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December 25, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:09 PM :: 1304 Views

How Christmas Came to Hawaii

Earning a Procurement Exemption

When the Communications Director is Away

Emergency Rule Extends Licensure Waiver for Nurses to Temporarily Practice in Hawaii 

Green Budget Balloons 13%

Borreca: … Gov. Josh Green is showing off his first proposed Hawaii state budget, and it is the biggest in state history.

It is expected that each administration will present an annual budget larger than the year before, but this one is really big. In fiscal year 2024, the total state budget is $18.02 billion and $17.86 billion in fiscal 2025.

Green, in his message to the state Legislature, calculated that the budget is an increase of $2.04 billion or 13% in the first year and $1.82 billion or 11% in the second fiscal year….

Green is the third Hawaii Democratic governor in a row to urge adoption of a universal public prekindergarten program….support for public preschool had been stymied by the public teachers union, which didn’t want public money going to fund private preschools….Green has given the task of universal preschool to Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke .…

read … Green, Luke to tackle universal preschool

1,758 lives lost to COVID in Hawaii

SA: … As of Wednesday, Hawaii’s COVID-19 death toll had grown by 10 to 1,758 fatalities, according to the state Department of Health. A little more than a third of the total, or 600-plus deaths, occurred this year alone. Nationally, the COVID-19 death toll surpassed 1 million in May and is closing in on 1.09 million as the year comes to a close.

In the U.S., COVID-19 is on track to become the third-leading cause of death for the third year in a row, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, behind heart disease and cancer. In Hawaii, COVID-19 was the fourth-leading cause of death in 2021, according to DOH, behind heart disease, cancer and stroke.

read … Honoring lives lost to COVID-19 in Hawaii

Moszkowicz Big Island’s first Chief not born in Hawaii

HTH: … When Honolulu Police Maj. Benjamin Moszkowicz is sworn in on Jan. 17 as chief of the Hawaii Police Department, he’ll be Big Island’s first top cop who wasn’t born in Hawaii.

In addition, the 46-year-old Moszkowicz, who was born in Toledo, Ohio, will be only the second Hawaii County police chief who wasn’t promoted from the Big Island department’s ranks. The first was Victor Vierra, who served from 1988 to 1994. He, like Moszkowicz, came from Honolulu.

“I didn’t really go into the process thinking that I was a finalist or that I was a front runner, so it’s a very humbling experience having the Police Commission put their trust in me,” Moszkowicz said last week. “I know they don’t all necessarily trust me yet, but I look at that as an opportunity to win people over, to win their trust and to form collaborative partnerships there and also to advance what the police department is trying to do.”…

Recruitment has long been an issue here. As of Dec. 14, the Hawaii Police Department has 424 officers and 63 vacancies. Moszkowicz told commissioners on Dec. 12 that law enforcement “does a really poor job of selling ourselves.”

“I could lay five or six ideas on you that I’ve seen other departments do but I don’t want to be that guy who just comes in and wrecks shop,”….

Moszkowicz has committed to appointing a deputy chief from within the department, but has yet to make a decision on his second in command….

HTH: Police commission to appoint temporary acting chief

read … New police chief talks Big Island issues

Mental Health Licensing: “The bureaucracy is unnecessarily difficult.”

HTH: The Healthcare Association of Hawaii reported in November there were 3,873 health care job openings throughout the state, and social workers were near the top of the list.

“There’s a shortage of mental health care workers everywhere,” said Michael McGee, East Hawaii representative of the National Association of Social Workers, or NASW. “I like to think of mental health issues as infections — the longer they go without proper treatment, the worse the outcomes.”

The report found 126 job openings for social workers statewide between February and December, an increase of 110% since 2019….

…To address educational, financial and bureaucratic barriers to hiring social workers, the NASW is proposing legislative actions.

“In order to become an LCSW, you need 3,000 hours of an unpaid internship at an organization,” said McGee. “Which is a huge economic barrier for folks in Hawaii, especially neighbor islands.”

A new bill would allow those completing the required hours to be compensated.

“That will allow unlicensed social workers to work in private practice under licensed social workers,” he said. “That would also open up channels to agencies and organizations to provide clinical experience.”

Another bill would define telehealth services to ensure coverage.

“We’ve got another bill to define telephone-based therapy and have it considered the same as virtual therapy,” said Sonja Bigalke-Bannan, executive director for NASW-Hawaii. “We have a lot of kupuna who struggle with smartphones, so we’d like to do talk therapy with them over the phone if necessary.”

A third bill proposes a preceptor tax credit for professionals who train students.

“This would give a tax break to those who are willing to take on these students,” said Bigalke-Bannan. “Right now, there’s no compensation for that. It’s something we do out of the goodness of our hearts to try to elevate and bring about the next generation in the profession.”

Issues with licensing like wait times and testing delays also can hinder local graduates and those transferring social worker credentials into Hawaii.

“Hawaii was the last state to get licensure, so we got to shape ours based on a higher standard,” said Bigalke-Bannan, who noted the Department of Defense and the NASW are working together to create a potential interstate license….

“It is not possible, in my experience, for an individual to enter into a relationship with an insurance provider in Hawaii,” he said….

“That is my experience of Hawaii in general,” Wolf said. “The bureaucracy is unnecessarily difficult.”….

Nov 17, 2022: Hawaii Short 3,873 Healthcare Professionals

read … Report: Demand for state social workers high

Hawaii public school teachers denied 2 days paid vacation from their vacation

SA: … Thousands of Hawaii public school teachers, vice principals and other school employees learned Friday that they will be denied the two extra paid workdays off that Gov. Josh Green offered to state workers as a holiday gift.

However, at least for the teachers, the conversation is not over, said Osa Tui Jr., president of the Hawaii State Teachers Association, which represents the state’s 12,600 public school teachers. Tui said that Green told him Friday that he is trying to arrange for teachers to receive some other type of benefit instead, although Tui said it’s too early to give details.

“I would say that while we’re disappointed, we’re very grateful that the governor is continuing to dialogue with us on other alternatives,” he said.

Tui said the union has no plans at the moment to file a grievance over the issue….

read … Hawaii public school teachers denied 2 extra paid days off

$115M to buy out Every Homeowner on Sunset Beach

SA: …Hawaii has a budget surplus of $1.9 billion. We urge use of these funds to protect treasured Sunset Beach…

… we encourage the Legislature to appropriate funds to purchase every property west of the bridge at Sunset Beach and makai of Kamehameha Highway. This buyout of fewer than 50 parcels should extend all the way to the undeveloped parcel at Rocky Point. Based on public property tax records, we estimate this action will cost less than $115 million, about 6% of the budget surplus….

read … Use surplus to protect Sunset Beach

Navy says Red Hill cameras may not be operable for defueling

SA: … The Navy says that repairs to its video surveillance system at Red Hill, where seven out of 37 cameras remain broken, may not be completed before it begins draining all 104 million gallons of fuel from its underground tanks, which is slated to begin in February 2024 and take four months.

The camera system hasn’t been fully operational for at least two years.

The lengthy timeline for repairs means that if there is a fuel spill or other accident at Red Hill — as occurred last month when approximately 1,300 gallons of toxic fire suppression chemicals spewed from a pipe — there’s a higher likelihood it won’t be caught by the Navy’s surveillance system and that footage won’t be available for regulators to review….

read … Navy says Red Hill cameras may not be operable for defueling

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