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June 2, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:40 PM :: 1998 Views

Surprise: Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hosts field hearings in Hawaii

Hawaii Attorney General Joins Suit to Mandate Minimum Wage for Prisoners

Climate Hucksters Sue Hawaii Department of Transportation

Enviros Launch Push for Largest Marine 'Monument' Ever

Bribe a Legislator: Three Questions and Three Answers

TGI: …  Here are three actions that could be taken by the Legislature to stop this unethical and illegal activity.

1. Ban the solicitation and acceptance of campaign funds during the legislative session. Many other states ban this practice. It’s not about banning events, it’s about banning asking for or accepting money during the legislative session;

2. Require the Legislature to follow the State Constitution, Article III, Section 12. This is the 60,000-pound gorilla in the room: Too many decisions are made in the dark, away from sunshine and public oversight — and it’s against the law. The Hawai‘i State Constitution, Article III, Section 12 states: “Every meeting of a committee in either house or of a committee comprised of a member or members of both houses held for the purpose of making a decision on matters referred to the committee shall be open to the public.” It’s common practice now for committee members, certainly the chairs, to meet in private “for the purpose of making a decision on matters referred to the committee.” They meet in private, negotiate in private and agree on the outcomes in private, emerging from the closed, private meetings to announce the outcome, then formally vote at the public meeting. This clearly violates the State Constitution and fosters a climate of secret deals being made in secret places. The public’s business should be done in public;

3. End the unilateral power of a committee chair by requiring publicly recorded votes by committee members on decisions to hear, kill or pass a bill.

Some chairs will kill a bill simply because a friend, colleague or member of leadership asked them to do so. We know also that some do it for cash stuffed into envelopes, trips to casinos and fancy dinners.

Chairs will kill bills by just not scheduling them for a hearing, or if a measure is scheduled, they will kill it by simply stating that the bill will be “deferred.” In both cases, no public votes are cast by the committee affirming the chair’s decision.

If a publicly recorded vote of individual committee members was required to kill a bill, then the unilateral power of the chair would be greatly diminished, the democratic process greatly enhanced, and the attractiveness of bribery greatly reduced…..

read … HOOSER: What a novel idea: Lawmakers following the law

Pretend: Lobbying And Ethics Reforms Top Agenda At New Hawaii Standards Commission Meeting

CB: … A commission tasked with beefing up government transparency in Hawaii kicked off its first regular meeting Wednesday with a two-hour long discussion on proposals to increase reporting requirements for lobbyists and address conflicts of interests with state lawmakers.

The commission debated more than a dozen proposals put forward by Ethics Commission Director Robert Harris. Many of those new proposals focused on providing the public with a better glimpse into potential relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists.

The nine-member Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct is expected to spend the rest of the year examining election laws, campaign finance and other areas for potential government reforms.

(The Legislature will then proceed to either ignore or water down these proposals.)

SA: Government reform panel shifts into new phase

HNN: Hawaii panel ‘mulls’ reforms to improve elected official conduct following corruption case

read … Lobbying And Ethics Reforms

It took HPD nearly a year to get a new chief. Now, it could take weeks for him to start.

HNN: … Arthur Joe Logan was the Honolulu Police Commission's choice to be the next chief, but more than a week later, there is still no date for his swearing in….

CB: The Clock Is Already Ticking For New Police And Schools Chiefs

HNN: As first ‘outsider’ chief since 1932, Logan has hurdles to overcome before swearing-in

read … It took HPD nearly a year to get a new chief. Now, it could take weeks for him to start.

Ousted police union official sues SHOPO, alleges blackmail and discrimination 

SA:  --  HPD Sgt. David Leonard “Kawika” Hallums is suing the union and members of the executive board in their official union capacity and as individuals.  “The allegations against SHOPO and its new leaders are false,” Robert Cavaco told the Star-Advertiser. “Mr. Hallums profited by double-dipping in violation of SHOPO’s applicable rules and policies, and that behavior could not be tolerated.”

Hallums’ attorney, Bosko Petricevic, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that a March 8 email sent to all SHOPO members in Hawaii prompted the lawsuit.

The email informs members that Hallums was removed as SHOPO vice president on March 4 after the state board voted unanimously with one abstention in support of the conclusion that Hallums breached his fiduciary duty to the union on two occasions in 2019. Hallums allegedly accepted per diem allowances from SHOPO and released time from HPD, in violation of SHOPO’s travel policy, according to the email.

“The board determined that the policy against ‘double-­dipping’ was well known and that violating that policy was detrimental to SHOPO,” reads the March 8 note to all police union members. “Although Mr. Hallums repaid the per diem payments in 2022, he showed no remorse for his actions.” …

PDF: 1CCV-22-0000630 Complaint

read … Ousted police union official sues SHOPO, alleges blackmail and discrimination 

Despite saving hundreds of sex trafficking victims yearly, Hawaii has few prosecutions

KITV: … Each year in Hawaii, hundreds of adult sex trafficking victims are helped to get out. While the Hawaii Department of Human Services annually confirms more than a dozen cases of child sex trafficking.

Even with all those victims, since 2020, Honolulu police have not made any sex trafficking arrests. There have been very few sex trafficking prosecutions on county, state and federal levels.

"One of the reasons these cases are so difficult to prosecute is we need 100% of the cooperation of the victim to make them," added Merrill.

Some question why that is the case….

She was in and out of the industry for 20 years and understands why some victims may not want to testify - a sense of loyalty to their abuser.

"If you have been brainwashed to think you are part of the team, why would you not be loyal to your team? You would feel like you are betraying them," said Bitanga….

read … Despite saving hundreds of sex trafficking victims yearly, Hawaii has few prosecutions

Gov. David Ige signals acceptance of bill to alter emergency declaration powers

SA: … Ige indicated Wednesday that he’s probably OK with a bill the Legislature passed recently that would make several amendments to the state’s emergency declaration statute, including giving Hawaii lawmakers the ability to partly or wholly terminate such a state of emergency by a two-thirds vote….

One area of special interest for many testifiers on the bill had to do with access to public records being suspended during an emergency, as was the case during the coronavirus pandemic.

SB 3089 would require that public records generated during a suspension, or containing information from the time of a suspension, be subject to disclosure after the emergency state ends…. 

Big Q: Should the law be changed to allow termination of the governor’s emergency orders (via a legislative majority)?

Video: WATCH LIVE: Gov. David Ige joins the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s ‘Spotlight Hawaii’

SA Off the News: Curbing governor’s emergency powers

read … Gov. David Ige signals acceptance of bill to alter emergency declaration powers

$3.2 Billion Budget For Honolulu

CB: … The Honolulu City Council passed a $3.2 billion operating budget on Wednesday including allocations to address affordable housing, clean water and cesspool conversions.

The budget, which did not increase tax rates or fees, passed unanimously among the eight members who were present. Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi was absent. …

The final version of Bill 14 was $137 million less than what Mayor Rick Blangiardi had requested but was still a nearly 10% increase over last year’s budget.

It now heads to the mayor’s desk. Instead of holding a press conference, Blangiardi had his staff interview him, film the answers and share them with the media. He said in his recorded remarks that he would sign the budget bills….

PDF: Budget

HNN: Council approves $4B budget with big allocations for affordable housing, homeless outreach

HNN: Approved City Council budget includes funding to tear down Haiku Stairs

SA: Honolulu City Council unanimously passes $3.22 billion budget

read … $3.2 Billion Budget For Honolulu

Hawaii County Council split on suncreen bill

HTH: … The Council discussed Wednesday a bill that would prohibit the sale or distribution of any “non-mineral” sunscreen on the Big Island. Under the bill, any sunscreen that uses as its active ingredient anything other than titanium dioxide or zinc oxide would be illegal to sell in the county….

council members were skeptical about the bill’s overall purpose.

“Are we trying to encourage better behavior or just ban certain types of sunscreen?” asked South Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy.

Lee Loy said that removing tools to prevent skin cancer goes against the council’s goals of improving public health…

six Council members voted in favor of the bill, and two — Lee Loy and Puna Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz — voted against it. It must next pass second reading at Council in two weeks….

REALITY: Chemical Company Behind Anti-Sunscreen Campaign

read … Council split on suncreen bill

Food waste at Hawaii schools is way up

HNN: … In Hawaii, hot dogs are a favorite. Tuna fish and corn chowder are consistent misses.

That’s according to Windward Zero Waste School Hui.

The nonprofit composts all the food waste at five Kailua schools and they’re now processing a record amount of food.

“In 2019, we did 54.4 tons in our five schools,” said Mindy Jaffe, the coordinator for the program. “This year, the numbers show that we’ll be doing over 60 tons in one year.”

The DOE spent $39 million on food in the 2019-2020 school year, according to a statement. That produced 18.5 million meals.

About 58% was paid for by federal funds, while state funds and cash sales covered the rest….

read … Food waste at Hawaii schools is way up

Joe Biden is unpopular except in Hawaii

OK: … According to a nationwide survey conducted by Civiqs, a full 55% of Americans disapprove of the job that Biden is doing as president.

When we look at the details though, we see that number doesn’t even tell the whole story. As of May 30, 2022, he has an approval rating over 50% in just one state, Hawaii, where 52% of people approve of him. The only other two states where his approval rating is higher than his disapproval rating are Massachusetts and Vermont, which have him at 45% and 47% approval ratings respectively. …

read … Joe Biden is unpopular

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