Hawaii Democratic Party Announces Priorities for 2019 Legislative Session
Senate Updates Committee Assignments
State Now Accepting Grant-in-Aid Applications
Congressional Delegation Not Eager to Push New Akaka Bill
SA: …U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was the only member of Hawaii’s delegation to say that Congress should establish such federal recognition, though she didn’t respond to a question about whether she would be putting forward a bill.
“For generations, the Native Hawaiian community has fought for recognition equal to other native peoples across America, the first people of the lands that became our great nation,” said Gabbard in a statement. “Congress should establish federal recognition for Native Hawaiians so we can further enhance opportunity and access to education, job opportunities and health services, prioritize the Hawaiian language, and more.”
Other members of the delegation were more circumspect, stressing that at this juncture any decision about forming an independent government is best left up to Native Hawaiians. The issue of establishing a government- to-government relationship between the U.S. and Native Hawaiians, similar to those established with American Indian tribes, has long been divisive among Native Hawaiians, with some advocating for total independence from the U.S….
The debate came to a resting point of sorts when the U.S. Department of Interior finalized a rule in 2016 that sets out an administrative process for achieving such recognition. It’s up to Native Hawaiians to take the steps necessary to form a government and apply for recognition.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said that it’s best to leave the issue in front of the Interior Department.
“While I thank the commission for its work and for recognizing the special legal and trust relationship between the Native Hawaiian community and the federal government, it is not necessary for Congress to act to re-establish a government-to-government relationship,” said Schatz by email. “The Department of the Interior has already set up a process for this, and it is up to the Native Hawaiian community to determine the reorganization of their own government.”
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono and Ed Case, who will be sworn into the U.S. House of Representatives in January, stressed their long-running support for Native Hawaiian self-governance but also said that the path to self-determination needs be determined by the Native Hawaiian community. Case said he supported completion of the process laid out by the Interior Department but would turn to the Hawaiian community for guidance on whether it made sense to introduce a bill in Congress….
read … Civil rights commission now backs federal recognition for Native Hawaiians
Aloha Stadium Authority Tries for $25,000 Junket, Fails
SA: … Part of the frustration, participants on the nine-member, volunteer appointed board traced to what it termed a lack of clarity over responsibilities and delays in getting going on an environmental impact study of the land the current facility occupies, master planning for a replacement and alternate-site studies.
(Translation: We didn’t know we were in Hawaii.)
Members said the Legislature appropriated $10 million to fund those items in 2017 and Gov. David Ige signed off on them nearly a year and a half ago but said a contract has yet to be fully executed. Last month, officials said they expected the contract to be finalized this month.
In response to questions from the Star-Advertiser, the Department of Accounting and General Services, which oversees the Stadium Authority, said in an email, “The entire $10 million has already been allotted and there have been no delays.”
(Translation: The Stadium Authority is lying.)
The stadium panel’s frustration follows a briefing last month in which it was told that its consulting structural engineer is now (all of a sudden decided to begin) recommending accelerating inspections for corrosion damage from biennially to annually.
(IQ Test: This is part of the sales pitch? T/F)
Of particular concern to some members has been the amount of corrosion reported on some braces, seat plates and decking floor slabs….
Authority members also expressed disappointment that a planned trip recommended by a consultant (the same one?) to study facilities in Los Angeles and Atlanta that feature ancillary development similar to that envisioned for a new stadium in Halawa was rejected by State Comptroller Roderick K. Becker.
In a letter to the Stadium Authority, Becker wrote, “We note that the stated purpose of the trip does not fall under the powers and duties of the Stadium Authority.”
“What is concerning is this last sentence,” Uchiyama said. “Where does our authority actually go if he says the purposes of the trip don’t fall under (stadium authority)?”
The trip, which was to include Stadium Authority members and some senior stadium staff, was to be funded by approximately $25,000 from stadium revenues, officials said…. (LOL!)
read … Aloha Stadium Authority frustrated by bureaucracy over new facility
Hawaii Supreme Court Overturns 30 Years Of Government Secrecy
CB: …The Hawaii Supreme Court issued a ruling Friday that overturns 30 years of successful attempts at government secrecy.
For decades, public agencies in Hawaii have withheld countless records from public view by saying they were subject to the “deliberative process privilege,” a vague term of art that legal experts say was often overused and abused.
A legal challenge from Civil Beat combined with the state high court’s ruling seems to unravel all that, saying that such a privilege never existed in state law.
“I’ve always said that I could retire if we won this case,” Civil Beat’s attorney Brian Black said with a chuckle. “This is a huge win for the public.”
The case stems from a public records request Civil Beat filed in 2015 to get access to budget documents used to craft Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s spending plan for fiscal year 2016.
At the time, Caldwell told each department that it must submit a budget request to him for approval. He could either take or leave their recommendations.
Civil Beat asked the city to turn over the documents under the state public records law, the Uniform Information Practices Act, so that the public could see what proposals Caldwell approved and what he left on the cutting room floor.
The city responded by denying the request saying it would “frustrate a legitimate government function.” More specifically, officials cited the “deliberative process privilege,” which is a vague exemption public records experts in Hawaii say is often abused.
Compounding matters was the fact that the state’s Office of Information Practices, which oversees the public records law, also seemed to believe that the deliberative process privilege existed in state law….
read … Hawaii Supreme Court Overturns 30 Years Of Government Secrecy
Nearly one year after Hawaii missile fiasco, emergency reforms are still on the table
TV: … This week, before the government shutdown crisis, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would overhaul the emergency alert system. While the fate of the legislation’s reforms is now uncertain, the bill, pressed by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and two Republican colleagues, would introduce several changes to the alerts system.
Among them, the bill would end the ability to opt out of alerts, and require that alerts be repeated. It would also explore ways to further the internet alert system, including finding ways to interrupt streaming services, like Netflix.
“When a missile alert went out across Hawaii in January, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios,” Schatz said in a statement. “Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert highlighted real ways we can improve the way people receive emergency alerts.” ….
read … Nearly one year after Hawaii missile fiasco, emergency reforms are still on the table
Homes Needed for 175 Criminals
WHT: …The department’s Corrections Division is seeking qualified nonprofit or for-profit providers to provide clean and sober housing for about 30 adult male and 20 adult female offenders/parolees in West Hawaii, particularly the Kona area, according to a request for proposals posted Nov. 23. The department’s also looking for a provider on Oahu to house 100 adult males and 25 adult females there….
read … Wanted: clean and sober housing: State seeks more transitional space for West Hawaii