How they voted: Civil Unions passes Senate 18-5
Lambda Legal to drop lawsuit filed after defeat of HB444
Pay-for-Play Contractor top donor to Abercrombie Inaugural
VIDEO: Instant Runoff? “I thought every vote counts”
YAF: Ron Paul “Blames America for 9-11”
VIDEO: House GOP Floor speeches Feb 15-16
Abercrombie uses Civil Unions to screen release of Inaugural Donors
After months of stalling, the increasingly secretive Abercrombie administration finally decided to release the list of donors to Abercrombies inaugural ball. $10,000 of your tax dollars came from OHA as well as $12,500 of UH money from the UH Foundation. The rest of the list is a whos-who of what is wrong in Hawaii.
KITV: Inaugural Ball Raises 3 Times More Than Goal “The political watchdog group, Common Cause Hawaii applauded the release of the list. It suggested, however, that limits and mandatory disclosure be required, since many gave more than the $6,000 limit in a gubernatorial cycle under campaign spending laws.”
Abercrombie Cabinet Members: No Financial Disclosures
An investigation of a possible conflict of interest revealed by a Big Island newspaper led me to the Ethics Commission Monday. What I discovered was that Aila failed to file his statement on time and that he may not be alone.
A review of the commission's website shows that disclosure filings for other Cabinet-level appointees — Chief of Staff Amy Asselbaye, Attorney General David Louie, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Director Kealii Lopez, Hawaiian Home Lands Director Alapaki Nahale-a, Public Safety Director Jodie Maesaka-Hirata and Transportation Director Glenn Okimoto, just to name a few — aren't yet available for public review.
Kondo discovered Aila's form wasn't turned in until this week, more than a month after it was due.
Did Abercrombie open the door for a GET increase?
On the KITV4 morning show Monday, Abercrombie wouldn’t rule out a GET increase because of unfunded pension liabilities that are threatening the state’s bonding authority. The pension problem was well-known when he made his campaign promise.
Then yesterday, Abercrombie’s spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz told the Star-Advertiser’s Political Radar that the governor doesn’t support a GET increase and didn’t propose one in his legislative plan, but added, “If a measure to raise the GET passes out of the Legislature because other elements of his plan are not adopted, he will of course consider it as the people’s will.”
Looks to me like a big wink to legislators that if they pass a GET increase, he won’t veto it.
Lawmakers Back Off Abercrombie's Call for Pension Reform
Lawmakers are backing off from Gov. Neil Abercrombie's proposals for massive reform of retirement benefits.
A key Senate committee Wednesday killed Senate Bill 1268, the governor's plan to save $42 million by cutting Medicare Part B for current retirees and dramatically cut back his proposal to save $32 million by ending the use of overtime in figuring retirement benefit.
The Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee were concerned the move to require retirees to pay their own Medicare Part B bills was unconstitutional, citing an opinion from the attorney general obtained Tuesday night.
(In other words, the Abercrombie Admin sabotaged its own proposal. GE Tax hike coming.)
Pension Tax to be slipped into Shell Bill Friday
SB 162, scheduled for a public hearing Friday morning. It is a pretty innocuous bill regarding “comfort letters” issued by the Dept. of Taxation. It tinkers with language but doesn’t appear to make any substantive change.
But according to the hearing notice Friday’s Ways & Means Committee meeting, the bill is being gutted and replaced with a bill to tax pension income of all taxpayers, subject to some income thresholds.
A link is provided to the proposed SD1, but unfortunately it consistently crashes my browser.
The one time I was able to get a glimpse at the bill before it crashed, I recall that it eliminated the exemption for pension and annuity income for single taxpayers with $75,000 or more in federal adjusted gross income; $100,000 for heads of households; and $125,000 for persons filing joint returns.
It’s a sneaky way to potentially move this bill along, since SB162 has only a single referral to WAM.
Instant Runoff Voting in Hawaii Gains Traction
A measure that would bring instant runoff voting to Hawaii and prevent a candidate from winning a state or local election with less than a majority of votes is making progress in the Legislature.
The House Judiciary Committee unanimously passed House Bill 638 on Tuesday. It now heads to the House Finance Committee.
REALITY: VIDEO: Instant Runoff? “I thought every vote counts”
Larcenous Lesbian: UH President’s Package of Perks Includes $150,000 Expense Account
HR: University of Hawaii President M.R.C. Greenwood’s compensation package includes a number of benefits besides her $425,000 annual salary, including access to $150,000 per year in “protocol funds.”
Other perks of Greenwood’s job include a $5,000 monthly housing allowance, a free parking stall just outside her office and $326 per month to spend on the car she parks there.
Greenwood also received up to $35,000 to defray moving expenses incurred when she moved here from California 2009.
She is also eligible for lifetime tenure as a member of the UH faculty.
The protocol funding is supposed to be spent by Greenwood on expenses incurred for the betterment of the University, but how she has spent those moneys to date is unknown.
A formal request for an accounting of Greenwood’s protocol spending was submitted to the University by Hawaii Reporter January 21 under the state’s open records law.
No response has been received to date, although the law, called the Uniform Information Practices Act, requires that government agencies respond within 10 business days of receipt of a records request.
The protocol fund, financed by the University of Hawaii Foundation, was a source of embarrassment to the University when Evan Dobelle served as president of the institution.
SA: UH president addresses criticism of housing allowance “Greenwood then explained that her partner's severe disability renders her unable to climb the stairs and live in the two-story house.” Its good to call yourself gay, you can get away with anything.
YOU WERE WARNED: Executive compensation at UC: MRC Greenwood and the $871 million dollar secret, MRC Greenwood and "A Powerful Coterie of larcenous lesbians", Greenwood Mafia grabs two power positions in UH system
Openly gay judge confirmed to Hawaii Supreme Court
McKenna was nominated BECAUSE she’s lez. She was not questioned in any serious way about her decisions or judicial philosophy BECAUSE she’s gay. And she was approved on the same day as SB232 specifically to send a message to Christians that they live under the dominion of those who call us bigots and haters. BTW who is the mother of her three children and who is/are the father/s? If you ask for this basic conflict-of-interest disclosure, you are a bigot and she is a judge.
Gays are NOT discriminated against. They are a new ruling class. Choosing to identify as gay is a career enhancement technique.
Diversity? Civil Unions discriminate against Incest
Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kalaeloa-Makakilo) urged colleagues to delay passage of the bill and consider amendments that would allow blood relatives to enter into civil unions. He cited as an example a woman taking care of her elderly, disabled father, and two sisters in their 50s who live together and have adopted two children.
He argued many relatives in similar situations would also benefit from the tax status and other benefits conveyed upon a couple in a civil union.
"Why are people related by blood being discriminated against?" Gabbard said.
Bag Ban Passes first reading -- enforcement, penalties torn out
The bill sponsor, Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann, amended the bill at the request of Mayor Billy Kenoi's administration, gutting the enforcement provisions of the law. Hoffmann wanted to ensure the administration is on board, after his attempts under Mayor Kim's administration received enough council support to pass, but not enough to override a veto.
"I wanted to make sure that the administration is fully in sync with this," Hoffmann said.
Instead of creating fines of $100 to $500 and having the Police Department enforce the law, the amendment puts the Department of Environmental Management in charge of education and enforcement, including "defining permissible bags and establishing penalties."
"Many people take plastic bags for granted," said 13-year-old Derek Larson of Honaunau. "People throw them away just like it is trash." (Wow)
Native Hawaiians Say Construction at Kawaiaha'o Church Is Disturbing Remains
Kawaiaha'o Church officials plan to resume construction on a $17.5 million multi-purpose center, but Native Hawaiians concerned about the work unearthing the remains of their ancestors have planned to gather at the construction site Thursday morning to protest the church's decision to proceed.
Direct Shanghai-Honolulu Flights coming?
The private-sector Hawaii Tourism Association (HiTA) is working with a Shanghai based investment company and a new Chinese airline carrier to bring three scheduled weekly nonstop flights direct from Shanghai to Honolulu -- with an option to later add two additional weekly flights from Beijing. The investor, who does not yet want to be identified, will be in Hawaii at the end of February and hopes to meet with tourism officials and possibly Governor Abercrombie.
Maybe Abercrombie will un-ban ETurbo news from his News Conferences: Abercrombie Admin. Blacklist: “It’s a SECURITY ISSUE to invite some media like eTN to a media conference”
More Censorship: Don’t Mock Hu Jintao: Honolulu Councilmembers demand Rush Limbaugh be censored
Bio Fuel jacks up electric bills
HELL-CO signed an agreement with Honolulu-based 'Aina Koa Pono to create an "energy farm" on 13,000 acres of former cane lands and ranch lands in Ka'u; grass and wood from those lands would be trucked to a new plant that would use microwaves to cook organic matter into synthetic diesel, which then would be trucked to Kona to fuel the Keahole power plant -- and eventually, possibly, shipped to power plants on O'ahu and Maui as well.
To cover the cost of starting the farm and constructing the plant, HECO is asking for a rate hike that could add $1.55 to $1.86 per month to a typical residential customer bill on all three islands.
Manufactured Crisis: Did permitting delays prevent construction of Waimanalo Gulch Diversion Channel
The only identified precautionary measure for the landfill against a severe storm of this magnitude is the construction of a storm water diversion channel that will carry future storm water around the landfill rather than through it. Waste Management identified the need for the diversion channel years ago and proceeded with its construction when we received the required permits. This diversion channel is now days from being functionally complete.
Rosanne eating plastic, claims Government is poisoning her
It’s a show about green and farming and organic and fighting for what you believe in. Kind of a last stand for the American people and farmers against a big government that's just poisoning us.
Americans are just so under the mind control of complete bulls---. I like shaking that up. Is it a good idea that they’re letting the Monsanto company plant sugar beets to destroy actual sugar beets? Yes, the Senate has passed that bill. And Hawaii is ground zero for genetically mutated foods and bacteria that they don’t allow in Europe. It’s really disgusting that the media never even mentions it. Look up in the sky what they’re spraying on you. What are they doing to food?
America is the breadbasket of the world. Now they’re making it illegal to grow real food. They want to force us to eat plastic.
(Plastic is delicious, especially Styrofoam.)
E-W Center Perfesser “moved by bounty of North Korean Socialist system”
Michael Schuster, co-curator for the East-West Center Gallery, which is hosting one of the most diverse selections of North Korean art ever to be seen outside of the country, says the country’s art is largely misunderstood.
“People often say that the people are happy, that they’re smiling,” he says. “But I don’t see that. I think a lot of the images are encouraging production, showing the bounty of the socialist system and how people are dealing with this system. What I see are people who value what they do.”
(BTW—Your tax dollars are paying for this.)
REALITY: YouTube - 'Food shortages' as North Korea celebrates leader's birthday
Dopers very pleased with Hawaii Legislature
Hawaii: Members of the Senate Joint Committee on Judiciary and Labor and members of the Senate Committee on Health on Friday, February 4 voted in favor of Senate Bill 1460, which reduces the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor (punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine) to a civil violation punishable by a fine of not more than $100. You can read NORML’s testimony in support of the bill here.
Lawyers rejoice as Hawaii Legislature considers amendments to data breach notification law
A number of state breach notice laws have such provisions, and industry commenters responding to the Department of Commerce’s Green Paper on “Commercial Data Privacy and Innovation in the Internet Economy: A Dynamic Policy Framework” have argued that breach notice should be required only when there is a significant risk of harm to individuals. These commenters argue that breach notice should be limited in this manner to prevent unduly alarming consumers (who might sue) and to avoid the dilution of breach notification for those cases in which a significant risk of harm does exist. In contrast to this approach, legislative measures in Hawaii would eliminate any “risk of harm” trigger for breach notification.
ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL?
From www.GOPHawaii.com Abercrombie gave current state employees an $18 million bonus when he changed the payment arrangements for state health benefits. But now he wants to take $47 million away from state retirees by removing their Medicare reimbursement. Does his left hand know what his right hand is doing? Makes you go hmmmm….