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Saturday, January 29, 2011
January 29, 2011 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 1:22 PM :: 10498 Views

Abercrombie Administration admits lying about Palafox withdrawal

How They Voted: Civil Unions passes Senate 19-6

GOP: Moody’s puts $7,987 price tag on Hawaii Democrats’ failure

SB 713 & 712: Luddites attack Hawaii agriculture

Bills would spend $4B on roads, bridges

Hawaii Meth Project names Teen Advisory Council

Senate passes civil unions bill

"I honestly think that every marriage should start out as a civil union, the way that they do in Europe," Laurie Cicotello said. (No agenda here, eh?)

RELATED: How They Voted: Civil Unions passes Senate 19-6

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Sen Koichi: Many issues not dealt with in civil unions bill

Kouchi said bill SB 232 would supposedly give same sex couples the same legal rights as married couples. But SB 232 does not have the full range of legal responsibilities required for married couples, according to Kouchi.

“Right now it’s a Department of Health permit,” he said.

When couples dissolve a marriage, they have to go through the legal system in court, and they have certain rights, Kouchi said. In civil unions, couples would just dissolve the DOH permit.

“It doesn’t say anything regarding to policy, procedure or method of dissolving these unions. Therefore it doesn’t say anything about how to deal with paternity,” Kouchi said.

There are some issues that were not addressed in HB 444, according to Kouchi. “They still are not addressed in (SB) 232.” Some of those issues deal with division of assets, he said.

(These issues have been left out in order to create multiple causes for action which will be used by the judiciary to create gay marriage.)

Borreca: Civil Unions could be amended in House, likely to be on Governor’s desk next week

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House Judiciary may hear Civil Unions week of Feb 7th

House Judiciary Chairman Gil Keith-Agaran, whose committee would vet any such legislation, said he still is studying the Senate measure as well as four to five other proposals covering additional rights for gay couples.

"I haven't really made up my mind yet whether or not there are additional things that need to be in that bill," Keith-Agaran (D, Kahului-Paia) said of SB 232.

He said he did not expect to hold a hearing on any civil unions bills until the week of Feb. 7 at the earliest, and he might consider holding a joint hearing for all of the related bills.

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Hee: McKenna approved using her example as an argument for Civil Unions (Just another unbiased Judge, eh?)

Hee raised the nomination of openly gay Judge Sabrina McKenna to the state Supreme Court as an example of how the Senate had the opportunity to strike a blow in favor of equality.

"But this is not about Judge McKenna," he said. "This is about us, who would seat a lesbian on the highest court and deny her the equal privileges of her colleagues who sit beside her.

"We should be proud that the privilege to stand in judgment of this woman belongs to us, and this step today is but the first step, not for Judge McKenna, but for us."

Sen. Sam Slom, the chamber's lone Republican, called it "outrageous and inappropriate" for Hee to bring McKenna's sexual orientation into the discussion.

"I respect her. I admire her. I intend to support her," said Slom (Diamond Head-Hawaii Kai). "It has nothing to do with her sexual background. ... I think it's a disservice to this Legislature, this Senate, to the community and to the nominee to bring these things up. She can stand on her own merits."


KHON: Supreme Court nominee injected into civil union debate

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Kokubun hiring more HGEA members

Filling neighbor island staff positions left vacant by 2009 state layoffs will help the Department of Agriculture battle invasive species wreaking havoc on Big Isle crops, department Chairman Russell Kokubun said Friday.
Kokubun, who's been at the helm of the agriculture department for about three weeks, vowed to bring back the island's entomologist, a scientist who studies insects, and provide that position an aide. By filling the positions, which were left vacant when former Gov. Linda Lingle ordered state workforce reductions in 2009, the department can more succinctly handle invasive species on Hawaii Island, he said.

The ability to staff the position follows a directive from Gov. Neil Abercrombie giving department chairs the option to fill positions left vacant by the layoffs as long as those positions are still funded within the state's budget.

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Businesses fear debate will turn to G.E.T. hike

While the idea of raising the G.E.T. by 1 percentage point was put on the table in the form of bills during the past two legislative sessions, it is not being pushed on anyone’s agenda this year.

Still, it remains a possibility as the pressure builds to solve the state’s projected budget shortfall.

And it’s on the collective minds of groups such as the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, the Hawaii Association of Retail Merchants and the Hawaii Association of Realtors, which lists the G.E.T. as one of the three issues they’re following during this year’s session.

“From our standpoint, we’re being proactive in preparing ourselves. If it should go down to the edge of the table ... we’ll be prepared to bring together a coalition to really lobby against that,” said Berton Hamamoto, the Realtors association’s 2011 president.

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One of top ten Ear-markers, Hirono demands more debt to feed cronies

Creating jobs and stimulating the national and state economy comes ahead of reducing the federal budget deficit, U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono said Friday….

Hirono, who has been in office since 2006, is one of the top 10 House members in obtaining earmarked funds. The House approved a voluntary ban on earmarks in November, and Hirono said that ban, combined with possible federal budget cutbacks, will hurt Hawaii.

"It's going to have a major impact," she said. "That's a loss of millions and millions of dollars.

"I stand by all my earmark requests," she added. "Unfortunately, although earmarks represent such a small part, it's been targeted as an example of irresponsible Congressional spending."

(so sad)

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Neil Abercrombie – God’s Gift to Birthers

One of Governor Neil Abercrombie’s first orders of business following his election was to “fix” his friend President Obama’s birth certificate controversy. This was surprising to most, as the “birther” issue had pretty much run it course.

Nonetheless, Abercrombie charged ahead … Over the subsequent weeks, the Governor’s quest to settle the issue “once-and-for-all” imploded, creating new controversies. By January 21st Neil had officially thrown in the towel on his “birther” intervention.

So, the end result of this stinky convoluted mess is that an issue that had already been put to rest, President Obama ‘s Hawaii birth certificate, has resurfaced as a major controvery in the President’s 2012 re-election campaign. Thank you, Governor Abercrombie.

We can can hardly wait to see how the Governor’s plans to “fix” our economy and education system turn out.

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“Unseemly Friend” of Abercrombie vets appointments

Scott Foster: I've known the Governor for many years and once had what I thought to be a rather cordial relationship. That relationship changed dramatically after I met with him shortly after he was first elected U.S. Representative. I went to his Honolulu office to express my concerns about the unseemly actions of one of his close friends and I still have Neil's handwritten "thank you" note ending with, "I look forward to working with you in the years to come." Despite the cordial rhetoric, we never much talked after that and I'm sorry for the outcome. As I understand it, his close friend is one of the people currently vetting key administration appointments.

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SA: Tighten murder definition

A proposal by Hawaii law enforcement leaders to expand the murder statute would be welcome, as it would limit the ability of defense attorneys to convince juries to opt for a lesser manslaughter conviction in heinous murders.

In past cases, brutal killers have won lesser verdicts and sentences; tightening the law would bring punishments in line to fit the crimes.

Present Hawaii law defines second-degree murder as intentionally or knowingly causing someone else's death.

Absent that intent or knowledge, jurors now can conclude that the defendant was merely acting recklessly when causing the death and therefore guilty of manslaughter, which carries a maximum 20-year prison term.

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US Senate Ends Practice of Secret Holds to Block Bills

The Senate voted last night to adopt a rule bringing more transparency to a practice long used to delay legislation. In a 92-4 vote, the Senate ended the “secret holds [1]” that lawmakers used to anonymously hold up bills and nominees without having to explain their objections. The Senate’s new rule won’t prevent Senators from putting a hold on legislation—it’ll just make sure that senators who do so will have their name published in the Congressional Record [2].

(“Holds” have been used for years to save Hawaii from the Akaka Bill.)

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State Plans to Use Surveillance Drones

The state and a private contractor are installing extensive new security and surveillance measures at harbors and shorelines that include planned use of unmanned aerial drones, according to public records.

Neither the contractor nor state officials have applied to the Federal Aviation Administration for necessary permission to deploy the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) in civilian air space here.

Repeated requests for details about the plans and status of the drone program made to the state and its contractor have not been answered for more than a month.

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Marines want to be off grid by 2015

Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe plans to be off the state’s electric grid by 2015 and have all vehicles in the base facilities fleet gasoline-free by 2020.

The move is part of a broader initiative by the Department of Defense to reduce energy consumption and costs, and develop renewable energy resources.

But the Marines clearly have taken the lead, thanks to the initiative shown by Col. Robert Rice, who was base commander from August 2008 until he retired on Jan. 21.

Staring at a $26 million electricity bill in 2008, Rice decided that something needed to be done to reduce the base’s power consumption.

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The tax on bottles has enabled the state to bring tens of millions of dollars into a Dept. of Health special account.  In fact, there is approximately $30m sitting in the Deposit Beverage Container fund; but, now Gov. "Neil" wants to add more taxes to each soda sold.  With all that money, and Reynolds Recycling now paying consumers for ALL bottles they recycle (even those not marked with the HI5), why charge an additional soda tax?  Will that really close the $800+ budget shortfall?  Makes you wonder and say hmmmmmm?

Senator Slom and Representative Ward Discuss the Opening of the House Session 2011


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