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Monday, March 7, 2022
March 7, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 2:01 PM :: 1816 Views

HB1697: DoE to Promote Sex Change for K-12 Students

Oahu Family Court Vacancy

$100 rebates to Hawaii taxpayers dead at Legislature

SA: … Two bills in the Legislature that would authorize delivery of Ige’s envisioned $100 rebates or credits to every local taxpayer and each of their dependents haven’t gone anywhere, and prospects of enactment appear dim if not dead.

The reason appears to be either a failure by Ige’s administration to navigate federal provisions for spending coronavirus relief aid or an unwillingness by key lawmakers to grant the rebates, which would amount to $400 for a family of four….

(Translation: It was always fake.)

read … $100 rebates to Hawaii taxpayers imperiled at Legislature

Dirtier Than Coal: Hawaii lawmakers stir debate over controversial wood-fueled energy project

SA: … One bill that has attracted opponents and proponents of wood-fueled power proposes to require at least 55% of all renewable energy on each island be firm, as opposed to intermittent like solar and wind power….

This measure, Senate Bill 2510, also intends to limit the share of any one type of renewable energy source to 45% for each island and create incentives for developing firm renewable power to replace fossil fuel generation.

Several testifiers on the bill claim it would benefit biomass power projects, such as the plant Honua Ola has developed in Pepeekeo on the Hamakua Coast at a cost of over $500 million, only to have it sit idle while regulatory and legal challenges play out. 

(And the AES coal plant conversion to wood pellets.)

Robert Culbertson described SB 2057 as a “nakedly transparent” effort to benefit Honua, while David Hunt called the measure “an underhanded good-ol-boy GIFT to Hu Honua” and criticized lawmakers who have accepted campaign contributions from the company.

Warren Lee, Honua Ola president, has contributed to the campaigns of six lawmakers since 2018, giving between $150 and $500 in individual instances, according to state Campaign Spending Commission data.

Lee’s contributions include $200 given in 2020 to the campaign committee for Sen. Bennette Misalucha (D, Pearl Harbor-Pearl City-Aiea), who co-introduced SB 2057 and SB 2510 and is vice chair of the energy committee. Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz (D, Wahiawa-Whitmore-­Mililani Mauka), who led the introduction of SB 2510 and three other bills that could benefit Honua, received $500 for his campaign committee in 2020.

Fourteen senators have weighed in at the PUC, criticizing a 2020 commission decision to reject a competitive bidding waiver and power­-purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric, a decision that was overturned in court. These senators included Misalucha, energy committee Chair Glenn Wakai (D, Kalihi­-Salt Lake-Aliamanu) and Lorraine Inouye, a Democrat who represents the Hamakua area and was the lead introducer of SB 2057, pertaining to power-purchase agreements….

SB 2511 would expand a renewable energy technologies income tax credit to include firm renewable energy systems.

SB 2478 would reinstate a renewable fuels production tax credit that expired in 2021, and would apply to fuel from feedstock that includes biomass, oil crops, used cooking oil, water, municipal solid waste and other things.

Ron Reilly of Volcano village on Hawaii island suggested in written testimony that SB 2478 be amended to exclude biomass projects fueled by trees.

“The Hu Honua wood- burning project will ‘crowd out’ other renewable projects already proposed for Hawaii Island that offer decades of far less expensive energy,” he said….

The bill related to competitive bidding, SB 2513, was introduced by Dela Cruz and several other lawmakers and would make utility companies seek proposals for firm or intermittent renewable energy separately, thus avoiding competition between the two project types subject to PUC approval. The bill was recently amended to require that intermittent power projects deliver a typical amount of energy for up to four days when power can’t be generated due to weather….  (LOL!)

In contrast to the handful of bills that could benefit Honua, one bill is perceived by some as thwarting the biomass project.

This measure, SB 2617, would prohibit the state Department of Health from issuing permits for commercial green waste burning within 1,000 feet of a residential property, which applies to Honua. The Health Department said the bill could negatively affect 80 of 89 such permits that are largely held by farms and are tied to hardly any complaints….

Related: Wood Pellets? Hawaii 'Green' Energy Scam is Dirtier Than Coal

read … Hawaii lawmakers stir debate over controversial wood-fueled energy project

Lobbyists should disclose specific bills they are working for or against

ILind: … require lobbyists to disclose specific bills they draft, introduce, or which they support or oppose in their lobbying rounds.

Right now, the state law which regulates lobbyists (Chapter 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes) requires only the vaguest identification of what specific issues each lobbyist will be working on.

Currently, lobbyists are required to register before they can undertake active lobbying. The requirements for registration involve disclosing a lobbyists mailing address and telephone number, along with the name and principal place of business of their employers, as well as clients they are authorized to represent.

Then they are asked a final piece of information: “(3) The subject areas on which the lobbyist expects to lobby.”

The categories are so general and broad that they are essentially meaningless ….

read … Lobbyists should disclose specific bills they are working for or against

Why It Costs So Much To Own A Car In Hawaii

CB: … High gas prices and registration fees make it expensive to own a car in Hawaii and that makes it even harder to afford to live here….

According to a 2021 study by the Ulupono Initiative, the cost of owning a vehicle in Hawaii is $8,100 annually, or $675 per month, when factoring in the various costs, including gas, maintenance and insurance. Ulupono used census data compiled by the accounting firm Deloitte – which shows 80% of Hawaii households own two or more cars – to assume most households own at least two cars and thus face a $16,200 annual expense, or about $1,350 a month for transportation….

Meanwhile: HB2278 Carbon Tax $42.24 a Barrel

read … Why It Costs So Much To Own A Car In Hawaii

Homeless Psycho Slasher outwits HGEA Members, Escapes from State Lunatic Asylum

HNN: …  The escape happened around 12:30 p.m., officials say.

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety (PSD) identified the patient as 29-year-old Andrew Schmitke. Sources tell Hawaii News Now he was able to climb onto a gazebo roof and hop a fence before fleeing into the bushes….

(Probably having difficulty securing a wife from amongst the staff.)

A previous HNN article showed an Andrew Schmitke was arrested in July 2021 for allegedly stabbing a man in Wahiawa. Court records also show a lengthy history of drugs and other criminal offenses…. 

HNN: Suspect seen on roof of state psychiatric facility prior to escape: Source

UPDATE: Honolulu police arrest 29-year-old escapee from Hawaii State Hospital

read … Search underway for Hawaii State Hospital escapee

Father of missing 18-month-old Kytana Ancog appears in court

KITV: … Travis Rodrigues, 41, made an appearance via Zoom from the Halawa Correctional Facility, where he is held on a $2M bond. He has been in custody since February 2021 after he allegedly confessed to beating Kytana Ancog to death.

According to court minutes, Rodrigues’ attorney Walter Rodby asked the court for a mental evaluation in August. The court granted the motion for Rodrigues to be examined by three doctors to determine if he was fit to proceed. One report submitted to the court Thursday shows Rodrigues is fit to stand trial. However, one doctor could not complete an interview and the other refused to participate. As a result, Rodrigues’ hearing is adjourned until the doctors comply.

Kytana Ancog was last seen alive on January 31, 2021, when her mother, Ashley Ancog, dropped her off at Rodrigues' Aiea home. On February 11, police opened a missing person case after numerous failed attempts to locate Kytana and communication with Rodrigues stopped, Ancog reported to the police.

Two days later, after Rodrigues was named a person of interest in the case, the Honolulu police Crime Reduction Unit found him in Waianae and transferred him to the HPD main station for a recorded interview.

Rodrigues told detectives that on February 4, he beat and shook Kytana until she ‘appeared lifeless’. He then placed her body in a duffel bag and made arrangements with a friend, 49-year-old Scott Michael Carter, to dispose of her body….

RELATED: Rego’s lawsuit also alleges that HPD prevented other law enforcement agencies from assisting in the investigation and attempted to cover up that Rodrigues was a confidential informant for the department’s narcotics division. 

read … Father of missing 18-month-old Kytana Ancog appears in court

Plans Stalled For Kauai’s Vacant Residential Drug Facility

CB: …Kauai’s inpatient addiction and psychiatric treatment center has stood mostly empty since local officials celebrated its grand opening in December 2019….

overgrown with hip-high weeds, the 6-acre site has become to some local leaders a reminder of a long list of community needs: mental health and addiction resources…

In June, Kauai County offered to transfer ownership of the adolescent treatment center to HHSC, which operates Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital on Kauai, and its new non-profit arm KATCH.

Eight months later, the pending property transfer remains under legal review. A nearly two-decade effort to open an inpatient treatment facility on Kauai remains on hold….

2007: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Blocks Kauai Drug Treatment Facility

2021: Kauai Drug Treatment Center to be Deeded to HHSC

read … Plans Stalled For Kauai’s Vacant Residential Drug Facility

Food Safety Audits Could Hamper Hawaii’s Efforts Toward More Food Production

CB: … Hawaii’s farmers could face a reckoning as the Food and Drug Administration resumes food safety audits after a two-year reprieve due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Food Safety Modernization Act, signed in 2011, empowered the FDA to regulate food growth, harvesting and processing nationwide in response to a spate of food-borne illnesses, such as E. coli or salmonella.

But even after more than a decade, agriculture experts say a general lack of action on food safety by the state and Hawaii farmers could seriously hamper efforts to increase local food production and reduce the state’s reliance on imports….

2016: New Federal Rules May Hurt Small Farmers in Hawaii

read … Food Safety Audits Could Hamper Hawaii’s Efforts Toward More Food Production

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