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Wednesday, March 02, 2011
March 2, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:41 PM :: 6114 Views :: Hawaii County News, Agriculture, Honolulu County News, Democratic Party, Hawaii State Government, Republican Party

Kona TEA Party Rally: No New Taxes, Audit the DoE

HB853: State-Owned Bank to be run by Takamine, Abercrombie

Legislature seeks to tax music, book, movie writers working in Hawaii

Slom on Taxes and Pensions: “I don’t think this Governor is going to wink-flinch”

VIDEO: Abercrombie blames elderly living longer for increasing debt, spending

Local Leaders Donate $732,278 to Stop Meth Use

HB1407: Abolishes Adoption privacy, requires names of birth parents be public record

Shapiro: Abercrombie’s Opponents were right

Abercrombie derided Aiona’s proposal for an audit of the Department of Education and Hannemann’s call for a comprehensive audit of state finances, saying he was ready to hit the ground running and didn’t need any audit to tell him the score.

Well, now that he’s finally coughed up a budget four months into his administration, it seems that his opponents were correct that his plans are going to cost more; he wants to spend several hundred million dollars more than proposed by the previous administration.

Abercrombie is relying mainly on tax increases of various kinds to finance his plans, with relatively little sign of re-prioritizing and reallocating. There have been few announcements of new federal funds coming Hawai‘i’s way.

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SA: Approve bill on appointed BOE

Other elements in the bill help in achieving balance, including fair geographic representation. Among the nine members is one each from Maui, Hawaii and Kauai counties, three from Oahu and three at large. The governor is allowed to name one of the at-large members to chair the board, a prerogative that helps to drive the administration's educational agenda. The governor can replace the chairperson at will, but members cannot be entirely ousted from the board without cause. Finally, the overlapping three-year terms provides for some continuity between state administrations.

Lawmakers have left intact the existing duties of the school board, including its rulemaking, policymaking and fiscal authority.

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Hanabusa, Hirono vote for Government Shutdown in fight for pork

The White House said Obama will sign the bill, which cuts $2.7 billion in programs that House Republicans designated as earmarks.

"I could not support this bill because of its damaging cuts to programs important to Hawaii and the nation. These services are vital to the education and professional development of our citizens," Hanabusa said.

Hanabusa said the $4 billion in proposed budget cuts for programs in Hawaii include:

  • >> $700,000 cut from state Department of Education's Assistance to Low Performing Schools Project, which may include equipment and technology.  
  • >> $700,000 cut from Kauai Economic Development Board's science, technology, engineering and math education.
  • >> $800,000 cut from Maui Economic Development Board 's programs engaging girls and historically underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering and math education.
  • >> $300,000 cut from the   Polynesian Voyaging Society's educational programs.

Hirono said she "voted against this short term spending bill because it continues the irresponsible G.O.P. agenda of cutting $2 billion a week for the next 30 weeks.  Those cuts mean a loss of jobs, plain and simple."  (And my cronies need these no-show, make-work jobs to survive, she didn’t add.)

Today's 91-9 Senate vote came a day after the House voted 335-91 yesterday to approve the two-week continuing resolution.

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Things that make you go hmmmm.....MAKING A BAD IDEA WORSE

From www.GOPHawaii.com The House Finance Committee is making a bad idea worse by voting to raise the pension tax threshold to only affect one percent of taxpayers, it is now projected to only bring in $17 million per year.  Governor Abercrombie’s original plan would have brought in $112 million per year and affected eight percent of taxpayers.  If the amended plan moves forward, where does the additional $95 million in revenue come from? And with such a small group of taxpayers being affected, is there any worry that they may simply move out of our State and file their taxes somewhere else?  Then where will the revenue come from?  Seems like the Democrats in the State House are trying to appease the Governor and retirees with this amended plan while accomplishing nothing?  Wouldn’t it be easier to just cut some spending? Makes you go hmmmm…..

AP: Plan for tax on pensions would affect ‘wealthy’ only

The state House Finance Committee voted early today to tax pension income but set the threshold significantly higher than Gov. Neil Abercrombie preferred.

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Senate WAM Approves Tax-Raising Bills

Senate Ways and Means passed several bills aimed at bringing cash into the general fund and balancing the budget.

They include Senate Bill 120, which repeals dozens of state special funds; and Senate Bill 1186, which applies a daily $10 transient accommodations tax on complimentary furnished rooms.

WAM also approved Senate Bill 99, which restructures the Public Utilities Commission; Senate Bill 1385, which seeks to generate money from unused public school lands; Senate Bill 1357, which calls for a master plan to bring Hawaii inmates back from the mainland; Senate Bill 1078, which specifics that benefits of the Hawaii Employer-Union Health Benefits Trust Fund are subject to negotiation; and Senate Bill 608, which allows for the lease of lands at Sand Island.

The measures now await a full Senate vote before crossing over to the House.

The minute Senate WAM passed the film-tax credit bill that the Hawaii Masons Union supports, the dozens of members wearing pink shirts rose and quietly left Conference Room 211.

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Senators pass bill raiding fewer funds, UH Athletics to become Special Fund subject to future raids

The Senate Ways and Means Committee voted unanimously yesterday to approve a scaled-back version of a bill that would have raided 138 of the state's special funds to help address a budget shortfall.

The latest version of the bill would repeal 16 special funds and take some money from another 23 funds.

UH Alumni revolving fund becomes a special fund …UH Manoa athletics revolving fund becomes a special fund.

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Bill to enhance film tax incentives in Hawaii advances

The Senate Ways and Means committee advanced a revised version of a bill designed to attract more TV and film projects. It's now part of a measure related to business development in Hawaii.

The bill would enhance film production income tax credits, provide tax incentives for new infrastructure and offer rebates for crew training programs.

The revised measure heads to the full Senate next week. The House Finance committee is scheduled to hear a companion measure tomorrow.

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‘Meticulous organizing’ won Gay Civil Unions

Shapiro: The bottom line is that Gabbard and other opponents of civil unions made big political threats but couldn't produce the votes to back them up. They lost a fair fight.

Gay-rights advocates organized meticulously for more than a decade and succeeded in moving public opinion and electing candidates who agreed with them.

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Greene Energy Scammers to make Ratepayers foot bill for Undersea Cable?

Rep. Hermina Morita, from Kauai, (the anti-Superferry protester who is Abercrombie’s PUC Pick) introduced the bill. She did not respond to a message seeking comment Monday.
"It may be in the public's interest that undersea transmission cables are installed by a nonutility investor that assumes financial responsibility for the project until it can achieve commercial availability," the bill said. "The purpose of this act is to establish the regulatory structure under which interisland undersea transmission cables could be developed, financed and constructed on commercially reasonable terms."
Only solar and wind energy generation are included in the bill as feasible means of energy production for interisland purposes.

Opponents filed testimony claiming the bill was drafted only to benefit the wind farm owners.
"At the very least, allow the public to vote on whether or not we want to pay an unknown amount for an undersea cable," Lanai City environmental science teacher Lisa Galloway said in testimony she submitted in early February.

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Enviros force yet another Electric Rate Hike

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaiian Electric Co. has received regulatory approval to implement a new rate structure that will encourage Oahu residents to conserve electricity.

Customers who use more energy will pay higher rates for higher levels of energy use. The utility said the tiered rate structure takes effect Tuesday.

Hawaiian Electric's Maui County and Big Island subsidiaries already implemented the new rate structure in January….

Hawaiian Electric executive vice president Robbie Alm says the community needs to find ways to reduce its energy use if Hawaii is to meet its clean energy goals.

The utility says qualifying low-income customers will only be billed at the lowest rate.

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Clayton Hee continues to wage war on Aila

The Majority Caucus will meet Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. for a half-hour to discuss Aila's nomination to be the director of the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources, according to a meeting notice sent to 24 Senate Democrats that was obtained by Civil Beat.

Multiple senators with inside knowledge of the process, whom Civil Beat granted anonymity because they wouldn't speak otherwise, said the meeting was called to determine whether to defer action on Aila or to vote Thursday as currently scheduled.

Sen. Clayton Hee, in an interview with Civil Beat, did little to dispel Capitol rumblings that he will seek a second delay when the Hawaii Legislature's one-week recess ends.

Is Hee working as Inouye’s surrogate?

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Senators dismiss idea allowing $200 gifts

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-0 Tuesday to amend the bill, removing the proposed $200 exception to ethics laws except for charitable organizations.

Barbara Polk of Americans for Democratic Action-Hawaii told the panel that if the measure had passed, parents could have paid off teachers to give their children good grades, or businesses could have paid government workers for expedited licenses.

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Bill Limiting Disclosure of Public Employees Information Dies

Hawaii public employees will not be able to conceal their name, compensation range, and job description.

Senate Bill 1094, introduced by Senate Judiciary and Labor Chair Clayton Hee, D-Kahaluu, relating to public disclosure, died on a 2 to 2 vote in the committee today. Hee did not have the votes to pass the measure.

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SB205 Amends Hawaii Write-In voting laws

SB 205 would align Hawaii's write-in procedures with those of many other states. To be eligible for office, write-in candidates would have to file a "declaration of intent" seven calendar days before an election. Officials would count individual write-in votes only if their lump sum exceeds the number of votes cast for the winning ballot candidate. The bill also acknowledges that past objections have been raised about the cost of tallying write-in votes, but such concerns are outweighed, it says, "by the public's interest in voting for the candidate of their, and not a political party's, choice."

Hawaii residents deserve to be able to support fringe candidates…  (Obviously this guy hasn’t met the Hawaii Legislature….)

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At Least 27 Honolulu TSA Officers Under Probe: Some Checked Luggage Went Un-Screened For Months, Sources Say

TSA employees told KITV 4 News thousands of checked bags were loaded onto flights at Honolulu’s airport in recent months without having been screened for explosives.

At least 27 TSA officers on the morning shift in Honolulu’s Lobby 4 are accused of not properly searching checked baggage before it was loaded on planes, sources said.

Baggage there was supposed to be opened up and checked for traces of explosives, but sources said many pieces of luggage were never checked. In some cases, TSA agents simply marked suitcases as having been screened when those checked bags had not been checked at all, according to people familiar with the investigation.

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DoE Estimates 3000 homeless Children

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Education estimates there are about 3,000 students who are homeless in Hawaii.

Many kids have no choice but to follow their parents when things get tough.

HNN: A sheltered life

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Hawaii Co Fire Department reopens investigation into Fire Captain’s Fatal Hit-Run

Mossman pleaded no contest Jan. 12 to leaving the scene of an accident. Under a plea agreement he was sentenced last Wednesday to serve 90 days of a one-year sentence, 10 years' probation, and pay $125,000 restitution.

Mossman initially told police his wife, Huihui Lavon Kanahele-Mossman, was driving the Ford F-250 pickup truck when it hit Tim Sing.

Mossman was promoted to captain in 2009 and has been serving continuously since the accident.  (How long to get top three in? 2009, 2010, 2011???)

Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira will make the final decision on what, if any, disciplinary action will be taken against Mossman.

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UH top three factory: 113 of 114 applicants get Promotion, 114th sues

Vickery Lebbin, a librarian at Hamilton Library, claimed that administrator Paula Mochida voted against her promotion in 2008 and wrote a letter that included "criticism of my activities on behalf of the union," according to arbitration documents.

Arbitrator Victoria Marks, a retired Circuit Court judge, determined Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw relied on "improper" letters by Mochida and others in stopping Lebbin's application from reaching the UH Board of Regents.

"As a result, the negative comments about Lebbin are grounded in anti-union sentiment. Thus, union activity was a motivating factor in denying Lebbin's promotion," Marks wrote.

Marks said Lebbin was the only person out of 114 applicants who did not receive a promotion in 2008.

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Groups seek to protect fish from aquarium trade

They said they're turning to Abercrombie because legislative efforts to prevent reef fishing have fallen short.

A bill that would have prohibited the selling of aquatic life for aquarium purposes was significantly changed earlier this month to remove the ban.

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Housing in Hawaii: What's holding it up?

Landed aristocracy and their bought and paid for eco-activists targeting their competitors--outside developers.

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PPP Considers a Hawaii Poll

-Hawaii. Need to look at what would happen both if Daniel Akaka is the nominee and if he retires- would Linda Lingle be viable under either circumstance?

vote here

1980s Flashback: Judicial Corruption corrupts Sherriff, Legislature

Much of the two reports dealt with improper political activities by Judiciary officials and employees, but they also looked at personnel practices, purchasing, etc.

According to the citizens’ panel’s report:

Deputy Sheriffs have been assigned to drive legislators to various functions, to provide massages to legislators, and to provide after-hours, “bolunteer” services such as parking cars at functions connected with raising money for EGGS, the unofficial Judiciary lobbying group. They have been directly or indirectly requested to donate money or supplies used in EGGS’ lobbying efforts.

The Sheriff’s Office was controlled by the deputy administrative director of the courts. According to the report, his position of “High Sheriff” had been self-created and lacked any statutory authority. Personnel procedures were used “which ensure the advancement of a limited number of employees and precluded other employees from advancing to higher levels.”

This system was used to reward those who participated in or led the improper political activities.

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