Ige, Ballard, Legislators Agree: Mentally Ill Must be Forcibly Committed to Treatment Centers
Eliminating Barriers to the Treatment of Mental Illness -- HRS Evaluated Law by Law
Cost of Living: Hawaii Per Capita Income 4th-Lowest in USA
Full Text: State of the State Address
Doctors Agonistes: Paradise Lost
Hawaii School Choice Week: Education Celebration and Resource Fair
Why Be Pro-GMO?
Senate Updates Sexual Harassment Policy
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Federal Charges for 7-11 robberies, UH carjacking
Feds Seize Real Estate Connected to Illegal Game Rooms
Mauna Kea: Politicians Form Circular Firing Squad
CB: … The Legislature still appears light on proposals that could address any of the concerns that protesters in 2019 have raised over land, environmental and societal issues.
Vice Speaker Mark Nakashima, whose Big Island district includes Mauna Kea, said concerns should be addressed in the Legislature, not Mauna Kea. He said there could be a number of bills to address issues but gave no details. Lawmakers have until Thursday to introduce new legislation.
“I think they picked the wrong venue,” he said of the protesters on Mauna Kea.
In contrast, Ige said he doesn’t think issues over Mauna Kea should be resolved in the Legislature.
Meanwhile, Senate President Ron Kochi and House Speaker Scott Saiki said they are waiting on the governor to come forward with proposals.
House leaders are also looking to Big Island Mayor Harry Kim for more details or proposals on how exactly he wants to move forward on Mauna Kea.
A possible restructuring of the management regime on Mauna Kea is uncertain even as it seemed to have support by Kim, Ige and University of Hawaii President David Lassner.
Saiki said he hadn’t received any proposals from the administration regarding a restructuring, and Kouchi only said he’s willing to work with the governor and counties on any proposals they bring forward.
About a thousand people rallied at the State Capitol on opening day last week, led by many of the leaders from the Mauna Kea demonstration….
read … Circular Firing Squad
Ige still believes TMT can be resolved peacefully
HTH: … Ige (in his State of the State address) said that both sides of the conflict have strong arguments and that there is no easy solution. However, he went on, the conflict can be resolved if both sides are “open-hearted, as well as open-minded.”
“There are some who have encouraged me to take strong measures against those who are protesting on Maunakea,” Ige said. “That would have been the easier course. But it is not just the authority of law that is at stake. It is so much more than that.”
Ige said the conflict threatens to divide the Hawaii community and undermine its “sense of aloha.”
“(Aloha) is the thing that underpins our laws and gives them meaning and an ethical foundation,” Ige said. “That trust in each other is sacred. And I will not break that bond, no matter how convenient or easy.”
Ige concluded his remarks on TMT asking “any and everyone who refuses to let this issue divide us” to work with him to find a way forward, a statement greeted with applause from the audience….
Jan 14, 2020: City Officials, Protesters Do Deal on Sherwood Forest Park—Build Same Thing with Different Name
read … State of the State: Ige still believes TMT can be resolved peacefully
Telescope Protest: Hawaii AG Seeking KAHEA Bank Records –to be Stripped of Nonprofit Status?
CB: … the attorney general’s office says the organization, KAHEA: The Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, has not filed financial statements required by law and has used tax-deductible donations for activities of civil disobedience not allowed under laws governing tax-exempt organizations.
The office says it needs the records to fulfill the attorney general’s responsibility of regulating charitable organizations….
In late November, the attorney general issued a subpoena seeking the organization’s bank records for nearly three years, from 2017 through most of 2019, including monthly statements, deposit tickets and ATM surveillance photos.
KAHEA has filed a motion asking a state court judge to quash the subpoena, arguing that the subpoena is burdensome and oppressive — the legal standard for disallowing such a subpoena. A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 29 before state Circuit Court Judge James Ashford….
KAHEA’s website lists three funds: the Mauna Kea Education and Awareness Fund, the Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund and the Aloha ‘Aina Support Fund. While the legal defense fund finances legal efforts, the Aloha Aina Support Fund is used to support “non-violent direct actions” opposing the telescope, including “funding for frontline logistics, including provision of bail where appropriate, supplies, transportation, technical services, and community meetings convened for such purposes.”
“The ‘non-violent direct actions’ supported by donations to Kahea plainly refer to the five month long illegal blockade of Mauna Kea Access road, in protest of the construction of the thirty-meter telescope,” the attorney general’s memo says.
To support its argument that nonprofits are not allowed to engage in civil disobedience activity, the attorney general cites an IRS ruling concerning a charitable organization that sponsored protests to promote world peace, including actions like blocking vehicle traffic and disrupting government work and the movement of supplies.
“The IRS then denied the organization tax-exempt status, reasoning that the ‘organizing and sponsoring’ of protests utilizing illegal activity demonstrated that the lack of an exclusively charitable purpose,” as required by the tax law governing nonprofits….
The KAHEA subpoena isn’t the first Connors has issued related to the Mauna Kea protests….
In September, the attorney general issued a subpoena to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for information related to OHA’s financial support of the Mauna Kea protest movement.
Also, the office subpoenaed Hawaiian Airlines to try to get names of people who had donated frequent flyer miles to protesters but withdrew the subpoena after lawyers for the airline resisted the demand for records, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported….
CB: Hawaii AG Wrong To Subpoena Protest Group’s Records
read … Hawaii AG Is Seeking Bank Records Of Mauna Kea Protest Group
Shady Tactics Of Gut And Replace Mar Legislative Process
CB: … The House Republican Caucus strongly believes in a healthy democracy — one that is grounded in open debate and a transparent process.
However, there is a longstanding tradition in the Hawaii State Legislature that destroys the trust of the public. It’s called “gut and replace” and it undermines well-informed lawmaking.
We align with the legal efforts of Common Cause Hawaii, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, and most recently, attorney Jeff Portnoy, in their attempts to expose this underhanded method of legislating….
read … Shady Tactics Of Gut And Replace Mar Legislative Process
Hawaii Should Welcome New Defense Radar
CB: … The state needs to stop rejecting everything and start looking for wins….
read … Hawaii Should Welcome New Defense Radar
Instead of Dealing with Mental Health, Lawmakers consider ban on lending of guns
SA: … House Bill 1600 says the current law allows certain firearms to be lent to adults for use within the state for up to 15 days without a permit and for use outside the state for up to 75 days, “thereby allowing the lending of firearms to persons who are not subject to a background check and other firearm permit requirements.”
Senate Judiciary Chairman Karl Rhoads said he is introducing a similar measure in the Senate but that his version would include an exception allowing a hunter to lend firearms to another person with a firearm license for up to 12 hours….
Kainoa Kaku, vice president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, said, “I don’t know how any law would stop a crazy person from stealing a gun from someone else, which is what it sounds like had happened. I don’t know what else they would introduce that would have any effect or prevent what happened Sunday.”
The rifle association opposes additional regulations of firearms, “and we want to see a whole bunch of stuff repealed, including the difficult permitting process that’s currently on the books,” Kaku said.
Meanwhile, Lee said he also wants to see whether Hawaii can replicate a Chicago program that created a center to trace the history of stolen firearms. “They were able to identify clear channels where a lot of these firearms were actually being trafficked,” Lee said….
Lawmakers last year passed a “red flag” law that allows courts to temporarily take guns away from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others. (and yet it was not used to stop Hanel.)….
SA: HPD tragedy is wake-up call on mental illness
read … Lawmakers consider ban on lending of guns
Pension reforms would boost state
SA Editorial: …In the interest of avoiding financial dire straits, state policymakers in tandem with the ERS, must seek viable ways now to help pay down state public employee pension liability.
A step in that direction was taken in 2012 with the introduction of a level of retiree benefits that requires newer employees to work longer to vest benefits; sets a lower rate for annual automatic cost-of-living increases added to pension payment; sets higher employee contribution rates; and prohibits the use of overtime in retirement benefit calculation.
Also worth exploring today is a ban on the use of overtime in calculating anything related to pension, as it has spurred a shady — and increasingly expensive — practice known as pension spiking.
Elsewhere, some states grappling with pension funding woes are offering options such as a 401(k)-type of defined-contribution plan, where benefits are based on retirement fund contributions — with no guaranteed minimum or maximum benefits — rather than a guaranteed monthly income based on years of service and salary. That’s worthy of study, as is a buyout option.
Illinois and Missouri have new pension buyout plans that allow workers to give up future benefits in exchange for a lump sum payment equal to 70% and 60%, respectively, of what they would have gotten. Such a move could be a win-win, for workers preferring early access to the benefit while lifting the long-term liability from government.
More effective strategies here would enable further pay down of pension liability for the sake of Hawaii’s fiscal health — perhaps even in ways that would be welcome by employees for choice and flexibility.
read … Pension reforms would boost state
Diamond Head Shooting