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Friday, February 24, 2023
February 24, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:20 PM :: 2097 Views

House Judiciary Committee Kills off Ethics Reform Bills

Audit: DHHL Traded 42 Affordable Housing Credits for a Fence

HB984 'Gun Free Zones' Gets Another Committee Hearing

After Years of Campaign Spending Violations, Kaniela Ing Finally gets some Criminal Charges

SA: … Former state Rep. Kaniela Ing is in trouble again with the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, and this time he’s facing criminal prosecution and possible jail time for allegedly failing to file a mandatory campaign spending update on time.

Ing was running for Congress in 2018 when the commission assessed nearly $22,000 in penalties, administrative fines and restitution against him for 23 inaccurate reports he filed between 2011 and 2016.

Among other inappropriate uses of campaign funds, the commission determined that Ing, who represented South Maui at the time, used campaign funds to cover $2,125 in rent for residences on Oahu and Maui and spent $219 to make a payment on his domestic partner’s credit card account. Ing also deposited a campaign check worth $2,000 into his personal checking account but failed to document it on his campaign spending reports.

The 2018 case remains open, according to the minutes of the Campaign Spending Commission’s December hearing that ended with the panel recommending that Ing face criminal prosecution on a single misdemeanor count for missing the August filing deadline.

“This matter has not been resolved yet as there were questionable expenses that were in the amended reports which the staff asked Respondent Ing to justify and still has not received a response,” according to the commission’s minutes.

On Feb. 15 the city Department of the Prosecuting Attorney filed a criminal complaint against the former Maui lawmaker alleging that he “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly failed to timely file a supplemental report with the Campaign Spending Commission” by the July 31 deadline for the period covering the first six months of 2022, thereby committing the offense of “failure to timely file supplemental report with the Campaign Spending Commission.”…

The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor is a year in jail and a $2,000 fine. Ing is scheduled for arraignment March 14 in Circuit Court….

PDF: Ing Criminal Complaint

ECourt Kokua: Ing 19 Traffic Violations

Kaniela Ing: The Gift That Just Keeps on Giving

read … Former lawmaker Kaniela Ing prosecuted for missed deadline

Rep. Gene Ward: ‘Reform Proposals Will Be Very Disappointing This Session’

CB: … Q: The governor has said he’s inclined to sign reform bills coming from the Legislature. How do you view the prospects this session for reform proposals coming from either the state standards commission or other sources? 

A: I think there is going to be a lot of head-fakes and obfuscation on why the Democrats stood up the standards of conduct commission but then bailed out on doing anything about it.

Take term limits for example. The commission recommended it, and surveys show that over 70% of the public are for term limits, but I think Democratic leaders in the Capitol are going to slip out the side door on this one, and say something like they just couldn’t get the votes.

Ditto changing the power structure of committee chairs, the Sunshine laws, as well as how bills are heard in committees. Reform proposals will be very disappointing this session if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly….

GW: A legislative colleague, who is now incarcerated, once said “I can kill a bill anytime I want”

read … Rep. Gene Ward: ‘Reform Proposals Will Be Very Disappointing This Session’

Oahu public charter faces closure following questions about online learning, enrollment

HNN: … The state Public Charter School Commission has voted not to renew Kamalani Academy’s contract, citing several violations.

The commission’s 5-to-1 vote means that the Wahiawa school could close its doors permanently at the end of the school year in June.

Kamalani Academy is the only public charter school in Central Oahu, and is only the third such school to lose its contract since the charter school program started in Hawaii in 1995.

The commission had already sent the school a letter of concern in 2021, saying that it didn’t have the authority to open a new virtual learning program….

“Charter schools can have virtual education, but if they don’t have that in their contract with us, they have to just amend it. They did not,” said commission Chair Cathy Ikeda.

Ikeda said the learning program itself also became an issue when Kamalani had a sudden jump in attendance, adding 180 online students.

“It’s state per-pupil monies and the majority of the monies have already dropped,” said Ikeda. “And so this increase was not budgeted for and could not be released.”

The school’s principal said the decision came as a surprise.

“They didn’t really think about the kids or the staff. They just thought they were upset about a board decision,” said Principal Amanda Fung. “And so now you have 160 kids and 30 employees who are in angst.”

Fung said the school’s board had contacted several vendors so that its students could do online learning during the pandemic.

“What ended up happening was other families found out we were doing the online learning and wanted to register for that online learning because the DOE ... only had certain amounts per school,” said Fung….

CB: Kamalani Academy Charter School Expected To Close In June After Commission Vote

read … Oahu public charter faces closure following questions about online learning, enrollment

Former Punahou Coach pleads 'not guilty' for child sex crimes allegations

HNN: … Lawyers representing Yuen requested he be released back into his mother’s home in Honolulu under certain conditions, such as not being able to leave the home, being GPS monitored 24/7, having no access to any electronics, and a pre-trial officer monitoring him.

During Thursday's plea hearing, Yuen’s elderly mother said she was uncomfortable being left alone in her home and has medical conditions that requires the help of her son.

The judge, however, ruled that Yuen should remain behind bars based on his history, specifically how he behaved when allegations first arose, and the danger he could possibly pose to the community and his victims if released.

Yuen’s trial is set for April 18, 2023….

HNN: Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Olson said there is “strong evidence to suggest that Yuen has been grooming and sexually exploiting the children he coaches since the early 2000s.”

read … Former Punahou Coach pleads 'not guilty' for child sex crimes allegations

Hawaii hospitals at full capacity even with drop in COVID patients

SA: … The steady rise in the patient counts over the course of the pandemic has continued, according to Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, which advocates for a host of health care facilities and providers, including 28 hospital members.

On Wednesday, there were 2,526 patients in Hawaii hospitals, which is considered very full, translating into longer wait times at emergency rooms and demand for more health care workers still in short supply.

The average hospital census for this year so far is 2,481, which is higher than in previous years. In 2019 and 2020, the average was about 2,000 patients, roughly 2,200 in 2021 and approximately 2,350 in 2022….

read … Hawaii hospitals at full capacity even with drop in COVID patients

Failing infrastructure threatens future of only hospital that serves West Hawaii

HNN: … Chronic underfunding and years of deferred maintenance have key infrastructure at the only hospital in West Hawaii on the brink of failure.

Leadership at Kona Community Hospital is asking the Legislature for nearly $19 million — money to fix utilities that are falling apart.

They warn if they’re not replaced now, critical emergency services at the state-funded hospital could be at risk of shutting down.

read … Failing infrastructure threatens future of only hospital that serves West Hawaii

Lanai residents invited to virtual meeting on proposed 357% water rate hike

KITV: … Under the current rate for potable water, customers pay between $5 and $250 bi-monthly for their service, depending on the size of the meter

So, for a water customer currently paying $8.65 per month for a one-and-a-half inch meter, in phase one their rate would increase to $14.32. In phase two that would increase to $22.02. In phase three it increases to$32.16. And in phase four, the final phase, that $8.65 water customer would now be paying $45.53 per month.

Thursday night’s virtual meeting begins over web-ex at 5:30 p.m….

read … Lanai residents invited to virtual meeting on proposed 357% water rate hike

Legislative Agenda:

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