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Monday, June 13, 2022
June 13, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:25 PM :: 1457 Views

Hawaii State Tax Burden: 14.1% of Income -- 3rd Highest in USA

Overtime Games: How prison guards get their ‘Top Three’

CB: … There are currently 92 vacant adult correctional officer positions at the Oahu Community Correctional Center out of a total authorized position count of 413.

(CLUE: Funding for vacant positions provides a slush fund to pay for overtime.)

And Department of Public Safety Director Max Otani says many more ACOs are unavailable to work during any given shift because they call in sick or are out on various types of leave.

(CLUE: Do as little work as possible for 27 years.)

The staff that remain say adult correctional officers at OCCC  are routinely working multiple 16-hour shifts in a week, and are sometimes held over to work 24 hours at a stretch — or even longer in critical posts — when other officers don’t show up….

(CLUE: Work lots of OT--some real, some fake--to get in your ‘Top Three’ for pension calculation.)

BACKGROUND: Audit: 50 Years of UPW Overtime Games at DPS

2014: Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

read … Staffing Shortages At The Oahu Jail Are Raising Alarms About Safety And OT Costs

Honolulu police might limit amount of overtime officers can work, in response to audit

SA: … Honolulu police are considering capping the amount of overtime hours officers may work and bringing back a three-days-a-week, 12-hours-a-day work schedule in response to a city audit that detailed HPD’s “ineffective” management of time-and-a-half policies from 2016 to 2020.

HPD already limits the amount of special-duty hours officers work, and overtime funded by government grant money is also limited, interim HPD Chief Rade Vanic told the Honolulu Police Commission last week…. 

Big Q: What do you think of the Honolulu Police Department’s overtime situation?

Background: Audit: 'No Limits' to HPD Overtime

2020: Honolulu PD ‘Top 10 Earners’ List Revealed–Did Corporal make $341K?

2014: Hospital Crisis: How to Use Union Work Rules for Fun and Profit

read … Honolulu police might limit amount of overtime officers can work, in response to audit

Resolution 21-234: Another City Department?

CB: … Now the 272 lifeguards, who monitor some 227 miles of Oahu’s often-treacherous coastline, are turning to the public for some assistance in return.

The lifeguards and their supporters want to make the city’s Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services division, now part of the city’s Emergency Services department, an autonomous department within the city government. They hope that having their own department would make it easier for them to lobby for the resources they say they need to protect the public.

More than 200 people testified at the Honolulu City Council in October in support of Resolution 21-234, a measure that would put the question on the ballot in this year’s general election, as it would require an amendment to the city’s charter….

read … Oahu Lifeguards Say They Need Help. But City Officials Are Stonewalling

HB2405: Your Insurance will Go up to Pay for Your Sons’ Sex-Change Surgeries and Hormones

CB:  … Hawaii adopted a law in 2016 that prohibited insurance companies from discriminating against transgender people. However, advocates say insurers are still denying coverage of gender confirmation procedures by claiming they’re cosmetic and not medically necessary.

House Bill 2405 would close the gap by barring health insurance providers from applying “categorical cosmetic or blanket exclusions” to prescribed gender confirmation treatments or procedures.

(Translation: Boiling frog.)

The measure lists examples including hormone therapies, hysterectomies, mastectomies, vocal training, feminizing vaginoplasty, masculinization phalloplasties, metoidioplasties, breast augmentations, masculinizing chest surgeries, facial surgeries, reduction thyroid chondroplasties, voice surgeries and therapies, and electrolysis or laser hair removal….

HMSA’s assistant vice president, Matthew Sasaki, said the additional procedures would cost the insurance provider $7.7 million….

Kalani Bright already has had to pay more than $34,000 out of pocket for sex reassignment procedures after losing a three-year battle to get ‘her’ health insurance to cover them.

Now, the 42-year-old transgender ‘woman’ is due for another round of voice surgery, but ‘her’ insurance will still not cover the costs because it’s considered cosmetic rather than medically necessary….

$7.7M / $34K = 26 trannies  

TH: Democratic Gov. Signs Off on Legislation Expanding ‘Gender-Affirming’ Healthcare

Lawmakers say 2022 legislative session was a success for LGBTQ community

Kapaemahu and Honolulu Rainbow Film Festival screenings 

read … Hawaii Moves To Improve Transgender Health Insurance Coverage

Property Tax Homeowner, kupuna exemptions to be considered Tuesday

HTH: … The proposed property tax breaks keep on coming. The latest one would increase exemptions for homeowners and kupuna.

The council June 2 passed a $785.9 million budget, which was $175.8 million, or 28.8%, higher than the current year. But while the measure, which goes into effect July 1, has been sent to the mayor, there’s still room to tinker with the revenue side of the equation, as evidenced by measures to be considered this week….

Bill 182, to be taken up by the County Council Finance Committee at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, doesn’t change tax rates but would increase the value of property that would be taxed. The bill also adds two new categories for kupuna exemptions — 65 years and 75 years — while increasing the amounts exempted….

Inaba’s Resolution 441 lowers real property tax rates for homeowners and affordable rentals by 10 cents, agriculture and native forests by 20 cents and commercial and industrial by 25 cents. Residential tier 1 is lowered by 10 cents, while residential tier 1, apartments and hotel/resort and golf courses would stay at their current rates.

The meetings will be held at the West Hawaii Civic Center, with some council members participating from council chambers in Hilo. The public can participate at those locations, or at the Pahoa or Waimea council offices, or by Zoom by contacting ….

read … Homeowner, kupuna exemptions to be considered Tuesday

$59M COVID Rent Relief went to 13,700 households

HB: … The program launched on Sept. 8 and would distribute monthly rent payments of up to $2,000 per household on O‘ahu and up to $1,500 per household in Hawai‘i, Maui and Kaua‘i counties. Households could also receive up to $500 for homeowner association fees. Payments would cover March 1 through Dec. 28, 2020, and go directly to landlords.

Full-time Hawai‘i residents had to have lost income because of the pandemic, and current household income could not exceed the area median income. That varies from place to place, but in Honolulu, that was $125,900 for a four-person household.

The program concluded on Dec. 31, 2020, with nearly $59 million distributed on behalf of 13,700 households. Most of the assistance, $42.1 million, helped 9,500 households on O‘ahu. More than 900 Kaua‘i households received $3.8 million, 2,500 Maui County households received over $10 million, and nearly 700 Hawai‘i Island households received more than $2.5 million….

read … Why Rent Relief in Hawai‘i Became a National Model

Mosquito proposal approved by DOA committee

HTH: … A Hawaii Department of Agriculture advisory committee approved proposals by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to import 208 million mosquitoes to the state per year.

The bugs are a last-ditch effort to save critically endangered birds on the Big Island, Maui and Kauai, where invasive mosquitoes have exposed them to avian malaria. The imported mosquitoes are a Trojan horse carrying a bacteria that renders them incapable of breeding….

DOA entomologist Chris Kishimoto explained during Thursday’s meeting of the DOA Advisory Committee on Plants and Animals that the 208 million mosquitoes the DLNR plans to import from a seller in California will be inoculated with a strain of the Wolbachia bacteria that is incompatible with the strain present in Hawaii’s mosquito populations.

The infected mosquitoes infected can only breed with those infected with the matching strain. When the imported mosquitoes — which will all be males, and will therefore not bite anything — encounter local populations, they will breed with local females, but the eggs will be nonviable.

Because the DLNR hopes to bring in 10 imported mosquitoes for every male in the wild, the imported bugs will all but replace local populations, Kishimoto said….

Kishimoto said a similar program was carried out in Fresno, Calif., from 2017 to 2019, which reduced local mosquito populations by as much as 95%….

read … Mosquito proposal approved by DOA committee

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