Surprised by Wind and Waves in Pacific: Giant Plastic Eco-Boom Breaks up, Will soon wash up on Hawaii Beaches
VIDEO: Economic Cost of Jones Act to Koloa Rum Co
Stop legislative gut-and-replace
SA Editorial: … It’s been a favorite go-to as a means of accelerating a bill through to passage, often without the specific subject going through the required degree of review and debate. And as the session’s Jan. 16 launch looms, there’s hope that a new push to constrain this behavior finally can succeed.
The nonprofit League of Women Voters of Hawaii and Common Cause Hawaii have sued over the issue, in September filing a complaint before the First Circuit Court alleging that the practice violates the state Constitution.
On the rhetorical front, while that case moves toward a judicial resolution, the minority caucus of five Republican House members — state Reps. Gene Ward, Lauren Matsumoto, Val Okimoto, Bob McDermott and Cynthia Thielen — all signed onto a commentary piece published Dec. 27 on the op-ed page of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Aligning themselves with the plaintiffs, they described it as a practice in which “a committee deletes the contents of a bill and replaces it with the contents of another.
“We have seen various forms of it, and unfortunately, the public is left playing a game of whack-a-mole — a bill that died in one committee that somehow pops up later in another bill, either replacing a bill completely or getting crammed in,” they wrote….
read … Stop legislative gut-and-replace
Rail Gets Another $7.5M More Expensive
SA: … It used to be that $7.5 million was real money.
Wait a minute: That hasn’t changed. It is real money — real money that’s going out the door in the settlement tentatively struck by the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation with Hawaiian Dredging Construction Co. The contractor had made a claim against HART for delays in constructing three Waipahu rail stations, and the approval of a $7.5 million change order is pending before the full board. The final vote is expected Jan. 17 ….
read … Only $7.5 million? Get real
Gov. Ige’s New Cabinet Is Still Almost Half Empty
CB: … Ige has appointed 11 of the 19 cabinet-level positions that lead state departments and agencies, and nine of those are carryovers.
“We are committed to filling the cabinet as quickly as possible,” Ige said Thursday.
So far, at least, there doesn’t appear to be a looming confirmation fight in the state Senate, which must decide whether to approve the appointments. And that’s despite the fact that the governor isn’t on the best of terms with legislative leaders as a new session is about to begin. …
Ige has yet to make several key appointments, including a new budget chief and someone to head the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, formerly led by Luis Salaveria.
The governor also has not said who he wants to lead the Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Defense, or who he wants to serve as director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations and state comptroller.
Laurel Johnston, the former budget director, left earlier this month, as did former Chief Information Officer Todd Nacapuy.
Scott Kami is the acting budget director until Ige finds a replacement, and Ige has since announced that Douglas Murdock, a former state comptroller, will take over as CIO.
Nacapuy announced in December that he would be returning to the private sector. Salaveria did the same and now works for SanHi, the lobbying arm of local law firm Ashford & Wriston….
Related: Ige Reappoints Directors at Ten Departments
read … Gov. Ige’s New Cabinet Is Still Almost Half Empty
Alaska Aerospace Proposed Kona Airport Spaceport Goes Nowhere in Four Years
HTH: … Keaau isn’t the only place the state has explored the idea of establishing a spaceport in recent years.
In 2014, Jim Crisafulli, who then headed the state Office of Aerospace Development, told the Tribune-Herald that an environmental assessment was being planned in order to grant Kona International Airport with a spaceport certification.
He hoped then that a certification from the Federal Aviation Administration would be approved in 2015. That didn’t happen, though it’s not clear if an application was submitted. Meanwhile, the EA remains a work in progress.
Chung Chang, who now heads the office, said he’s not sure what happened with the assessment other than “there’s been some stalls.”
“That one we are still trying to finish,” he said. He couldn’t provide a timeline….
The state Legislature approved $250,000 for the Kona spaceport assessment, Chang said, followed by an additional $250,000 in 2017 to study a proposal from Alaska Aerospace Corp. to launch small rockets from land owned by W.H. Shipman. Both came with matching funds, either from the federal government or Alaska Aerospace…. (BINGO!)
read … Kona spaceport study delayed
Criminals Score Thousands on Claims paid out by state
KHON: … The state Department of Accounting and General Services' annual small claims report shows the state paid $179,148.77 to resolve 174 claims during the last fiscal year.
Small claims amount to $10,000 or less.
Many of them involved damage caused by rocks launched by weed whackers and potholes….
Prisoners also make up a good chunk of payouts.
An inmate at Oahu Community Correctional Center who fell off the top bunk and hit a chair in 2013 was paid $1,500.
Another inmate who slipped and fell in 2006 received $4,835.68.
And an inmate at Maui Community Correctional Center received $6,000 after he alleged he was starved for a period of time.
The state doesn't give money to everyone who files a claim. Three hundred thirty cases were denied or closed without payment.
read … Claims paid out by state involve injuries, damage, and bizarre incidents
City and state to suspend homeless sweeps during annual census
SA: … Officials plan to temporarily postpone homeless sweeps Jan. 14-25 to coincide with the annual Point in Time Count to try and ensure getting an accurate number of Oahu’s homeless population….
read … City and state to suspend homeless sweeps during annual census
Obama Library Consolation Prize