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Thursday, January 24, 2013
January 24, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:01 PM :: 4598 Views

Eco-Friendly? Reusable Shopping Bags Poisoning Our Oceans

Does Senate Bill 219 turn your Daddy’s Duck Gun into an Assault Weapon?

Survey: 195 Patients in Hospitals Waiting for Long Term Care Beds

Health Insuance: Hawaii Has One of Lowest Rejection Rates in Nation

Sen Sam Slom Releases Agenda for 2013

Rep. Thielen Wants to Make Shoreline Access Law Permanent

Gallup: Obama's Fourth Year in Office Ties as Most Polarized Ever

HCDA to Become New PLDC: Governor wants firms to develop public land with state

SA: The Abercrombie administration wants state lawmakers to create a new development authority for state harbors and parks that would partner with the private sector on recreational and leisure projects to bring new revenue for the state.

The proposal is similar to the administration's 21st-century schools initiative to develop underused public school land and use the revenue to modernize schools. Both concepts are attempts to find more politically palatable strategies to develop public land in the wake of the backlash against the Public Land Development Corp.

The development authority for harbors and parks would be governed by a five-member board similar to the PLDC, but would not have the same regulatory exemptions. The new authority would be able to tap into the expertise of staff at the Hawaii Community Development Authority, which oversees redevelopment in Kakaako and Kalaeloa. The administration, which was in discussion with lawmakers about an educational facilities trust to develop public school land, also now prefers going through the HCDA in the 21st-century schools initiative.

Harbors/Parks: HB942 / SB1173

Schools: HB865 / SB1096

read … Shell Game

Gay ‘Marriage’ Bills Introduced in Legislature

HRC: legislation was introduced this morning in both the Hawaii State House and Senate. If successful, Hawaii would be the 10th state in the union to allow marriage for any couple….

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Baehr v. Lewin, the Hawaii State Supreme Court opinion that sparked (the transformation of the family unit….)

As Explained: Broken Trust Gang finally Imposes Gay Unions on Hawaii

read … Changing the Family into Something it has Never Been

Pearl City man charged with producing Homosexual child porn

HNN: …agents began investigating Yokoyama after an undercover officer in Dallas downloaded child pornography shared by a computer in Hawaii. Agents traced the computer's Internet Protocol address to Yokoyama's home.

A search of the home turned up a disk with pornographic images of a young boy….

Maybe He Could Get a Job in the Legislature: LINK

read … Homosexual Child Molester

NKorea warns that nuke test may be imminent, Aimed at USA

HNN: North Korea's top military body warned Thursday that the regime is poised to conduct a nuclear test in response to U.N. punishment, and made clear that its long-range rockets are designed to carry not only satellites but also warheads aimed at striking the United States.

read … About Your Future

Hawaii Delegation Applaud Sending Women into Combat

PR: “I applaud the Department of Defense for eliminating this outdated policy and recognizing the important, evolving role of women in the Armed Forces. I believe that all qualified Americans, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should be given the same opportunity to serve their country.” – Hanabusa

Ted Turner: Military Suicides are ‘Good’

Bill Clinton: American Military Now "Less Racist, Less Sexist And Less Homophobic"

read … Social Re-Engineering  

Souki Pot Bill nearly identical to Colorado Amendment 64

DW: Amendment 64 sponsor and newly hired Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert says he's unsure whether the Hawaii proposal's language was taken directly from Amendment 64, but a quick read-through pretty much confirms it….

Language in the Hawaii measure also allows for personal cultivation, but the number of plants is not yet set in stone; it's actually left blank in the most online versions of the bill.

Otherwise, the personal-cultivation section is nearly identical to Colorado's -- particularly the portion that calls for growing to take place in an enclosed, locked space. That means wonderful outdoor Hawaiian would either have to be grown indoors, in a greenhouse, or in some sort of locked cage….

Other parts of Hawaii's HB 150 that resemble Amendment 64 include passages allowing the transfer of one ounce or less "without remuneration to a person who is 21 years of age or older," and language that prohibits open or public cannabis consumption….

The bill calls for all marijuana businesses to be handled by county governments, which also have the ability to ban marijuana businesses entirely -- as in Colorado….

HTH: Lawmakers pushing for pot legalization

read … Copy Colorado

Union membership slips nationally, grows in isles

SA: Union members accounted for 21.6 percent of Hawaii's workforce last year, up from 21.5 percent in 2001, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday. Total union membership in Hawaii rose by 3,000 workers to 116,000.

Hawaii's 2012 unionization rate was the third highest in the country. New York topped the list at 23.2 percent, followed by Alaska at 22.4 percent. North Carolina had the lowest rate at 2.9 percent.

Hawaii was one of 16 states and the District of Columbia where the rate of union membership rose in 2012.

The rate fell in 33 states and was unchanged in two others.

The average unionization rate nationally fell to 11.3 percent, the lowest level since the 1930s, from 11.8 percent. The national decline in membership was led by losses among public sector workers in cash-strapped states, cities, counties and towns.

read … Union membership grows in isles

Hawaii senators propose tax on sugary drinks

HNN: Four Hawaii senators are proposing a statewide tax on sugar-sweetened beverages….

The senators want to charge 1 cent per teaspoon of sugar in each drink and use the revenue to fund community health centers and help trauma victims. They say the tax would translate to about 10 cents per 12-ounce soda.

read … Four Senators

Abercrombie State Bank is Back With a New Name

CB: To facilitate the program, commonly known as on-bill financing, DBEDT is introducing legislation this year that will help it tap into low-interest rate bond financing. The state would then use that capital, which could initially amount to about $100 million, to provide loans for clean energy technologies.

“We envision helping low and moderate income residents, nonprofits, churches — essentially a largely underserved market,” said Mark Glick, head of the state's energy office.

The state won't actually be on the hook for the loans, said Glick. Rather the Public Benefits Fund, a ratepayer-funded energy conservation and efficiency program that holds about $30 million annually, will be used to guarantee the bonds.

“DBEDT is proposing to do it in a smart, sophisticated way," said Richard Wallsgrove, a program director at Blue Planet Foundation. "The state is not liable for the bonds. They are moving it to the private capital market. The state’s role is just to authorize the Public Benefit Fund to be used for securitization.”

Glick said that the program would likely be used at first to provide loans for solar hot water heating and photovoltaic systems, but it could later be expanded to cover other clean energy technologies. The program could also eventually be extended beyond the underserved to provide a loan system for businesses, he said….

The program could also be opened up to renters through leasing programs and residents with shaky credit ratings. Glick said those details would be worked out in the program’s underwriting criteria….

Eventually, it could even be extended to electric vehicles, said Mikulina.

read … State Bank of Abercrombie

 

Minimum Wage: The Governor’s Secret Tax Increase

H247: minimum wage earners would see an immediate increase in their take home pay, they would also immediately begin having more taxes withheld from each of those paychecks. Employers would be left with two choices; increase the prices they charge to the consumer to offset the costs of the increase or reduce hours to reduce payroll.

With businesses charging more for their goods and services it means that the minimum wage earner is right back where they started. They are making a little bit more, paying a little bit more, the government is getting a little bit more in taxes….

Appleseed Ctr: Critical tax relief to low income workers

read … Secret Tax Hike

Small businesses react to minimum wage hike proposal

HNN: Workers at McKinley Car Wash start at $7.25 an hour. Governor Neil Abercrombie's proposal to raise the minimum wage would increase their pay to $8.75 an hour.

Each employee works about 50 hours a week.

Owner Yukio Yoshikawa said increasing the minimum wage would increase all of his labor costs.

"No exceptions," he said.

Jack Schneider, who owns JS Services said the proposed increase only accounts for wages and overlooks other costs.

"There's an immediate increase to the employer of roughly 20 percent in salary," he said. "On top of that you have roughly 20 percent in mandated benefits: there's FICA, there's Medicare, there's worker's comp, there's TDI."

Eggs 'n Things general manager Mike Skedeleski said it would be less painful to boost the minimum wage in stages.

"Maybe in year one it's five, ten percent. I think hitting everybody at once would be a little rough for a lot of companies," he said.

read … Minimum Wage

Abercrombie Has Appointed 10% of Legislature

CB:  After all, in little over two years in office, he's appointed nearly 10 percent of the 76-member Legislature….

Some of the appointment opportunities came for reasons beyond his control, such as the death of Inouye. But many came because of his direct actions.

On Dec. 21, 2010, for example, just two weeks after he was inaugurated, he named Maile Shimabukuro and Malama Solomon to the state Senate. Shimabukuro replaced Colleen Hanabusa, who was elected to the U.S. Congress that November. The 1st District seat came open after Abercrombie resigned earlier that year to run for governor.

Solomon, meanwhile, replaced Dwight Takamine, who was hired as the new governor's labor director. A month later, in January 2011, Abercrombie named Gil Kahele to take the Big Isle state Senate seat vacated by Russell Kokubun, who became the governor's agricultural director. That same month he also named Jo Jordan to fill Shimabukuro's House seat.

As his administration developed, Abercrombie's desire to cull from existing legislators contributed to more vacancies and appointments. Derek Kawakami of Kauai replaced Mina Morita in the House in the spring after she was named head of the Public Utilities Commission by the governor.

By the end of the year, House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro was hired as the governor's deputy chief of staff. Abercrombie named a former lawmaker, Tom Okamura, to take Oshiro's House gig, but Okamura soon stepped down for health reasons. Heather Giugni was named the replacement for the replacement.

read … Dictator

Hospitals in Hawaii Employ 16,043 People

KITV: Hospitals in Hawaii employ 16,043 people and create $4.7 billion dollars in economic activity, according to a report released Thursday by the American Hospital Association

Read … $4.7B

Justice Reinvestment: Sovereignty Activists Given Grant to Recruit Juvenile Delinquents

MN: Two weeks ago, the boys made the commitment to the program in a ceremony called "Ka I Mua" or "to be cast into the company of men," which requires them to meet once a week and once a month overnight for training.

In their first year, youths will endure the physical fitness portion of the project and learn disciplines such as the hune ka nalo (girding on of the loincloth), the kalii (catching of the spear) and the aha awa (form of speaking).

George Kaimiola, office manager and project assistant of the program, said many of the male youths are referred from groups, such as the Positive Outreach Intervention project, Queen Lili'uokalani Children's Center and Child Protective Services.

The program had been operating informally for nearly two decades before officially organizing this year….

it received a grant from the Administration for Native Americans last year. Ka Meheu 'Ohu O Ka Honu, a nonprofit that seeks to retain and perpetuate traditional Hawaiian values, is the sponsoring organization.

He said one of the reasons he started the program was to answer the voices in a book titled, "Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai'i," which was written by one of the program's former members, Ty P. Kawika Tengan.

read … Sovereignty Activists Recruiting

Contracts: State plans $750M in airport work

SA: None of the improvements will be paid for with the state's general fund, Fuchi­gami added. The upgrades also will include a new $85.4 million maintenance and cargo facility for Hawaiian Airlines, a $215 million concourse with gates for six wide-body or 11 narrow planes and $60 million in wider taxi lanes for those planes to maneuver.

The project's largest element, Fuchigami said, will be a new $250 million consolidated car rental facility to house all of the rental car companies serving customers at the airport.

read … Contributions

Department of Health cites companies for pollution violations

HNN: The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) Clean Air Branch (CAB) has issued Notices of Violations and Orders against 16 companies for air permit and pollution violations.

The companies were cited between April and November 2012 for violations that occurred between March 2011 and May 2012. The violations were either self-reported or discovered during an inspection or records review by the DOH. A total of $79,700 in penalties was imposed. To date, $63,700 in fines has been paid, with the balance of penalties under negotiation or pending payment.

PDF: DoH News Release

read … Harassment

 

Lobbying Lessons: What Hawaii Can Learn From Other States

CB: Washington faced a similar predicament as Hawaii — an uphill battle through the Legislature — when it first looked at passing a lobbying law more than four decades ago. But after twice failing to gain any traction in the Legislature, voters took matters into their own hands.

Through a citizen petition, they passed a robust law in 1973 to regulate lobbying. A second ballot initiative 20 years ago added campaign contribution limits.

Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission, said there haven’t been major overhauls since then.

“It was pretty strong in the beginning,” she said.

Washington’s law requires lobbyists to file monthly disclosure reports, whereas Hawaii only requires three annual reports. Washington also mandates random audits, unlike Hawaii, and lobbyists have to include a more itemized breakdown of their expenses.

“We’ve got a lot of disclosure,” Anderson said. “For those citizens who are interested — and they’re looking at who’s lobbying — it does help keep the people that are elected accountable to their constituents.”

read … Lobbying Lessons

NAACP, Hispanic Alliance Join Lawsuit Against NY Soda Ban

MSN: The NAACP's New York state branch and the Hispanic Federation have joined beverage makers and sellers in trying to stop the rule from taking effect March 12. Critics are attacking what they call an inconsistent and undemocratic regulation, while city officials and health experts defend it as a pioneering and proper move to fight obesity.

The issue is complex for the minority advocates, especially given that obesity rates are higher than average among blacks and Hispanics, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The groups say in court papers they're concerned about the discrepancy, but the soda rule will unduly harm minority businesses and "freedom of choice in low-income communities."….

The NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, a network of 100 northeastern groups, say minority-owned delis and corner stores will end up at a disadvantage compared to grocery chains.

"This sweeping regulation will no doubt burden and disproportionally impact minority-owned businesses at a time when these businesses can least afford it," they said in court papers. They say the city should focus instead on increasing physical education in schools.

read … Abercrombie’s Racist Soda Tax is Next

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