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Monday, March 14, 2016
March 14, 2016 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:26 PM :: 3262 Views

Anti-Gun Bills up for Senate Vote

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted March 14, 2016

HB2558: State Travel Expenses to Flood DLNR ‘Carbon Credit’ Slush Fund 

IM: The Hawai`i House passed a climate change bill that was barely commented on.

Only two entities submitted testimony, both in support. Leigh-Wai Doo, representing the Foundation for island Harmony, provided no comments in his supporting statement. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) submitted brief comments on the bill.

HB 2558 is less than 300 words long.

The governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house of representatives, the chief justice, and the chairperson of the office of Hawaiian affairs shall implement a program in their respective branches of state government to require all agencies to participate in a carbon offset program established and administered by DLNR to offset carbon emissions caused by air travel undertaken by an employee of the agency in performance of the employee's official duties.

The cost of the offset shall be paid to DLNR by the agency for their respective employees on a per trip basis at a rate determined by the department.

DLNR shall establish and administer a carbon offset program that includes the planting of trees endemic to Hawaii….

The bill has been given a defective date. Thus if the bill passes the Senate it will enter the horse trading conference committee process.

Some believe this is good because the bill can undergo further refinement. Others believe this is bad because it will enter the realm of closed-door negotiations and bill support swapping….

The only hiccup was third reading when Representatives McDermott and Say voted no….

read … Hawai`i House Passes Stealth Climate Change Bill

Delaying Medical Tests To Save Money Is A Dangerous Game

CB: …One surgeon at a medical center on Oahu has more than 30 years’ professional experience and is highly sought after for her life-saving abilities. After her “gold card” was terminated, denials for her patients’ testing orders tripled from about five while she had her “gold card” to about 15 at any given time.

She has always complied with HMSA’s requests to submit records for ongoing evaluation of appropriateness of care and to meet the 90 percent approval rate on all reviewed records.

In addition, new patients now wait about three weeks for a first visit to her office because admittance hinges on tests. Previously, new patients waited one and a half weeks on average. Now some new patients are “flat-out denied” care, the doctor’s office said, because National Imaging Associates in Arizona – the company that HMSA contracts to judge the legitimacy of doctors’ ordered tests in Hawaii – deemed that the procedures were unnecessary.

NIA’s web page boasts: “… our clients come to us for customized solutions that optimize … affordability. …With National Imaging Associates (NIA), you benefit from … financial resources that allow us to achieve bottom-line results and guarantee multi-year cost savings. No other solution offers you . . . more control. More power to you.”

“More power” to HMSA means less power to the patients. Loss of high quality, timely patient care are part of the collateral damage….

read … More Power to HMSA

Police commission rating of Kealoha seems incomplete

SA: …Most troubling is the ominous cloud over the chief himself, one that has only grown since December 2014, when Kealoha caused a mistrial in a federal court case involving his wife’s uncle, by offering unsolicited testimony about the uncle’s criminal history. Now, as then, the Police Commission has failed to pursue and allay questions of conduct and integrity, and that’s feeding public mistrust of HPD.

At least one key critic of Kealoha, Sen. Will Espero, went so far as to suggest the chief be temporarily reassigned with pay given persistent reports that federal authorities are investigating him, and his city prosecutor wife, in the complex case involving her uncle and alleged misuse of HPD resources.

“If there’s somebody that doesn’t believe Chief Kealoha is under investigation, they’ve got their head in the sand,” Espero said.

The Senate vice president said the Police Commission might be getting only snapshots of the department rather than the big picture. Espero has received overwhelming community support for his questioning of the police department, which indicates growing discontent with HPD’s leadership.

Compounding the problem is the limited power of the Police Commission, which hires and fires the police chief.

Proposals have been submitted to the City Charter commission for proposed ballot amendments, such as giving the Police Commission more oversight, including the ability to discipline officers.

… it would be one thing to give police commissioners more power; there must also be the will to use those powers. Unfortunately so far, the commission has shown an unwillingness to probe deeper into the police department’s — and the chief’s — serious troubles. Far from exceeding, that falls woefully short of the public’s expectations….

read … Police commission rating of Kealoha seems incomplete

High Public Cost Of Race Case Bolsters Calls For Police Reform

CB: A proposed $4.7 million settlement is underscoring concerns that problems within the Honolulu Police Department are not being effectively addressed…..

read … Bolsters Case

‘Liquefied natural gas’ doesn’t always mean ‘fossil fuel’

SA: …According to the EPA, more than half of all methane emissions in the U.S. are from renewable sources, such as agriculture and waste treatment.

Worldwide, agriculture is by far the largest source of methane emissions. Methane emissions are tracked because they are a greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important greenhouse gas in terms of volume. But molecule-for-molecule, methane is 25 times more powerful than CO2 in heating the planet.

Therefore, capturing and burning any methane that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere not only produces energy, but also slashes the contribution to global warming.

In the U.S., more than 1,500 wastewater treatment plants generate and capture methane and use it to provide electricity and heat to their operations.

Almost 300 livestock and dairy operations now produce and capture methane from their wastes. These are joined by about 650 projects that capture methane from landfills, and many others that are producing gas from food processing plants and field agriculture wastes.

Hawaii already recognizes “biogas” as a renewable fuel, and two significant biogas projects are under development.

In addition, HawaiiGas has issued a request for proposals for supplies of “renewable natural gas” to blend into its pipeline system….

read … ‘Liquefied natural gas’ doesn’t always mean ‘fossil fuel’

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