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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
January 29, 2013 News Read
By Andrew Walden @ 6:05 PM :: 4503 Views

$59.8M Vanishes as State, HECO Reach Agreement

Hawaii Congressional Delegation: How They Voted January 28, 2013

HECO to Pay H-Power 21 Cents Per KWH

HECO Lifts Limits on Solar Installations

The Empire Strikes Back: Reaction To UH Lawprof's Study Of Success Rates In Hawaii Supreme Court Cases

HHSC: Hospitals face ‘painful choices’, 33% May Close

WHT: Hilo Medical Center and other public health care facilities across the state may have to resort to “painful choices” as they deal with diminishing resources, according to an editorial distributed Monday by CEO Howard Ainsley….

“Hospitals nationwide are being pushed to the brink of collapse, given the new health reform law changes,” he writes. “Health policy experts and health care futurists claim that one-third of the nation’s hospitals are unlikely to exist in 2020, as a result of these federal government mandates.”

Among the challenges facing HHSC’s East Hawaii region are the the anticipated decreases this year in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, decreasing patient volume at HHSC hospitals as residents choose to travel to Oahu for care, state officials and residents seeking to decrease and eliminate annual subsidies for HHSC, and a lack of funding for equipment, renovations and other capital investments.

“This combination of decreased reimbursement, decreased volume, decreased capital, and the potential decreased state subsidy is a formula that will significantly erode our resources and the capability of HHSC hospitals to support our great doctors, nurses, and other health professionals,” Ainsley wrote. “This damaging formula will force us to make painful choices about which services we can and can’t provide, based on diminishing resources.”….

“According to the American Hospital Association, many hospitals across the country are considering some degree of affiliation with larger health care systems given the state of affairs,” Ainsley wrote….

Related:

read … Banner Year or Painful Choice?

Mainland Gays Deploy Fake Hawaii Poll, Claim Majority for Gay Marriage

CB: Anzalone Liszt Grove Research (who? see below) conducted the survey for the (mis-named) Equality Hawaii Foundation:

  • Pollsters between Jan. 14-18 conducted 500 live telephone interviews with Hawaii residents and asked: “On the question of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally, do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, strongly oppose or somewhat oppose allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry?”
  • By an eighteen-point margin (55% favor – 37% oppose), voters support legalizing same-sex marriage, including 39% of voters who “strongly” favor it.
  • The poll found that support is strongest among voters 35 years and younger (64% favor—32% oppose). The margin with voters over 50 was smaller, even though most still favor it (53% favor—38% oppose). 

Grove: "The pre-eminent pollster for progressive issue advocacy"

ALG: Polling Message Strategy (No bias here, eh?)

Jan 7-9, 2013: Poll: Majority in Hawaii Against Gay ‘Marriage’  (After CB couldn’t get the gay-atheist activists the numbers they needed, they immediately went to the biased out-of-state firm.)

read … Phony Poll

Lobbyists Complain: “All 51 lawmakers have to be Queried”

SA: Maui Democrat Joe Souki took over leadership of the House with the votes of the seven House Republicans, an action immediately opening a political fault zone.

Rep. Calvin Say, the 13-year veteran former speaker, lost his House leadership position in the shuffle, but not his position as leader of the group of 18 Democrats opposed to Souki.

The fracture lines will not be about personalities or their relative power; the splits will happen over pieces of legislation and their costs.

No longer is it enough to just secure the support of the faction running the House. One lobbyist was grumbling last week that because of the power shifts, all 51 lawmakers have to be queried about their support on a specific bill, because the alliances could shift.  (So sad.  They can’t just make a deal with da boss anymore.  LOL!)

For instance, Souki may favor some form of casino gambling, but his Judiciary Chairman Rep. Karl Rhoads doesn't like it, although some members of Say's group might favor it….

The House Democrats have had only one caucus meeting with both factions attending. Instead, lawmakers say, there have been lots of small side meetings, but no clear statement of policy.

Another issue ripe for House-splitting tectonic politics is gay marriage. In previous years under Say, the guiding provision was to wait to see how the civil union law works. Now with renewed pressure for a law opening marriage to all, the House will be left to decide precisely how liberal it wants to be.

read …  Not unanimous Like the Supreme Soviet any more?  I just wanna cry.

Bill: Homeless Tent City to be Set Up in Parking Lot Near You

KHON: …a new bill before lawmakers wants to set aside parking lots in each county where homeless (meth addicts and mentally ill) can sleep in the vehicles overnight….

"Especially while they are still getting the homeless situation together because there are not adequate facilities, (FALSE!) but there are plenty or parking lots," McIntyre said. (Reality: Shelters have open spaces every night all over the state.)
A big concern raised about the idea is that the bill currently does not address access to restroom facilities overnight. (Here’s another ‘concern’: Profitable nonprofits are encouraging the homeless to stay homeless to keep the cash grants flowing.)
The bill now makes it way to another committee in the State House.

The Future: Homeless tent cities: Seattle’s decade-long nightmare coming to Honolulu?

read … Tolerate Homelessness instead of Solving It

HSTA Teacher: Parents, Students to Blame for My Failure 

CB: How do I get parents to supply their kids with pencils, notebooks, take a jacket to school, make sure they eat school breakfast and lunch? This is not happening. It is happening at the charter schools and at the private schools.

How do I prepare these same kids to compete with students from all over the globe at the local community college/university if they don’t know how to use a library and have not set foot in one since elementary school?

When will some Hawaii students be recognized as semi-literate (in any language)? Their first language is not standardized English.

read … Excuses, Excuses

House Republicans Not Unified Against Tax Hikes

HR: In response to a Hawaii Reporter inquiry, Johanson said the House Republicans would not take a unified stance against all new tax hikes.

Instead he said the House GOP will thoughtfully consider the real impact that any tax burden would place on low-income residents, working families and small businesses.

House Republicans helped put House Speaker Joe Souki in power this year, and have been assigned three vice chairmanships in exchange. They also supported the considerably more liberal faction of the House Democrats over the more fiscally conservative Democrats who were previously in power.

read … So What do we need them for?

First Gun Control Bill to be Heard Today

HR: "This is the worst year for firearms rights in the Hawaii State Legislature since statehood because of the number of bills and content of the anti gun bills," Cooper said.

The first bill up for a hearing on Tuesday, January 29, - House Bill 426 - would undo a law passed in 2012 that gives firearms instructors partial immunity from liability for incidents arising during the mandatory class that all handgun owners must take before obtaining a firearms permit. Newly appointed House Judiciary Chair Karl Rhodes is considering Rep. Scott Saiki's bill that would take away that protection for instructors.

This is just one of several anti-Second-Amendment measures that were introduced at the legislature this year.

read … Worst Year Ever for Hawaii Firearms Owners, Advocate Says

Enviros: Conveyance Tax Hike Will Magically ‘Save’ Water

AP: The House Committee on Water and Land gave approval to a bill Monday that increases the conveyance tax on property worth $2 million or more and marks the funds for water protection and other natural resources.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila says the bill is the top priority for his department this session.

The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Maui Invasive Species Committee and other environmental groups are pushing for the bill.

Opponents include the Chamber of Commerce and the Hawaii Association of Realtors

(Quick IQ Test: Can water be ‘saved’ by raising taxes?)

read … Just another excuse to Raise Taxes

Governor banks on bag fee, tax to Magically ‘Save’ watershed

SA: William Aila said Monday. "At the end of the legislative session, we just want to have a source of funding."….

At present, 25 percent of conveyance tax money goes to the Natural Area Reserve Fund, the state's only dedicated source for watershed protection programs. The bulk of conveyance tax money, 35 percent, goes to the general fund, with 30 percent going to the rental housing trust fund and 10 percent to the land conservation fund.

Conservation groups, including the Sierra Club and The Nature Conservancy, supported the administration proposal.

Opponents, which included the Hawaii Association of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii, said the measure would be anti-business and questioned whether the proposal was an appropriate use of the conveyance tax.

"The conveyance tax was created to cover the administrative costs of recording the real estate transactions, such as those performed by the Bureau of Conveyance," the Chamber said in written testimony. "We do not believe the conveyance tax is being used in an appropriate manner."

read … Just another excuse to Raise Taxes

SB799 / SB 1223: Jessica’s Law for Hawaii

HR: Hawaii is not tough enough on child predators, according to Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom, who wants to change that. The East Oahu Republican introduced Jessica’s legislation in this session and hopes Hawaii will become the next state to mandate that sex offenders who abuse children will spend at least 25 years in prison.

SB 799 and SB 1223 require electronic monitoring for those who sexually assault of a minor and it establishes mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for felony sexual assault of a minor.

"It is unacceptable that Hawaii, whose lawmakers are always talking about doing things 'for the Keiki' have long neglected basic protection of our children against sexual predators," Slom said. "Some think even a 25 year minimun sentence is too lenient but it is better than Hawaii's current 2 year sentence. Nationally, several organizations have taken note of our indefensible position. Even though it is late, now must be the year we act and tell the monsters who prey on our children we will stop you."

Senators Gilbert Keith-Agaran, Michelle Kidani, Clarence Nishihara, Brian Taniguchi, Glenn Wakai and Senate President Donna Mercado Kim, signed on as co-introducers of the legislation. The Honolulu city prosecutor's office will be supporting similar legislation, according to spokesperson Dave Koga.

Political Commentator Bill O'Reilly has made a push for Jessica's Law to be enacted in every state. A map on his web site shows Hawaii is one of just 6 states that has lax laws for child sex offenders.

read … Child Molesters less popular in Legislature?

To Be Heard Today in Legislature

CB: Here are some of the bills being heard in committee today:

HB 622 Makes permanent Hawaii’s media Shield Law, which guards against disclosure of sources

HB 208 Eliminates “wilfulness” clause regarding lobbyists administrative fines imposed by the Ethics Commission.

SB 886 Constitutional Amendment to increase mandatory retirement age for justices and judges from 70 to 80.

HB 318 Mandates periodic financial and management audit of the DOE administration.

SB 98 Dramatically reduces tax liability for low-income people.

read … About the rest

Legislators Seek to Benefit MMA Promoters at Expense of Fighters

KGI: Lawmakers (YAMANE, AQUINO, CULLEN, MCKELVEY) are proposing to let promoters of mixed martial arts events get away with not having an ambulance ready in case there is a medical emergency.

In the state of Hawai‘i, organizers of MMA events must meet a set of eight conditions to obtain a permit for an MMA event.

Condition No. 5 assures “written confirmation that an ambulance with paramedics and appropriate security have been obtained and will be present at all times at the venue of the mixed martial arts event.”

House Bill 370 proposes to strip from the law the requirement of “an ambulance with paramedics.”

Louis Soltren has worked in many MMA events on Kaua‘i as a cutman, the guy who helps doctors when fighters have minor cuts.

He said he is in favor of anything that would help fighters to avoid further damage in case of serious injury.

“I think it should be mandatory for the ambulance to be there,” Soltren said.

The bill was referred to two House committees.

A hearing at the House Health Committee is scheduled for Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. in House conference room 329.

One MMA Promoter: Convicted Cocaine Dealer replaces Advertiser columnist as Ernie Martin’s Campaign Treasurer

read … Sop to Cheapskate Promoters

Political Connections Pay Off: State Ag Development Corp. Gives Ho`opili Farmers First Shot at Large Chunk of Former Galbraith Land

EH: The sale of the Galbraith Estate land to the state is a welcome event, and all parties involved should take a well-deserved bow.

That said, it isn’t clear why the farmers displaced by the Ho`opili development should get first crack at the land under the control of the Agribusiness Development Corporation. Yes, the developer, D.R. Horton-Schuler Homes, did make a modest payment that helped seal the deal. But for that investment, is the return in proportion?

Nothing to see here: Neil Abercrombie's slavery problem

read … Environment Hawaii

HB1335 Would Ban Windfarms on Molokai, Lanai

CB: House BIll 1335 also bans wind turbines from being sited within two miles of homes and sets noise standards.

A similar measure, aimed at stopping the so-called Big Wind project, failed in the Legislature last year.

Carroll, who is from Maui, introduced this year’s bill “by request of another party,”

read … No Big Wind

Rockclimbers to Legislature: Please Save us from the Lawyers

KITV: The climbers say Hawaii is behind the times.

Forty-five other states already allow the sport on state-owned land.  Hawaii doesn’t.

Climbers point out the state's recreational laws haven’t changed in 40 years.

Limiting liability is key.

The state's land department thinks if it can get past those liability issues, climbing can resume at the popular spots on the north and east shore….

read … Lawsuits

State Movie Studio Pitches Wish List to Legislature

CB: The Diamond Head studio needs about $10.8 million worth of basic repair and maintenance work. One-tenth of that amount — $1.73 million — has been set aside in the 2013 capital improvement budget. Dawson hopes lawmakers will approve the rest of the money for fiscal years 2014 and 2016.

The most critical upgrade involves the aging air conditioning system in the studio’s decade-old soundstage. The 16,500-square-foot stage area is the only facility in the state with a controlled environment fit for shooting sound.

The AC regularly breaks down, causing constant delays and creating less-than-ideal conditions for filming, Dawson says.

But the AC system is just one item on the checklist. Also high-priority are facilities that pose safety hazards, including the studio’s water tank.

The tank — used for controlled underwater filming — lacks electricity. Dawson also wants to replace its doors, which she said are too heavy and dangerous to move and, when unlatched, can get caught in the wind and whip open. The building itself is also home to a plethora of rats and nesting carpenter ants, she said.

Still, Dawson acknowledged that it would likely be years before the studio is at the level it should be.

An interior roadway needs to be widened so that it’s easier and safer for big production trucks to turn. The production building, constructed in 2006, needs AC. Eventually, Dawson hopes the state will fund a second soundstage.

read … Gimme Gimme Gimme

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