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Tuesday, February 10, 2015
February 10, 2015 Daily News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:07 PM :: 4944 Views

Massive GE Tax Hike to Create New 'Special Fund' -- On the Move in House and Senate

$185M GE Tax Hike: HB1240 on a Fast Track

SB783: 'Worst Gun Bill of the Decade'

Kanaiolowalu: 'Elections This Year'

"Widespread Bribery and Corruption" Hawaii ERS Sues Petrobras

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted February 9, 2015

Rail to Make a Mess of Bus Service in Pearl City 'Until Further Notice'

Should NextEra be able to use ratepayer funds to NOT produce electricity?

IM: Although the two solar farms will be built in Waianae, the Public Utilities Commission will hold the public hearing inNanaikapono. The hearing will be held in the afternoon starting at 3:30 p.m. this Thursday February 12, 2015.

“The following sites were first contacted by Commission staff to hold the public hearings, but were deemed unavailable due to site unavailability, scheduling conflicts, or the inability to timely obtain the requisite approvals to utilize a particular site: Waianae Elementary School, Waianae Intermediate School, Waianae High School, and Ka Waihona O Ka Na'auao Public Charter School.”

The proposals call for innovative pricing mechanisms. "Take or Pay Pricing" or "Risk-Adjusted Pricing" ("RAP") refers to the concept whereby a utility will pay the same price whether it buys electricity from a renewable energy producer or refuses to buy available electricity from a renewable energy producer.

“Compensable Curtailed Energy” means the renewable energy producer does not have to worry about how many kilowatt-hours (kWh) the utility actually buys.

Thus the renewable energy producer is able to offer a lower price to the utility.

This concept, which is new to Hawai`i, is part of two proposed Power Purchase Agreements.

NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE) owns NextEra Energy Capital Holdings, Inc, (NEECH) which owns NextEra Energy Resources (NEER) which owns ESI Energy, LLC (EST) which owns Ka La Nui Solar (KLNS), a Delaware limited liability company, which will developing, constructing, own and operating one of the two projects.

Thus if NextEra takes over HECO, NextEra will be able to pay NextEra for not producing electricity.

read ... Should NextEra be able to use ratepayer funds to NOT produce electricity?

Free Golf Scandal: Will Ige Act to Enforce Law?

SA: In many cases, the "free golf" included entry fees to golf tournaments, which covered green fees, cart fees, food and beverage (including dinner banquets), gifts for participants and prizes, at costs ranging from approximately $85 to $800 per person. In some cases, the employees allegedly failed to file disclosure reports as required by law for gifts of $200 or more.

Furthermore, this gift-giving appeared to be part of longstanding practice. The nine employees allegedly accepted free golf perks more than 100 times over a period of six years, between 2008 and 2013. This behavior sends a disturbingly wrong message to the staffers they may supervise.

According to the commission, the employees provided various explanations for accepting the gifts: They did so based on personal friendships, not business ties; they were unaware of the ethics code requirements; they were on vacation; they participated because the golf tournaments were charity events for worthy causes. These rationalizations may have worked in the past, but times have changed. Now they are immaterial, replaced by a higher standard of responsibility.

In a brief statement to the Star-Advertiser, Gov. David Ige promised to investigate the commis- sion's findings to determine if the procurement process was compromised. He also vowed to "see if we can take further measures to strengthen procurement integrity in our state."

A governor who takes a strong, proactive approach to enforcing ethics laws? That would be a refreshing change.

Borreca: Letter sent by Abercrombie to FCC seems a bit dubious

read ... Enforce the Law?

Hearing on Hawaii Rep. Calvin Say’s Residency Set for Friday

CB: A special committee made up of House lawmakers is holding a hearing Friday to consider a petition challenging Rep. Calvin Say’s residency.

Six voters filed the complaint alleging that Say lives in Pauoa Valley in the 25th House District rather than in the 20th House District that he represents....

A Hawaii judge decided last fall that it’s up to the House leadership to address whether or not the former House speaker and longtime lawmaker has violated the rules.

During Friday’s hearing, each side will have 20 minutes to present their case. The committee, which is chaired by Rep. Karl Rhoads, will have an opportunity to ask questions. No public testimony will be accepted.

read ... Calvin Say

Governor Ige dodges questions by insisting on written questions

ILind: "In written responses to Star-Advertiser questions, Ige said his transition team looked for leaders dedicated to public service...."

Did you catch that–“In written responses to Star-Advertiser questions….”

I can’t help wanting more detail here. Does that really mean, “The governor’s office declined to make the governor or any of his staff available for an interview, and instead insisted that questions be submitted in writing.”

If so, it’s most unfortunate, especially this early in the new governor’s term. The thing about written responses to written questions is that they are carefully drafted and redrafted by expert public relations staff and are one of the key tactics used to keep pesky media away from officials and, in the process, keep everything “on message.”

It means you’re reading what the public relations staff wrote and carefully vetted, and not what the governor said.

And it means the reporter had no opportunity to deal directly with the governor and followup issues raised by his answers....

read ... Governor Ige dodges questions by insisting on written questions

DLNR Nominee Lobbied City for Castle and Cooke, Koa Ridge?

ILind: ...yesterday I stopped by the Honolulu Ethics Commission and checked out what lobbying activities Ching disclosed at the city level....

During 2013, Ching reported receiving a total of $8,400 from Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc., for lobbying. He reported spending zero–nothing–for lobbying.

According to the annual report:

Lobbying was in favor of an application for rezoning of a Central Oahu property known as “Koa Ridge” pursuant to Bill 48 (2013). The application for rezoning was approved on November 27, 2013 in accordance with Ordinance 13-38, rezoning approximately 576 acres of land owned by Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii, Inc. in Waipio, Oahu, from AG-1 to various residential, business and industrial zoning.

Ching was also registered to represent two other corporate entities, Castle & Cooke, Inc. and Castle & Cooke Properties, Inc. During 2013, the reported no income from either, and also reported no expenditures for lobbying on their behalf.

During 2014, Ching reported being paid a total of just $144 lobbying for the three Castle & Cooke entities.

read ... No Income? No Expenditures?

Counties Use TAT Hike Lobbying as Excuse to Raise Property Taxes

KITV: ...with the state struggling to climb out of the Great Recession, lawmakers capped the amount of TAT revenue given to local governments in 2011 at $93 million. Although the state legislature reversed course last year and raised the cap to $103 million through fiscal year 2016, the four county council chairmen say it's still not enough.

Dru Kanuha, of the Big Island, Ernie Martin, of Honolulu, Mel Rapoza, of Kauai and Mike White, of Maui, are currently lobbying state lawmakers to increase the counties' take of the TAT to the original percentage of 44.8 percent. If that percentage had been in place the past two fiscal years, the counties would have received $136.2 million more in TAT revenues....

...state Rep. Sylvia Luke, who is chairwoman of the finance committee, said it's still too early in the legislative session to decide whether the counties' cap of TAT revenues will be lifted. She also said the state has its own financial struggles to deal with....

Under the current legislative formula, Honolulu receives 44.1 percent of the TAT revenue given to the counties, followed by Maui County at 22.8 percent, the Big Island at 18.6 percent and Kauai County at 14.5 percent.

KITV: Counties Threaten Property Tax Hikes

read ... Taxes

State and Local Taxes Penalize the Poor and Benefit the Rich

PS: The vast majority of Americans—both liberals and conservatives—believe that state and local taxes should also be progressive. That’s the finding of a new report released by WalletHub Monday. The researchers surveyed 1,050 Americans on what they thought the combined rate of state and local taxes should be at various income levels. Not surprisingly, liberals want the rate structure to be a bit more progressive than conservatives do, but their responses were relatively similar....

However, the reality is quite different. State and local taxes are actually quite regressive. The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy studied the “fairness of state and local tax systems by measuring the state and local taxes that will be paid in 2015 by different [non-elderly] income groups as a share of their incomes.” They did this state by state and, as we can see, the lower the income, the greater the state and local tax burden....

read ... Progressive

Hawaii ERS Falling Behind

SA: Hawaii's largest public pension fund, seeking to make up an $8.58 billion shortfall, posted a 1.7 percent investment gain last quarter to fall further behind its targeted investment return rate for the year.

Halfway through this fiscal year, the state Employees' Retirement System fund was up just 0.6 percent, according to a report presented to ERS trustees Monday by Portland, Ore.-based Pension Consulting Alliance Inc.

At its current pace, the fund will miss its targeted annual return of 7.75 percent, which could jeopardize the system's ability to pay down its unfunded liability within the 26-year period ending June 30, 2040. In December a report by actuary Gabriel Roeder Smith & Co. showed the ERS fund had only 61.4 percent of what it needed to pay all the pensions promised as of June 30, and based on current assumptions wouldn't be 100 percent funded until fiscal 2040.

Meanwhile: "Widespread Bribery and Corruption" Hawaii ERS Sues Petrobras

read ... Falling Behind

UHPA: Legislators Seeking Ban on Un-Regulated Sex 'Overstep Bounds' 

CB: Bills are advancing at the Legislature (HB 451 and SB 387) to urge UH, when addressing reports of sexual violence, to apply a 'standard of affirmative consent' to determine if what happened was consensual sex or sexual assault or rape....

Affirmative consent standards have been adopted in various forms by 800 colleges and universities across the country. It’s called a “yes means yes” policy. California was the first to adopt a statewide policy last year....

The University of Hawaii objected to the Senate bill at the Senate’s hearing Thursday, saying the issue is already being addressed by the UH internally and that’s where it is best handled....

J.N. Musto, executive director of the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, the faculty union, says he resents the Legislature meddling in this issue.

“We have been working to revise the policy of handling sexual harassment and sexual violence for the last year. It is inappropriate for the Legislature to get involved in a definition of affirmative consent. The lawmakers are overstepping their bounds when it is completely unnecessary.”

Reality: Having the government dictate how people should behave in sexual encounters is a terrible idea

read ... Administrators in the bedroom

Soft on Crime: Serial rapist's sentence cut in half by Hawaii court

KITV: A serial rapist who late last year received a sentence of 40 years in prison just had that prison time cut in half.

Asofitu Fio was back in a Honolulu courtroom Monday. It's the same courtroom where in December he said his crimes were so horrible he deserved to die....

read ... Soft on Real Rape

HB766: $15M for bare-bones Micro Units

KITV: House Bill 766 allocates $15 million for micro-units.

The 2011 Hawaii Housing Planning study reports up to 50,000 new housing units will be needed by next year to meet demand.

Micro-units or apartments are about 200 to 300 square feet and contain bare amenities such as a bed, sink and closet.

read ... About where you'll be living after you pay all your taxes

City Refuses to Grant Tax Exemptions for Solar Panels, Has Excuse

SA: Question: I filed my Real Property Tax Exemption Claim for Alternative Energy Improvements (my photovoltaic system) last month. I have not received any response. My daughter said that when she inquired about her claim, she was told that the program was put on hold, but my neighbor who had filed early last year got his exemption. What is the status of the bill that took effect Oct. 1, 2009?

Question: What ever happened to the claim for exemption towards alternate energy improvements under Section 8-10.5 of the Revised Ordinances of Honolulu? I submitted my claim years ago, and the city has yet to credit owners of PV systems the amount paid to install a system. The Hawaii clean energy initiative called for the state to be 70 percent reliant on clean energy by 2030. One of the ways to achieve this was for homeowners to install PV on their homes. This is an expensive undertaking, and the city acknowledged that and passed a law stating that your home assessment would be credited to the amount of the PV installation. Would you please find out why this law has not been implemented by the city administration and when, if ever, it will honor its own law?

Answer: We explained in 2012 that homeowners are not being given a tax exemption because they are not being assessed anything for installing photovoltaic systems, solar water heaters, heat pumps, etc.:

Nothing has changed since the situation was explained back then, said Gary Kurokawa, now deputy director of the city Department of Budget and Fiscal Services.

However, he acknowledged continuing confusion because of the way the law is written.

As he explained it previously, "basically there is no need to file a claim, but (the law is) still talking about an exemption." So, "in people's minds that means you get something exempted."

Because of the ongoing confusion, the city administration plans to introduce legislation "to clarify things," he said. "We're going to try to remove the confusion," basically by making it so that alternate energy improvements are treated as personal property, like an appliance.

"So, there is nothing to assess and nothing to exempt."

read ... Nothing to See Here

House Tackles Proposed Rideshare/Taxi Regs

SA: On Monday the House Transportation Committee listened to arguments on dueling bills representing two different paths for rideshare services, also called "transportation network companies."

One, House Bill 1287, would allow those companies to continue operating in a similar manner as Uber, their drivers able to switch between personal and commercial insurance policies depending on whether they have a paying passenger aboard. The measure would have a zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for drivers and require background checks.

The other bill, HB 1463, would require rideshare companies to use only commercial motor vehicle insurance just as traditional taxi drivers do. Taxi companies and insurance groups have generally testified in favor of this second bill, although they'd like to see some changes made to it.

Uber officials, meanwhile, are adamant that they want the company and its drivers to be regulated by the state so that they can move ahead. But requiring their contract drivers to have commercial insurance at all times "would be the end of ridesharing as it currently stands, for sure," said Brian Hughes, general manager of Uber Hawaii.

Being able to switch between personal and commercial insurance coverage is critical for Uber to succeed, Hughes said after Monday's testimony. Many of Uber's drivers operate part time and "really appreciate the flexibility," he said. "For them to take on a $3,000-a-year commercial insurance policy would probably be prohibitive to them driving."

David Jung, general manager of Eco Cab, testified before state lawmakers that holding rideshare drivers to the same regulations as taxi drivers was important to ensure public safety. The state's taxi drivers have to pass physical exams assessing blood pressure, diabetes, vision — they're even checked for hernias to ensure they can help remove a passenger in an emergency, he said.

"If we're going to be required to jump through the hoops … then everyone else should be," Jung said Monday, arguing that rideshare and taxi drivers essentially perform the same service....

read ... Uber Taxi?

Pre-Kindergarten: Funding Across States

EC: Utah and Hawaii have made first-time investments of $3 million each to establish pre-K programs. A few years ago, Hawaii passed legislation creating a new office of early learning to facilitate universal pre-k access. Subsequently, with the aid of a federal Preschool Development Grant support, Hawaii has fostered a pilot program for the 2014-15 school year. For the first year Hawaii had $2.1 million, of the $8.3 million grant, atop their set aside state funds. Although the win is small, it is a promising step forward for early learning.

read ... Pre-Kindergarten: Funding Across States

Slowdown: ILWU Short-Staffing Honolulu Docks

KHON: Last week, KHON2 reported on the decision by the shipping carriers to temporarily suspend loading and off-loading at docks from Seattle to San Diego. This comes as management is locked in a contract dispute with International Longshore and Warehouse Union longshoremen.

Now, sources tell KHON2 that there is also a manpower shortage at Honolulu Harbor.

On Monday, there was a line of trucks delivering cargo to inter-island cargo carrier Young Brothers. The drivers can work because the crane operators were back at work at Honolulu Harbor.

On Sunday, Matson Navigation says workers opted not to show up to unload the ships, which is an option allowed in the local contract.

That was a problem for Armstrong Produce, which relies on on-time delivering of fruits and vegetables.

KHON2 discussed an optional day off for ILWU workers here with Tish Uyehara, Armstrong’s marketing director. “That is what we’ve been made to understand, but we were not made aware of that ahead of time,” she said.

Even though cranes were off-loading cargo Monday, KHON2 was told by one freight delivery service that there appeared to be not enough workers at the docks to clear the work-load of two container ships. The harbor is expected to get busier with the arrival of two more ships in the coming days.

The ILWU could not be reached for comment.

Merchants have been dealing with delays in cargo deliveries for the past three months. KHON2 came across yet another complaint, this time at City Mill.

“We’re definitely seeing the delays as well,” said Sandra Hee, store manager for City Mill in Iwilei. “We’ve been trying to anticipate some of it by by ordering a little bit extra, trying to increase it so we don’t run out of stuff.”

When asked how long City Mill has been putting up with delays, Hee said “probably the last three or four weeks, and a delay of up to a week on some stuff.”

read ... Manpower shortage at Honolulu Harbor as West Coast dispute continues

Lloyd's: Jones Act Comes Under Pressure

LL: “The extraordinarily high cost of shipbuilding and the artificial shortage or commercial ships in the US creates a narrow and highly concentrated domestic shipping market,” says Michael Hansen, president of the Hawaii Shippers’ Association, in a recent report on the Jones Act.

However, while the Jones Act has been chipped away since its inception, there presently doesn’t appear to be the political muscle, or broad-enough interest either to repeal it or at least dramatically reduce its jurisdiction, although state representatives in Hawaii and Alaska, particularly, are trying to get their voices heard.

“It is now known that the Hawaiian cost of living, primarily because of our additional shipping costs and because of the Jones Act, is now 49% higher than the US mainland,” says Hawaii State Senator Sam Slom. Senator Slom cites shipping costs (from March of 2014) of approximately $790 per feu from Los Angeles to Shanghai, compared to $8,700 per feu to from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

read ... Jones Act

Ige’s Appointee to Head DCCA Cruises Through Senate Committee

CB: The Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, chaired by Roz Baker, spent Monday morning praising Catherine Awakuni Colón, Gov. David Ige’s appointee to head the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

The full Senate is expected to take up the nomination soon for final approval.

Awakuni Colón was the first of many gubernatorial appointees who will have to go before senators for confirmation.

read ... Cruise

Police Oversight Bills to be Heard Today

AP: One proposal would allow county mayors to remove the chief of police if there’s just cause.

Another bill seeks to make police departments post their policies on domestic violence. That bill was introduced by the Women’s Legislative Caucus whose members say they’re concerned about the conduct of off-duty officers.

The bills will are scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Intergovernmental and Military Affairs on Tuesday.

SA: Kealoha presented his 2015 plan for the Hono­lulu Police Department to the Hono­lulu Police Commission last week

read ... Oversight

Hunters fight for development of 1st Hawaii Game Commission

KITV: Legislators received 600 pieces of testimony for the House Bill 1041, which relates to hunting Monday....

The bill would establish the first game commission in Hawaii. Testifiers say Hawaii is the only state in the nation without one.

Hunters, fishermen and farmers pleaded with lawmakers Monday and said pigs and deer trashed land, crops, and other invaluable resources.

Many say a regulated system for legal game hunting would be a huge boost to their sustainability.

"Hunting helps farmers because if we don't control these animals, these pests, pigs, we have no food and we need to have balance and hunting helps us to do that" said Joni Kamiya....

read ... Game Commission

Ivory Ban Debunked

CSM: New York and New Jersey passed their own anti-ivory trafficking bills in 2014. California, Washington state, Iowa, and Connecticut introduced similar legislation in January, putting momentum on the side of conservationists.

But critics argue that a full domestic ban would hurt small businesses and render ivory items worthless on legal markets without affecting demand in places where people would pay to poach elephants for their tusks.

“Instead of changing strategy and encouraging legal ivory trade to undermine the true criminals, governments and NGOs are doubling down in the US on broken strategies by banning domestic sales of ivory brought to the United States at least 25 years ago,” according to the Elephant Protection Association, a nonprofit group that supports a legal ivory trade in the US.

The group is one of a number advocating for "strategies that will actually save elephants" without affecting small businesses that depend on items that contain ivory, such as musical instruments, pistols, knives and other tools, and jewelry.

read ... Debunked

City Begins Harassing Retailers Over Plastic Bag Ban

HNN: City officials are contacting roughly 10,000 retailers on Oahu this week....

"We have ordered a bag that is more than double the strength of our existing bag, which is a great bag if you compare it with some of the other bags around town," said Carol Ai May, City Mill's vice president.

Under the new rules, three types of checkout bags will be allowed: compostable plastic bags, recyclable paper bag, and reusable bags made of cloth or a durable material, including plastic that is at least 2.25 millimeters thick.  (More fuel for H-Power)

City Mill chose to buy reusable plastic bags for a higher price.

"The cost is really pretty substantial, two to three times as much as what we've been paying in the past for an already premium bag, so we're really encouraging people to bring their own bags," said Ai May.

Retail Merchants of Hawaii is urging its members to write letters of complaint to the city.

"This is, again, another fee, another burden that will be placed on their bottom line numbers. Ultimately, as you know, those fees go back to the consumer," said Sheri Sakamoto, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

read ... Double-thick plastic thanks to the Enviro-Idiots

City's $250K+++ Car Wash boondoggle

HNN: It was supposed to the city's ultra-green car wash for its refuse trucks.

Back in 2001, the city poured nearly a quarter of a million dollars into upgrading the vehicle wash facility at the city's Keehi Transfer Station. It hasn't worked since.

"The cost is exorbitant because it's money belonging to the taxpayer. There's no accountability, no follow through," said Kelii Akina, CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.

The vehicle wash facility is a basketball court-sized automated car wash for the city's refuse trucks and trailers. It was supposed to be a state-of-the-art, ultra green facility that recycles its own water and cleaning fluids.

But the car wash's motors never worked. And for the past 15 years, city workers have had to hand wash their trucks at the Keehi station, using pressure washers to hose down the large trucks with fresh water.

The project was supposed to be under a one-year warranty but the contractor didn't need to honor it because the problem with the motors predated their work. Here's what one of the city's mechanical engineering firms concluded in 2001.

"It appears the system was inoperable even prior to construction," according to a May 2001 memo by Cedric D.O. Chong & Associates Inc.

The $250,000 could be just a tip of the iceberg. The city also spent a lot of money to design and build the two-story structure.

read ... Boondoggle

Charter schools left out in the cold after lava threatens

WHT: While schools in the Pahoa area have all felt the impact of the nearby lava flow, none may have been dealt quite the blow as its public charter schools.

Lacking the resources of Department of Education schools, Kua O Ka La and Hawaii Academy of Arts & Science have so far largely had to go it alone in their efforts to deal with the approaching lava flow, and both have suffered a drop in enrollment of about 100 students apiece.

In an effort to provide emergency resources for the students, faculty, staff and parents at those schools, state Sen. Russell Ruderman’s Senate Bill 600 aims to procure a total of more than $1.7 million for the schools as they continue to operate with Madame Pele knocking at their doors.

In a letter of testimony submitted Friday, State Public Charter School Commission Executive Director Tom Hutton said the schools do not have the same options as Department of Education facilities.

“Due to the uncertainty of this natural disaster, the nature and full extent of the resulting impacts and costs are as yet unknown, but the charter school sector lacks funding sources that can be directed or diverted to emergency purposes akin to the impressive efforts that have been implemented by the Department of Education as to DOE schools in the area,” he wrote.

SA: State, county departments ask for lava disaster funds

read ... Left Out

Winds Blow Roof off of Kailua 'Hurricane Shelter'

"For a number of years, actually since Hurricane Iniki, I have been complaining that the Keolu school cafeteria is not an adequate Hurricane shelter even though the City and State designate it as a shelter. TODAY THE ROOF BLEW OFF!" -- Chuck Prentiss, Chair, Kailua NB

read ... Classes canceled after high winds damage Windward Oahu school

HB1202 Would Legalize Vacation Rentals on Ag Land

KITV: House Bill 1202 goes as far as allowing housing for the elderly, vacation rentals and homeless shelters.

The Farm Bureau has an issue with that:

"We don't want to set precedents for other activities that have nothing to do with agriculture on agricultural lands," said Brian Miyamoto of the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

read ... Legalize TVRs on Ag Land

Hawaii Less 'Local' than Most States

CB: ...According to U.S. Census data, only 54.2 percent of people who live in Hawaii — including the military population — were actually born here. In most states, more than 60 percent of the population was born there. More than 75 percent of Louisiana, Michigan and Ohio residents were born in the states where they currently live....

read ... Hawaii May Not Be as ‘Local’ as You Think

Hawaii Business Fluff-Piece Features Anti-GMO Lobbyist on Cover

KE: Ashley Lukens, program director of the anti-GMO Center for Food Safety in Hawaii, is featured on the cover of Hawaii Business this month, the editor-designated “It Girl” of the Islands' Millennials....

And curiously, nowhere in its fawning does it identify Ashley's real — and very old school — job: Registered lobbyist for a mainland organization that hides its political advocacy behind the facade and protected tax status of a nonprofit organization.

WaPo: Americans in denial about GMOs

read ... Musings: Tag, You're It

State of Hawaii Not Snooping in Twitter Accounts

TA: ...The U.S. government made twice as many requests for Twitter user information in the last half of 2014 compared with the year before, according to a detailed report out from Twitter this week.

And usually—about 80 percent of the time—Twitter gives officials in the United States what they want. That information might include direct messages, a user's location, IP address, and even deleted tweets. Mostly, government officials are asking for information as part of a subpoena or search warrant (and less often a court order). Twitter has been releasing details about such requests twice a year since 2012 in an effort to promote transparency.

The latest report shows the United States made 1,622 requests for information between July and December of last year, Twitter said. That's compared with 833 such requests over the same period the year before. The requests also affect more than twice as many Twitter accounts—3,299 in late 2014 compared with 1,323 in late 2013.

The states where most requests—at least 100 apiece—originated late last year: Texas, California, Illinois, Virginia, New York, and New Jersey. On the other side of the spectrum, officials in Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Vermont made zero requests....

read ... Zero Requests



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