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Wednesday, February 28, 2018
February 28, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:24 PM :: 3705 Views

Suicide: Committee members identified loopholes in the bill

Oregon Legislature Passes Bill to Allow Starving Mentally Ill Patients to Death

UH Board of Regents: Hawaii County Finalists Named

Best States? Hawaii Ranks 17th

Hawaii: Debtor State

State lawmakers delay vote after hours of testimony on medically assisted death

SA: …More than 100 people testified over four hours for and against a bill that would allow terminally ill adults to obtain prescriptions for lethal doses of medication.

Two key House committees decided to postpone a vote on House Bill 2739 until Wednesday at 12 p.m. after hearing often emotional testimony.

House Health and Human Services Chairman John Mizuno said the committee members needed additional time to work through safeguards and concerns raised during the hearing….

Retired lobbyist John Radcliffe, who was diagnosed in 2014 with inoperable cancer in multiple organs, testified in support, calling medical aid in dying much needed and widely supported by the general public.

He said he has outlived his prognosis by 20 months so far and last week completed a 58th round of chemotherapy.  (Gee what if he had killed himself back in 2014?)

health-care workers also testified in opposition, warning that patients may end their lives prematurely and saying pain relief is already available through hospice and palliative care.

“Doctors should heal, not kill,” Mary Smart with the Hawaii Federation of Republican Women testified in opposition. “This is mercy killing and euthanasia.”….

HPR: Dr. Peter Barcia, a surgeon for 51 years, testified against the measure.  “What it does is, it takes the care-giving physician, which I was trained to become, and makes them a killer.  I mean, I find that absolutely repulsive.”

HNN: "I believe many errors have been made in Washington and Oregon. I'm astonished at claims that there have been no mistakes. That alone should arouse suspicion. In medicine there are always errors," said Dr. Thomas Cook.

KITV: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is what I feel about this bill,” said Dr. Peter Barcia, a physician against the bill….“As a physician, I promise to never send a patient to a place I can’t be with them and they can’t come back from,” said Dr. Thomas Cook, a psychiatrist against the bill.

KHON: Kathleen Hashimoto said she was in hospice in 2009, but made a full recovery. The House committee received more than 600 submissions of written testimony. Lawmakers will reconvene on Wednesday at noon in room 329 at the State Capitol to make a decision on the bill.

SA: Kat West, national director of policy and programs for the Oregon-­based nonprofit Compassion &Choices, which advocates for improving and expanding end-of-life choices, told lawmakers there have been no cases of abuse in other states.  (IQ Test: Do you believe her?)

read … Suicide

Ige Sends Former Transportation Boss to Push Cheap Suicide for Expensive Oldsters

NR: Administrative Director Ford Fuchigami testified before the House committees on behalf of the governor. “The Governor’s Office believes this bill is important to allow terminally ill patients to decide for themselves when and how their lives should end. We believe HB 2739 is well drafted in a context of a robust continuum of palliative and hospice care, and provides sufficient safe-guards for both patients and doctors to minimize abuse,” Fuchigami said….

CB: Hanabusa emailed a statement highlighting her support of similar death-with-dignity legislation for nearly 20 years.

Flashback Fuchigami:

read … Never Say Die

Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Halts Some Spending After Scathing Audit

CB: …The board of a state agency dedicated to helping Native Hawaiians voted Tuesday to temporarily stop using three major funding streams after a state audit lambasted the agency for misspending….

The board passed two measures pausing expenditures from funds known as the fiscal reserve, chief executive officer sponsorships and trustee allowances. The measure governing $3 million in the fiscal reserve passed unanimously. The moratorium on spending CEO sponsorships and trustee allowances passed 6-3, with trustees Keliʻi Akina, Rowena Akana Peter Apo in opposition….

Akina is an outspoken critic of OHA spending practices and says he hasn’t spent any of his own trustee allowance since getting elected in 2016.

But he argued against putting a moratorium on trustee allowance spending Tuesday, saying the money represented a minuscule percentage of the total amount of spending flagged by the state auditor. His motion failed with a vote of 5-4.

“A moratorium on that (trustee allowance) spending will have virtually no impact on that trust whatsoever,” Akina said.

Instead, Akina wanted OHA trustees to voluntarily return any money they misspent. He noted Trustee Lei Ahu Isa says she already returned $1,400.

Akina said the purpose for his motion was to focus on the administration’s spending rather than the trustees. He has previously called for the removal of the agency’s chief executive officer, Kamana’opono Crabbe….

SA: OHA trustees put freeze on elective spending

read … Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Halts Some Spending After Scathing Audit

DoTax Still Can’t Answer the Phone

Cataluna: …If you call the state Department of Taxation’s phone help line with a question about your state taxes, you might wait 30-40 minutes to get someone on the phone. The line averages 900 calls a day.

Sometimes there are so many callers ahead of you that you’re told by an automated voice to hang up and try again later.

Sometimes, however, you get through to a live person who is able to answer your question on the spot. That’s like hitting the jackpot.

Other times you get a real person who is following a script:

“Thank you for calling the Hawaii Department of Taxation. My name is ______. Currently, all our tax technicians are unavailable assisting other calls. I can take your information and forward it to a tax technician who can call you back in approximately two to three business days. May I have your first and last name?”

They can give general information, like where tax forms can be picked up or found online and the office hours of operation. But they can’t answer questions specific to you because they can’t look up your information on the computer in the call center. They take down your information, and someone calls you back in a few days.

This system was implemented by new Department of Taxation Director Linda Chu Takayama….

read … HGEA Members at Work

SB2291: Minimum Wage Bill Designed to Soak Restaurants is Stalled in Senate

HNN: …A proposed bill would bump up the minimum wage to $12.25 per hour in 2019, then to $15 per hour in 2020 (and eliminate tip credits), but the chair of the senate Ways and Means committee is refusing to give it a hearing without more research.

"We didn't get much interest in having the committee hear the bill until the last 24 hours," said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz. "I really believe we have to look at the issue from its entirety because we want to have a balance between making sure people can have a living wage in Hawaii as well as helping our small businesses so that they can hire people."

(Clue: About 50% of Hawaii minimum wage workers are waitstaff who earn tips far above and beyond their wages.)

The argument against increases is the same as ever. Business owners say they can't afford it and would have to trim their staffs, plus the economy would suffer…

This year's debate comes just months after the GOP tax plan slashed corporate taxes, providing such a windfall that Hawaii's largest banks responded by giving raises to thousands of works, who now make $15 per hour….

read … Minimum Wage

Paid Family Leave: Legislators Could Still Stick it to Small Business

CB: …Hawaii legislators are considering two measures regarding family leave, Senate Bill 2990 and House Bill 2598….

read … Still Stick it to Small Business

Hawaii May Switch To All-Mail Elections In 2020

CB: …House Bill 2541 cleared the Finance Committee after a hearing Tuesday. The bill calls for eventually mailing out all ballots and closing traditional polling places….

This is the fourth consecutive year that some legislators have pushed for voting by mail. Two of the other three attempts died in conference committee, while the third came close to clearing both chambers….

read … Hawaii May Switch To All-Mail Elections In 2020

Newsflash: Skin Cancer is Real, Anti-Sunscreen Hype is Fake

SA: …government, professional and medical organizations — including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Federal Drug Administration, American Cancer Society, American Academy of Dermatology, Skin Cancer Foundation, Hawaii Department of Health, Hawaii Pacific Health and others — recommend broad-spectrum sunscreens to protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.

So, it’s not surprising that 2 out of 3 people in Hawaii say they use sunscreen for protection and 4 of 5 parents in Hawaii use it to protect their children.

What is surprising is that Hawaii lawmakers want to ban sunscreens with the ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate — 70 percent of sunscreens on the market. Why? Because these ingredients are being falsely blamed for coral reef damage, even though every expert in Hawaii and around the world who studies the ocean environment agrees the leading causes of coral damage are climate change, pollution from injection wells, sewage, land runoff and sedimentation. Even those pushing for a sunscreen ban acknowledge that these are the real dangers to coral.

So why isn’t Hawaii’s Legislature focusing on the real causes? Why is it putting public health at risk with a proposed sunscreen ban instead? It is irresponsible policymaking at an extreme. And based on what evidence? Proponents of a sunscreen ban cite only two limited lab studies — not studies on actual reefs…

LAT: Two Hawaii hotels get rid of plastic straws to try and pander to latest eco-hysteria

read … Heathy people, healthy places include sunscreen

No Warning Label for Glyphosate: Judge Smacks Down Anti-Pesticide Hysteria

AP: A U.S. judge blocked California from requiring that the popular weed-killer Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer, saying the warning is misleading because almost all regulators have concluded there is no evidence that the product’s main ingredient is a carcinogen.

U.S. District Judge William Shubb in Sacramento issued a preliminary injunction on Monday in a lawsuit challenging the state’s decision last year to list glyphosate as a chemical known to cause cancer.

The listing triggered the warning label requirement for Roundup that was set to go into effect in July.

Glyphosate is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been widely used since 1974 to kill weeds while leaving crops and other plants alive….

read … No Hysteria

Surfer Not Fooled by Global Warming Hype

WHT: …I can only assume Ms. Miyose-Wallis is pretty young. I first surfed the North Shore in the winter of 1969. There was pretty big surf that season for those of us old enough to remember. I no longer surf, sadly, just too old, but I still visit the country as often as I can (love those shrimp trucks).

Know what I see, Colleen? The ocean level is exactly where it was 50 years ago. I lived in Waikiki in 1970 and use to walk along the Ali Wai Canal. The canal is a perfect place to assess sea levels. Look where the high tide marks are and compare them to the levels in photographs from the 1950s. No change!

As for “all the extreme weather,” Colleen, again, when you’re my age you’ll come to realize extreme weather is a way of life for this planet. It’s nothing new: droughts, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, wild fires. All these have always been with us. But our younger generation has been thoroughly indoctrinated in the “religion” of global warming and believes extreme weather is a new phenomenon.

Al Gore famously predicted by now sea levels will have risen by over 20 feet. They haven’t….

read … Not Fooled

Star-Adv: Save Money by Diverting homeless from Hospitals, Jails

SA: …These frequent users of the system are not going to stop calling or walking in.

The way the state must confront this problem is head-on: Government must find a less expensive, and more readily accessible, form of health care for those living unsheltered, often under conditions that rapidly cause health to deteriorate further….

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Friday passed Senate Bill 2374, a measure that needs to advance to enable the revival of a temporary “paramedicine” service for the homeless.

SB 2374 would allot $1.5 million to fund a three-year pilot program that focuses on serving those frequent 911 callers, largely emerging from the homeless population. Experts have underscored why this makes better use of taxpayer funds.

Dr. Jim Ireland, former head of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, put the annual cost estimate for unnecessary ambulance visits at $2.4 million.

More than 1,500 frequent callers to the Queen’s Medical Center made emergency room visits for non-emergency problems, he said, costing more than $12 million. Many of these cases involve chronic diseases, better handled in a clinical setting…

Most of these patients are on Medicaid, so the taxpayers ultimately pick up the bill. So it’s rational to invest now, including a proposed $250,000 paramedicine training program, to manage costs….

House Bill 2147, aimed at creating another pilot project to divert homeless criminals from prosecution to appropriate treatment.

It’s a good instinct — except that the state Department of Health has already followed the same instinct and has a similar program underway.

The bill proposes referring homeless people suspected of a nonviolent, nonfelony crime on state property for an evaluation by DOH if they have mental health or substance abuse problems, instead of arresting them. But, as asserted in DOH testimony, the pilot was established already and was funded in the last legislative session; Year 2 of the program should be funded.

There’s no disputing the rationale for the program: Almost a quarter of Hawaii’s homeless (23 percent) have mental illnesses, according to last year’s Point in Time Count census, and 19 percent have substance-abuse issues….

But the impetus should be on carrying out the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) project already on the books. HB 2147 should be shelved….

More Homeless News:

read … Divert homeless to lower-cost aid

Hawaiian language finds new prominence in Hawaii's courts

NBC: …“The interpreting part was easy for me because I've been involved with the Niihau community for the past 35 years and am pretty comfortable speaking the dialect,” the 75-year-old, who is currently Hawaii’s only certified Hawaiian language court interpreter and also goes by Hōkūlani, said….

…After two recent high-profile court cases involving land considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians, Cleeland wrote to more than 100 language teachers asking them to get involved in interpreting, he said. Seven have registered for this year’s training to becoming certified interpreters.

read … Hawaiian language finds new prominence in Hawaii's courts

Looming Supreme Court Case Could Weaken Hawaii’s Unions

CB: …nearly 60,000 state and county Hawaii employees across 14 local collective bargaining units could withhold their union dues if they saw fit….  (YES!)

The public sector unions that represent them, meanwhile, such as the Hawaii Government Employees Association and the Hawaii State Teachers Association, would have to find ways to continue to represent their membership with diminished staff and resources. (Yippeee!)

Without those fees, they say, their ability to pursue grievances (control elections) and enforce contracts on behalf of their members (the one-party system) becomes more limited….

The islands’ public unions are already playing defense ahead of the Janus decision. Their leaders have launched outreach campaigns to convince members that it’s still in their best interest to pay union dues even if they become voluntary…

HSTA has 13,700 active members, representing more than 98 percent of Hawaii’s public school teachers, he said.

HSTA’s internal polling has found that 90 percent of teachers would continue to pay dues if they become voluntary ….

(98% – 90% = 8% will leave.)

(13700/98 x 8 = They will lose 1118 members.)

In the last 12 years, HSTA has contributed more than $375,000 to state and county political candidates, according to state campaign spending commission data. HGEA has given more than $340,000 to campaigns and the United Public Workers gave at least $210,000 in the same time frame, the data shows.

The University of Hawaii Professional Assembly, which represents some 3,700 UH faculty members, gave at least $168,000 in the same period.

Those totals don’t include the thousands of dollars in political advertisements the unions’ political action committees spend on candidates, or their contributions to candidates seeking federal office….

The ability of unions to mobilize their members to wave signs for a candidate or cause makes them an even more formidable force in Hawaii, Rosenlee said….

Twenty-eight states and Guam have enacted “right to work” laws that allow private-sector employees to work at a union shop without joining or paying dues.

Those states have seen a 60 percent to 75 percent loss in their paid union membership, according to William Puette, director of the Center for Labor, Education & Research at the University of Hawaii West Oahu….

Local unions leaders say they expect outside groups, such as the conservative Heritage Foundation and the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, which challenge fair-share fees, to come to Hawaii and try to convince their members to drop their dues if the Janus case makes them voluntary.  (Great idea!)

“It will require us to be a lot more vigilant in terms of when there is turnover” among membership, said HGEA Executive Director Randy Perreira. …

The largest public union in the state, representing 29,000 members, also represents about 1,000 non-member employees who pay fair-share fees, he said.  HGEA hasn’t polled internally to see what kind of drop-off it would face should dues become optional,…

UHPA Executive Director Kristeen Hanselman declined to say how many non-member employees pay fair-share fees to that union….

(Idea: Privatize government services while retaining HGEA representation so that the workers are no longer public employees.  They can therefore be compelled to keep paying union dues.)

But: Hospital Reform? Randy Perreira Says "F*** You"

read … Looming Supreme Court Case Could Weaken Hawaii’s Unions

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