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July 6, 2024 News Read
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Green Signs 79 Bills Into Law

Dillingham Airfield Saved by 50-Year Lease

Former Tokai University Building Becomes Homeless 'Kauhale'

'Sun Bucks' -- $177 per kid Boost on EBT Cards

Potential $85M from NASA for UH Hilo management of Maunakea telescope

After Veto Threat, Green Signs Sara Yara Bill into law

Tokuda Finds Way to Strip Name of Captain Cook from Post Office

How the US Supreme Court's corruption ruling could affect local officials

HPR: … Some worry a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling weakens federal public corruption law, passing the regulatory responsibility on to state and local governments.

In Snyder v. United States, the high court overturned the bribery conviction of a former Indiana mayor. The court's majority opinion along ideological lines said that federal law criminalizes bribes given before an official act, not rewards handed out after.

Retired federal public defender Alexander "Ali" Silvert talked to The Conversation about the ruling in light of high-profile public corruption cases in Hawaiʻi.

"Essentially, now you can meet with a politician, ask for some favorable legislation, walk away and then give gifts and money and gratuities later in appreciation for what the politician did," Silvert said.

He said the ruling could pressure state and local governments to pass and enforce tougher public corruption laws.

"We know from campaign finance reform legislation that the Legislature has been 100% against adopting strict rules against these kinds of gratuities. We know about that New York Times-Civil Beat article talking about these parties that were had in back rooms," he said.

"That is not criminal under state law, and that will remain not being criminal and remain being acceptable practices so long as our Legislature, now because that's the only people who can do it, doesn't enact some kind of meaningful reform in terms of campaign funding and campaign contribution," Silvert added .…

SCOTUS Blog: Snyder v. United States - SCOTUSblog

read … How the US Supreme Court's corruption ruling could affect local officials

Maui wildfire lawsuit attorneys clash over first trial in November

HNN: … “People are working very, very hard behind the scenes. It may not seem like much is going on because it’s been almost a year since the fire,” said Cynthia Wong, an attorney for several fire survivors. “We have done a lot of work in that year’s time. The court system has been very busy.”

Mediation has begun with both sides working toward a resolution out of court.

If that cannot be done, the first trial begins November 18th.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued that the first four cases filed should go together in November….

However, Greg Markham, attorney for Spectrum Oceanic, wants to hold at least the first four trials separately.

“And we go boom, boom, boom,” said Markham said. “And we don’t have to worry about the prejudice that’s involved, the spillover.”

Meanwhile, the Maui Wildfire Compensation Program says 50 families pursuing death claims have registered for the One Ohana Fund which will offer payments to the families of those who were seriously injured or died if they give up their right to sue….

Judge Peter Cahill plans to decide in three weeks if the first four cases will go together or separate….

read ... Maui wildfire lawsuit attorneys clash over first trial in November

On Kaua‘i, the Biggest Home Developer Is the County

HB: … The county’s Housing Agency and its private partners are now working on 509 affordable homes, with another 860 expected to break ground in about 2025….

read … On Kaua‘i, the Biggest Home Developer Is the County

County sets up encampment for homeless storm drain dwellers in downtown Hilo

HTH: … Hawaii County has begun setting up a temporary encampment to house homeless people in downtown Hilo.

While a more permanent shelter is scheduled to open next to the Salvation Army on Ponahwai Street in August, the county has set up an array of tents on a county-managed lot just down the street.

The temporary shelter consists of 20 tents on a Ponahawai Street parcel makai of Kilauea Avenue.

“This area was specifically chosen to ensure residents could remain together without moving to business fronts,” according to a press release from the mayor’s office….

The new site — referred to as a “temporary resting area” — was set up today in anticipation of an upcoming inspection of Hilo’s storm drain system by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

To facilitate that inspection, the “resting area” will house the homeless individuals occupying the storm drain….

read … County sets up encampment for homeless in downtown Hilo

Email scam cost a Hawaii company over $8 million last year

ILind: … An unnamed company in Hawaii lost over $8.2 million to scammers just days before Christmas in 2023, according to a lawsuit seeking forfeiture of a portion of the funds recovered by federal agents from a Florida credit union.

The government’s civil forfeiture lawsuit filed in Honolulu’s Federal District Court did not name the company, which is referred to only as “Company #1”, but said it had fallen victim to a “business email compromise,” or “BEC” in which the as-yet-unknown scammers sent an email to the company’s representative that pretended to be from its outside legal counsel.

The phony email successfully spoofed the law firm’s email address, and the company’s representative then followed instructions and wired $8,328,651 from First Hawaiian Bank to Regions Bank, which is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama ….

read … Email scam cost a Hawaii company over $8 million last year

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