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Wednesday, April 11, 2018
April 11, 2018 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:04 PM :: 3051 Views

OHA Needs a 12-Step Program

HTDC Report: After Billions in Tax Credits, Hawaii Tech Sector Still Minuscule

Tax Freedom Day Hawaii -- April 20

DBEDT: US average labor earnings higher than Hawaii

Hawaii occupational licensing laws 'headed in wrong direction'

AMA: Hawaii Has Longest Life Expectancy

SB2609 Unconstitutional? Would Hide Financial Disclosures from Public

Unanimous House Approves HSTA Property Tax on All Renters

SA: …The proposed constitutional amendment would ask voters this fall whether the Legislature should be authorized to levy a surcharge on property taxes on investment properties to support education. Senate Bill 2922 sparked a lengthy debate Tuesday in the state House, but in the end all 50 House members voted to put the issue on the ballot….

lawmakers warned that a property tax surcharge imposed by the state would trigger rent increases for low-income families. State Rep. Bob McDermott cited the example of a three-story walk-up apartment building in Kalihi that qualifies as an “investment property.”

“These people are at the low end of the income scale. It is a struggle for them to pay rent every month,” said McDermott (R, Ewa Beach­-Iroquois Point). “Now we’re going to tack on a surcharge. Now, does anybody think this owner is actually going to eat this surcharge as a gesture of goodwill? Of course not. He will pass it on to the renters.”

McDermott also worried that in the end, revenue from the new property tax surcharge might allow the state to scale back on the amount of funding it now commits to public education from the public treasury.

The measure has broad support in the Senate, where a more detailed​ version passed on a 24-1 vote before crossing over to the House.​

Hawaii State Teachers Association President Corey Rosenlee said he hopes the Senate will agree to the House version to quickly resolve the debate and get the proposed amendment on the ballot this fall…..  (Translation: There is one last chance for legislators to kill this turkey.)

Related: SB2922: HSTA Property Tax Hike Now Hits All Local Renters

read … Slush Fund

Floor amendments made to controversial Maunakea measures

HTH: The state Senate will vote on two controversial bills affecting Maunakea later this week after making floor amendments on Tuesday.

The amendments change the effective date of House bills 1585 and 1985 to Dec. 31, 2033. That’s when the University of Hawaii’s lease for the Maunakea Science Reserve ends. Floor votes are scheduled in the Senate for Thursday….

Kealoha Pisciotta, one of the appellants challenging construction of TMT on Maunakea, said she is opposed to both bills because she doesn’t think the Legislature should meddle while these issues as they are being addressed by the state Supreme Court….

read … Floor amendments made to controversial Maunakea measures

SB2401: Save Hawaii from Homeless Tent Cities

SA: …Legislators in the thick of the debate have rebranded the government-sanctioned homeless camps as “ohana zones,”….

there seems to be little agreement over how these communities should be built or, more to the point, over where they should be located. And that more than anything should limit how much elected leaders invest in this approach…. (Translation: Homeless Tent Cities are a Failure before they are even built.)

The process of finding a site has been frustratingly slow, too. During the 2017 session, lawmakers established a working group to make recommendations of potential sites, among other elements of a “safe zone” plan.

The report, issued just before the 2018 session convened, also looked at established camps: three on the mainland and Camp Kikaha, the only officially sanctioned “safe zone” in the state. Since then, the Kailua-Kona zone has closed, after an eight-month experiment that, most have concluded, was a failure….

Further, the report did not reach any conclusion on a viable site in the state inventory. Problems were identified with each of the nine sites under review, including location within a residential area, a lack of infrastructure or insufficient size.

That experience — as well as failure by the City Council to identify sites, despite $2 million set aside for each district to do so — underscores the difficulty. It also reinforces why ohana zones must be better than makeshift affairs.

Social-service advocates have argued that the better course is to stick with established programs to fund “Housing First” placement in permanent housing. Thankfully, the House is moving Senate Bill 2401 to maintain funds for those approaches, while the Senate retains such funding in the state budget bill.

SB2401: Text, Status

read … ‘Ohana zones’ not a sure thing

Hawaii Lawmakers Claim They Want Better Sexual Harassment Rules — Just Not Yet

CB: …don’t expect any changes until next year.

House leaders want to appoint a working group to study possible rule changes and Senate leaders are hoping lawmakers can agree on a uniform policy that would cover both chambers.

While the Senate already has a stronger policy than the House, Au Belatti says the House would need to vote on rule changes and that typically happens in the beginning of a new session. “It won’t happen until then,” she said….

The allegations against Souki spanned multiple years. But even though the House has a process for handling such complaints internally, several women turned to the State Ethics Commission instead.

The ethics investigation revealed that the House puts the speaker in charge of all complaints, discouraging his or her potential victims from coming forward.

House Speaker Scott Saiki plans to appoint a working group after session finishes in May to review the policy and make recommendations. There’s no specific timeline…

Saiki says the House might work with the Senate to improve its policy but doesn’t plan to adopt it outright.

Sen. Laura Thielen says she’s worried that the Senate policy still doesn’t provide enough avenues for victims to come forward. The policy also relies on the Senate President or a designee to handle complaints. Unless you’re prepared to file a lawsuit or go to a separate agency like the Civil Rights Commission, there’s not an explicit third-party alternative.

That’s a problem, according to Barbara Bryant, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who specializes in sexual harassment. She says it would be preferable to enlist outside attorneys to review complaints and conduct thorough, third-party investigations.

She doesn’t think it makes sense to wait until next year to improve legislative policies.

“There needs to be some kind of baseline investigative process that’s set up quite promptly that would be put into place within a month or two,” she says….. 

AP: Lawmakers discuss Hawaii sexual harassment complaint reforms


read … Hawaii Lawmakers Say They Want Better Sexual Harassment Rules — Just Not Yet

Sanctuary State?  Just Empty Talk Pandering to Dem Base

SA: …In the end, it seems, pragmatism got the better of progressive politics when it comes to the controversial “sanctuary city” bills.

Hawaii legislators declined to advance the measures, which would have limited local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The general intent of the bills would have disallowed police here from stopping or arresting anyone based solely on an immigration hold or immigration warrant.

The pragmatism comes into focus when realizing that Hawaii is depending on billions of essential federal dollars to complete Oahu’s overbudget rail project and for a slew of local programs ranging from health and human services to highways. Also: The U.S. Justice Department just last month sued California over its sanctuary laws…..

read … Hawaii won’t be a sanctuary this year

Wisdom: Council Considers Big Cuts In Honolulu’s Silly, Annoying Climate Change Office

CB: Honolulu’s fledgling Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency may have to address sea level rise and other effects of global warming with fewer resources if the City Council approves proposed major budget cuts for the office voters created less than two years ago.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell asked the council for about $1.15 million for the office of seven employees for the next fiscal year beginning July 1.

Councilman Ernie Martin, who became the council chairman in March, wants to cut that by almost half….

Councilman Trevor Ozawa, the newly appointed Budget Committee chair, has proposed more modest cuts amounting to $166,000…..  

SA: Land Management money on the chopping block

KITV: Budget cuts could sink the newest city department

read … Council Considers Big Cuts In Honolulu’s Climate Change Office

Trump’s Federal Judge Nominee For Hawaii Gets Warm Reception In DC

CB: …Mark Bennett, the former state AG under Hawaii’s last Republican governor, received bipartisan accolades during his Senate confirmation hearing….

read … Trump’s Federal Judge Nominee For Hawaii Gets Warm Reception In DC

Police: Officer in murder-suicide had been accused of domestic violence

HTH: Police said today that Christopher R. Kapua-Allison, a Hawaii Police Department officer who shot his estranged wife and then himself in a murder-suicide Sunday at the officer’s Mountain View home, had been the subject of a criminal investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident.

According to Capt. Randall Medeiros of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Division, a neighbor called police to the Kini Street home in Pacific Paradise Gardens subdivision in 2014. Medeiros said the incident “was investigated thoroughly, and was closed (as) unfounded.”

Medeiros said Kapua-Allison’s wife, Jolene-Rae K. Kapua-Allison, was the alleged victim.

Autopsies conducted today confirmed the 50-year-old officer, an 11-1/2 year veteran of the force, shot his 54-year-old estranged wife and then himself. Both died as the result of a single gunshot wound to the head….

read … Police: Officer in murder-suicide had been accused of domestic violence

Ing Has ANOTHER Strange Story About Petty Crime

KHON: …Ing says he was on Kuhio Beach with his partner and baby, taking family photos with a photographer. He carried a backpack with his wallet and sunglasses. …

"We're trying to keep the bag close, but you gotta look at the camera, so I put it down near me," Ing explained.

Ing believes someone used that opportunity to steal his wallet and sunglasses, but did not realize it until it was too late.

"I was driving to dinner with my family. And I was looking: 'Where's my wallet?' I was looking all over the car, but I didn't want to rush to conclusions, like maybe it fell in the seat. So I took my family home, I checked the car, I went back to the beach, I stopped by the police station, but they didn't have it."

Ing says he got a phone call from Bank of Hawaii, expressing concern over possible fraudulent debit card purchases.

By the time Ing canceled his card, thieves racked up thousands of dollars of purchases at Waikiki stores like Prada, ABC, Macy's, Quiksilver, and Ross. …

read … Lawmaker faces $2,000+ in fraudulent purchases after debit card stolen in Waikiki

Opoid Use Drops 50% After Federal Testing Begins

PBN: …Opiate use declined by 50 percent among Hawaii's workforce during the first quarter of 2018, compared to the same period in 2017, according to results released by Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc.

"This could be the result of the U.S. Department of Transportation's announcement that they would begin testing for certain opioids this January," Steven Brimmer, the medical testing laboratory’s scientific director, said in a statement.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a change in its testing to include four semi-synthetic opioids: hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone and oxymorphone that began on Jan. 1….

AP: Drug testing considered for some food stamp recipients

read … Testing

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