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Monday, July 1, 2024
July 1, 2024 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 8:13 PM :: 739 Views

Supreme Court rules for broad presidential immunity in Donald Trump election subversion case

Green Announces Appointments, Creates Insurance Task Force

Green Signs 35 Bills Into Law

Hawaii Congressional Delegation How They Voted June 29, 2024

Federal Court Whittles Down Hawaii Voter Roll Lawsuit

Former HART Board Members Violated Sunshine Law By Discussing $1M Hanabusa ‘Consulting’ Contract In Private

CB: … Three key board members overseeing Honolulu’s Skyline transit construction violated state open meeting laws when they traded emails about hiring Colleen Hanabusa to a lucrative consultant contract before discussing the proposal in an open meeting, the Office of Information Practices ruled last week.

When the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation’s board finally did take up Hanabusa’s potential hiring at its Dec. 17, 2020 meeting, the discussion took place under a vague agenda item described as a “budget reapportionment.” It made no mention of hiring a new consultant. 

That denied the public a chance to properly weigh in on the potential hiring, further violating the state’s Sunshine Law on open meetings, OIP determined. The agency found that board members did not intend to withhold information from the public, even though several of their emails inquired about how much they would actually need to disclose to the public during open session.

The agency’s June 25 decision comes nearly three years after HART board members, amid growing public scrutiny, abandoned their attempt to hire Hanabusa as an outside consultant under a contract that would have been worth almost $1 million for up to six years to help find more funding for the cash-strapped transit project.

Instead, Hanabusa opted to rejoin the unpaid HART board, which she had previously sat on and chaired in 2015 and 2016. She now serves as the group’s chair again ….

REALITY: www.TheRealHanabusa.com

read … Former HART Board Members Violated Sunshine Law By Discussing Consulting Contract In Private

First Amendment Groups Oppose Veto Of Bill To Limit Governor's Power To Cut Off Electronic Media In Emergencies

CB: … A local media watchdog, a TV and radio trade organization and a nonprofit that promotes government transparency are each expressing serious concerns with one of the bills Hawaii’s governor has threatened to veto.

House Bill 2581, currently awaiting action by Gov. Josh Green, would take away the ability of a governor or county mayor to suspend electronic media transmission during a state of emergency.

The bill specifically cuts these words from Hawaii law regarding a governor’s or mayor’s powers during an emergency: “to the extent permitted by or under federal law, suspend electronic media transmission.”

The Big Island Press Club said that HB 2581, if signed into law, will ensure “a reasoned and balanced measure” that satisfies the public’s right to know while acknowledging emergency management agency concerns.

The Hawaii Association of Broadcasters said the statute as currently written is unconstitutional and represents “prior restraint” or censorship. The First Amendment prohibits abridging freedom of speech and the press ….

SA: Editorial: Executive power has its info limits

read … First Amendment Groups Oppose Veto Of Bill To Limit Governor's Power To Cut Off Electronic Media In Emergencies

City Council Tinkers with Bill 7 affordable rental housing incentives

SA: … By November, Lam, along with partners Greg Thielen and Evan Amakata, completed a 26-unit Makiki-area development that was deemed Hono­lulu’s second, but their first, affordable rental housing project constructed under the auspices of Bill 7.

Constructed in prefabricated concrete in under nine months, the building at 1427 Ernest St. offers 24 studio apartments and two one- bedroom units on a more than 5,300-square-foot property. Lam’s group has two similar projects nearby.

“It feels like we’re being punished for producing two out of the three projects that we have finished so far that we have happy tenants in, grateful tenants,” Lam told the zoning panel. “And we, according to this bill, would receive one-third of the grant money that a 300-square-foot unit (or greater) would get. So I don’t think there is equity in the amount of grants.”

Later, Dos Santos-­Tam said part of the issue was “we don’t want to incentivize every single unit to be tiny — to squeeze as much grants out of the program — but I just heard from Mr. Lam, in his previous projects, it’s not as if every single unit is under 300 square feet.”…

read … City Council’s affordable rental housing bill advances

Urgent Care: Minding the gap! A local medical history

HTH: … In 2002, we noted my orthopedic patients were having a hard time getting in to their primary care physician, PCPs. Our community docs were aging, retiring, leaving … and replacements were thin. Those left standing were overwhelmed with patients.

If sick or lightly injured, patients might not get an appointment for many days, leaving the ER as the only alternative. Hilo Medical Center ER is the second-busiest ER in Hawaii, second only to Queens. Wait times can be very long. It’s costly to have resources and skills available 24/7, 365 days a year, for saving lives, severe trauma, so every ER visit is expensive. Very expensive.

(Physician shortages have increased since, making the need worse. Last year’s annual University of Hawaii Hawaii Physician Workforce Assessment shows the Big Island short 206 docs, up from 183 in 2022, increasing its entire history. Why are the docs not here anymore? Because they work too hard and get paid too little to be here.) ….

Dr. Edward Gutteling is the team orthopedic surgeon for UH-Hilo Vulcan Athletics and one of the last endangered free-range Big Island orthopedic surgeons. This editorial is brought to you by Community First Hawaii a nonprofit serving as a convener and catalyst for solutions to improve health and access to health care. For more information, please visit our website at www.communityfirsthawaii.org or Facebook and Instagram pages at @communityfirsthawaii.

read … Urgent Care: Minding the gap! A local medical history

The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is an Enigma

IM: … The Public Utilities Commission stated in its first Annual Report, issued in 1914, that the public does not understand them. That has been true for more than a century.

Without approval from the Public Utilities Commission, a renewable energy company such as Hu Honua can build a power plant, sign a Power Purchase Agreement with a utility, sell electricity to the utility, and then the utility can deliver free electricity to customers.

Free, since charging customers can only occur after the Commission has determined that the Power Purchase Agreement is reasonable and in the public interest.

Traditionally, it was all about rates. Recent Hawaii Supreme Court cases have reinforced the need for the Commission to address a host of impacts caused by energy infrastructure: environmental, cultural, public trust, etc., especially when these issues are raised by intervenors who supply supporting documentation and testimony.

The Public Utilities Commission implements policies, largely through contested case regulatory proceedings.

read … The Hawai`i Public Utilities Commission is an Enigma

Hawaii Crypto Firms Exempt From MTL Requirements

CD: … Crypto firms in Hawaii no longer need a Money Transmitter License (MTL) to operate a business in the state. While exempt from the MTL requirement, firms must still comply with all federal licensing laws. …

NR: Hawai‘i Digital Currency Innovation Lab Concludes, Public Reminded to be Aware of Risks While Investing in Digital Currency (hawaii.gov)

read … Hawaii Crypto Firms Exempt From MTL Requirements

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