program surpasses 2.5 million travelers
SA: … Safe Travels Hawaii, the state’s traveler entry screening program, topped 2.5 million travelers this week, the six-month point in the reopening of Hawaii tourism — and appears headed for greater gains.
The program, which started Oct. 15, as of Wednesday had screened more than 1.9 million visitors and more than 630,000 residents. In a normal six-month period, Hawaii would have welcomed closer to 5 million visitors….
read … Safe Travels Hawaii program surpasses 2.5 million travelers
Lawmakers OK Fines For Pandemic Rule Violators
CB: … Law enforcement in Hawaii may soon be able to write up tickets for individuals caught breaking emergency rules set by Gov. David Ige and the four county mayors.
Senate Bill 540 would allow state or county officers to levy $200 fines against anyone that breaks pandemic emergency orders, like not wearing a mask in public, hosting large gatherings or hiking on state lands closed to the public….
SB 540 is among several bills the Senate voted to forward to Gov. David Ige’s desk on Friday. Others include measures to give state lessees a break on rent, provide more relief payments for some disabled individuals on fixed incomes and increase fees for state small boat harbors.
Ige can either veto those measures or sign them into law.
Lawmakers are also scheduled to meet next week to start negotiations on hundreds of bills that are still alive this legislative session.
One of those measures is Senate Bill 1350, which would defer scheduled pay raises for lawmakers, judges and other state officials until next year. The House voted to approve the measure Thursday, but the Senate would not agree to changes made to the bill.
On Friday, the Senate also voted to raise fees for boat owners at the state’s small-boat harbors….
Those boat owners, some of whom live on their vessels, have long feared that the state might squeeze them out of their permits. Boaters already faced steep fee increases in 2019, and Senate Bill 795 opens the door to even higher fees.
The bill would allow a state contracted appraiser to set the boat docking fees at market value. Presumably, that would be higher than what boaters pay now.
If the bill becomes law, it would also require live-aboard boaters to pay double the appraisers value to continue living in their boats docked at harbors like the Ala Wai Canal and Keehi Lagoon….
read … Lawmakers OK Fines For Pandemic Rule Violators
Unemployed worker gets a nasty surprise at tax time and she isn’t alone
HNN: … When filing for unemployment, filers can check “tax withheld” to take out taxes from their check.
That’s what Paige, who asked that her last name not be used, says she did in May. She saw deposits in her bank account for months until her accountant told her she owed more than $500 in taxes.
“I got a big surprise when I talked to my accountant and found out that I owed money to the state for taxes that were never taken out of my unemployment checks,” she said.
Paige insists she checked the box to withhold taxes to be smart about her money before spending it and was told by her accountant other taxpayers on unemployment are also getting unexpected bills.
“I always knew I was going to pay taxes on it. I just wanted it taken out up front so I didn’t have to get slapped with a huge bill in April which is exactly what happened,” Paige said….
read … Unemployed worker gets a nasty surprise at tax time and she isn’t alone
Resignation of Hawaii's disease investigation chief raises questions of fate of contact tracing
KITV: … After the recent departure of the Department of Health's epidemiologist in charge of contact tracing, there are many questions about the future of the program.
Dr. Emily Roberson led the Disease Investigation Branch for only 9 months, and for many people, her resignation was a big surprise.
Roberson literally assembled an army to help her -- the Hawaii National Guard brought logistical expertise while hundreds of contract workers applied their public health knowledge. Their mission -- stop the transmission of COVID-19 from positive cases to their close contacts. It was part of Governor David Ige's campaign to restore public trust in the state's Covid-19 response.
Many people believe it succeeded, but moving forward, they feel the program needs to continue evolving….
read … Resignation of Hawaii's disease investigation chief raises questions of fate of contact tracing
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