NBC News: Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard
VIDEO: Crowd of 'Dozens' at Tulsi Presidential Campaign Launch
Tax Hike Creativity Abounds at our Legislature
Legislators Pressure OHA on Audit, LLCs
Sex Harassment: New House Rules "add another layer of silence"
Auditor: Should Insurers be Required to Cover Mainland Air Ambulance?
States with the Best Dental Health -- Hawaii Ranks 15th
HB1191: House Committee Passes Minimum Wage Hike
HB1509: Ban Tobacco Cigs, not E-Cigs
HTH: …HB 1509, seeks to halt the sale of cigarettes by increasing the minimum age to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, 60 in 2023, and 100 in 2024.
The bill does not apply to electronic smoking devices or cigars, which Creagan, a physician, sees as safer alternatives. Chewing tobacco also is left out.
Sen. Dru Kanuha, D-Kona/Ka‘u, introduced SB 887, which would increase the excise tax on cigarettes to 21 cents, instead of 16 cents, in July. It mandates revenue be used for health programs and research….
read … Creagan proposes cigarette ban
Push to legalize recreational marijuana grows
SA: …The push to legalize pakalolo is building strong momentum this year, with more than two dozen state lawmakers introducing legislation to allow its recreational use by Hawaii adults.
Proponents say legalization could boost state tax revenues by an estimated $20 million annually, while opponents argue recreational use of marijuana may come at the expense of public safety.
…Senate Bill 686 and companion House Bill 708 would legalize the personal use, possession and sale of up to an ounce of marijuana for people 21 years and older, saying “sales hold potential for economic development, increased tax revenues and reduction in crime.” Another legalization measure, House Bill 1581, would subject cannabis to a 12 percent excise tax and would allow the transport of marijuana between islands, which is illegal under federal law.
read … Push to legalize recreational marijuana grows
HB1574: Tobacco Tax for E Cigs
SA: …Twin bills, House Bill 276 and Senate Bill 1009, would ban the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products. Hawaii’s Health Department has pointed out that these products — including chemical solutions with nicotine-infused “e-juices” with names like “Bubble Pop” and “Peanut Butter Cup” — are likely a main reason why kids start vaping….
House Bill 1574 (Senate Bill 1405) would apply an excise tax to disposable ESDs and vape liquids; require licensing and permitting for wholesalers and retailers; and create online shipment restrictions to consumers. Also, it would also tag a slice of the tax revenues for Hawaii Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund’s health education efforts….
(This is a hashish tax)
SA: E-cigs outperform patches and gums in quit-smoking study
read … Control sale, use of e-cigarettes
Legislators Propose Changes to Voting System
KOS: … Hawaii Democrats have introduced several election bills that would make it much easier to vote, including proposals for automatic voter registration, universal vote-by-mail, lowering the voting age to 16 in state and local elections, and pre-registration of 16- and 17-year-olds so they will automatically be added to the rolls when they turn 18. Another proposal would enable automatic recounts in very close elections, something that candidates currently have to request.
While Democrats are more dominant in Hawaii than in any other state in the country—they have over 90 percent of seats in both chambers—Democrats have repeatedly failed to pass a universal vote-by-mail bill the last four years in a row. Consequently, there's no guarantee that any of these provisions will become law in a state that routinely ranks last or close to last in turnout….
read … Voting Rights Roundup
Ranked Choice Voting Rears its Ugly Head (again)
Borreca: …Sen. Karl Rhoads, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, is going through the obvious changes to Hawaii’s voting laws, including mandatory recounts if the margin of victory is less than half of 1 percent of the votes cast.
Also included is the intriguing idea of holding ranked choice voting for special federal elections and special elections of vacant county council seats.
In a ranked choice election, voters would rank the candidates, first choice, second, etc. It sounds complicated, although Maine is setting up a ranked choice system and it is in use in Australia and in a few municipal elections.
In a low-voting state like Hawaii, just getting people to vote and sign their absentee ballots is probably enough of a struggle.
While Rhoads’ committee is just in the initial steps of reviewing possible changes, it is hopeful that included in the list is a bill to make voting by mail the universal voting system in Hawaii in 2022.
The 2020 election will be mail-in voting only on Kauai, and the Ozawa-Waters battle will also be run through the mail. Election officials note there are more registered voters in the contested City Council District IV than on Kauai.
So the Legislature has two election-law jobs this session: one is vote by mail, which is like putting Hawaii sort of ahead of the election reform game; the other is installing a mandatory recount law….
read … Vote-by-mail statewide and mandatory recount law among election-reform priorities
With Hanabusa Out of the Way, Hawaii May Finally Get Aegis Ashore
SA: … Hawaii may become the first state in the nation to get a new type of ground-based missile interceptor — in addition to the powerful $1 billion radar that’s already in the works — to better protect against North Korean missile attack.
A long-awaited Missile Defense Review recently released by the Pentagon calls for the Missile Defense Agency and the Navy to study the viability of “operationalizing” the Aegis Ashore missile defense test site on Kauai, either temporarily or permanently, with interceptor missiles….
The military also was ordered to develop an “emergency activation plan” that would enable the defense secretary to activate the Aegis Ashore site in 30 days.
Some defense experts have called for the operationalization of the Aegis Ashore site — now a testing facility — for several years, claiming a gap exists when it comes to the defense of Hawaii under the nation’s missile protection umbrella.
But members of Hawaii’s congressional delegation accepted the Navy and Missile Defense Agency position that a powerful discriminating radar to better identify incoming missiles was needed first, followed by a review of whether missile interceptors were needed.
The Missile Defense Review findings — put together with wide-ranging and high-level input — came as a surprise and upended the previous Hawaii plan by moving up active examination of defensive missiles possibly being located in the state….
(Skip multiple paragraphs of Schatz and Hirono making excuses…)
Reality: To Help Campaign Contributors, Hanabusa Blocks Missile Defense for Hawaii for 6 Years
read … Hawaii could house missile interceptors sooner than later
Shapiro Hissy Fit Trumps Ozawa
Shapiro: … Ozawa’s hissy fit after the state Supreme Court invalidated his 22-vote general election win against Tommy Waters was unhinged, ill-advised and yet another sign he’s driven by a Trumpian sense of personal grievance….
Related: Conflict of Interest? Judiciary Debunks Ozawa
read … Trumped