Sen. Sam Slom Introduces Legislative Package
Marijuana Group Poll Shows More Support for Legalization
Bird Group: Survey Shows 90% in Hawaii Want Cat Control
Fundrace: Abercrombie $533K, Ige $56K
PR: Gov. Neil Abercrombie raised more than $533,700 for his re-election campaign over the past six months and $3.8 million overall.
The governor -- who reported $2.2 million in cash on hand at the end of December -- is facing state Sen. David Ige in the Democratic primary. Ige is expected to report his latest fundraising numbers later Friday, the deadline for state campaign-finance reports.
SA: Ige Raises only $56K
CB: Abercrombie Has Huge Fundraising Lead Over Challenger
read ... Bought n Paid For
SB3088: Big Cable to Service Wasteful Offshore Wind Farms
IM: If an undersea high-voltage transmission cable is built from O`ahu to somewhere, will it go to Maui County (Big Wind), offshore ocean wave energy conversion facilities (WECs) or offshore floating wind turbine facilities (Floating Wind)?
Hawaii passed a bill to regulate inter-island transmission lines. The law applies only to cables that go between two or more islands.
The law does not regulate undersea high voltage transmission lines connecting an island with off-island platforms.
SB 3088 amends the definition of "high-voltage electric transmission cable system" to allow for these alternative configurations.
The bill was introduced by Senator Shimabukuro and co-authored by Senators Espero, Hee, Ruderman and Wakai.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Environment (ENE) has scheduled a public hearing for February 4, 2014 at 3:15 p.m. at the Hawai`i State Capitol, room 225.
Reality: Offshore Wind is the most wasteful expensive green energy scam of them all
SA: HECO shuts off downtown power plant
read ... Facts About Offshore Wind Power
Grabbing for TAT, Mayors Push GE Tax Hike
KITV: The words "general excise tax," or GET, might make your eyes glaze over, but they'll make Hawaii's mayors' eyes light up. It's their top priority right now.
CB: County Council Chairs Fight for Bigger Share of Hawaii Hotel Taxes
read ... Tax Hike
HSTA Rejects Bills to lengthen school year, set instructional hours
KITV: An effort to reform the length of the public school year and mandate how many instructional hours are provided to students received a lukewarm response from the teachers union during a hearing Friday before the Senate Education Committee.
Hawaii State Teachers Association President Wil Okabe told committee members any change in the length of the school year or the amount of time students are instructed would fall under collective bargaining.
Under a bill (SB 2139) proposed by Education Chair Sen. Jill Tokuda and Vice-Chair Sen. Michelle Kidani, students at all grade levels would receive 990 instructional hours every school year....
Under Act 167 signed into law in 2010, kids go to school 180 days, excluding charter and multi-track schools. Children in all grades are supposed to receive 915 instructional hours every year. However, that will increase to 990 instructional hours from the 2014 school year through 2016. Another increase takes place from the 2016 to 2018 school years when all grades need to go to 1,080 instructional hours.
As it currently stands, all but 10 elementary schools are meeting the mandate of 915 instructional hours. But, that's not the case for middle schools and high schools, which are having a difficult time following the law.
That’s why the bill proposed by Tokuda and Kidani sets instructional hours at 990, while allowing the school board to define what constitutes an “instructional hour.”
Meanwhile, a bill sponsored by Ways and Means Chair Sen. David Ige (SB 2922) would lengthen the school year to 190 days beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The bill also sets instructional hours at 990, while removing the mandate for 1,080 instructional hours beginning in 2016.
SA: Schools struggle with class hours
read ... Bills to lengthen school year, set instructional hours, stall
OHA pursues plan to double revenue from Kakaako land
SA: The agency is asking legislators to repeal a ban on residential projects in the area...
The Hawaii Community Development Authority, a state agency regulating development in Kakaako, solicited private development proposals for much of the land in Kakaako Makai, including most of the property now owned by OHA, and selected a plan from A&B that initially proposed three towers, retail, park space and other features.
HCDA's approval sparked a community outcry that public land was going to be largely used for commercial purposes and diminish public use of the waterfront. A&B scaled back its plan to two towers, but continued opposition prompted the Legislature to kill A&B's plan by banning residential use in Kakaako Makai.
Much of that public opposition to condos in Kakaako Makai still remains and is expected to produce a strong debate at the Legislature over Senate Bill 3122, proposed by OHA.
PDF: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Kakaako Makai Strategic Action Plan
read ... OHA pursues plan to double revenue from Kakaako land
HB1654: More Administrators to Administrate the Administration
SA: ...in their zeal to prompt results, state lawmakers may merely be adding to the timetable if they mandate a duplicative layer of supervision.
The House Higher Education Committee, on a 10-0 vote, advanced House Bill 1654 to create a new "campus facility board" made up of UH chancellors to submit annual reports to lawmakers detailing costs as well as completed and remaining projects. But a similar board already exists, so instead of stream-lining the process, this threatens to add bureaucracy at a time when UH is poised to accelerate work....
read ... More Administrators to Administrate the Administration
Lobbying filings offer look at cost of gay-marriage fight as Legislators Continue to Seek Retaliation
SA: Two of the most visible groups — Hawaii United for Marriage, which favored marriage equality, and Hawaii Family Advocates, which opposed gay marriage — have received roughly two-week extensions from the state Ethics Commission to file reports.
Lobbying disclosure reports from other interest groups at the filing deadline on Friday shed some light on the lobbying during the special session, where lawmakers approved a gay-marriage bill that was signed into law by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
New Hope Leeward spent more than $14,500 on media advertising, lobbying materials and lobbyists. The lobbying was financed by more than 30 donors, including other churches.
First Assembly of God disclosed spending more than $13,000 on media advertising, which includes anonymous fliers that targeted several lawmakers.
The Hawaii Republican Assembly, the conservative wing of the state Republican Party, reported more than $5,900 on media advertising and lobbying materials, mostly for radio ads. The ads were financed by two donors, William Heagney, a retiree in Mililani who frequently contributes to conservative causes, and his daughter, Mary Smart, a Realtor....
Many lawmakers were upset by the anonymous fliers, in particular, and have called for more timely disclosure of lobbying around special sessions. Anyone who spends $750 or more on lobbying in a six-month period must file reports with the Ethics Commission. The reporting cycles — January to February, March to April and May to December — are timed to the regular sessions of the Legislature, which run from January to May.
State Sen. Les Ihara Jr. (D, Moiliili-Kaimuki-Palolo) has proposed a bill that would require interest groups and lobbyists to file lobbying disclosure reports within 10 days of the end of a special session.
Ihara said the new reporting requirement would provide more immediate transparency, "so that the public knows who is trying to influence the Legislature and by how much."
House Vice Speaker John Mizuno (D, Kamehameha Heights-Kalihi Valley), who was targeted by the anonymous fliers sent out by First Assembly of God, said he supports more timely disclosure. "Timing is everything," he said of the public's interest. "They should know if this is from a tobacco company or from a church or from a children's organization.
read ... Retaliation
Sierra Club Joins Anti-GMO Whackos on Maui
MN: Lucienne de Naie of Sierra Club Maui said the Sierra Club supports the bill's intent, including the people's right to know what types of restricted pesticides are being sprayed on farms. She said that if more were known about what is sprayed and how chemicals are used, then large farming companies would not be "attacked" as much. (Blackmail.)
De Naie said she believes that large farming companies, including Monsanto, safely use pesticides. But she said more research is needed to know more about possible health effects....
The Sierra Club includes in its decision-making input from researchers and members on all sides of issues, de Naie added, noting that the club was not presenting an opinion that was derived from only one point of view. (LOL!)
She said that the Maui bill still needs work and should be worded to be sure that small farms are not hurt by the legislation. (Why? Are pesticides safer if small farmers use them?)
read ... Just Another Whacko
Health Dep't: Supermarkets Responsible for Cleanliness of Customers Dirty Reusable Bags
HTH: A Hawaii County ban on single-use plastic bags has some Big Island cashiers concerned about the cleanliness of customers’ personal totes while shopping.
“The key here is that they need to wash their bags,” Sharde Conol, supervisor at KTA Puainako, said Wednesday afternoon.
“The biggest problem we’re seeing is with animal hair being all over the bags,” she said.
Risa Kincaid, executive team leader at Target in Hilo, said her cashiers have also complained customers are using unkempt sacks, but she hasn’t heard of anything “too alarming.”
Marissa Mendoza, office clerk at Sack N’ Save in downtown Hilo, said she’s noticed a trend as well, but doesn’t think it’s the grocery store’s problem.
“It’s their groceries being packed into their dirty bags,” she said.
But according to Janice Okubo, public information officer for the Department of Health in Honolulu, any contamination issues caused by unsanitary bags would fall under the establishment’s jurisdiction.
“In terms of bags, we don’t see any regulatory problems. Things that happen under the store’s control, including if anything is brought in, the stores are responsible,” she said.....
read ... Concerns raised over cleanliness of reusable bags
IAC: Judge Hara Should Have Recused Himself
WHT: The state Intermediate Court of Appeals has overturned a civil judgment of more than $1.4 million against a former Big Island Toyota executive, ruling that the trial judge should have recused himself from the case.
The opinion dated Wednesday states that Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara should have disqualified himself from the Big Island Toyota vs. Victor D. Trevino Jr. civil trial because of his prior personal and legal association with Ivan Nakano, a former Big Island Toyota employee who was a witness for Big Island Toyota at the trial.
The auto dealership and its parent company, David S. De Luz Sr. Enterprises, claimed Trevino stole from the company and breached his fiduciary duty and his employment contract to his benefit, and left the company’s books in shambles.
Hara, a high school classmate of Nakano, was a practicing attorney in 2003 when Nakano’s employment was terminated by the dealership and Nakano requested that Hara examine his severance agreement.
According to the ICA ruling, Hara held a conference with the parties Jan. 10, 2012, after opening statements at trial, to disclose his relationship with Nakano, who was once Trevino’s boss.
Trevino’s attorney, Kris LaGuire, made a motion for Hara to recuse himself based on an alleged personal bias or prejudice or knowledge of facts in dispute in the proceeding....
Trevino said he feels “some vindication” and the appellate court ruling gives him “a fair and decent shot” to present his own case.
“I felt that Judge Hara, specifically, was not in a position to be unbiased because he was a childhood friend and attorney and represented one of the key witnesses for the plaintiff. And I felt that definitely impacted the case,” he said.
The opinion noted that Trevino “had negotiated Nakano’s ‘contentious’ termination package” and LaGuire told Strance that Nakano “believed that he was being treated poorly and unfairly” and had consulted with Hara, who was then a practicing attorney.
read ... Former Big Island Toyota exec ruling overturned
Couple faces $15K fine for turning mill into residence
WHT: The Board of Land and Natural Resources will consider fining a Big Island couple $15,000 today for turning an old coffee mill into a residence on property next to Isaac Hale Beach Park.
The work occurred without a conservation district use permit, required since the building is within a conservation district, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Ken Fujiyama, representing owners Lawrence and Ida Smith, wrote to DLNR that the couple inquired about permitting beforehand but were told action wasn’t needed since renovations involved the interior.
The home sits on a 36-acre oceanfront parcel south of the park.
Hawaii County wants to acquire 26 acres of the property for public use. Payment of the fine would allow that process, which also requires subdivision of the land, to proceed, according to DLNR.
read ... $15,000 Fine
SB234 Iwi reburial bill riles Native Hawaiians
AP: Dug-up bones and unidentified remains of Native Hawaiians may be reburied on an uninhabited island if a law being considered by the state Senate passes.
Hawaii lawmakers are considering a bill that would designate the island of Kahoolawe as the resting place for unknown or "inadvertently discovered" native bones when those remains can't be reburied nearby.
The state department that oversees historical preservation supports the bill.
Text, Status: SB234
Related: Audit: Kahoolawe Money Gone After 18 years Without a Plan
read ... Bone reburial bill riles Native Hawaiians
Foundation Headed by Chicagoans taking bids for Obama library
CT: The push to build Barack Obama's presidential library officially got underway Friday with the establishment of a foundation managed by three of his longtime supporters.
Chicago businessman Marty Nesbitt, a close friend of the president who served as national treasurer for Obama's two presidential campaigns, will head the Barack H. Obama Foundation. He is joined by Julianna Smoot, a former senior staff member in Obama's administration and the deputy campaign manager for his re-election, and Kevin Poorman, president and CEO of PSP Capital Partners, an investment firm founded by U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker of Chicago.
"The president's future library will one day serve as an important part of our nation's historical record, and our mission is to build a library that tells President Obama's remarkable story in an interactive way that will inspire future generations to become involved in public service," Nesbitt said.
Although Chicago will be competing with other cities and states, including New York and Hawaii, to get the library, the University of Chicago on the South Side is considered by many observers to be the front-runner.
NYT: A Library for Obama First Needs an Address
read ... Its Chicago