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Thursday, February 25, 2010
February 25, 2010 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 11:54 AM :: 6512 Views

link>>>Hawaii Congressional special election “expected” for Saturday, May 22

link>>>Abercrombie: Mufi personally threatening my donors (VIDEO)

ADV: Put Akaka bill back on track, or it will die

Congressional backers of federal recognition for Native Hawaiians are making a serious tactical error by proceeding with the latest version of the bill moving on Capitol Hill.  (GOOD!  LET IT DIE!)

The problem is a provision that establishes Native Hawaiian governmental powers up front, before negotiations with the state can even begin.

The measure now threatens to splinter a fragile coalition of people who until now have supported the so-called Akaka Bill, in part because it was carefully crafted to ensure a level of state oversight in the transition to self governance.

That coalition was led by Gov. Linda Lingle, who has now withdrawn her support because of provisions that a new Native Hawaiian government would have sovereign immunity and civil and criminal jurisdiction over their people on their lands.


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SB: “Current bill dies in Senate”

Gov. Linda Lingle's reversal of her long-standing support for the Akaka Bill indicates how fundamentally the Hawaiian sovereignty measure has changed over the course of this Congressional session.

Any future attempts to pass the measure -- assuming the current bill dies in the Senate, as is now predicted even by many supporters -- should include full public hearings in Hawaii to explain why the 2010 version is so different from the versions that have preceded it since 2000.

link>>>DeMint: “I will use all the tools available in the Senate to ensure that Akaka Bill does not become law”

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Lingle, Bennett objections stand: Exemption from state police-power regulation is unacceptable, they say

The Lingle administration historically has supported the Akaka bill but pulled back that support after a new amendment was offered in both the U.S. House and Senate in December.

"There were changes made (to the December draft of the bill) that I think were a good-faith effort to address some of our concerns," Bennett said.

"In the end though, Gov. Lingle couldn't support the bill mainly because of the provision ... regarding exempting the Hawaiian governing entity, its officers and its employees from all the police-power regulations of the state so long as they're engaged in a governmental, noncommercial activity."

Bennett said the state would continue to lobby for changes to the bill language on the Senate side.

(But Abercrombie—who wants to be Governor where he can implement the Akaka Bill—thinks the bill is fin as rewritten)

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TAX HIKES: Prescription drugs, airline & ship maintenance, affordable housing -- to feed HGEA

Others, such as a prescription drug exemption that costs $22.5 million a year in lost tax revenue, are big.

House Bill 2877, which was passed by the Finance Committee this week, would suspend 39 tax breaks — including exemptions affecting nonprofits, airlines, hotel operators and labor groups — and replace them with a 1 percent tax.

A host of nonprofits, trade groups and others oppose eliminating many of the exemptions.

Another bill, HB 2878, would have suspended tax breaks for prescription drugs, insurance proceeds and tort awards. That bill was deferred.

Among the exemptions that lawmakers have discussed eliminating are those for affordable housing projects and death and accident benefits.

Removing an excise exemption on banks' income also is under consideration. The Hawaii Bankers Association is opposing that move. Banks currently pay franchise taxes, which the state also is considering raising.

"The impact of passage of this provision would put Hawai'i banks in a quandary of absorbing the tax increase, which could mean the difference between profit and loss for some banks, or passing on the tax to its customers which would be devastating to our customers," Neal Okabayashi, the group's legislative committee chair, said in written testimony.

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Mayors praise decision on hotel tax

Meeting late into the night Tuesday, the Finance Committee approved a proposal to cap the amount of Transient Accommodations Tax money going to the counties at the current level of $94.3 million a year.

The state would get any revenue above that amount and the cap would be in place for the next five fiscal years, starting July 1.

As originally proposed by Gov. Linda Lingle, House Bill 2598 proposed to scoop all of the TAT money from counties. The TAT is expected to generate about $100 million for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Hawaii committee votes down legal gambling, likely killing it for this session

The state House Finance Committee voted tonight to defer a bill that would have allowed a single casino on Oahu, likely killing the chances for legalized gambling this session. 

The committee has also chosen not to hear a bill that would allow casinos on Hawaiian home lands.

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House revives flag-flying bill

After an unsuccessful motion to recall the bill from her committee last week, Cabanilla agreed to hold a second hearing but said she favored a task force to study the issue of flag displays.

Today, Cabanilla reversed herself again and dropped the task force after complaints from lawmakers that it was making the bill too complicated.

State Rep. Kymberly Pine, R-43rd (Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Puuloa), the bill's sponsor, said the many veterans who came to testify today made the difference.

"It became a fight about democracy more than the flag or the bill, and about people not listening, and that's what this whole process became about," Pine said.




SB: United front

ADV: Bill on flag displays revived

RELATED: Child molester back at work at Hawaii Legislature

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ADV: Let's get real about saving next year

Advertiser editors do their best for their union masters by trying to make it appear as if the Governor and the unions are equally at fault in the furlough crisis.  (Wash, rinse, repeat)

RELATED: Every Central Falls teacher fired, labor outraged

ALSO RELATED: Progress: Anti-charter school HSTA teachers abandon Waianae school

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BoE walks into “trap” identifies $37.7M in new cuts

Continuing to adhere to the Washington Monument principle, the BoE makes sure the cuts come directly from education, not from the elimination of waste, fraud, and corruption.

Items which would be cut:

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Council approves $8,000 for Washington rail trip

Council members Todd Apo, Ikaika Anderson, Romy Cachola and Ann Kobayashi plan to visit March 6 to 10 to meet with officials from the Federal Transit Administration.

The measure was opposed by Councilman Charles Djou, who previously characterized the trip as a "junket," saying members should use funds from the $16,000 budgeted to each for miscellaneous expenses.

"I know $8,000 isn't a huge amount of money, but if we're wasting just $1 of taxpayer money, it's far too much," Djou said yesterday.

Council members say the trip and meetings with FTA officials are needed because of conflicting statements by political leaders over federal backing of the $5.5 billion rail project.

Gov. Linda Lingle says federal officials are wary of the financial plan for Oahu's proposed rail system, while Mayor Mufi Hannemann says it is on track.

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Yoshioka: Using old OR&L path for rail not practical

Perhaps Mr. Dudley should ask the residents living in the Ewa Plain what they think about his proposal, since it would put a major construction project on their doorstep. It would displace dozens of families and businesses in that area to construct stations, park-and-ride lots, and other facilities needed for the project. 

(Geee. Maybe Yoshioka should've asked everybody else these same questions….) 

TOTALLY RELATED: Retaliation: Anti-Rail Neighborhood board member may face expulsion , Rail route, agenda scrutinized (Use OR&L route)

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Obama nominates Gramscian law professor for Ninth Circuit

President Obama today nominated associate dean and law professor Goodwin Liu to serve as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Liu has been a member of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law faculty since 2003. He has served as a special assistant to the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, and as a senior program officer for higher education at Corporation for National Service, AmeriCorps.

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New Turtle Bay hui pledges park, housing

North Shore resident Gil Riviere, who heads Keep the North Shore Country, one of two community groups fighting development at Turtle Bay, said nothing really has changed other than the entity pursuing expansion of the resort, and that opponents will keep up their fight.

Riviere and other community members are awaiting a decision from the Hawai'i Supreme Court on whether a supplemental environmental impact statement should be required for any resort expansion.

Another group, the Defend Oahu Coalition, has asked the state Land Use Commission to consider whether 236 acres at Turtle Bay should lose its resort land designation because 24 years have passed without the property owner fulfilling conditions of a 1986 land-use change that approved development.

Oaktree dusted off the long-dormant plans in 2005 when it announced that it would move forward with expansion of the resort with up to 3,500 additional hotel and condominium units.

The California-based investment company had looked for a buyer or a development partner for the property since June 2006, but was unsuccessful and got into financial difficulty maintaining the debt on the resort.

(Which is prolly a good indication that TB’s purpose in dusting off their old expansion plans was to provoke the State into buying out TB’s interest in the adjoining property.)

ALSO: Norwegian Cruise back in profit zone

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State's child dental care faulted

Among the policies the report advocates:

  • • Having a dental sealant program in place in at least 25 percent of high-risk schools. Hawai'i was one of 11 states with no organized program.
  • • Providing fluoridated water to at least 75 percent of residents on community systems. The report said that only Hawai'i residents living on military bases receive fluoridated water.
  • • Paying dentists at least the national average of Medicaid rates for Medicaid-enrolled children. Hawai'i was one of 26 states paying less than the average.
  • • Having the state Medicaid program reimburse for preventive dental health services. Hawai'i was not among the 35 states doing this.
  • • Authorizing new types of dental providers to expand access to care. Only one state has done so.
  • • Submitting basic screen-ing data to a national database. Hawai'i was one of 13 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have never submitted data to the National Oral Health Surveillance System. The report said the tracking data helps states assess problems and policies and compete for grant and foundation funding.

Related: Hawaii Dental Association Weighs in on Pew Report Findings , Dentists agree that state fails to serve low-income children ,

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Frum Forum: Hawaii’s GOP Resurgence

Governor Lingle was Scott Brown before we even knew Scott Brown existed. Despite the partisan disadvantage in her state, Lingle won every one of the 51 House districts on her way to becoming governor, a feat never before accomplished in Hawaii and certainly unheard of from a Republican.

She even sounds like Scott Brown when criticizing Obama on national security: “When you take a position… that you’re going to take an avowed terrorist[s]… and you treat these people in the same way as if they just robbed a convenience store, and use our tax dollars to give them lawyers and try them in civilian courts, you’re telling people that you’re out of touch,” said Governor Lingle. “You don’t try people who tell you that they’re at war against you in civilian courts.”

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Frum Forum: Is Hawaii Home to the Next Scott Brown?

Thoughtful and articulate, Djou has obviously been doing his homework. Indeed, he proudly lays out his case for defying Republican orthodoxy on a whole host of issues.

He excoriates ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ as a “failure”, and says that, “having served in the army, I’m disappointed that the President didn’t just sign an executive order ending it right now.”

He criticizes Republicans for their lack of progress in environmental stewardship, saying: “I’m a constant advocate for responsible environmental stewardship in our communities, which I think distinguishes me from [many in] the GOP.”

Unlike some Republican members, who have been happy to drain the trough, he’s said that Congress has “no choice” but to reign in earmarks. He defends TARP. He’s pro-choice. He even has the gall to call himself a “moderate”!

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