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Saturday, February 4, 2023
February 4, 2023 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 4:32 PM :: 1692 Views

Committee recommends dissolution of Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hawaii committee OKs proposed constitutional amendment on abortion

Lawmakers eye tax relief proposals as residents grapple with rising costs for medical care, groceries

HNN: … Hawaii lawmakers began giving preliminary approval to major tax breaks Friday, including repealing the excise tax on groceries and on doctors who serve low-income and elderly patients in small clinics.

Those examples are seen as ways that the excise tax system is regressive and at times harmful to vulnerable residents.

The state Senate Human Services Committee approved Senate Bill 1035, an excise tax exemption for doctors serving Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare beneficiaries.

It also heard from doctors who said that while hospitals and large clinics are already exempt from paying the 4.5% excise tax, small practices and clinics must pay it ― and are not allowed to pass it on to the patients with government insurance.

Hilo Radiologist Dr. Scott Grosskreutz spoke for the Hawaii Provider Shortage Crisis Task Force.

“With skyrocketing inflation rates and decreasing reimbursements every year, there are a lot practices on the verge of going under,” he said, mentioning some Hawaii Island clinics specifically.

“They are basically losing 10s of thousands of dollars despite the fact they are very busy,” Grosskreutz said. ….

The exemption still faces two more committees in the Senate, but was among the first tax measures to win early support.

The House Economic Development Committee pushed forward bills that would:

  • Establish a $500 child tax credit per child for families with incomes under $60,000;
  • Raise to increase and expand eligibility for the food tax credit;
  • And repeal of the excise tax on groceries.

The grocery exemption was supported by the Hawaii Food Industry Association. Executive Director Lauren Zirbel pointed out the bill would only exempt non-prepared food items, meaning prepared foods and restaurant meals would still be taxed.

Zirbel said Hawaii is one of very few states that tax basic food supplies.

“So it truly is regressive to tax these items because people actually need this to live and lower income individuals spend a much higher percentage of their income on groceries than higher income individuals,” she said…. 

NB: Hawaii Legislature considers HB1050 to exempt groceries, health products from taxes

KITV:  Health care crisis worsens as more nurses leave home health care for hospital jobs

read … Lawmakers eye tax relief proposals as residents grapple with rising costs for medical care, groceries

Agenda 2023: Hawaii Legislature Transgender Bills

KHON: … As a handful of states in the U.S. move to institutionalize hate and oppression, (Translation: Refuse to sex-change their kids) Hawai’i, which is actively bucking the trend, is set to become one of the most proactively supportive states for LGBTQ2+ citizens.

The Stonewall Caucus announced today that its work with the Hawai’i Legislature has produced more pro-LGBTQIA+ bills than in any other single year in the the state of Hawai’i’s history. This was as of Jan. 25.

On Friday, Feb. 3, the Senate’s Committee on Judiciary announced more pro-LGBTQ2+ that will be heard on Thursday, Feb. 9. The committee is chaired by Sen. Karl Rhoads.

“The Stonewall Caucus is extremely excited for the direction that the 2023 Legislative session is headed. From the number and diversity of the pro-LGBTQIA+ bills to the fact some of them have already received a hearing, we are hopefully optimistic for a historic outcome from this legislative session.” said Michael Golojuch, Jr. chair of the Stonewall Caucus.

SB 109 – This bill replaces gender-specific terminology used in adoption and divorce matters with gender-neutral terminology.

SB 110 – Is a bill that requires gender-specific terminology used in adoption and divorce matters to be construed in a gender-neutral manner.

SB 130 – This bill allows state courts discretion not to enforce a child custody determination of a foreign country if the law of the foreign country imposes capital punishment for apostasy, religious or political beliefs, or homosexuality, and a parent or child demonstrates risk of being subject to the law. The bill defines “apostasy”. The definition for apostasy in general terms is when a person departs from the religion, principles, party, cause, etc… that they once held.

SB 944 – This bill extends and modifies the task force established to recommend amendments to update existing parentage laws that reflect outdated, cis-heteronormative concepts of families, parenthood and parental rights to Dec. 31, 2024. The definition of cis-heteronormative in general terms is a person who embraces typical binary tropes for identity purposes….

read … Hawaiʻi embraces diversity in 2023 legislative session

Money News: Fuel spill reignites activist histrionics over military’s land lease

MN: … A Native Hawaiian advocacy group is calling for the state to cancel the Maui Space Surveillance System’s lease when it expires in 2031, following a mechanical issue that released 700 gallons of diesel fuel at the summit of Haleakala earlier this week.

The incident, which comes in the wake of fuel spills at military facilities on other islands in the past two years, has reignited the longstanding debate over the military’s use of land and the location of defense and research facilities on the summit of mountaintops that many Native Hawaiians consider sacred.

“Kanaka Maoli have consistently protested the construction of these telescopes on sacred Haleakala,” the organization Kako’o Haleakala said in a statement on Friday afternoon. “This negligence, along with similar incidents concerning toxic chemical contamination at Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, O’ahu, and Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawai’i Island, shows the incompetence of the United States Department of Defense to protect the most sacred sites of our wao Akua.”

The latest fuel spill at Haleakala “proves precisely why the State of Hawai’i should cancel (charge more rent on) this lease and others,” said the group, which launched a change.org petition to lobby against renewing the Maui Space Surveillance System’s lease in 2031….

read … Fuel spill reignites debate over military’s land lease

DNA testing leaves Dana Ireland murder unsolved

SA: … Hawaii Police Chief Benjamin Moscowicz said in a Jan. 26 written statement on the murder investigation, “It is important that the public knows that while we may not have shared it publicly, Hawaii Police Department has never stopped trying to identify Unknown Male #1 and has used additional DNA testing over the years to exclude numerous potential persons of interest.”…

He said that there have been many DNA samples put into the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS, over the past 32 years, but there have been “no concrete leads who the contributor is at this time.”…

Honolulu police started participating in the CODIS program in late 2001, said HPD spokesperson Michelle Yu. “At that time, Hawaii state law (ONLY) allowed for DNA collections from individuals convicted of sexual assault and homicide.”…

(So if the perp has only a Hawaii criminal record and has never been charged with murder or rape, then the DNA will not be on file.)

read … DNA testing leaves Dana Ireland murder unsolved

Legislative Agenda: 

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