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Thursday, December 31, 2015
December 31, 2015 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:04 PM :: 3553 Views

First Hawaiian No Longer Servicing OHA ‘Malama Loans’

State of the State Budget 2016

New High School? What is DoE’s top priority?

Man OK With Pedophilia Loses Bid to Teach Kids

2015 Wrapup Stories

14 new state laws to take effect on New Year's Day

HNN: On New Year’s Day, two first-in-the-nation laws will take effect in the islands.

There’s the law that raises the minimum smoking age from 18 to 21. And the law that requires open captioning – or captioning on screens – at movie theaters.

The two are among 14 Hawaii laws that will take effect Jan. 1….

PDF: List of New Laws

read … New Laws

Honolulu Charter Commission denies proposals for public vote on rail

HNN: Next year's November ballot will not include questions about dismantling the rail authority, labeling GMO products or raising the minimum wage.

The Honolulu Charter Commission denied all those proposals at a hearing on Wednesday afternoon….

Opponents of the rail questioned the fairness of the meeting because the commission chair is a former pro-rail lobbyist.

The commission says it denied the proposal because the project already went through a public vote, and shortening the route would violate the federal contract.

SA: Charter proposals to halt rail rejected

Related: Wine & Dine: Rail Lobbyist Chairs Honolulu Charter Commission

read … Quietly, During the Holidays when nobody is paying attention

Report: Hawaii’s Phony Hi-Tech Tax Credit Schemers Not getting any Venture Capital

PBN: A key stage in a start-up's life is getting venture capital investment to send it on its way. However, despite a strong year of investment across the country, Hawaii's Startup-up Paradise isn’t getting its fill of the cash.

Hawaii companies drew just one investment in the second quarter and one in the third quarter of this year, according to the MoneyTree report, published by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters. The funding was so little, $325,000 for the second quarter and $750,000 for the third quarter, that the state did not even make the top 40 states listed on the quarterly update….

Nationally, 2015 was a strong year for companies looking for funding from venture capitalists. Companies received $16.3 billion in 1,070 deals in the third quarter of this year….

LINK: http://pwcmoneytree.com/

read … Corporate Welfare Queens are not Entrepreneurs

State Negotiating New IT Contract in Wake of Obamacare IT Debacle

PBN: The state of Hawaii is negotiating a contract with local health care technology company ike, formerly known as DataHouse Holdings, to provide support in the absence of the former state health insurance exchange.

If the contract is finalized, ike would provide data processing and assist in the development of the 1095-A, a health insurance marketplace statement tax form.

“The state is negotiating with DataHouse to execute a contract to provide transitional IT services due to the abrupt shutdown of the Hawaii Health Connector,” said Rona Suzuki, executive director of the Hawaii labor department’s Office of Community Services. “The immediate priorities include assessing the systems and data in place and ensuring that the IRS Form 1095-As are issued by Jan. 31.”

read … New Contract

Hawaii Medicaid Fraud makes  Top Ten Government Waste List for 2015

dc: Hawaii’s federally funded Medicaid Fraud Control Unit costs 10 times more to operate than its agents recover from Medicaid fraud investigations.

The unit reclaimed about $337,000 from 2011 to 2013, but spent $3.9 million running its operations in that same time period, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

“On the basis of our findings, OIG is concerned about the unit’s ability to carry out its statutory functions and meet program requirements,” the HHS IG said.

read … Daily Caller

Kakaako homeless moving into HCDA areas to Evade enforcement and Stay out of Shelter

HNN: Some of the homeless that used to camp at Kakaako Waterfront Park and on the sidewalks near the University of Hawaii medical school are now pitching their tents along Ala Moana Boulevard.

And officials aren't pushing them to move on, despite calls from the city and nearby businesses to do so.

It's been less than three months after the city and state joined forces to clear out a major encampment in Kakaako. Today, tents line Ala Moana Boulevard, and apparent loopholes are allowing them to stay….

State Department of Public Safety say state deputy sheriffs are enforcing the law.

But video taken around 3 a.m. Wednesday tells a different story: At that time, nearly two dozen tents were in the area and undisturbed. The same line of tents was there during the day on Monday.  

Other rules also aren't being enforced.

According to the Hawaii Community Development Authority, grocery carts are prohibited inside the park along with clothes lines. But carts and clothes lines can clearly be seen in the area.

The mayor is calling on state entities to strictly enforce the laws in order to motivate people to get off the street.

"If you don't do it everyday, everyday seven days a week, 24 hours a day you're going to have problems," Caldwell said.

The mayor has also suggested the state adopt its rule on tents. "In our city parks you can only have tents in permitted areas. Places like Ala Moana you don't have any permitted areas. Kapiolani, another one no tents allowed," he said.

In HCDA parks, it's legal to set up camp in its parks during the day.

read … Urban homeless moving into areas with less enforcement

Minimum wage hike could mean higher prices for consumers

KHON: But it could ultimately end up costing you, the consumers, more.

Right now, the state’s hourly minimum wage is $7.75/hour. In two days on Jan. 1, it will go up to $8.50, to $9.25 in 2017 and $10.10 in 2018.

“Most of my money goes to rent, car payments, insurance, everything,” said Michelle Young, bartender/server at Side Street Inn.

That’s why any bump in pay is welcome. But Young does not know how much it will help.

“Because I rarely get paychecks. Because after taxes and insurance and everything, we get may $20 or $30,” she said.

Young works at Side Street Inn, where a third of employees will be affected by the jump in pay. But it will cost the company more than $36,000 next year….

read … Higher Prices

NCAA appeal due or dead Jan 6

SA: While Hawaii officials sounded down on the prospect of appealing the NCAA’s sanctions ruling against the UH basketball program last Tuesday, they did not rule it out entirely.

It turns out an appeal of the sanctions — a 2016-17 postseason ban, three years of probation and two docked scholarships for the next two years — is very much still a possibility.

Hawaii athletic director David Matlin said in a message UH has until Jan. 6 to decide whether to appeal, and that there has been “no final call yet.”

read … Dream On

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