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Monday, May 24, 2021
May 24, 2021 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:20 PM :: 2460 Views

Hawaii Among Worst States for Military Retirees

Hawaii’s tax future now in Gov. David Ige’s hands

SA: … The time is fast approaching when we will learn if Gov. David Ige meant it when he said that tax hikes are “the last thing” our state needs right now.

During the 2021 session, Hawaii legislators introduced various tax increases, many of them in the notorious Senate Bill 56, which would have given Hawaii the highest income tax rate in the nation. Most of the tax proposals fell by the wayside, but when the dust settled, there still were a handful of potentially very damaging hikes that made it to the governor’s desk.

Now, the governor has to decide whether to let those measures become law. They include proposed increases in the conveyance and rental car taxes, suspension of certain general excise tax exemptions, and allowing the counties to add for their own use up to 3 percentage points to the state’s transient accommodations tax.

read … Hawaii’s tax future now in Gov. David Ige’s hands

HSTA: Our $2,200 is Justified by the Other Free Money We Got

SA: … For those who argue that the stabilization payment goes against collective bargaining, there already is a clear precedent of increasing payments to teachers outside of the collective bargaining process in Hawaii. Both the Legislature and the Board of Education previously took steps to retain teachers, including shortage differentials for special education, Hawaiian language immersion teachers as well as for those who teach in hard-to-staff locations. In addition, for years, the Legislature has approved $5,000 bonuses for teachers with national board certification (NBCTs) and another $5,000 for those NBCTs who work in hard-to-staff locations….

read … Stabilization payments will help Hawaii retain its teachers

Big Isle energy plant Hu Honua Bioenergy wins Hawaii Supreme Court appeal

SA: … The Hawaii Supreme Court, dealing a major victory to Hu Honua Bioenergy LLC’s nearly completed biomass plant on Hawaii island, ruled unanimously this morning in favor of the company’s appeal and sent the case back to the state Public Utilities Commission with clear instructions on how to proceed.

This was the second time that the high court has sent the case to the PUC, which previously reversed an earlier decision by denying Hawaii Electric Light Co.’s request for a waiver from competitive bidding….

In its decision, the court said the waiver from competitive bidding was still in effect and said the parties are fixed in the same position following the court’s 2019 opinion when it sent the matter back to the PUC and instructed the PUC to hold an evidentiary hearing on greenhouse gas emissions in connection with Hu Honua’s amended power purchase agreement….

read … Big Isle energy plant Hu Honua Bioenergy wins Hawaii Supreme Court appeal

Bed bugs keep unemployment call center at Hawaii Convention Center closed

SA: … If you’re trying to get through to the unemployment office, you’re going to need even more patience than usual.

Officials said Monday that the unemployment claims call center at the Hawaii Convention Center remains closed as pest control crews grapple with a bed bug issue….

read … Bed bugs keep unemployment call center at Hawaii Convention Center closed

Maskless Tourist Wins Fight in Lahaina

KITV: … A clash over Hawaii's "Mask mandate" turns into a violent confrontation. Punches ended up being thrown, after people were reportedly told to mask up.

Humberto Cardenas says he was inside this Panda Express in Lahaina, saw a family that looked like visittors walk-in -- and TWO members of that family were not wearing a mask.

He says he told them Hawaii still has an active mask mandate, then he says he was dismissed.

An argument followed, then Cardenas says it got really ugly after what he believes was the father of the family poked his finger into his chest. Cardenas admits he punches him.

The aftermath was documented live on Facebook by his mother and showed Maui Police on scene and 21-year-old Cardenas with blood dripping from above his right eye….

He says it's gotten worse since the "Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" released new guidelines…

read … Confrontation in Lahaina over masking gets physical

Honolulu Police Don’t Always Turn On Their Body Cams. That Needs To Change, Commissioners Say

CB: … As police body camera footage receives increased scrutiny on Oahu and nationwide, some Honolulu police commissioners and others are arguing that more should be done to hold officers accountable when they fail to record their encounters with the public.

Currently, HPD considers it a minor offense when officers fail to activate their body worn cameras, and punishments are commensurately light. But some critics say harsher penalties like suspensions may be needed and that the testimony of officers who neglect to record their work should be downplayed in court.

The Honolulu Police Department needs to take body camera violations more seriously, Police Commissioner Doug Chin said.

“Otherwise, officers are going to be put into a bad position where they might start turning off their cameras before they’re about to do something they know they’re not supposed to do,” he said. …

read … Honolulu Police Don’t Always Turn On Their Body Cams. That Needs To Change, Commissioners Say

Senate Bill Would Make It Harder To Scrutinize Government Contract Awards, Critics Say

CB:  A bill sitting on Gov. David Ige’s desk and awaiting his signature aims to reform the state’s slow and cumbersome procurement process, in which protests by losing bidders help to stall new public roads, buildings and other much-needed infrastructure projects across the state.

But critics say the measure, Senate Bill 1329, goes too far, stripping away the necessary oversight of how public agencies award multi-million dollar contracts to private bidders and creating a situation in which backroom deals and corruption could more easily occur.

Specifically, they point to a provision that would remove a $10,000 cap on the bond that losing bidders in Hawaii pay if they want to appeal a protest decision. If Ige signs the bill into law, they would instead submit a bond worth 1% of the contract value, with no cap….

Bidders forfeit the bond if they lose their appeal. Lifting the cap would prevent most local firms from appealing decisions on the larger and more expensive contracts awarded by Hawaii’s public agencies, said Anna Oshiro, a local attorney who often handles procurement cases. It would make appeals prohibitively expensive, even when they have merit….

PBN: Hawaii bill would drive up cost to appeal state's bid protest decisions

read … Senate Bill Would Make It Harder To Scrutinize Government Contract Awards, Critics Say

Hawaii is the only state requiring and spending millions on COVID-19 testing

SA: … The state is spending about $38 million to fund one year of its Safe Travels airport screening program and is making plans to spend another $22 million on top of that even though most U.S. destinations have dropped nearly all of their travel restrictions.

Hawaii is currently the only state still requiring testing for travelers who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19….

read … Hawaii is the only state requiring and spending millions on COVID-19 testing

Sustainability Means You Give me an Office on Campus and I tell you how to Live

MN: … A new local initiative is seeking a “complete change” in traditional methods of thinking in order to achieve true sustainability in Maui County by 2040.

University of Hawaii Maui College partnered with Kamehameha Schools Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i Community Strategies Team to create a two-year pilot project called “Hulihia: A Maui Sustainability Systems Center,” which seeks community knowledge in addressing the depletion of resources and building long-term solutions.

Step one of Hulihia was launching an online forum at hulihia.consider.it for all community members to provide input on how they are affected by unsustainable practices on Maui and listing which issues should be prioritized.

The website will be open for the next two to three months.

The next step is to conduct research and build a team of experts who can best tackle the high priority problems, and by winter, have a systems map created that will point toward holistic solutions.

The long-term goal and final step for Hulihia is to have a physical space on the UH-MC campus for the community to convene in, to share information about sustainability issues on Maui and to allow stakeholders to anticipate any unintended consequences through computer modeling….

read … New program aims to find sustainable solutions for Maui

Surfing: NYT Invents Hawaii Flag Controversy for Olympics

NYT: … U.S. Olympic surfers from Hawaii — the proud home of the sport — would prefer to compete under their own red, white and blue banner….

SA: But, in the Olympics, there is no Hawaii team, so Florence and another world champion from Hawaii, Carissa Moore, are members of the United States team.

read … NYT Invents Controversy

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