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Thursday, April 18, 2019
April 18, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:39 PM :: 2577 Views

Candidates Hirono, Case, Gabbard Refused to Release their Tax Returns

DLNR: Another Step Towards State-Run Carbon Credit Scheme

Kids Oral Health--Hawaii Ranks Dead Last

$17 Minimum Wage Cost $1.456 Billion per year

HDOT Launches Accelerated Hiring System

State Launches Aquaculture Accelerator 

Ige: Failure of Water Bill will Kill Agriculture

SA: … Ige is prodding state lawmakers to resurrect a controversial bill that would give public water users, including Alexander & Baldwin, the electric utilities, farmers and others, more time to meet stringent requirements for obtaining long-term leases, a move that has angered opponents of House Bill 1326.

Ige sent a letter today to Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki that included a memo by his administrative director Ford Fuchigami outlining the impacts on farming, ranching and clean energy projects if HB 1326 is not passed and water permit holders lose access to public water after this year.

“If you believe that the continued holdover of revocable water permits is in the public interest, I recommend that we urge the Legislature to act to avoid the possible adverse ramifications identified above,” Fuchigami wrote in his memo to Ige that was passed on to lawmakers.

Fuchigami’s memo analyzes the legal issues surrounding revocable water permits, saying that there is “no clear path forward” to ensure continued water use for revocable permit holders if HB 1326 isn’t passed.

Fuchigami also outlines the impacts on farmers and ranchers in Ka’u; a handful of domestic water users; Kauai farmers; two hydroelectric plants on Kauai and Hawaii island; and A&B…. 

read … Ige urges Hawaii Legislature to resurrect water rights bill

State revokes convicted Hawaii PKF accountant's license

PBN: Nearly a year and a half after Patrick Oki was convicted of stealing more than $400,000 from his accounting firm, the state has revoked his professional accounting license….

read … State revokes convicted Hawaii accountant's license

Two Ethics Reform Measures Clear House-Senate Conference Committee

CB: Two ethics reform bills have been approved by a House-Senate conference committee while a third remains afloat.

But another measure, this one changing campaign finance laws, is on hold as lawmakers try to settle their differences.

… Late Wednesday afternoon the conference committee approved House Bill 170, which clarifies how the state’s laws on fair treatment — not unduly using political influence — and conflict of interest laws apply to legislators and task force members. Its passage this session now appears certain….

On Wednesday, the Senate agreed to the House’s changes to Senate Bill 144, meaning that the bill is almost certainly headed to Gov. David Ige for his signature.

SB 144 calls for repealing restrictions on obtaining transcripts of public contested hearings, requiring proof that violation of the state’s lobbying law was committed negligently, and allowing the Ethics Commission to levy a fine as part of a settlement agreement.

In written testimony, Gluck said SB 144 makes “modest changes” to enforcement of the state’s lobbyists law and “harmonizes” the law with the state’s open records law.

A third measure from the commission, House Bill 169, remains in conference committee.

HB 169 bill clarifies provisions of the ethics code by eliminating the “double filing requirement” of gift disclosure statements, reduces an “unnecessary administrative burden” on Ethics Commission staff by only requiring records to be kept for six years after the filing date of each financial disclosure statement, and eliminates language that restricted access to transcripts from contested case hearings….

Action on House Bill 164, part of a package of bills submitted by the state’s Campaign Spending Commission, was delayed for at least another day.

Lee told Rhoads that the House plans to submit a compromise bill known as a conference draft. But the CD1, as it is called, is still being worked on.

HB 164 is intended to tweak campaign finance laws to make it easier to disclose who is spending money on political advertisements….

read … Two Ethics Reform Measures Clear House-Senate Conference Committee

Can OHA Cash in by Claiming Native Title to Hawaiian Words?

AP: … Last year, much of Hawaii was shocked to learn a Chicago restaurant chain owner had trademarked the name “Aloha Poke” and wrote to cubed fish shops around the country demanding that they stop using the Hawaiian language moniker for their own eateries. The cease-and-desist letters targeted a downtown Honolulu restaurant and a Native Hawaiian-operated restaurant in Anchorage, among others.

Now, Hawaii lawmakers are considering adopting a resolution calling for the creation of legal protections for Native Hawaiian cultural intellectual property. The effort predates Aloha Poke, but that episode is lending a sense of urgency to a long-festering concern not unfamiliar to native cultures in other parts of the world.

“I was frustrated at the audacity of people from outside of our community using these legal mechanisms to basically bully people from our local community out of utilizing symbols and words that are important to our culture,” said state Sen. Jarrett Keohokalole, a Native Hawaiian representing Kaneohe and Heeia.

(Translation: He knows that the Aloha Poke claims won’t stand under existing copyright law, but he’s hoping you don’t know this.  Meanwhile he sees this as a way for OHA to cash in by establishing an ownership interest in Hawaiian-language words.)

Native Hawaiian experts note there’s a cultural clash underlying much of this. Modern European-based traditions use trademarks, copyright and patents to create economic incentives and rewards for creating knowledge and culture. Indigenous culture, on the other hand, is often passed on through generations and held collectively.

“They’re never going to sit nicely together in a box,” said Kuhio Lewis, the CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement….

read … Who Owns Aloha? Hawaii Considers Protections For Native Culture

Honolulu City Council passes bill to crack down on affordable home monsters

SA: … Under Bill 79 (2018), the maximum density of a detached dwelling would not be allowed to have a floor area greater than 70% of a lot’s size, or what’s known as a floor area ratio (FAR) of 0.7….

Any house with an FAR greater than 0.6, however, would need to be owner- occupied and be subject to additional rules. Specifically, they would have to have 8-foot side and rear yards and be able to obtain a temporary certificate of occupancy for only up to a year, during which time the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) could inspect the house…

Also under the bill that passed:

>> A minimum of two on-site parking stalls are required, plus one stall for each additional 750 square feet over 2,500 square feet (excluding carports and garages).

>> The definition of bathrooms require either a sink, a toilet or both. Additionally, houses up to 5,999 square feet would be allowed up to 4-1/2 bathrooms under a sliding scale, although Pine said she wants to work further on lowering the number allowed for larger homes.

>> Converting or altering a wet bar, laundry room or bathroom are prohibited unless specifically allowed under a valid building permit.

>> A limit of 75% of a property can be covered with an impervious surface, such as concrete or asphalt….

Representatives from HI Good Neighbor, the Outdoor Circle Manoa branch and Malama Manoa erupted in applauses after the bill was approved….

read … Honolulu City Council passes bill to crack down on monster homes

Short-Term Rental Regulation Advances at Honolulu Hale

HPR: … Caldwell and the Department of Permitting and Planning have crafted what the mayor calls “a compromise bill.” That bill, labeled Bill 89, was developed after months of public feedback and input from the independent Honolulu Planning Commission.

Under that proposal, whole home short term rentals would only be allowed in resort areas like Waikiki and Ko Olina. Hosted rentals, where the owners live on site, would be allowed in some areas, but many residential neighborhoods would be off limits….

The Appleseed Center and many other vacation rental hawks support a more hardline bill, number 85, which was also heard on Wednesday. That measure would ban all short-term rentals outside of resort areas and allow residents to sue their neighbors who violate the law.

Following Wednesday’s public testimony, councilmembers now have a chance to make revisions on both Bill 85 and 89. Each will have one more hearing before the council takes a final vote.

A separate measure currently under consideration at the state capitol would require operations like Airbnb and Expedia to collect General Excise and Transient Accommodation Taxes.

read … Short-Term Rental Regulation Advances at Honolulu Hale

Hawaii lawmakers push to reduce number of unnecessary hospital visits from homeless

KHON: … they have wounds they have staph infections they are unable to care for themselves yet they keep going in and out of the hospital that's why Queens loses so much money," explained Green. …

In 2016, the Queens Medical Center lost $10-million over unnecessary ER visits.  That same year, Hawaii residents were stuck paying millions of dollars more.

"… over a hundred million dollars in losses for hospitals across the state and it ends up the consumers we have to pay for that," said Mizuno. …

Hospitals currently release homeless patients once they're treated.  The bill would require the hospitals to screen patients prior to leaving.
If it determines the patient is mentally ill, unlikely to safely live in the community without supervision, or is in need of treatment to prevent relapse, the patient would be sent to a treatment center….

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i says it's concerned the measure "may infringe on the civil liberties of the people this measure seeks to help."

(Translation: This bill makes it more difficult to keep the homeless homeless, and we at the ACLU still aren’t volunteering to open our homes to them.)

Lieutenant Governor Green says otherwise. 

"We're very mindful of what some people say it's a slippery slope of losing civil rights but it's a no-brainer frankly," explained Green.

The bill is a final committee and floor vote away from being sent to the Governor.

WHT: 2 small homeless camps in Kailua-Kona to be cleared

read … Hawaii lawmakers push to reduce number of unnecessary hospital visits from homeless

Homeless Tweeker from Mainland Convicted in Crime Spree

MN: … A man who said he was high on drugs and living on the streets when he stole property and vehicles, including one from the Maui Police Department impound lot, was sentenced Wednesday to a one-year jail term….

She said Priest “ran amok” for five months, starting Jan. 22, 2018, when he stole a man’s backpack and used his credit cards after the man had given Priest a ride from Kihei Kalama Village. Priest also got the keys to the man’s 2013 Chevrolet Silverado work truck and stole the Maui Autoplex vehicle, failing to stop for a police officer.

Priest was implicated in an April 23, 2018, vehicle break-in at Keawakapu Beach in Kihei. A GoPro, camera and drone were missing from the back seat of the vehicle.

On May 7, Priest helped steal an impounded 2005 Toyota 4Runner from the bulk storage lot at the Wailuku Police Station. Two other men also were charged in the case, and Priest was paid with methamphetamine for his role in the crime, the complaint against him alleged.

Priest stole another vehicle, a Honda Civic, on May 25 from the Walmart parking lot, takings speakers and amplifiers from the car.

The same day, he entered the 76 gas station in Kahului and, while a clerk had fallen asleep in the back room, took cash from the register and cigarettes, Loo said.

In five criminal cases, Priest had pleaded no contest to two counts of unauthorized control of a propelled vehicle, four counts of second-degree theft, second-degree resisting an order to stop a motor vehicle, tampering with physical evidence and third-degree theft….

His long-term goal is to reunite with his family in Oregon…

SA: Homeless Arrested with Coconut Opener

read … One Homeless Tweeker

Soft on Crime: Alleged Child Molester Gets 6 Days in Jail

HNN: … Todd Bruggman, 56, was accused of repeatedly molesting a 6-year-old girl for more than a year at a Waikiki condo complex.

The girl’s mother, Maria Tijerna, said she worked for Bruggman’s wife and he often babysat because he has a daughter around that same age.

In 2015, Bruggman was indicted on continuous sex assault of a minor, first-degree sex assault, second-degree sex assault and third-degree sex assault.

But a plea agreement dropped all four counts of sexual assault and Bruggman pleaded no contest to second-degree attempted assault, a felony charge, and harassment, a petty misdemeanor.

Bruggman was sentenced to six days in jail with credit for time served, five years of probation and must pay $200 in restitution.

Bruggman does not have to register as a sex offender….

“The prosecutor’s office called me and told me that I would be a bad mother if I were to put her on the stand,” said Tijerina. “I called her first thing in the morning and I said, no, I don’t want this, no deal. And she told me too late, I already drafted it and I’m sending it out.”…

PETITION: Judge Eddins should resign after sentencing a child rapist to six days in jail.

read … Soft on Crime

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