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Wednesday, February 2, 2022
February 2, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 5:37 PM :: 2239 Views

FACT: Our Congressional Leaders Are Unable or Unwilling to Close Red Hill

Red Light Cameras to be Activated by May

Different Version of Minimum Wage Hike On the Move in the House

HTH: … Even as a Senate bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $18 an hour races through the state Legislature, state representatives are throwing their support behind a competing but similar bill in the House.

(Translation: The real deal will come from Conference Committee.)

Like Senate Bill 2018, which passed third reading in the Senate last week, House Bill 2510 would increase the minimum hourly wage on an incremental basis until it eventually reaches $18 an hour….

The two bills differ in time scale, however. SB 2018 would increase the minimum wage in three increments, rising from the current $10.10 to $12 an hour on Oct. 1, to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2024, and to $18 on Jan. 1, 2026.

By comparison, HB 2510 would begin by raising the minimum wage to $11 per hour beginning Jan. 1, 2023, and then by a dollar every year until it reaches $18 an hour in 2030….

The House measure also addresses the state’s tip credit. A tipped employee today can be paid by their employer $0.75 less than minimum wage if and only if the employee receives at least $7 more than minimum wage from wages and tips combined. Under HB 2510, employers could pay workers $2.75 below minimum wage in 2030, as long as the worker still makes $7 above minimum wage in total.

But beyond the minimum wage, HB 2510 also has a host of additional clauses that would benefit low-income families throughout the state by offering tax credits and other resources….

Under the bill, the Earned Income Tax Credit would become refundable, instead of just being used as a credit against future tax liability….

The measure also includes a clause offering a refundable “food/excise tax credit” to individuals making less than $30,000 a year or couples making less than $50,000 a year. The credit would equal $150 multiplied by the number of the taxpayer’s qualified exemptions….

read … House measure would hike minimum pay rate, provide help to low-income families

HGEA Lunacy: Year after its completion, Union plans to keep state’s $160M psychiatric facility empty for two more years

HNN: …Nearly a year after construction was completed on the state’s $160 million high-security psychiatric facility in Kaneohe, the building remains empty ― despite high need.

Officials say a variety of issues are preventing patient admissions.

(REALITY: HGEA is using the new hospital as an excuse to give its members a three-year paid ‘training’ period.)

It could take several months to make key repairs, allowing patients at Hawaii State Hospital to move into the facility. And it could take up to two years for the state to start admitting new patients…

Now, the state confirms it could be two more years before the hospital admits its first new patient from the community. “I really can’t give a firm timeline,” said Run Heidelberg, the hospital’s administrator.

“During our walk-through we did find some issues that we need to correct.”

Heidelberg said the problems include sloping showers, which cause water to leak onto floors. Another problem: Door fixtures that could pose a risk for suicidal patients.

“We’re waiting on those parts to come in. And it is difficult for some of those parts to be procured,” said Heidelberg, adding that some safety policies also haven’t been written.

And there’s a learning curve for staff.

“There are some training issues that we need to get through because there’s a lot of new technology in the building,” Heidelberg said….

(Translation: HGEA refuses to do any actual work.  Getting paid for ‘training’ is preferable to sleeping with lunatics and marrying them.)

read … Months after its completion, state’s $160M psychiatric facility sits empty

Hawaii House committee had plenty of time to harass Auditor but unlikely to pursue penalty tied to Rep. Sharon Har’s DUI arrest

SA: … A special House committee that was created to possibly investigate state Rep. Sharon Har following her drunken driving arrest 11 months ago appears unlikely to pursue potential sanctions against her, House Speaker Scott Saiki told the Honolulu Star- Advertiser.

The committee is chaired by House Majority Leader Della Au Belatti (D, Moiliili-­Makiki-Tantalus), whose separate House Investigative Committee on Saturday released a 292-page report of its five-month investigation of state Auditor Les Kondo, which found no criminal wrongdoing by Kondo or his office but made recommendations for oversight of his office.

Saiki (D, Downtown-­Kakaako-McCully) said the committees had separate focuses and that the findings on Kondo had no influence on his decision to stand down the committee on Har. But critics of Belatti’s investigation of Kondo saw a direct line to halt the House committee investigation of Har….

State Rep. James Tokioka (D, Wailua-Hanamaulu-­Lihue) said elected officials are “held to a different standard.”…

Her driver’s license was revoked for two years March 25, and the revocation was affirmed last week by the Administrative Driver’s License Revocation Office, which is separate from criminal court proceedings.

ADLRO officials Tuesday did not immediately respond to a request of Har’s license revocation case file, which could indicate whether she has been allowed to drive since her arrest under conditional requirements, such as an interlock system that Har also championed.

Attorneys who are arrested for any offense also must report their arrest to the Hawaii State Bar Association…

read … Hawaii House committee unlikely to pursue penalty tied to Rep. Sharon Har’s DUI arrest

Gay Club Wants Immunity from COVID Rules

HNN: … Scarlet Night Club said under the new rules, investigators can close a business without prior notice or a hearing if they believe there is a violation of “an emergency order.”

Investigators would also be able to deny the renewal of liquor licenses based on reports.

Scarlet alleges two supervising investigators are biased against them and have criminal histories that make them unfit for the job.

The business is demanding the liquor commission to abandon the proposed changes and announce a decision by Friday — otherwise it will take legal action.

read … Oahu bar claims new liquor commission laws discriminate against LGBTQ community

Prosecutors offer another round of DUI plea deals after state Supreme Court ruling forces dismissals

HNN: …Instead of allowing scores of DUI cases to be dismissed, the city Prosecutor’s Office is once again offering plea deals to some suspected drunk drivers.

The practice was first used last year for about five months to ease a backlog caused by COVID closures.

Between February and June, 1,550 cases were bargained down, allowing first time offenders to have the DUI wiped from their record if they complied with strict requirements.

The city Prosecutor’s Office said that was a one-time, pilot project….

But it is now being allowed again, this time because of a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that is causing hundreds of misdemeanor cases ― mostly DUIs ― to be dismissed on a technicality….

HNN: Habitual drunk driver accused in fatal DUI hit-and-run seeks lower bail

read … Prosecutors offer another round of DUI plea deals after state Supreme Court ruling forces dismissals

Longtime Corrections Officer Elected To Lead United Public Workers

CB: … Longtime corrections officer Kalani Werner won a runoff union election Tuesday evening to become the new state director of the United Public Workers, one of the most prominent public worker unions in the state.

The union has about 11,000 voting members, but turnout in the runoff election was extremely low. The final vote count was 437 votes for Werner, and 304 for Alton Nosaka, a former business agent for the union.

This union election marks the first time the UPW Local 646 general membership has been allowed to vote directly to select a new state director.

Darrell Wilcox, who is also a corrections officer at OCCC, was elected as the new UPW president. Junior Moananu, a psychiatric technician at Hawaii State Hospital, was elected secretary-treasurer.

The runoff election was held after none of a larger field of candidates was able to secure 50% of the vote in balloting in November. The field was narrowed to just two candidates for each office in the runoff.

Werner worked at the Oahu Community Correctional Center during the pandemic, and according to news accounts was one of the first corrections officers to become ill there with Covid-19 in 2020….

read … Longtime Corrections Officer Elected To Lead United Public Workers

Bill aims to expand lethal force for self-defense; Hawaii lawmaker says ‘it will resonate with the people’

KHON: … People in Hawaii are currently required to retreat from situations where their life is in danger except in the home or workplace.

Rep. John Mizuno signed onto HB2464 and said the people of Hawaii deserve to be able to defend themselves anywhere….

Some may view the bill as particularly Conservative, but chair of Hawaii’s Progressive Caucus Rep. Matt LoPresti said it is not a partisan issue.

“I don’t think self-defense is a right or left issue. It’s not a Progressive issue or a Conservative issue,” LoPresti said. “If you’re being assaulted, you should have the right to defend yourself.”

At least 25 other states already have laws where there is not a duty to retreat from an attacker in an area where the victim is lawfully present. Rep. Mizuno thinks Hawaii will not be far behind….

read … Bill aims to expand lethal force for self-defense; Hawaii lawmaker says ‘it will resonate with the people’

Many Hawai‘i Defense Jobs Are Not Going to Locals. Advocates Want to Change That.

HB: … One major solution to Hawaiʻi’s brain drain is already here in the Islands: the U.S. military. The armed forces already provide thousands of well-paid civilian jobs, but too many of the cutting-edge jobs and contracts are filled by mainland-based people and companies….

read … Many Hawai‘i Defense Jobs Are Not Going to Locals. Advocates Want to Change That.

Navy Water Contamination Crisis Highlights Flaws In Early Warning System

CB: … Water testing was supposed to detect a disaster before it hit people’s faucets. But thousands of military families in Hawaii never got a warning….

Big Q: What do you think of the U.S. military’s plans to appeal the state’s emergency order requiring it to defuel its Red Hill fuel tanks?

read … Navy Water Contamination Crisis Highlights Flaws In Early Warning System

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