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Friday, February 26, 2021
February 26, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:26 PM :: 2985 Views

Good grief, do our lawmakers not know we're in a depression?

Supreme Court will be holding oral arguments on Kahoma Village development

HIDOE Allows In-person School Graduation Ceremonies

January 2021 visitor arrivals drop 80.1%

Kealoha scandal fuels push to seize pension benefits from criminals

HNN: … Government workers who commit felony crimes could lose more than their freedom if a measure currently moving through the state Legislature passes.

The proposal allows for half of the individual’s pension benefits to be taken away upon conviction.

The Kealoha scandal is fueling momentum for the bill.

Disgraced ex-Police Chief Louis Kealoha collects $9,700 a month from his pension.

He is preparing to serve a seven-year sentence in federal prison for obstruction, conspiracy and bank fraud ― all crimes committed while he was heading up the Honolulu Police Department.

“The Kealoha case really, I think, illustrated the need for having a discussion about this,” said state Sen. Chris Lee, of the House Judiciary Committee.

”The public has been very clear, that there ought to be some penalty, especially in cases like this, where somebody in a position of trust, clearly went out of their way to break that trust.”…

State Sen. Karl Rhoads, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, agreed. “People see it as being unfair that you take advantage of your government position and then still get a pension,” he said….

The Senate bill passed all committees so far without opposition. The companion bill in the House is also moving forward….

SB912: Text, Status

HB670: Text, Status

read … Kealoha scandal fuels push to seize pension benefits from criminals

Honolulu Council Chair Calls For Audit Of HPD Overtime

CB: … HPD overtime spending nearly doubled over a five-year period. The new council chair wants answers…. In a resolution introduced on Thursday, Waters cited reporting showing that some officers have been able to more than double their base pay and earn more than the mayor and police chief. The resolution also notes that HPD overtime costs increased 38% between Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 – from under $28 million to over $38 million….

Related: Honolulu PD ‘Top 10 Earners’ List Revealed–Did Corporal make $341K?

read … Honolulu Council Chair Calls For Audit Of HPD Overtime

First vials of single-dose COVID vaccine could arrive in Hawaii within 7 to 14 days

HNN: … Raethel said that could include people who are home-bound or those who have a hard time getting around as well as residents of rural areas far from vaccination sites.

Raethel said it’s also a good option for people who are incarcerated, the homeless population and for students over the age of 16….

Under the state’s vaccine rollout plan, only the school’s faculty and staff are currently eligible for the shot. It’s estimated a little more than 30% of the university’s 16,000 employees have been immunized….

Hawaii clinics are currently administering up to 50,000 vaccines a week.

Raethel said, “In the April/May time frame, I think, it’s a very realistic possibility that we could do 100,000-plus shots a week across the state of Hawaii.”…

KHON: Hawaii could open 1C category for vaccines by early April

KITV: Homeless service providers believe one-shot COVID-19 vaccine will be game changer for community

read … First vials of single-dose COVID vaccine could arrive in Hawaii within 7 to 14 days

Resolutions to form Maunakea working group advance

HTH: … A pair of resolutions to examine new ways to manage Maunakea have advanced through the state Legislature today.

House Resolution 33 and House Concurrent Resolution 41, which both call for the formation of a working group that would develop recommendations for the future of Maunakea governance, were the subject of a hearing today by a pair of House committees….

The house committees on Water and Land and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs heard testimony from several people both in support and opposed to the resolutions, and received hundreds of pages of further written testimony….

Most members of both committees were in support of the resolutions, although many also recommended making changes to improve the diversity of the working group or to make the group’s purpose more clear. Ultimately, both committees voted to pass both resolutions, but not without some opposition from committee members….

CB: Only Reps. Dale Kobayashi and Gene Ward cast no votes.  


read … Resolutions to form Maunakea working group advance

Proposal to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage to $12 remains alive

KHON: … The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President and CEO Sherry Menor-McNamara said, this is not the right time to raise the minimum wage as small business owners continue to feel the impacts of the pandemic.

Menor-McNamara said, “What we’re saying is not this session, timing is not right, let’s focus on economic recovery, and not make it more challenging so that businesses can keep their doors open.”

Menor-McNamara said, local shops are still trying to bring back employees who had to be furloughed because of financial struggles related to COVID-19.

A survey done by the Chamber and research firm Omnitrak found 45% of more than 300 businesses reduced their workforce in 2020.

“They’re not making revenue or very little revenue,” Menor-McNamara said. “So how are they going to cover that cost. And even though if it’s going to be implemented next year, we don’t know, what next year will look like.”

Senate Bill 676 is short and to the point. It aims to raise the minimum wage by next July from $10.10 an hour to $12….

read … Proposal to raise Hawaii’s minimum wage to $12 remains alive

How this family making $83,000 a year in Hawaii lives paycheck to paycheck

CNN: … Like many families, 2020 was an especially tough year. Ma-e lost her job and couldn’t find new work because of child-care needs, so the family relied solely on the $50,000 yearly income Piianaia-Ishii, 33, earns as a concrete foreman. Ma-e says the family has always lived paycheck to paycheck and gets by charging essential expenses on a credit card some months, getting help from family from time to time, and with government assistance programs….

CNBC: This couple from Hawaii doesn’t recommend moving to the islands—here’s why

read … How this family making $83,000 a year in Hawaii lives paycheck to paycheck

Kauai: $22M rental-assistance program to “effectively wipe out” missed rental payments

TGI:  The County Housing Agency has been given the OK by the County Council to start up what hopes to be a $22-million, federally-funded rental assistance program.

Adam Roversi, CHA director, said this program has the ability to “effectively wipe out” missed rental payments on the island which, on the high end, the county is estimating to be around $21 million….

read … $22M rental-assistance program coming

University of Hawaii wants greater say in new stadium project

SA: … As companion bills to bolster the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District advanced through the Legislature this week, the University of Hawaii has stepped up its campaign to gain a larger voice in the facility’s future.

Two similar measures, Senate Bill 1423 and House Bill 1348, made major progress with SB 1423 sent to the House Wednesday and HB 1348, which was passed out of the Finance Committee on Thursday, expected to go to a floor vote next week.

During a hearing on HB 1348, Kalbert Young, UH vice president for budget and finance/CFO, said, “We are supportive of this measure, and we are supportive of the new stadium project. However, I would like to point out in our testimony that the university is requesting that (since) this bill also seeks to add two additional (community) members to the Stadium Authority, we think it only appropriate and prudent that the Legislature should amend the current statute and include the UH representative to be a voting member on the stadium authority board.”…

SA: Ferd Lewis: University of Hawaii’s plans for on-campus football finds an ally in Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi

read  … University of Hawaii wants greater say in new stadium project

Changes to Honolulu EMS could mean higher ambulance fees

KHON: … Changes are in the works that could cost patients more if they ever need an ambulance. Lawmakers are moving forward with a proposal to let the City control its own funding for Honolulu Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

The Department of Health has oversight and controls the funding of EMS even though it is a county service. The bill being considered at the Legislature would hand that authority to the city….

read … Changes to Honolulu EMS could mean higher ambulance fees

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