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Wednesday, March 6, 2024
March 6, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 7:21 PM :: 2877 Views

HB2802: Write Gay Marriage into State Constitution

Blangiardi announces dates for annual town hall meeting tour

'My Vote is for Sale' -- How Biden Lost the American Samoa Democratic Caucus

Feds Collect $6.6M in Hawaii Forfeitures

Hawaii Senate Passes Bill to Legalize Marijuana Despite Ongoing Federal Prohibition

"A move by Senator Donna Mercado Kim to reshape the Board of Regents into her name, image, and likeness"

Maui is Still Waiting: Iniki Building Permits Were Issued Within One Month of Disaster

MN: … The most useful lesson we can learn from the (Sept 11, 1992) Iniki experience is the way Kauai eased the permitting process to allow faster rebuilding. Less than a month after the weather disaster, Kauai County Council officials approved a measure that:

• Waived all building permit fees for hurricane repairs.

• Exempted certain repairs from permit requirements, such as for non-retaining walls; roof replacement that did not include structural parts of the roof; and interior and exterior non-bearing walls, ceilings, floors and windows of single-family homes.

• Established an Office of Emergency Permitting to process permit applications within hours to a few days.

The measure also stated that residents could file for a building permit within 30 days of starting construction, and a streamlined application was made available.

Federal officials worried that letting people rebuild before getting their permits could be unsafe, but county officials stood firm–though they also adopted a measure requiring homes to withstand stronger wind forces.

Five months after the disaster–in February 1993–Kauai lawmakers adopted an emergency ordinance that allowed people to rebuild their homes the way they were before the hurricane, without having to apply for any zoning variances….

it appears that reconstruction after Inkiki took place faster than expected, despite complaints about shoddy rebuilding contractors and frustration among those who had long waits for insurance payouts.

Permitting officials worked hard to keep up with inspections, and many residents remained without permanent housing for some time. But instead of the four years pessimistically predicted by some, rebuilding efforts came closer to the 2½ years predicted by local builders.

In August 1993, less than a year after the hurricane, Kauai had issued approximately 5,357 building permits, including 3,373 for residential and 103 for nonresidential.

By January 1994, 16 months after the hurricane, the number of residential permits issued had increased to 4,500….

GRIH: Kauai disaster recovery holds lessons for Lahaina

RELATED: Right to Rebuild? No Building Permits Issued Since Lahaina Fire

read … Kauai disaster recovery holds lessons for Lahaina

Judge frustrated by slow pace of the Miske trial

Ilind: … Day 32 in the federal racketeering trial of Michael J. Miske Jr., the former owner of Kamaaina Termite and Pest Control, M Nightclub, and several other local businesses, ended with a sudden explosion of frustration.

In recent days, there had been more objections raised by both sides, necessitating on the spot rulings by Judge Derrick Watson, sometimes after lengthy discussions with attorneys out of earshot of the jury, which have further dragged down the already slow pace of the trial.

After hearing hours of testimony from six witnesses on Tuesday, members of the jury were escorted out of the courtroom. Once they were gone, Judge Watson let attorneys know in no uncertain terms that he was unhappy with their performances.

He angrily lashed out, saying he was disgusted by their performance, and blasted them for wasting too much time, and not moving the case along.

Both sides, he said, were continually repeating themselves, asking repetitive questions, and failing to make any significant points.

Watson then abruptly exited the courtroom, leaving stunned silence in his wake….

read … Judge frustrated by slow pace of the Miske trial

HB2079: Kids can order up sex change treatment by telehealth without parental notification

KITV: … A bill at the legislature is creating serious controversy. House Bill 2079 aims to expand telehealth access to people seeking gender-affirming health services. But some believe the bill is a violation of parental rights.

More than a dozen parents rallied at the State Capitol in opposition to the legislation. They said the measure would allow children as young as 14 to have access to gender-affirming changes without parental consent.

If passed, HB 2079 would loosen the requirements for residents who need medication to undergo a gender change.

“At 14, children are not allowed to go to R-rated movies or get tattoos, yet there is push now to let them remove their breasts and other body parts without the consent of their own parents,” said Bob Mcdermott, who lives in Ewa Beach….

HB2079: Text, Status

FOX: Biden administration told by court that the government cannot require employers to pay for trans surgery | Fox News

read … Hawaii lawmakers consider bill allowing telehealth access for those seeking gender-affirming care | Local | kitv.com 

Hawaii May Finally Move In The Right Direction On Parental Rights In Child Welfare Cases

CB: … Hawaii is on the verge of significantly changing the legal process for taking children from their parents when they’re accused of abuse or neglect. The idea is to assure that the crucial and often traumatic step is reviewed more often by a judge….

The vehicle is two almost identical measures, Senate Bill 2245 and House Bill 2428. Both bills were approved by their respective chambers Tuesday and are now crossing over to the other.

As I have written repeatedly, Hawaii is an outlier among Western states in almost never getting judges to approve taking children from their parents when it suspects abuse or neglect. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions govern in Hawaii, has said judicial review of a child removal is required unless there’s reasonable cause to believe a child will be seriously injured before that can happen and there’s no reasonable alternative….

So what would these bills do?

For one thing, they would get rid of an absurd provision of Hawaii law, so nonsensical it that must have been a mistake. It defines “imminent harm” as the possibility that a child will be injured in the next 90 days. Compare that to other states that define imminent harm as potential danger in the next few hours.

“That standard may result in children being removed from their homes without a court order more often than is necessary,” the Department of Human Services, the parent agency of Child Welfare Services, wrote in testimony for one of the bills.

As it stands now, police can remove a child if they believe the danger to the child is “exigent” — about to happen, in other words. That does occur. But often, the state’s Child Welfare Services decides that it wants to take a child from the parents and gets the police to do it, since they’re the only ones with the legal authority to do so without a court order….

BACKGROUND: Federal Court Ruling Outlines Hawaii CWS Kidnapping, Conspiracy

read … Hawaii May Finally Move In The Right Direction On Parental Rights In Child Welfare Cases

Divided state Senate rejects Nahale-a for 2nd term as UH regent

SA: … The state Senate today voted 13-12 to reject Alapaki Nahale-a for a second term on the University of Hawaii Board of Regents.

State Senate Higher Education Chairperson Donna Mercado Kim said during her remarks on the Senate floor that her five-member committee voted unanimously to oppose Nahale-a because he did not exercise accountability for the university or advocate adequately for students (bow before the Queen Bee) ….

CB: Hawaii Senate Narrowly Votes Against Confirmation Of UH Regent

read … Divided state Senate rejects Nahale-a for 2nd term as UH regent

As telescopes are removed, Maunakea authority accomplishes almost nothing

HTH: … One year after forming, the MKSOA board has made slow progress toward that transition, but Chair John Komeiji is optimistic that the pace should pick up later this year.

“The entire focus of the last year has been building internal capacity,” Komeiji said, explaining that for most of 2023, the MKSOA has had no actual employees, leaving the body’s volunteer board to manage every aspect of the authority. “The board members have had to do things like drafting documents on their own.”

In September 2023, the MKSOA hired its first employee, an executive assistant. And on Thursday, the board approved the nomination of John De Fries as the agency’s first executive director, which Komeiji said should speed up the hiring process for additional employees.

“We did get $14 million from the state Legislature,” Komeiji said. “So, we do have resources, but the challenge has been understanding how the state system works and getting to where we can actually get that money.”

However, Komeiji acknowledged the board is well aware of the July 2028 deadline to complete the transition — although he noted that the five-year transition period didn’t actually begin until July 2023 — and initiated three projects to inform future decisions well before the appointment of De Fries.

Those projects, he said, include the formation of a joint committee of both MKSOA board members and UH regents to adjudicate potential disputes between the two organizations about how the mountain should be co-managed during the transition period.

BACKGROUND:  No Money for Mauna Kea? Science Foundation Funds only one Giant Telescope

read … The clock is ticking for Maunakea authority

State House tees up bill to kill Aloha Stadium redevelopment

SA: … The state House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill to scuttle the redevelopment project in favor of building a less costly stadium on the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus.

Under House Bill 2664, $400 million in previously approved taxpayer funding to redevelop Aloha Stadium in Halawa through a public-­private partnership under a pending solicitation for competitive bids would be canceled, and $211 million would instead be appropriated for UH to build a new stadium on its flagship campus.

State administrators involved in the Aloha Stadium project oppose the bill, as does the university’s chief financial officer.

Still, a majority of House members decided to pass the bill Tuesday on a 35-14 vote that will send the measure to the Senate for consideration. Four of the favorable votes were made with reservations, and two House members were excused….

read … State House tees up bill to kill Aloha Stadium redevelopment

HPD officer accused of ignoring plea for help before woman’s brutal murder is fired

HNN: … There are new developments in the case of a woman brutally beaten to death two years ago on the steps of the Kapolei Police Station.

A judge has dismissed a federal complaint that claimed the city along with certain police officers were liable for the death of Linda Johnson. That decision is now being appealed.

Meanwhile, the Honolulu Police Department confirms it recently fired a desk officer who a witness claims ignored his request to help Johnson just minutes before her murder.

HPD says Officer Sandy Cesar was terminated on Feb. 12.…

read … HPD officer accused of ignoring plea for help before woman’s brutal murder is fired

Honolulu settles lawsuit over fatal shooting for $525K

SA: … “As a result of mediation, the parties were able to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the Thomas lawsuit,” said Scott Humber, communications director for the office of Mayor Rick Blangiardi, in a statement to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers noted that the city’s decision to “limit its legal liability by settling a lawsuit does not change the fundamental facts in this case.”…

On the afternoon of Feb. 20, 2019, Kyle Thomas, his girlfriend and a friend were shopping at the Walmart in Mililani. As the trio left the parking lot, they were stopped by plainclothes Crime Reduction Unit officers in unmarked police vehicles.

Police alleged that Thomas fit the description of a shoplifting suspect and refused commands to stop….

read … Honolulu settles lawsuit over fatal shooting for $525K | Honolulu Star-Advertiser (staradvertiser.com)

Thousands In Hawaii With Arrest Records For Marijuana Possession Could Have Them Expunged

CB: … Over 36,000 people in Hawaii arrested for possessing less than 3 grams of marijuana before that offense was decriminalized in 2019 could have all or part of their criminal records expunged at no cost if legislation to amend the state’s criminal statutes succeeds.

House Bill 1595, which passed the full House on Tuesday and now heads to the Senate, would create a free state-initiated process for certain criminal records to be expunged over time, including for those arrested or convicted for promoting a detrimental drug in the third degree.

More than 52,000 arrest records under that statute exist in the state’s criminal data repository, but only 10,000 of those arrests resulted in convictions, the House Judiciary Committee was told during an informational briefing on Friday….

read … Thousands In Hawaii With Arrest Records For Marijuana Possession Could Have Them Expunged

Appeal continues for ambulance rides that went uncharged

KHON: … Councilmember Radiant Cordero asked Ireland if the charges had been recovered by the city during a joint budget and public safety meeting. She asked, “Has that been recovered from July 2022 to October 2022?”

Dr. Ireland responded, “To answer your question those are under appeal we’re waiting for the Medicare to answer the appeal if we can do and collect those older billings.”

The Honolulu Emergency Services Department said that amount is still to be determined, but Ireland said about 70 to 80% of ambulance transports are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, those costs are between $300 and $600. EMS averages more than 8,800 ambulance rides a month, which leaves millions of dollars on the line.

“There’s a chance that we could get all of it back, but the state knew I think with the transfer of billing companies and procurement that the delay in getting a new company and being able to retroactively bill could be an issue,” said Ireland. “And that’s why they gave us a stipend of initially almost roughly 9 million dollars.”…

Ireland said there is no timeline for when the appeal process will be finalized with Medicare. …

RELATED: Loss of $192M? Honolulu EMS forgot to bill ambulance patients for over a year

RELATED: EMS lost $33M after failing to bill patients?

read … Appeal continues for ambulance rides that went uncharged (khon2.com)

Lahaina Fire News:

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