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Saturday, May 6, 2023
May 6, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:14 PM :: 1768 Views

Dela Cruz News: Conference Committee Sneaks $200M Slush Fund into Budget

Every single bill submitted to fund and support OHA died at the Capitol 

HTA Funding? $30M Magically Appears After Legislature Zeroes out Budget

Sine Die: House Leaders Tout Budget

Sine Die: Green Calls Session Success

HB600: Safe Routes to School

Mana Moriarty to head Office of Consumer Protection

Green Names Tokioka head of DBEDT

VIDEO: Meet the 21 Trumpsters and Antivaxxers Running for State Republican Leadership

Budget Gives Illegal $200M Slush Fund to Governor, Legislative Leaders--HTA to get $30M, Aloha Stadium, $50M

HNN: … The ink isn’t even dry on the legislative session and Gov. Josh Green says there may need to be another session to fix problems left behind….

“Some things can be done with rules and within our administration,” Green said. “But some things probably require them to come back.”

(Better idea.  Jail.  Just like Honolulu police commissioners illegally giving money to Kealoha without Council approval.)

A former lawmaker himself, the governor said the chaotic deadline crush left many pieces of legislation unfinished and should have been avoided.

“There should never again be that kind of circumstance,” he said. “If they need an extra two days, if they need an extra week, I’d rather do that.”

Historically, legislative leaders avoid extending or adding sessions, sensitive to public criticism for being unable to finish their work on time. But last weekend, realizing there were funding gaps, leadership came up with sort a patch: a $200 million pot of money that the governor can use for almost anything — after checking with house and senate leaders.

“So that was a last-minute fix to a lot of problems,” Green said. “And that’s why it was so broad.”

But some say it’s too broad. During the budget debate, it was called a potentially illegal “slush fund” by former Majority Leader Della Belatti.

“It’s based on a practice far worse than even the gut and replace practice that has been determined to be unconstitutional,” Belatti said on the House floor.

But the Senate money committee chair Donovan Dela Cruz said except in the last years of Gov. David Ige’s administration, state budgets have usually allowed governors to move money around when necessary.

Dela Cruz and Ways and Means Committee Vice-Chair Gilbert Keith-Agaran said the provision in the budget approved Thursday is actually more restrictive on the governor because it requires the legislative leadership approval.

(So the ‘legislative leadership’ is now part of the executive branch?  Separation of powers, anybody?)

“They will have to show the two chairs that there is a reason why they want the money and what they’re going to use it for,” Keith-Agaran said. “It’s not going to be a blank check.”…

(Legislature has illegally devolved some of its powers to the Governor while taking some of the powers of the Governor and giving them to ‘legislative leadership.’  Unconstitutional.)

The governor, Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke and lawmakers have already agreed the Hawaii Tourism Authority can have about $30 million, to ensure it can put out visitor marketing and management contracts. Next in line could be nearly $50 million for Aloha Stadium, on top of $350 million already appropriated….

(Dela Cruz DTL-WCIT-Nan trades his Aloha Stadium priorities for Green’s HTA-CNHA-Danner priorities.)

HNN: Gov. Josh Green discusses possible special legislative session

read … Governor says special legislative session may be needed for unfinished business

The impacts of mental illness on Hawaii ohana: A mother speaks

KHON: … Kym Peck’s 14-year-old daughter died of a fentanyl overdose in October, but she said that’s only part of the story.

“My daughter suffered from anxiety and depression, you know, it was exacerbated by COVID,” she explained. “We’d been waiting for months for an appointment with the only developmental psychiatrist on the island. She died waiting for an appointment.”…

read … The impacts of mental illness on Hawaii ohana: A mother speaks

Hawaii's last coal-fired power plant set to be demolished soon

KITV: … On Friday, AES Hawaii, the owner of the shuttered West Oahu power plant filed a $16-million building permit to demolish the plant.

It opened in 1992 and closed on its 30th anniversary on September 1, 2022 as part of the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The plant provided about 10% of Oahu’s commercial energy supply. AES Hawaii has said the plant could possibly be retrofitted to burn biofuels, however, such a conversion could take many years….

read … Hawaii's last coal-fired power plant set to be demolished soon

Green to Fill Health Department Parking Spaces with Homeless ‘Kauhale’

KITV: … Construction has already begun with HomeAid Hawaii saying they will deliver the first units May 8, with all on-site work done by May 19.

Feedback from the Department of Health (DOH) was due Friday--and some staff members are saying that wasn’t enough time.

One DOH staffer, who asked to remain anonymous, said she and her coworkers are ultimately worried about their offices staying safe, as these homes will take up 28 of their parking stalls.

”Some of our concerns are our safety, and I have had a coworker attacked–not by a homeless person, but by someone who is experiencing mental illness,” the employee told KITV4. “That coworker ended up quitting because of the attack and she didn’t feel safe at work.”

She added that she’s worried these unhoused people living in tiny homes here will not only make it difficult for DOH staff members to find parking, but that just the act of walking into work will be stressful.

There will be 24-7 security present in addition to Project Vision Hawaii staff members, who will be working at Kauhale village.

read … Tiny home construction underway at Hawaii Department of Health

State to pay $26M over closed runaway truck ramp tied to multi-vehicle crash

HNN: … He was stopped at a red light on the Likelike Highway when a Pinky Tows Truck, hauling a box truck hit his car, then pushed it into several other vehicles.

Altogether, 11 vehicles were involved, but Braddock was the most seriously hurt.

Chase Livingston, one of Braddock’s attorneys said his client needs 24-seven care.

“Suffered severe traumatic brain injuries that have left him unable to walk, very difficult to communicate, unable to care for himself, and feed himself,” Livingston said.

The tow truck’s brakes failed, and the last runaway truck ramp on the highway was blocked off by the state Department of Transportation.

“In this case, the state knowingly left one closed and in disrepair for close to 46 days,” said Tommy Otake, another attorney for Braddock.

Otake said it would have taken the state one day to put in a temporary fix using sand barrels to keep the ramp open. Otake said the driver of the tow truck intended to use the ramp when the brakes failed but ‘couldn’t’ because it was blocked off….

2010: Fireworks, dirt, and stolen trucks: Colleen Hanabusa and the Honolulu Raceway Deal

2015: Will Legislators Co-Sign $660M Loan for Evicted Racetrack Owner?

read … State to pay $26M over closed runaway truck ramp tied to multi-vehicle crash

UPW Strike Drives up Costs at Maui Memorial

MN: … Hashimoto also pointed to the funding for Maui Memorial Medical Center, with the Legislature allocating a subsidy of $22 million for this coming fiscal year.

He said the operating subsidy is supposed to go down each year — since the hospital came under the operations of Maui Health in 2017 — but he said the Legislature allocated funding that the hospital asked for because of the higher costs of doing business, a need to bring in traveling nurses to fill holes with staffing and the recent United Public Workers strike.

Hashimoto said he didn’t want to get into the way of operations, noting the hospital has obligations such as funding contracts. He also said the hospital also received funding for capital improvement projects….

read … Maui County lawmakers mull wins, defeats as session ends

Legislative Agenda:

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