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Friday, April 26, 2019
April 26, 2019 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:58 PM :: 2816 Views

Charlie Wade Sex Complaint Filed Over Year Ago

20 Gut and Replace, Frankenstein Bills in Conference Committee

40 Legislators, Insiders Set for Singapore Junket After Session

More studies show Jones Act harmful to Puerto Rico

Conference Committee Agrees on $3.4B CIP Grab Basket

Conference Committee Approves Remaining Executive Budget

Q1: Tourism Up, Spending Down

A Flurry Of Deal-Making At The Hawaii Legislature As End Of Session Looms

CB: …  many controversial bills have been postponed until Friday, the last of conference committee in which to move legislation.

They include bills decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana, establishing a prison oversight commission, increasing the state minimum wage, allowing automatic voter registration and ranked choice voting, and taxing real estate investment trusts….

One of the most significant bills to die Thursday would have required county police departments to disclose to the Legislature the identity of an officer upon suspension or discharge beginning in 2021, and to allow for public access to information about suspended cops.

Lawmakers sought to make last-minute amendments to House Bill 285 but ultimately decided they were rushing things and running out of time. The bill can be taken up next year.

But lawmakers agreed to provide $350 million in bond funding to build a new stadium on the site of the old Aloha Stadium in Halawa.

House Bill 1586 would allow the Hawaii Community Development Authority to develop the new stadium as well as a surrounding stadium district….

Legislation that critics say could encourage the growth of short-term rentals in the state while permitting the government to profit off it is still in play.

Senate Bill 1292 would require operators of short-term rentals to pay transient accommodation and general excise taxes, with hosting platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway acting as tax collectors on behalf of the state….

The proposal to hike rental rates on boaters at the Ala Wai canal is teetering and could go either way.

Senate Bill 1257, a controversial bill that would have raised moorage fees for boaters at the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor and Keehi Lagoon Harbor has been redrafted several times but lawmakers in the House are undecided on what the percentage increase should be….

Hawaii lawmakers have pushed back a decision on increasing the state’s minimum wage until Friday, the last day of conference committee to keep bills alive for the 2019 session.

Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, the lead conferee on House Bill 1191, asked his counterpart Sen. Brian Taniguchi to consider rewriting the bill to incorporate the language of another minimum wage bill that has stalled, Senate Bill 789….

On Thursday, the Legislature passed a proposed new draft of a criminal justice reform measure which will allow defendants to be released on unsecured bonds, which will allow people charged with crimes to get out of jail without committing themselves to repaying large sums of money. It was one of the recommendations urged by the task force.

Senate Bill 192 was originally a more comprehensive measure but the final bill focused more narrowly on the issue of unsecured bail bonds.

The legislation would allow the court to take into consideration the defendant’s employment status and history, family relationships, ties to the community and prior criminal record (usual litany of excuses) in determining whether to release the suspect while awaiting trial….

Cynthia Thielen worried that the same thing would happen to House Bill 18, Thielen’s own bill, which would repeal statutory limitations on the time period in which a survivor of childhood sexual abuse may file a lawsuit.  In the end, HB 18 was moved to Friday. According to Thielen’s office, Rep. Chris Lee has proposed exempting churches, organizations and government agencies but allow plaintiffs to sue individual perpetrators….

Senate Bill 427 would implement a ranked choice voting system for special federal elections or elections to decide any empty county council seats beginning in 2020. The final version of the bill has been paired down from its original, which would’ve implemented the new system in all elections.

The bill is slated to be decided Friday along with a slew of others that face a 6 p.m deadline to proceed….

A bill that would have created a negotiating committee to discuss increasing the share of ceded land revenues paid by state departments to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs appears dead for the moment.

The House discharged its conferees hours before a hearing on House Bill 402 Thursday afternoon, effectively killing the bill. The likely culprit is disagreements between the House and Senate over their versions of the bill….

PBN: Last-minute meeting scheduled for bills on proposed state retirement program

SA: State Senate might allow vacation rental platforms to collect taxes

SA: Stricter DUI penalties may be on the horizon

read … A Flurry Of Deal-Making At The Hawaii Legislature As End Of Session Looms

Hotel workers to council: Proposed property tax rate hike for resorts ‘punitive’

MN: … Jason Economou, Realtors Association of Maui government affairs director who lobbied on behalf of its 1,300 members, said: “The measures you’re recommending . . . they’re punitive in nature. Granted, I understand the county’s need for revenue. However, you can’t say that these tax rates are purely designed to generate revenue when there are proposed decreases to already absurdly low property tax rates in other classifications.” ….

read … Hotel workers to council: Proposed property tax rate hike for resorts ‘punitive’

Deferred Maintenance: Cost of repairing convention center soars to $50M  -- or $77M? – or $91.6M?

SA: … A leaky rooftop deck at the Hawai‘i Convention Center will likely cost $50 million to repair. That’s almost double what Hawaii Tourism Authority had anticipated it would cost to complete the circa-1998 center’s largest deferred maintenance project.

Last year HTA said fixing the rooftop terrace would cost about $28 million, based on a 2012 report. But a forensic investigation completed earlier this year estimated the repair costs, including design fees, at about $50 million.

The estimate assumes that no significant changes are planned for the current rooftop terrace and that construction will start before February 2021. It doesn’t include loss of revenue from construction-related closures during the estimated 10- to 11-month repair job.

It’s a substantial reinvestment in a center that cost $200 million to construct.

Julian Anderson, whose company, Honolulu-based property manager Rider Levett Bucknall Ltd., said Thursday the study they conducted found cracks, rust, water intrusion, water leaks and mold. The problems were beyond those identified in 2012 when experts in water leaks were brought in to recommend fixes, which were never carried out, he said…..

The new report, which cost $320,000, brings the center’s total improvement cost to at least $77 million, he said. Costs could be higher if HTA decides to make major changes to the rooftop terrace, he said.

Regan said the HTA is in the process of hiring another consultant for about $70,000 to conduct an assessment of Hawai‘i Convention Center demand, its optimal square footage and its potential additional uses….

In the meantime HTA already has approved spending $14.6 million from an $18 million maintenance fund kept by center operator AEG….

($77M + $14.6M = $91.6M)

HTA has another $18 million in reserves for the center’s other repair items but will need to get additional state funding to complete the rest, Regan said.

Officials at the center requested about $27 million from the Legislature in 2017 to fix a leaky rooftop deck, but legislators did not approve the expenditure….

read … Cost of repairing convention center’s roof soars to $50M

Jail escapee says guards asleep

MN: … Paman said they walked to the control room in the dorm and could see through the glass that the adult corrections officers were sleeping inside. He and Diego pushed the bottom of the dormitory back door open, wedged a broom inside and pushed, Paman said. “The whole wood just wen’ bust,” he said.

After kicking the termite-eaten door open, Paman said he ran back to check if the officers were still sleeping. “They was still passed out cold, so then we went,” he said.

“The ACOs were asleep?” Parker asked.

“Yeah, passed out cold,” Paman said.

“Does this happen a lot?” Parker asked.

“Yeah,” Paman replied.

He said other inmates were still asleep when Paman and Diego left.

Once they were outside, he and Diego climbed a fence to get onto a roof, then ran to the women’s side of the jail, Paman said. He said they went to a fence by the graveyard and put clothes on the barbed wire at the top as they climbed over.

Paman said the two fled about 1 a.m., according to a clock he looked at near the control room.

The escape was discovered about 2:30 a.m. when staff noticed the broken door, and a head count confirmed the two men were missing, officials said….

read … Jail escapee says guards asleep

Internal affairs case opened after Public Safety’s head trainer accused of puffing up resume


HNN: … The Public Safety Department has launched an internal investigation the head of training for more than 1,000 deputy sheriffs and corrections officers statewide.

The investigation was started after a Hawaii News Now report on April 11 showed discrepancies on into Marte Martinez’s various applications for promotions within the department since 2013….

“Marte Martinez lied on the job application regarding her education,” said state Sen. Clarence Nishihara, Public Safety Committee chairman, who voted against Espinda’s second term.

In 2013 and 2014, when Martinez was first hired by the state as a firearms training technician, she did not cite any college degrees or certificates — not even a bachelor’s degree.

But about a year later, when applying to be the firearms training specialist, she claimed to have two certificates and a bachelor’s degree from Southern Oregon University. An email Hawaii News Now obtained from that school’s enrollment office says there is no record of a degree.

Less than a year later, in June 2016, Martinez adds another degree from the Naval Post Graduate School and lists a new school, St. Joseph’s College in Standish, Maine. An email we obtained from that school, says they could not find a J. Marte Martinez in the database….

It’s apparent that PSD did not follow up and never bothered to verify.

The Public Safety Department provided this statement to Hawaii News Now: “Recently, the media has alleged that Ms. Martinez lied on her application regarding her education. This is the first time that this allegation has been made. In response to this new allegation, PSD has initiated an investigation. We cannot respond to questions that concern pending investigation.”…

USA Today: Search the list of more than 30,000 police officers banned by 44 states. (not including Hawaii)

read … Internal affairs case opened after Public Safety’s head trainer accused of puffing up resume

OJ Simpson Innocence Project: ‘It’s Easy to Find Criminals are Innocent’

HNN: … It's also a class at the William S. Richardson School of Law but it's no ordinary class. Nine students are not only earning credit towards their degree, but possibly helping the innocent. 

"I was just so shocked that these people have become victims of the system that lawyers not only profit from but they work their whole lives in," Molly Olds, law student enrolled in the course, said.

For the past year, Olds has been investigating different cases. She says it's easy to tell if someone is guilty or not.

"When someone is innocent. At least at first, there just seems to be not enough here. The more you dig into it, the more you confirm that or you go they definitely did do it," she said. …

read … Just as Innocent as OJ and the Pimp

Second Hawaii Superferry Joins Navy Fleet

SS: … at 10 a.m. in Okinawa, Japan, Bruni Bradley, a 25-year Navy veteran and wife of U.S. ambassador to South Korea Harry B. Harris Jr., will christen the USNS Guam. The Guam is a former fast ferry that belonged to the now defunct Hawaii Superferry corporation.

The Navy obtained the vessel and its sister ship, the Alakai, renamed the USNS Puerto Rico, from the Department of Transportation in 2012, according to Pacific Business News.

Austal USA, the Mobile, Ala.-based arm of the Australian shipbuilding firm, built the ship now known as the Guam. The 373-foot-long ship is fast, flexible and maneuverable, making it the ideal vessel for transporting troops and equipment rapidly, according to a statement from the Navy….

read … Navy to christen final Zumwalt-class destroyer and newest high-speed transport vessel Saturday

Judge freezes Trump abortion rule on Title X funding

MH: … A federal judge on Thursday granted a preliminary injunction to block all provisions of the Trump administration's regulations on the Title X family planning program from taking effect.

The rule, which would ban clinicians from directly referring patients for abortions, cannot be implemented on May 3 as scheduled.

Another provision, not scheduled to take effect until next year, would essentially ban Planned Parenthood from Title X networks by requiring grantee clinics to "maintain physical and financial separation from locations" that offer abortion….

Late last month, HHS' Office of Population Affairs awarded the Title X grants, including to Planned Parenthood affiliates already in a Title X network. But four affiliates—in Hawaii, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia—lost their funding….

Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen has said the organization won't take part in the Title X program if the regulation stands, which puts the future of the network in the hands of the courts….

read … Judge freezes Trump abortion rule on Title X funding

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