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Monday, February 22, 2016
February 22, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:26 PM :: 5069 Views

Gun Grab: Ivory Bill Scheduled for Senate Vote on Monday

Franklin Graham Prayer Rally Coming to Honolulu

Kenoi Mulls Plea-Bargain, May be Forced to Resign

HNN: Since the scandal over his personal use of his credit card broke nearly a year ago, Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi insisted he didn't commit a crime.
But Hawaii News Now has learned that his attorneys met with the state Attorney General's office earlier this month to consider a possible plea deal.

We're told at if a deal does not materialize, the AG could convene a grand jury within a month to pursue possible theft charges.  "It's way past time in many people's eyes," said former Big Island Mayor Harry Kim.  "This isn't about Kenoi. This isn't just about the pCard or whatever the investigation is. This is about trust in government." …

If Kenoi is convicted before his term runs out at the end of the year, the law doesn't require him to resign his office but legal experts say he would be under great pressure to do so….

A conviction also places Kenoi's law license at risk.  "If he's convicted the Supreme Court could step in and summarily suspend him," he said.

read … Kenoi plea deal mulled

HMSA treating its member doctors like idiots

SA: …I was especially grateful to HMSA for protecting my patient from me recently. Despite her 13-year history of knee pain, nine-month recent disability from such and X-rays that were not definitive, I foolishly wanted to get an MRI to determine the best option to spend resources and her time before proceeding.

Surgery, or physical therapy? Both are expensive and require a significant commitment of time and effort by the patient.

I carelessly thought an MRI would best resolve the dilemma.

I was especially grateful to have HMSA defer to NIA (National Imaging Associates) Magellan to provide a non-orthopedist, a Dr. Arrowwood, of very limited experience, and five time-zones from here, to decide for me….

SA: Is HMSA showing lack of trust?

read … HMSA

Bought n Paid For: Sen. Josh Green Is Sitting On A Half-Million Dollars Of Campaign Cash

CB: State Sen. Josh Green has more than a half-million dollars in his campaign coffers, far more than any of his 24 colleagues.

Green’s $515,800 exceeds the combined cash on hand of the two senators who come closest to him on that measure, Donna Mercado Kim ($245,000) and Donovan Dela Cruz ($244,800).

Green, who represents Hawaii County’s Kona and Kau districts, also raised more money than any of his colleagues — $72,000 — in the last reporting period that covers July-December 2015.

And yet, Green is not up for re-election until 2018. He faced no opponent in the 2014 Democratic primary and swamped Libertarian Michael Last, taking 76 percent of the vote in the general election.

Green has received significant contributions from medical interests. He is an emergency room doctor and was, until a recent Senate leadership shakeup, chair of the Senate Health Committee….

read … Bought n Paid For

State survey shows big decline in agricultural land

SA: …what’s glaring is the drop in the number of acres devoted to agriculture between 1980 and 2015: a decline of 200,000 acres of cropland and 340,000 acres of pastureland, representing drops of 57 percent and 31 percent, respectively….

read … Inversely Proportional to the Rhetoric

Movement towards Legalization Seen in Hawaii Marijuana Bills

HTH: …Senate Bill 2523, introduced by Puna Democrat Sen. Russell Ruderman, as originally written would allow open-air growing operations, greenhouses and shade houses to serve as medical marijuana production centers — so long as operations aren’t visible to the outside….

Another measure, House Bill 1829 introduced by Maui Democrat Joseph Souki, would repeal penalties pertaining to certain medical marijuana prohibitions, and amend certain penalties to make them more on par with alcohol prohibitions. The bill would change the penalty for fraudulently obtaining medical marijuana from a class C felony to a petty misdemeanor. It would similarly lower the offense — from a class C felony to a misdemeanor — for someone who knowingly distributes medical cannabis to a non-patient minor. The bill passed its second reading this week.

“We’re trying to treat (medical marijuana) more like prescription drugs,” said Rep. Karl Rhoads, an Oahu Democrat who co-signed the bill.

Thomas worries the bill — among other “sidebar” marijuana bills — are more about “a movement toward legalization” rather than providing access to patients, he said, as was first argued by proponents of establishing a dispensary system….

Two other medical marijuana-related bills advanced last week:

• Senate Bill 2176, introduced by Oahu Democrat Sen. Will Espero, would establish a medical marijuana oversight commission within the Department of Health. The commission would evaluate areas such as the effectiveness of registered dispensaries in meeting the needs of patients and caregivers, sufficiency of regulatory safeguards and its program’s overall usefulness. The bill passed a second reading with amendments Wednesday.

• Senate Bill 2384, introduced by Maui Democrat Rosalyn Baker, also passed a second reading Wednesday. It would require the state’s Department of Health to conduct unannounced visits and re-licensing inspections of facilities including dispensaries. Thomas applauded that measure….

read … More Dope for the Dopers

Legislation seeks more police oversight

AP: Senate Bill 2196 would create a seven-member committee composed of former prosecutors, a deputy attorney general, a retired judge and a former chief law enforcement officer, to review cases in which someone is killed by a police officer, dies in custody or suffers serious bodily harm at the hands of police….

Unlike other public employees, police aren’t required to release the names of suspended officers or details pertaining to those cases. And disciplinary files are often destroyed before the public is aware that an officer has been terminated. HPD has also refused to release information about officers who have resigned to avoid being fired.

Several bills would change that, including SB 2195, SB 2197 and SB 3016. The bills remove confidentiality exemptions under Hawaii’s public-records law for police and other law enforcement officers who have been disciplined….

Another bill this session, SB 2194, would require law enforcement agencies to report their crime statistics to the FBI. In recent years HPD has stopped reporting the information….

read …  Legislation seeks more police oversight

HB2773: Allow prisoners to vote from behind bars

KHON: …House Bill 2773 would allow convicted felons who are still in prison to vote via absentee ballot (filled out by the guards’ union, natch)….

“When you cannot vote, you’re often denied your basic human rights by your own government, and that’s what’s happening right now to our prisoners,” said Rep. Kaniela Ing. “We realized now through studies that this just doesn’t affect them – it affects our entire population.”

“The more we marginalize people, the less they feel involved in the community, the more they feel they’re the outsiders,” said Kat Brady, Coordinator at Community Alliance of Prisons. “If we really want to build a strong and resilient community, we’re going to include everybody.”

Best Comment: “Oh great... crooks voting for crooks!!”

HB2773: Text, Status (Deferred until Feb 25)

read … More UPW Controlled Votes

HB1524: More Debt-Financed Rooftop Solar

CB: This session, in order to help property owners take advantage of clean-energy incentives, I introduced HB1524 to establish a loan program that’s based on a property’s tax-assessment value. PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy Program) would benefit those who may have lower incomes, such as retirees, but high home equities. The bill sailed through the Energy & Environmental Protection Committee but was turned off in the Economic Development & Business Committee.

read … Double your electric bill

Kauai Study group to release pesticide report March 10

KGI: The eight-member citizen fact-finding group on pesticide use by Kauai’s major agricultural operators will release the draft of its final report on March 10.

A public presentation and informational briefing on the report will be held by the study group on April 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Kauai Veterans Center.

When issued, the report will be posted at www.accord3.com/pg1000.cfm and public comments can be sent to jffcomments@gmail.com. The public comment period will close April 8….

read … March 10 

Council Bills Pushback Against Caldwell Scheme to Eliminate Lanes, Jam up Traffic

SA: …The Council voted to give second-reading approval Wednesday to two bills introduced in response to an outcry from businesses and motorists about the South King Street Cycle Track and the upcoming South Street bike lane project.

Bill 84 (2015) would allow the Council to reject or change a bikeway or Complete Streets project in Hono¬≠lulu’s urban core during the annual budget process. The measure would require that specific projects must be identified and described within the city’s capital improvements budget before taxpayer money could be spent on them.

Introduced by Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, the bill would also require that the project description include the street or streets to be improved as well as the start and end points.

Bill 8 would require the city administration to submit a Complete Streets checklist of criteria — used to determine whether a bikeway or major Complete Streets project should get funding — to the Council for approval. It’s not clear whether the bill, introduced by Councilman Trevor Ozawa, would require a checklist form to be reviewed and approved periodically, or each time a bikeway or Complete Streets project is proposed….

read … City Council bills trouble bicycle advocates

Roads in Limbo Committee Report In Limbo

MN: Q: What happened to the committee formed to look into "Roads in Limbo"? "Roads in Limbo" are those roads given by the state of Hawaii to Maui County, but not accepted by Maui County.

A: I checked with our Public Works Department; the committee completed its recommendations to the state Legislature a few years ago. However, the recommended changes to the Hawaii Revised Statutes have not yet been adopted by the Legislature….

read … Limbo in Limbo

Bankrupt HHSC Plans Closure of E Hawaii LTC Facility

HTH: Administrators of East Hawaii’s hospital system began last week to publicly build a case for the possibility of shutting down the Extended Care Facility at Hilo Medical Center.

Members of the East Hawaii Regional Board of Hawaii Health Systems Corp. agreed at their regularly scheduled meeting Saturday that they weren’t ready to shutter the 50-year-old facility yet. Rather, they intend to maintain its current admissions policy until they have a better idea of the region’s needs.

However, at a public forum later in the day, HHSC East Hawaii Regional CEO Dan Brinkman provided attendees with data collected in the past year showing that the newer, more spacious Hale Ho‘ola Hamakua long-term care facility in Honokaa could likely absorb all of the region’s “safety net” extended care patients currently served in Hilo while providing them with better quality care….

read … HHSC Bankrupt

DLNR Helicopter Used to Clear Tons of Junk from Homeless Camp

SA: …The state is renewing its efforts to tackle a decades-long problem of accumulated trash and damage to heiau in Kauai’s Kalalau Valley — the result, for the most part, of illegal camping.

During four cleanup operations in January and early February, helicopters hired by the Division of State Parks and the Kauai Branch of the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement hauled out about 2,400 pounds of opala by sling-load.

Another 1,500 pounds of items left at makeshift campsites was removed and will be stored for 30 days, officials said. If unclaimed, the items will be disposed of.

The items include fishing poles, surfboards, full-size air mattresses, plastic lawn chairs, coolers and a bongo drum, according to a video shot by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which oversees the two divisions.

Conservation enforcement officers also issued nearly 70 citations to campers who did not have proper permits….

read … Helicopter

Dengue: Vegan, Cruelty-Free Mosquito Repellant

CB: …The Department of Transportation has placed bug repellent dispensers in the airports along with warning signs about dengue. But of the five dispensers in the Kona International Airport that Civil Beat checked Feb. 17 — small containers that look like soap dispensers mounted to walls and columns — only one worked.

The insect repellent chosen by the DOT is advertised as being a “vegan” and “cruelty free” combination of lemongrass, citronella, cedar, and mint oils. The makers of the product say it should be applied every two hours in hot areas and places where mosquitoes pose a health risk.

But the airport dispensers say it lasts for up to eight hours….

read … Cruelty Free

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