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Saturday, February 3, 2024
February 3, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 3:22 PM :: 1044 Views

DCCA Dumps Mis-Named 'Innovation Lab': Crypto Suddenly Deregulated

Alaska and Hawaii Delegations Seek Medicare Reimbursement Flexibility for Rural Hospitals

Kalani HS Wins 2024 Hawaiʻi LifeSmarts State Competition

HB 106: Mayors to be Judge, Jury, Executioner?

DHS Expands Preschool Open Doors Program to Age 3

HIDOE seeks feedback on revising student journalism policy

HB2700: How Much Will Taxpayers Fork Out to Protect Hawaiian Electric from Litigation Over Wildfire Damage?

CB: … Two state House committees advanced a bill on Friday to create a fund that would help shield large property owners, utilities such as Hawaiian Electric and the state from lawsuits over property damage caused by future wildfires.

Several lawmakers expressed misgivings about the bill, in part because of concerns about how much the state would be expected to kick in to help launch the fund.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said he introduced House Bill 2700 at the request of Hawaiian Electric, but said Friday there are many unanswered questions about the measure. For example, the bill as introduced leaves blank the amounts that both HECO and state taxpayers would contribute to the fund….

(CLUE: Ratepayers or taxpayers: One way or the other you will be made to pay.) 

Big Q: Should Hawaiian Electric be shielded from liability in event of future natural disasters/ severe weather?

HB 2700: Text, Status

read … HECO-Backed Bill Would Help Protect Utilities From Litigation Over Wildfire Damage

Cover-Up: After Four Years of Stalling, HART Board scrapping internal audit

SA: … HART’s Internal Audit Committee Chair Edwin Young on Friday said he believed the board of directors’ nearly year-old authorization to procure internal auditing services for the rail agency should be canceled until a better option can be created (hell freezes over)….

Young’s request to rescind the board’s prior decision — via Resolution 1, which in part states that the existing “scope of serv­ices” for a future internal auditor were “incompatible” and “redundant”— was also based on the city having about 42 full-time equivalent positions “performing the same functions that are listed in the scope of services.”  Young said those positions included the Honolulu Ethics Commission as well as the city’s Internal Control Division, “which takes care of the hot line calls.” ….

(TRANSLATION: We know this audit will not go well for us.)

Young’s request to cancel this particular internal audit service rankled board member Natalie Iwasa, who claimed she’d been pushing for a full-scale review of HART’s inner workings for years.

“I just can’t believe it wasn’t established in the very beginning because we have a $10 billion project,” said Iwasa, “and as the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners points out, organizations of all kinds have experienced approximately 5% loss of revenues annually, and one way to mitigate that risk is to have an internal audit function and a hotline.”

She added that “those two methods alone account for over 50% of frauds that are discovered.”

“So I am just really frustrated with this, not with that fact that Edwin is bringing this up, but if you understand the history, this board has discussed the internal audit function for four years now,” she said, adding a prior peer review comprising outside rail company directors was conducted, which yielded a detailed report. “The HART board adopted rules based on their report. The procurement was based on their report, and a lot of it is word for word.”

She added that although the board followed those recommendations, “at no point in the entire process did anyone say, ‘Hey, wait a minute, this goes against the Charter.’ … So while I understand what we’re doing, I just wanted to express my frustration because this has just taken so long.”…

Ultimately, the committee recommended the full HART board cancel its prior solicitation for internal auditing services.

read … HART mulls scrapping internal audit

Legislator Proposes Ban on Public Mask Wearing

SA: … New bills introduced this legislative session by West Oahu lawmakers aim to address various issues that contribute to ongoing serious crime in Waianae Coast neighborhoods.

Proposed bills could establish one-year minimum imprisonment for possession of an unregistered or prohibited gun, ban the wearing of ski masks in public and raise fines for criminal littering….

read … West Oahu legislators proffer bills to reduce crime

Artificial Intelligence: Legislators Threatened by Competition?

IM: … Artificial Intelligence raises numerous issues of accuracy, bias, credibility, errors, digital divide, ethics, plagiarism, academic integrity. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can produce many different types of work including music, video, text, images, and code.

The funniest or saddest errors may be by lawyers who submit briefs with fake cases and/or mischaracterization of what legal decisions stated….

Senator Dela Cruz introduced SB2284, and Representative Ichiyama introduced HB1924. The University of Hawaii shall use artificial intelligence to establish and implement a two-year program to forecast the risk of wildfire statewide to enhance public safety, preparedness, and risk mitigation, including improving the preparedness of firefighters and enabling residents to take proactive fire mitigation measures for their homes and plan for evacuations….

Two bills -- SB2572 introduced by Senator Gabbard and HB2176 was introduced by Representative Perruso -- propose the creation of an Office of Artificial Intelligence Safety and Regulation within the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. …

Senators Rhoads and McKelvey introduced SB2687 to regulate the use of deepfake and generative AI technologies to influence elections is necessary to protect the democratic process in the State, noting that several other states, including Michigan, Minnesota, and Washington, have enacted similar legislation governing the use of AI elections.

Senators Rhoads and McKelvey also introduced SB2396 to prohibit the distribution of electioneering communications before an election that a person knows or should have known are deceptive and fraudulent deepfakes of a candidate or party.

SB2396 provides three definitions…

read … Hawai`i Legislature Tackles Artificial Intelligence

'Starting the conversation' -- Maui officials consider launching intra-county ferry system

KITV: …  Traveling between Maui County’s three islands may become a bit easier if transportation officials move forward with an idea to launch a new ferry system. The proposal is still in its early stages, as county transportation leaders are beginning to consider whether the move would be possible.

The Maui County Department of Transportation recently began soliciting proposals for a study looking into the feasibility of a county-wide ferry system.

"Depending on what this feasibility study brings back, and whether or not the council decides to move forward with it, I think it’s at least starting the conversation to open up other possibilities," Department of Transportation Deputy Director Kauanoe Batangan shared. …

read … 'Starting the conversation': Maui officials consider launching inter-county ferry system

Oregon high court says 10 GOP state senators who staged long walkout can’t run for reelection

HNN: …  The Oregon Supreme Court said Thursday that 10 Republican state senators who staged a record-long walkout last year to stall bills on abortion, transgender health care and gun rights cannot run for reelection.

The decision upholds the secretary of state’s decision to disqualify the senators from the ballot under a voter-approved measure aimed at stopping such boycotts. Measure 113, passed by voters in 2022, amended the state constitution to bar lawmakers from reelection if they have more than 10 unexcused absences.

Last year’s boycott lasted six weeks — the longest in state history — and paralyzed the legislative session, stalling hundreds of bills….

Five lawmakers sued over the secretary of state’s decision — Sens. Tim Knopp, Daniel Bonham, Suzanne Weber, Dennis Linthicum and Lynn Findley. They were among the 10 GOP senators who racked up more than 10 absences.

“We obviously disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Knopp, the chamber’s minority leader. “But more importantly, we are deeply disturbed by the chilling impact this decision will have to crush dissent.”…

AP: Boycott Stalled bill on ‘Gender Affirming Care’ -- (AKA: teenage boy castration)

read … Oregon high court says 10 GOP state senators who staged long walkout can’t run for reelection

Former Schofield soldier is ordered jailed in Jan. 6 attack

SA: … A former Schofield Barracks soldier sentenced to three years in prison and dishonorably discharged from the Army for killing an unarmed Iraqi cow herder 20 years ago was ordered jailed for assaulting police officers with a metal baton at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Edward L. Richmond Jr., 40, of Geismar, La, was deemed a danger to the community by a U.S. District Judge in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, according to federal court documents.

He is charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon and inflicting bodily injury on certain officers, civil disorder, entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, disorderly and disruptive conduct, engaging in physical violence, violent entry and disorderly conduct….

According to a Sept. 5 federal criminal complaint, on Jan. 12, 2021, an FBI agent reviewing social media videos of the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol identified “an individual with a police baton assaulting police officers in the Lower West Terrace entrance of the Capitol (known as ‘the tunnel’).”

“The individual was wearing a helmet, goggles, shoulder pads, and a Louisiana State Flag patch on his chest. This individual also carried an orange two-way radio on his chest. Based on this video footage, the agent added this individual to an FBI wanted poster,” read the affidavit by an FBI agent.

Footage reviewed by the FBI also allegedly shows Richmond trying to pull a fallen police officer away from an entrance. He is also seen carrying a large wooden plank, throwing broken chairs out windows and whipping a large whiteboard at officers.

On Feb. 9, 2021, a “sedition hunter” identified the man as his former neighbor, Richmond….

read … Former Schofield soldier is ordered jailed in Jan. 6 attack

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