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Wednesday, May 4, 2022
May 4, 2022 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:31 PM :: 1793 Views

Top 10 Hawaii Public High Schools Ranked

Honolulu's new restrictions on short-term rentals take effect in October

Hawaii Residents Are Among the Least Likely to Own Their Homes in the Nation

Hawaii Among Worst States for Working Moms

Unemployment Bounce Back? Honolulu Ranks 156th

Mauna Kea: “The ramifications of this bad bill will resonate”

HNN: … some still fear the new stewardship authority would kill astronomy in Hawaii by giving telescope critics a role in deciding future leases.

“The ramifications of this bad bill will resonate throughout the worldwide astronomy business and scientific communities,” said state Sen. Lorraine Inouye.

“The status quo right now has the future of astronomy in Hawaii on life support,” said state Sen. Jarret Keohokalole. “I cannot promise that this bill fixes the conflict, but I can tell you that doing nothing right now, fixes nothing.”

Only five lawmakers opposed the new management plan.

The measure now heads to the governor’s desk for approval….

SA: “This bill is a Trojan horse. This bill will be the demise of a new world-class telescope.”

read … Lawmakers pass bill to remove UH as sole management authority on Mauna Kea

Office of Hawaiian Affairs on cusp of ceded-land revenue boost

SA: … By way of unanimous votes Tuesday in the Senate and House of Representatives, state lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that sets OHA’s annual payment from ceded lands at $21.5 million, up from $15.1 million.

Senate Bill 2021 also makes the increase retroactive to 2012 by giving OHA a lump sum of $64 million, which is the $6.4 million difference over 10 years….

Control of this land trust, which includes about 1.4 million acres, passed to Hawaii upon statehood, and the 1959 Admission Act requires using income from the lands for five public purposes, including public education institutions, farm and housing development, and “betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians.”

The Legislature in 1980 specified in law that the share for OHA be 20%. Since then disagreement and divergent views between state leaders and OHA have festered and touched off litigation over how much the ceded-land revenue obligation amounts to in dollars….

Lawmakers had considered several drafts of SB 2021, along with other OHA funding bills this year, and settled on a conference draft last week along with final drafts of a bill to deliver a record $600 million to the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and another bill to fund a $328 million settlement in a 23-year-old lawsuit over DHHL homestead award delays affecting about 2,700 Hawaiian plaintiffs….

HNN: Native Hawaiian caucus celebrates funding successes, big legislative wins

read … Office of Hawaiian Affairs on cusp of ceded-land revenue boost

Hawaii could soon have the highest minimum wage in the country

HNN: … Hawaii’s minimum wage could soon be the highest in the nation ― going from $10.10 an hour to $18 by 2028….

…The tip credit will also rise from 75 cents per hour to $1.50 per hour by 2028….

read … Hawaii could soon have the highest minimum wage in the country

SB2510: Hawaii Legislature Votes to Subvert Hawaii Constitution

IM: … The Legislature proposes giving itself powers that contradict the Hawaii State Constitution’s Article III that defines the role of the Legislature.

Article III Section14 deals with the enactment of legislative bills. "No law shall be passed except by bill.”

SB 2510 SD2 HD1 CD1 states that a law can be amended by a resolution. “Firm renewable generation shall be a minimum of 33.33 per cent of renewable energy generation for each island. Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, this percentage may be updated by the ... adoption of a concurrent resolution.”

The House and Senate will voted on the conference draft today: Senate (20-5) and the House (39-12)…

read … Hawai`i Legislature Votes to Subvert Hawai`i Constitution

A Mysterious Lawsuit Is Raising Concerns Over The Public’s Right To See Court Records

CB: … In an unusual example of government censorship, a state court judge has issued a gag order preventing a public interest lawyer from sharing details of a case that the lawyer says the judge improperly sealed.

Now Hawaii Circuit Judge Gary Chang is being called before the Hawaii Supreme Court to defend not just the gag order, but other aspects of how he managed the case and why he kept it secret. That includes why he permanently removed the original complaint from the case file and sent it back to the plaintiff after the case settled, at the plaintiff’s request.

The case pits Chang against Brian Black, executive director of The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, a public interest law firm that seeks to promote transparency in government….

Eugene Volokh, who teaches First Amendment law at UCLA School of Law, says once the parties go to court and invoke the government’s power the public has the right review those cases. Volokh featured excerpts from Black’s Supreme Court petition on his legal blog published on

“The thing is that when essentially public servants in the courts are asked to use government power to resolve disputes, their employers – who are the public – are entitled to monitor what’s going on,” Volokh said in an interview.

Civil court judges have the power to impose fines taking people’s money and injunctions restricting their freedom, Volokh said. The public has the right to know what these judges are doing.

Otherwise, he said, “How do we know the courts aren’t corrupt? How do we know the courts aren’t biased?”…

In another twist, the court has filed a document identifying the lead defendant and three other co-defendants, something Chang’s gag order prevents the law center from publishing without facing a contempt of court charge….

read … A Mysterious Lawsuit Is Raising Concerns Over The Public’s Right To See Court Records

In Effort to Increase Crime, Lawmakers approve changes to cash bail system

KHON: … A proposal approved by state lawmakers on Tuesday is raising concerns that Hawaii’s crime rate could go even higher. A bail reform bill sent to the governor for approval would allow those arrested for non-violent crimes, including felonies, to be released without having to pay bail….

So if the governor approved the proposal, those who commit non-violent crimes, including Class C felonies, will be released as long as they’re not considered habitual offenders. The president of the police officers’ union said this will lead to more property crimes.

“If they are being mandated to be released, what do you think they’re going to be doing the very next day when they get out? They’re going to go and burglarize another business and then it continues,” said SHOPO President Robert Cavaco.

He points out that including felonies in the proposal is especially troubling.

“Because when you talk about class C felonies, you’re talking about burglaries for businesses,” said Cavaco “You’re talking about people stealing your car. You’re talking about theft in the second degree, which is any theft more than $750.”…

said Sen. Karl Rhoads. “We hope that it’s more perfect than the old system in the sense that it saves us a bunch of money. But I would be surprised if the crime rates went up as a result of it.”

ACLU Hawaii, which is pushing for bail reform, said the change does not go far enough…

read … Lawmakers approve changes to cash bail system

Lawmakers appropriate $14M for state Lab plagued by leaky roof, mold problems

HNN: … The lab has played a critical role in testing and analyzing contamination during crises like the Kaloko Dam breach in 2006 and the Ala Wai sewage spill that same year.

But in recent years, the lab has been plagued in recent years by a leaky roof and mold problems.

“The roof leaks badly and on days of really heavy rain, it just pours on through holes,” said a state lab worker, who didn’t want his name to be used for fear of retribution. “There are people I work with who have consistently ... complained about health problems because of the mold.”

He said roof leaks have forced staff to place plastic coverings over sensitive equipment like gas chromatographs.

The state Health Department said no lab operations have been compromised by the damage.

It plans to replace the lab’s roof next year and that mold remediation and other interim fixes were completed last year.

But critics said that even with the $14 million in funding, they doubt the state is committed to operating a state-of-the-art lab.

“I trust nothing unless they revamp, renew the staff, remove the head and get someone that’s committed to doing what’s right,” said environmental activist Carroll Cox.

During the past year, Cox said the state and federal authorities have poured hundreds of millions of dollars in the the Health Department yet the lab was still neglected.

He blames lab director Edward Desmond who he said was also responsible for allowing more $22 million worth of COVID tests to expire….

read … Lawmakers appropriate $14M for state Lab plagued by leaky roof, mold problems

Superfluous Bill targeting plastic microbeads passes

HTH: …Senate Bill 2290, which passed final reading Tuesday, would prohibit the manufacture of products containing microbeads — plastic particles less than 1 millimeter wide — beginning in July, and would ban their sale beginning next year…

In July 2023, all personal care products except for nonprescription drugs containing microbeads would no longer be allowed to be sold in the state. One year later, that ban would extend to nonprescription drugs.

Microbeads are included in some over-the-counter drugs to make them easier to swallow….

SB 2290 has received largely positive testimony throughout its journey through the Legislature, but some organizations — such as the Retail Merchants of Hawaii and the Hawaii Food Industry Association — opposed it on the grounds that it is largely superfluous because of a 2015 bill called the Microbead-Free Waters Act.

The Microbead-Free Waters Act already prohibited the manufacture and sale of both rinse-off cosmetics and cosmetics that are also nonprescription drugs containing microbeads, with the latest of those prohibitions going into effect in 2019. The Act also prohibits state authorities from enacting any restriction on those products that contradicts the Act.

While SB 2290 specifically notes that “nothing in this Act shall be construed to apply to … products exclusively regulated by the … federal Microbead-Free Waters Act,” that leaves little left to actually regulate, wrote Lauren Zirbel, executive director of the Hawaii Food Industry Association.

“(The bill) does not clarify whether or not products that would meet the definition of personal care products contained in the bill, and which contain microbeads, but are not regulated by the (Food and Drug Administration) even exist,” Zirbel wrote. “If such products exist, this measure does not indicate what these products are, what they’re used for, and if they are manufactured or sold in Hawaii presently.”….

read … Superfluous Bill targeting plastic microbeads passes

Council considering stricter term limits for city elected officials

SA: … The Honolulu City Council is considering proposed charter amendments that would impose stricter term limits for Council members, the mayor and the prosecuting attorney, closing off a provision that has allowed some to hold office for more than eight years.

All three offices are currently limited to two consecutive four-year terms, enabling former elected officials to return after a hiatus and run again for office.

Council member Andria Tupola has introduced three resolutions that would remove the word “consecutive” from the term limit provisions in the city charter, so that no one can serve for more than eight years in total…. 

Big Q: Should term limits for City Council, mayor and prosecutor be tightened to a maximum of eight years total?

read … Council considering stricter term limits for city elected officials

Bissen Is Top Fundraiser In Race For Maui Mayor

MN: … Bissen, who noted that his donors “cross all spectrums,” had 15 supporters already donate the limit of $4,000 in the four-month period, including Micah Kane, CEO and president of the Hawaii Community Foundation; Bert A. Kobayashi Jr., CEO of Blacksand Capital, a real estate private equity firm in Hawaii; Patrick K. Kobayashi, chief executive officer at the Kobayashi Group, a privately owned and managed boutique real estate development/investment firm focused solely on Hawaii; and David Ward IV, contractor with DW Ventures and HOPE Builders.

Bissen also received a $4,000 donation from his Santa Clara University classmate Jason T. Higa, CEO of FCH Enterprises, the parent company of Zippy’s, along with nearly $4,000 from former Hawaii governor and Maui County mayor Linda Lingle that included a donation of $3,500 and $400 in nonmonetary contributions, which were food and beverages for a meeting with supporters. Bissen said he has worked with Lingle for a long time and served in her cabinet when she was governor.….

Victorino, meanwhile, received two $4,000 contributions in the last four months, from Mike Israel, owner of Mike’s Hong Kong Bistro, and from the Hawaii Laborers PAC.

Other donations included $2,000 from the Local Union 1186 IBEW PAC Fund along with $2,000 from Hawaii Jewelers in Lahaina….

Molina received $1,000 each from Michael L. Williams and wife Linda Cheryl Love. Williams is part of the Maui Tomorrow Foundation, an environmental and land use watchdog group. All other donations were $250 or less, according to the report….

CB: Former Judge Bissen Is Top Fundraiser In Race For Maui Mayor

read … Early reports show mayoral candidates building big campaign war chests

After HSTA Member Arrested, Parent claims theft is an 'ongoing issue' at Kohala High School

KHON: … Francine Lactaoen claimed both her sons who attend Kohala High had money stolen from their bags in the locker room.

"So I have one son that was missing $300, which he had hidden in his bag. It was his first payroll from work at the time," Lactaoen said.

According to Lactaoen, her other son had $20 missing from his bag, but it's not the amount that concerns her.

"They feel very violated that someone went into their bag," Lactaoen added. "It's not only concerning but very disappointing because they go to school and they trust people at's a small school. Everybody knows each other."

Other parents, Lactaoen shared, told her their kids also fell victim to alleged theft on campus.

"I just hope the right things are going to be done to correct the issue," Lactaoen said.

This complaint comes after Kohala High's athletic director was arrested on suspicion of theft and criminal tampering….

read … Parent claims theft is an 'ongoing issue' at Kohala High School

Can We Stop Illegal Fireworks from Entering Hawai‘i?

HB: … Tens of thousands of fireworks are smuggled in each year. While random searches of shipping containers would help, it won’t be easy or cheap….

read … Can We Stop Illegal Fireworks from Entering Hawai‘i?

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