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Legislators ‘Rough Up’ Ikaika Anderson, Prepare to reject Appointment
SA: … The relationship between the state Legislature and new Gov. Josh Green’s administration is off to a bumpy start even before the 32nd legislative session begins Wednesday.
State senators roughed up Green’s nominee to lead the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands at a joint hearing of the Senate Ways and Means and Hawaiian Affairs committees last week, calling Ikaika Anderson and his staff unprepared to explain how they plan to spend $600 million in historic funding to help fulfill the promise of getting Hawaiian homes beneficiaries into housing.
Before 2022 even ended, House Speaker Scott Saiki and Senate President Ron Kouchi made it clear that there will be disagreements over details of many of Green’s ambitious goals, and Kouchi emphasized that the Senate will not be a rubber stamp when Green’s Cabinet appointees — including Anderson — come up for Senate confirmation….
read … Hawaii Legislature already testing Gov. Josh Green’s agenda
When the Legislature passed the Sunshine Law it exempted itself
CB: … House and Senate rules determine how committees operate. Both the House Rules and Senate Rules require committee meetings to be public meetings.
Since these are public meetings, one might think that discussions among committee members would be held in public, and that people attending the meeting would be able to hear what they say. Unfortunately, that is usually not the case….
The discussion among committee members is not public because the common practice is for the committee chair to call a recess before the discussion. During the recess, committee members discuss the bills.
However, they don’t speak into their microphones, and they are so far from people attending the hearing that they cannot be heard by the public.
When their discussion is concluded, committee members use their microphones again, the committee chair calls the hearing back into session, makes a recommendation on each bill (presumably based on the private discussion), and the committee votes on each recommendation.
Technically, the discussion is not held during the hearing since it occurs during a recess, so the letter of the House Rules and Senate Rules is followed….
It should be noted that the Legislature can operate in this manner because it is the only state or county agency that is exempt from Hawaii’s Sunshine Law. Even the county councils, which are the legislative bodies of the counties, must comply with the Sunshine Law. When the Legislature passed the Sunshine Law in 1975, the Legislature exempted itself….
read … Require Hawaii Lawmakers To Discuss Bills In Public
Sen. Gabbard to push for Green Amendment
TGI: … Gabbard, who represents District 21, which includes Fernandez Village, Ewa, Kapolei, Makakilo and Kalaeloa on O‘ahu, alongside state Rep. Amy Perruso, who represents District 46, which includes a portion of Waipi‘o Acres, Wahiawa, Whitmore Village and Mokule‘ia on O‘ahu, and activist Maya van Rossum, presented the proposed amendment during the monthly Kaua‘i Climate Action Forum virtual meeting on Jan. 11….
Currently, three states have implemented similar “Green Amendments” — Pennsylvania, Montana and, most recently, New York, in 2022. Since enacting these amendments, all three states have seen legal challenges based in environmental rights as ensured by the amendments….
For Gabbard’s efforts to succeed, the bill would have to reach a two-thirds majority in both legislative chambers and pass the governor’s desk before going to a public vote on the state’s 2024 ballot….
Gabbard has introduced bills promoting the adoption of a Green Amendment twice before, in 2021 and 2022. The first attempt passed the Senate but died in the House, while the second attempt failed to pass the Senate — its companion bill in the House also failed….
read … Sen. Gabbard to push for Green Amendment
Red Hill task force takes full control of ‘all activities’ at Site
SA: … Joint Task Force Red Hill, the military organization tasked with defueling the massive fuel tanks at the Navy’s underground Red Hill fuel facility, has expanded its scope of operations after a spill of toxic firefighting foam in November. Vice Adm. John Wade, the officer leading the task force, made the announcement during a panel at the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Council Partnership Conference on Wednesday.
JTF Red Hill originally was formed to focus entirely on defueling the tanks, which sit just 100 feet above a critical aquifer that most of Honolulu depends on for drinking water, with the shutdown of the facility and day-to-day operations of the site being handled by other military organizations and contractors.
“Now, not one activity occurs in that building without a review by my team and approval by me,” said Wade. “If any activity has high risk, there’s a concept of operations that’s briefed to me personally. And if it says a significant level, it is briefed to Admiral (John) Aquilino with a report to the secretary of defense.”
Wade said that he also has requested more manpower on the site to provide more oversight of day-to-day operations of the facility, telling attendees at the conference “there has not been what I would call sufficient controls … there have been activities throughout the facility, again, all well-intentioned, but by different organizations with no integrated schedule. And that is a challenge risk to safety, to personnel, and also for potential mishaps.”…
SA Column: Instead of protecting residents, Navy put them in danger
HNN: Environmental activists speak out on EPA’s proposed Red Hill consent order
read … Red Hill task force expands scope after toxic foam spill
Will Council Vote to Clear Knife-Wielding Homeless Drug Addicts from School Grounds?
SA: … A story told of parents dropping their children off at Waipahu Elementary School only to be threatened by a knife-wielding couple living at a homeless encampment next to the campus has prompted one elected official to seek even greater enforcement of the city’s controversial “sit-lie” ordinances.
“I recognize that sit-lie enforcement may not be viewed as the most compassionate way of dealing with our growing homeless population,” Council member Augie Tulba told the Honolulu City Council’s Public Safety Committee last week. “But the safety of our students and young kids are paramount and I believe that enforcement in this type of situation is warranted.”
Ultimately, the committee agreed, voting Thursday to recommend launching a pilot program to allow for the safe passage of children around public schools and also suggesting stiffer penalties, such as jail time for homeless people who obstruct walkways or threaten pedestrians in parts of the city, including Waikiki….
The full Council is expected on Jan. 25 to review the proposed expansion of so-called sit-lie laws aimed primarily at preventing the homeless from camping, sleeping or obstructing sidewalks and other public areas.
Expanded under former Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s administration in 2017 primarily to clear large homeless encampments, sit-lie ordinances now mainly cover business-oriented areas….
read … Council considers tougher ‘sit-lie’ enforcement near schools
Captain Cook fire station illegally renamed without public input
HTH: … The Captain Cook Fire Station will be renamed the Kealakekua Fire Station in a ceremony on Tuesday.
North Kona Councilman Holeka Inaba spearheaded the name change for Hawaii Fire Department Station 6 to give the Hawaii County facility a moniker proper to the area and to further a stalled 2022 effort by fellow Big Island lawmaker, state House Rep. Jeanne Kapela, to urge the federal government to re-designate the town of Captain Cook as Ka‘awaloa, as the area was known before Western contact….
The official change of the station’s name, which also appears on the fire trucks and ambulances it houses, comes without public input, a move that elected and other county officials say is permitted, but has raised eyebrows among some community members, including a former councilwoman and two lawyers familiar with council and government procedure.
Captain Cook resident Brenda Ford, who represented South Kona for eight years on the County Council before being term-limited in 2014, said any renaming of a county facility needs to be done consistently, and include public input.
“This needs to be put out to the public,” she said. “There are more long term ramifications to this. I object to the fact that it wasn’t brought before council. There is a decision being made in a vacuum. This is not proper. We need open government. We need transparency.”
Previous changes of names of county facilities have gone before the council, where the public is afforded the opportunity to chime in and all is recorded, archives and council records show.
Most recently, Bill 212 made its way through committees and the council last fall to rename in County Code the Pahoa District Park in honor of the late William “Billy” Kenoi. In 2016, renaming the Makalei Fire Station also went before the council with a resolution to rename the North Kona facility the Makalei Fire Station and Daniel R. Sayre West Hawaii Training Center….
Fire Chief Kazuo Todd said he wasn’t involved in the renaming process, and assumed there was public input before signing off on the name change….
Mayor Mitch Roth verified the station could be renamed without a resolution from council, and at the mayor’s discretion.
“We determined that under current rules there does not need to be a public hearing, although probably that would have been a little bit better had it been done that way,” he said. “This is a manini thing in the way the process was done. We are going to be fixing the process.”
Ford called the exercise of power without input a “slippery slope.”
“There is a legislative process. There is due process. To exercise power without authority is unconstitutional,” added an attorney and former judge familiar with council procedure who asked to remain anonymous due to their continued practice. “What the mayor is doing obfuscates the law.”
read … Name change raises eyebrows: South Kona fire station renamed without public input