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Venomous Spiders Found in Foreign Container

A venomous spider was captured by agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in Honolulu on Mon., April 13th.

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The spider was found in a container of granite and flagstone from Brazil that was being off-loaded in Honolulu. The CBP agents sealed the container and immediately turned the spider over to entomologists at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA), who identified it as a venomous Brazilian wandering spider (genus: Phoneutria). The brown-colored spider had a leg span that measured about 3.5 inches.

Yesterday, a second container from the same shipment was opened and another spider was found and  killed immediately by a worker unloading the container. The spider was destroyed to the extent it could not be positively identified, but the worker said it looked like the photo of the Brazilian wandering spider. The second container was sealed and quarantined. The Plant Quarantine Branch is working with the importer to have the containers shipped back to Brazil.

“This incident emphasizes the importance of coordinated efforts between federal and state inspection agencies in preventing invasive species from entering Hawaii,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “We each have our own inspection areas and duties, but communication is key in protecting the state.”

spider

The CBP is responsible, not only for keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S., but also screening international visitors and foreign cargo. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is charged with inspection of agricultural material and animals transported from foreign countries into the U.S. and the HDOA is responsible for agricultural inspections from ports within the U.S. entering the State of Hawaii.

The Brazilian wandering spider is found in most areas of South America; however, it is not established in North America. They are considered one of the most venomous spiders in the world and may grow to have a leg span of five inches. Their venom is a strong neurotoxin that can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate, vomiting, blurred vision and intense pain where the bite occurs.

This species of spider does not spin webs, but wanders around for their food – thus the name. Their diet consists of insects, other spiders, lizards and small rodents.
Suspected invasive species should be reported immediately to the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE –

643-PEST (7378).

Family Urges Passage of “Cinderella” Bill

Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto are living separately now because the State does not allow two private pay clients in a community care foster family home (CCFFH) as space needs to be available for Medicaid clients.

noburo2Noboru and Elaine are able to pay their own way (private pay) but because of the State requirement Elaine has to live away from Noboru and only sees him on weekends. Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno (Kamehameha Heights, Kalihi Valley and portion of Lower Kalihi) introduced HB600 which would allow married private pay couples to be cared for in the same CCFFH.

noburo1Janice Stinson, daughter of Elaine and Noboru, and her daughter Emiko, arrived on Tuesday to visit and to assist her parents in their efforts to get back together. “I find it difficult to believe that there is a State law that bars my parents from living together after 67 years of marriage.

They dearly love each other and miss each other because they are separated.” said Janice. “I am a health care professional in California with a PHD in Nursing and spent 38 years in the Navy Nurse Corps. Throughout my career I have understood the need for married couples to be together.”

Granddaughter Emiko adds “I don’t understand how there can be a law keeping a married couple of 67 years apart. My grandparents have been great role models for me my whole life and to see them kept apart now, makes me sad.”

The Kawamoto’s son Norman says “We have always been a close knit family. My Mom and Dad really miss each other very much being separated. There is nothing complicated about it; they simply want to live out their days together. They enjoy the basic things in life: watching TV together, singing songs together. The passage of HB600 will allow them to return to the life they have always enjoyed.”

Jonathan and Arlene Hanks, Noboru’s caregivers, offered “We support the Kawamoto family, Noboru and Elaine, we are here for them, and will help them in any way possible. We want to see HB600 pass into law. It’s just common sense; it’s the right thing to do.”

HB600 has passed both houses and is going to a conference committee next week to hopefully iron out the differences in the House version and the Senate version.

Vice Speaker John M. Mizuno adds “HB600 is the Cinderella bill of the 2015 legislative session because it involves a love story of a married couple of 67 years, separated by a State regulation which does not allow them to live in the same community care foster family home. I’ve always said that marriage is a fundamental right and the State should not have the right to deprive this married couple the right to live together in the same community care home.

Noboru fought in World War II and defended our country and now that he is 94 years of age, we feel the urgency to pass this bill and allow Elaine and Noboru to enjoy their golden years together.”

Senate Passes Nearly 200 Measures on Crossover

Measures include marijuana dispensaries, funding for rail tax, construction for Kona courthouse and body cameras for police

The State Senate today passed 135 House bills that addresses areas of domestic violence, beach protection, education, public safety, energy, and a number of other measures aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of the residents of Hawai‘i.

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A total of 197 bills have passed third reading by the Senate and will be returning to the House. A majority of the bills will go into conference committees where the House and Senate conferees will convene to settle differences between the House and Senate drafts and negotiate a final amended version.

Among the most substantial bills passed by the Senate: HB321, HD1, SD2 that establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; HB134, HD1, SD2 which extends the half percent county surcharge on State tax for two, ten-year extensions to fund additional Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) transit routes; HB290, HD2, SD1 that appropriates funding for the construction of the Kona Judiciary Complex; and HB365, HD1, SD1 which appropriates money for body cameras for police officers.

“The Senate was prudent in passing out responsible House bills,” said Senator J. Kalani English (D 7th District), Senate Majority Leader. “These are reasonable proposals and we’re looking forward to conference to work out the details.”

Other significant House measures passed by the Senate include:

HB124, HD2, SD2, relating to elections. Requires the office of elections to implement elections by mail in a county with a population of less than 100,000, beginning with the 2016 primary election; and in each county with a population of less than 500,000, beginning with the 2018 primary election. Beginning in 2020, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail.

HB58, HD1, SD2, relating to protective orders. Establishes a protective order card pilot program within the Honolulu family justice center to issue protective order cards upon request of individuals holding a long-term protective order issued by a court of the first circuit of the State.

HB464, HD1, SD1, relating to health. Appropriates funds for the purchase of an additional ambulance unit for the Kakaako community, HB1063, HD2, SD1, which provides funding for an additional ambulance for the Moanalua, Aliamanu, Red Hill, Salt Lake and Foster Village

community, and HB481, HD1, SD1 that makes an appropriation for an ambulance based in Makalei on the island of Hawai‘i.

HB444, HD3, SD2, relating to beach protection. Authorizes the use of certain transient accommodations tax revenues for beach restoration and conservation.

HB1042, SD1, relating to important agricultural lands. Appropriates funds for grants-in-aid to the counties for identifying and mapping important agricultural lands, preparing the final submission package to the land use commission, and assistance with exploring county incentives for important agricultural lands.

HB1489, HD1, SD2, relating to special license plates for national parks. Authorizes the issuance of special license plates for Haleakala National Park and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

HB858, HD2, SD2, relating to domestic violence. Permits the termination of residential rental agreements in cases of domestic violence.

HB538, HD2, SD2, relating to domestic violence. Requires wireless telecommunications service providers to release individuals from shared or family wireless plans, without charge, upon written request in documented instances of domestic violence.

HB1112, HD2, SD2, relating to the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. Requires the auditor to conduct a financial and management audit of HHSC every five years. Authorizes HHSC to negotiate master collective bargaining agreements for its employees. Authorizes a regional system of the Hawaii health systems corporation, in collaboration with a private entity, to transition any one or more of its facilities to management and operation by a new nonprofit management entity. Appropriates an unspecified amount to the department of budget and finance for an unspecified number of positions to coordinate the review of documents and examine the fiscal implications posed by a transition of any Hawaii health systems corporation facility to management and operation by a nonprofit management entity.

HB1354, HD1, SD2, relating to housing. Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to several state agencies for the purposes of improving and increasing the existing public and affordable housing stock in the State. Requires a report to the 2016 and 2017 legislature on the set-aside plan for upkeep and maintenance of the housing facilities to be constructed.

House Passes Nearly 150 Measures on Final Crossover

Includes bills on marijuana dispensaries, turtle bay, voting by mail, sexual assault, human trafficking and transportation network companies

The state House of Representatives passed today nearly 150 Senate measures dealing with education, housing and homelessness, health, seniors, agriculture, invasive species and the environment, public safety and improving the quality of life for Hawaii residents.  

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Among the most significant bills passed by the House were SB1028 that attempts to harmonize the requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with those of Hawaii’s Prepaid Health Care; SB1291 that establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers; SB284 that sets up a funding mechanism for the purchase of the Turtle Bay conservation easement; SB287 that mandates and establishes a timetable for voting by mail for all Hawaii elections; SB1280 that requires the PUC to regulate transportation network companies such as Uber; SB387 that creates an affirmative consent task force on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking at the University of Hawaii; and SB265 that makes sex trafficking a Class A felony.

The majority of the bills, along with the nearly 140 House bills passed by the Senate, will go into conference committees where House and Senate conferees will negotiate differences in the measures and determine which will be presented for final consideration.

Other notable Senate measures passed by the House included:

EDUCATION

SB64, SD3, HD1, relating to the Preschool Open Doors Program.  Makes appropriations for positions and the continued implementation of the Preschool Open Doors Program and for subsidies for the program.

SB822, SD1, HD2, relating to education and student hours.  Clarifies the implementation schedule and calculation method for minimum number of days and student hours required for Department of Education schools in each school year. Applies the requirement for a 180 day, 1,080 hour school year to all school years beginning with the 2016-2017 school year.

SB1345, HD2, relating to multi-track schools.  Requires the Department of Education to develop a transition plan to end multi-track schedules in public schools and report to the Legislature regarding the plan and any proposed legislation. Requires the DOE to give priority to overpopulated schools in making its annual capital improvement budget request to the Director of Finance.

SB854, SD2, HD2, relating to public school lands.  Requires public school lands that are leased to benefit public educational purposes rather than simply to be used for public purposes. Authorizes the Department of Education to enter into leaseback agreements.

SB374, SD2, HD2, relating to UH/DOE dual credit education programs.  Renames the “Running Start Program” as the “Dual Credit Program.”  Broadens participation to include public and home-schooled ninth and tenth graders.  Replaces a standardized test with an assessment.  Repeals tuition and fees requirement.  Requires that all additional qualifications be uniform across all campuses. Appropriates moneys to the Department of Education and the University of Hawaii for positions.

HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS

SB273, SD2, HD2, relating to identification cards for the homeless.  Requires the examiner of drivers to accept a sworn statement from a victim services organization, an attorney, a member of the clergy, correctional institution staff, a medical or health professional, or a verification letter from a homeless service provider as documentary evidence of a homeless person’s address; requires the Director of Transportation’s rules to direct the examiner of drivers to waive all fees for homeless individuals; and establishes a working group to enable homeless individuals in the State to obtain necessary documentary evidence.

KUPUNA 

SB964, SD2, HD1, relating to aging.  Appropriates funds for the Kupuna Care Program and the Aging and Disability Resource Center.  Requires appointment of an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator no later than July 1, 2017.  Appropriates funds for the Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia services coordinator, fall prevention and early detection services for the elderly, the Healthy Aging Partnership Program, and an Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia public awareness campaign.

HEALTH AND HEALTH CONNECTOR

SB1028, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector.  Attempts to harmonize requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act with the Hawaii Prepaid Health Care Act by implementing federal requirements for provider network adequacy through requiring that insurer contracts with federally-qualified health centers.  Authorizes other means of generating revenue through provision of benefits administration services.

SB1338, SD2, HD1, relating to the Hawaii Health Connector.  Authorizes large group insurance coverage under the Connector.  Beginning Oct. 1, 2016, ends authorization to renew or issue transitional renewal policies.  Requires notice to group health plans that offer continuation of coverage about options for affordable coverage under the Connector, in addition to the requirements under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA).

SB1228, SD2, HD3 establishes a process for special innovative procurement and generates a framework for public-private partnership in Hawaii.  Appropriates funds for a temporary position to assist the Procurement Policy Board.  Appropriates funds for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation to procure services to develop a master plan for the Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital and Kauai Veterans Memorial Hospital.

SB1117, SD2, HD1, relating to Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.  Makes an emergency appropriation to support the functions of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.

SB682, SD2, HD1, relating to medical marijuana.  Establishes a regulated system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers.  Specifies that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period.  Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations or rules that prohibit the use of land for licensed dispensaries and production centers.

SB1291, SD2, HD2, relating to medical marijuana.  Prohibits discrimination against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by schools, landlords, courts with regard to medical care or parental rights, employers, planned community associations, condominium property regimes, and condominiums.

SB1095, SD1, HD1, relating to health insurance.  Defines the term “habilitative services” to be included in health care services, including but not limited to physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, speech and swallowing therapy, applied behavior analysis, medical equipment, orthotics, and prosthetics, that help a person keep, learn, or improve skills and functioning for daily living.

SB791, SD1, HD2, relating to autism spectrum disorders.  Requires health insurers, mutual benefit societies, and health maintenance organizations to provide insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism.

SB1036, SD2, HD1, relating to substance abuse treatment.  Establishes within the Department of Health a working group to address publicly-funded substance abuse treatment services.  Appropriates funds.

SB768, SD1, HD1, relating to in vitro fertilization insurance coverage.  Provides in vitro fertilization insurance coverage equality for women who are diagnosed with infertility by making available to them expanded treatment options, ensuring adequate and affordable health care services.

SB1032, SD2, HD2, relating to tobacco products.  Expands the definition of “tobacco products” to include tobacco-free products containing nicotine that are intended for human consumption. Increases the license fee for wholesalers or dealers of cigarettes or tobacco products.  Increases the retail tobacco permit fee for retailers engaged in the retail sale of cigarettes and tobacco products.

SB1030, SD1, HD2, relating to health.  Increases the minimum age for the sale or possession of a tobacco product in a public place, and the sale or furnishing of a tobacco product, from 18 to 21.  Defines “tobacco products” to include electronic smoking devices.

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII

SB387, SD2, HD3, relating to affirmative consent.  Establishes an affirmative consent task force to review and make recommendations on the University of Hawaii’s executive policy on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

SB1146, SD1, HD1 requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to submit to the Legislature a program performance report for each fiscal quarter showing a comparison of actual revenues and expenditures versus budgeted revenues and expenditures.  Extends the University of Hawaii’s authority for independent fiscal management and oversight for one additional year.

SB325, SD1, HD2 makes comprehensive omnibus changes affecting the University of Hawaii System. Appropriates funds.

PUBLIC SAFETY

SB265, SD1, HD1, relating to sex trafficking.  Replaces the term “promoting prostitution” with the term “sex trafficking,” a Class A felony.  Includes the offense of sex trafficking in the Department of the Attorney General’s statewide witness program.

SB1211, SD1, HD1, relating to the Major Disaster Fund.  Intends to increase the expenditure ceiling on Major Disaster Fund moneys.  Requires the Adjutant General to report any allotment of fund moneys or any expenditure of Fund moneys to the Legislature within one month of the allotment or expenditure.

SB871, SD1, HD3, relating to highway safety.  Authorizes the director of transportation to establish reciprocal licensing privileges to any person eighteen years of age or older who holds a license from another jurisdiction, under certain conditions.  Authorizes the examiner of drivers to waive the demonstration of the ability to operate a motor vehicle for individuals with licenses from other jurisdictions who receive reciprocal licensing privileges.

SB979, SD2, HD1, relating to youth.  Requires the Office of Youth Services to coordinate a Safe Places for Youth Pilot Program until June 30, 2021.  Establishes the Safe Places for Youth Program Coordinator position.  Allows youth in crisis who are at least 14 but under 18 years of age to consent to accept services in the Pilot Program under certain circumstances.  Appropriates funds.

THE ENVIRONMENT AND INVASIVE SPECIES

SB284, SD2, HD2, relating to the Transient Accommodations Tax and Turtle Bay.  Allocates monies      to the Turtle Bay conservation easement special fund.  Authorizes B&F to issue reimbursable general obligation bonds and to use the proceeds to acquire a conservation easement in Turtle Bay, Oahu.  Requires B&F to transfer the conservation easement to DLNR.  Allocates monies to B&F to reimburse to the state general fund the debt service on the reimbursement general obligation bonds and ongoing expenses related to the bonds.  Requires the Office of Planning to investigate acquiring lands owned by Dole Food Company, Inc.

SB1260, HD1, relating to recycling.  Mandates the recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor to the Department of Health regarding advance disposal fee glass containers and glass recycling. Requires the Department of Health to report on its implementation of the recommendations to the Legislature.

SB359, SD1, HD1, relating to the environmental response energy and food security tax.  Removes the revenue distribution from the barrel tax to the environmental response revolving fund beginning July 1, 2015.  Removes the sunset of the various funds related to the barrel tax.  Appropriates funds.

AGRICULTURE

SB1059, SD2, HD2, relating to invasive species.  Mandates the Department of Agriculture and the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to perform specified tasks to address the spread of invasive species, particularly between islands.  Mandates the Department of Agriculture to establish a little fire ant pesticide treatment coupon pilot project and site map. Appropriates funds.

SB1060, SD2, HD1, allows for agricultural loans to be administered for livestock biosecurity projects to assist the livestock industry by establishing a low-interest biosecurity loan program within the Department of Agriculture for construction, improvements, purchase of equipment and other costs related to biosecurity projects.

SB376, SD2, HD1 establishes the Hawaii Farm to School Program and an unspecified number of Farm to School Coordinator positions.

SB512, SD2, HD1, relating to agriculture.  Establishes the Hawaii One Plan Steering Committee to provide Hawaii farmers access to the Hawaii One Plan, an online interface to develop and obtain conservation plans that are necessary to seek Federal Farm Bill funding and comply with county grading and grubbing ordinances.  Appropriates funds.

SB382, SD2, HD2, establishes within the Livestock Revitalization Program a grant program for Qualified Feed Developers.  Appropriates funds for the grant program, reimbursements to Qualified Producers for feed cost, and a survey of local feed ingredient sources.  Appropriates funds for the Future Farmers of America Program.

LABOR

SB1122, HD1, relating to wage and hour law.  Increases the amount of guaranteed monthly compensation required to exempt an individual from minimum wage, overtime and record keeping requirements under the Hawaii Wage and Hour Law.

TAXES

SB555, SD1, HD1, relating to tax credits.  Increases the refundable food/excise tax credit.  Repeals credit for individual taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes of $30,000 or above.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM

SB1280, SD2, HD2, relating to transportation network companies.  Requires the public utilities commission to regulate transportation network companies and transportation network company drivers.  Requires drivers to register as business entities with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.  Establishes insurance requirements and qualifications for persons who operate or serve as drivers for transportation network companies.

SB1001, SD2, HD1, relating to manufacturing.  Establishes a temporary, nonrefundable income tax credit for taxpayers who incur certain expenses for manufacturing products in Hawaii.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.  Sunsets Jan. 1, 2023.

SB519, SD2, HD3, relating to vacation rentals.  Extends Act 326, Session Laws of Hawaii 2012, for one year and requires the Department of Taxation to submit an annual report to the Legislature on the implementation of the law.  Authorizes DOTAX to enforce civil penalties for operators and plan managers who fail to display the certificate of registration and registration ID numbers for transient accommodations.  Authorizes fines to be deposited into the Tax Administration Special Fund.  Amends the definition of “transient accommodations.”

SB892, SD2, HD3, relating to omnibus Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.  Makes various appropriations for the Hawaii resilience and sustainability strategy.

ENERGY

SB717, SD2, HD1, relating to ethanol. Adds two individuals from the biotech and biofuel industries to the Petroleum Advisory Council.  Requires the Petroleum Advisory Council to study the effects that repealing the requirement that gasoline sold in the state for use in motor vehicles be composed of ten percent ethanol would have on Hawaii.

SB1050, SD2, HD3, relating to energy.  Requires electric utilities to file proposed community-based renewable energy tariffs with the public utilities commission by Oct. 1, 2015. Authorizes ratepayer participation in eligible community-based renewable energy projects.

SB1316, SD2, HD2, relating to electric vehicles.  Establishes a working group to examine the issues regarding requests to the board of directors of an association of apartment owners, condominium association, cooperative housing corporation, or planned community association regarding the installation of electric vehicle charging systems.

SB1047, SD1, HD1, relating to waste to energy.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Pelatron Q, LLC, with the development of waste-to-energy power plants in Hawaii.

SB349, SD2, HD2, relating to renewable energy tax credits.  Establishes a renewable fuels production tax credit and repeals the ethanol facility tax credit.  Allows qualifying taxpayers to claim an income tax credit for qualifying renewable fuel.  Applies to taxable years beginning after Dec. 31, 2015.

SB1214, HD1, relating to the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds.  Authorizes the issuance of special purpose revenue bonds to assist Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Maui Electric Company, Limited, and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc.  Requires electric utilities to unbundle customer rates and charges to be eligible to receive financing assistance through SPRBs. 

CONSUMER PROTECTION

SB464, SD1, HD2, relating to consumer protection.  Requires disclosure in a form that may be retained by a consumer of terms, conditions, and cancellation procedures for automatic and continuous service offer contracts.  Requires a means for cancelling a contract prior to the expiration of a free trial period.

SB737, SD1, HD2, relating to check cashing.  Creates standards, including authorization for the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to adopt rules, for check cashing businesses, including requirements for registration, surety, recordkeeping, examinations, and confidentiality.  Sets new penalties for check cashing businesses that violate the established standards.

MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS

SB181, SD1, HD1, relating to veterans.  Allows the Department of Education to continue awarding (until June 30, 2020) high school diplomas to qualified veterans who did not receive a high school diploma as a result of compulsory induction into active service in the Armed Services of the United States or any person whose high school education was interrupted due to wartime practices such as internment during World War II.

SB559, SD2, HD2, relating to the military.  Establishes and funds a Military Affairs Advisor position and an Assistant Military Affairs Advisor position in the Office of the Governor, with the Military Affairs Advisor reporting directly to the Governor.

TRANSPARENCY AND GOOD GOVERNMENT

SB286, SD2, HD1, relating to the Office of the State Inspector General.  Establishes the Office of the State Inspector General, to be headed by the State Inspector General, to investigate complaints alleging fraud, waste, abuse, or corruption by a state agency or quasi-public agency, or by the officers or employees of a state agency or quasi-public agency.  Appropriates funds.

SB140, HD2, relating to government records.  Requires agencies to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of all government records under its control that are required to be made available for public inspection under Hawaii’s Uniform Information Practices Act.

SB996, SD2, HD2, relating to ethics.  Appropriates funds to the State Ethics Commission to design and develop a system that allows filers to electronically file required statements and reports with the State Ethics Commission.

SB475, SD1, HD2, relating to open government.  Allows the electronic mailing of meeting notices; requires the posting of the notice on the state or appropriate county’s electronic calendar; and clarifies potential posting disputes.  Adds emergency meetings to the public meeting notice requirements.

SB652, SD1, HD2, relating to public agency meetings.  Requires a public agency board to report any discussion or final action taken during an executive meeting; provided that such disclosure is not inconsistent with the purpose of convening the executive meeting, but giving the board discretion to maintain confidentiality.

ELECTIONS AND CAMPAIGN SPENDING

SB287, SD2, HD2, Beginning with the primary election in 2016, requires the office of elections to implement election by mail in a county with a population of fewer than 100,000.  Beginning with the 2018 primary election, implement election by mail in each county with a population of fewer than 500,000.  Thereafter, election by mail is required for all elections.  Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.

SB654, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign contributions.  Reduces from less than $500 to less than $100, the aggregate contribution amount a candidate may receive from ten or more anonymous persons at the same political function.

SB452, SD1, HD2, relating to campaign spending.  Requires that supplemental campaign spending reports be filed annually on January 31.

SB364, SD2, HD1, relating to elections. Establishes a process for the recounting of ballots cast in a contest. Authorizes that contests for cause challenging a contest result may also be based upon unlawful activity or force majeure.

FISCAL INITIATIVES

SB254, SD1, HD1, relating to the state’s CIP operating and deferred maintenance costs.  Requires information on the estimated operational costs of proposed capital improvement projects and deferred maintenance costs of state-owned buildings, facilities, and other improvements to be summarized in the multi-year program and financial plan and supplemental budget, as applicable.

CULTURE AND THE ARTS

SB1177, SD1, HD1, appropriates funds to establish four full-time equivalent positions with the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to address the findings contained in Auditor’s Report No. 14-11, “Audit of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.”

OTHERS

SB868, SD1, HD2, relating to liquor commissions.  Requires county liquor commissions to prescribe regulations on dancing in establishments licensed to serve alcohol through the adoption or amendment of administrative rules.

Grassroot Institute Investigates Questionable Procurement by Native Hawaiian Roll

A request by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for information about the expenditures of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission has led to additional questions about the Commission’s possible violation of the state procurement code.

Former Hawai`i Attorney General Michael Lilly has requested that the Directors of the Departments of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and Accounting and General Services review whether the expenditure of over $800,000 on two vendors by the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission without public bid violated the State’s procurement code.  Such a violation of the code is subject to possible criminal and civil penalties.

The Grassroot Institute requested from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs the check register of the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission as part of their ongoing government transparency effort. With the Commission’s response now made public, citizens and government observers have been stepping forward with more questions about the expenditures listed and the process behind them.

Click to view

Click to view

In his letters sent as a private citizen to the state department directors, Michael Lilly states:

Some $4 million was reportedly transferred by OHA to the NHRC. The attached ledger summarizes payments by the NHRC to various vendors including over $600,000 to Makauila, a multimedia company … Another some $200,000 went to “1013” which is a branding company found on your web site here as “One Zero Ten Three” … None of these payments to vendors apparently complied with the procurement code, Chapter 103D.

According to Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President/CEO of Grassroot Institute, “Much of the money being spent by OHA and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission could better be used to meet the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, job opportunities, education, and health-care.  And, if any of this public money is being fraudulently used, OHA and the Roll Commission must be held accountable.”

Mr. Lilly added in a statement to Grassroot Institute: “The procurement code was established to ensure transparency and openness in public bidding, to ensure everyone has an equal right to bid on public contracts and to protect public funds from being overspent on insider deals.”

The letters from Mr. Lilly referenced above as well as the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission’s check register and expenses are posted at Grassroot Institute’s Transparency website, OpenHawaii.org.

About Grassroot President:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.

Office of Information Practice Advising Agencies to Disclose P-Card Records to Requesters

In light of numerous inquiries about the disclosure of P-Card usage by government employees, the state Office of Information Practices (OIP) is generally advising agencies to disclose unredacted P-Card records to requesters, because all purchases made on the cards are supposed to be justified as work-related expenses.

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In rare circumstances, there may be confidential information that should be redacted because of a significant privacy interest, such as medical information.

P-Card usage is distinguished from personal credit card reimbursements sought by employees for work expenses.  In the case of employees’ requests for reimbursement of work-related expenses paid for by their personal credit cards, it is proper to redact all personal or confidential information on the personal credit card invoices, such as all non-work related purchases, personal address, credit card number, interest rates, balances, payments due, and rewards points.

P-Card records to requesters, agencies are further cautioned to redact confidential P-Card account numbers and any taxpayer identification numbers for vendors.  Oftentimes, a vendor’s taxpayer ID number is a person’s social security number, which should be redacted prior to disclosure.

For the latest open government news, check for archived copies of What’s New articles that are posted here, or e-mailed upon request. To be added to OIP’s e-mail list, please e-mail oip@hawaii.gov.  Also, if you would like to receive What’s New articles or attachments in a Word format, please contact OIP at (808) 586-1400 or oip@hawaii.gov.

The Future of Outdoor Recreation in Hawaii – DLNR Seeks Public Comment on the 2015 Outdoor Recreation Plan

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of State Parks in partnership with PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc., is inviting the public to review the draft of the 2015 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP).

2015 SCORP

The comprehensive recreation plan is updated every 5 years to assess Hawai‘i’s outdoor recreation trends, needs and priorities. The plan also provides direction for the State’s recreational future and allows Hawai‘i to remain eligible to receive funds for outdoor recreation projects through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a federal grants program administered by the National Park Service.

Using the priorities for outdoor recreation identified in the comprehensive recreation plan, the National Park Service selects projects to receive conservation funding that best meet Hawai‘i’s recreational needs and help resolve recreational conflicts.

The 5-year strategic plan for outdoor recreation as presented in the draft 2015 recreation plan is based on comments received from recreation agencies and the public through online surveys and public meetings held between January and March 2014. More than 1,100 people participated in the process and identified the operation and maintenance of recreation facilities as the number one issue and priority for investment in outdoor recreation.

The public and recreation agencies both recognize an increasing demand on outdoor recreation facilities due to a growing population of residents, military, and visitors. While County leaders have placed an emphasis on the maintenance of their parks, they also recognize the need for public-private partnerships. Ocean recreation continues to be a high recreation priority for Hawai‘i’s residents and visitors, but user conflicts in the ocean remain a challenge. Sports fields are in high demand, especially with year-round seasons that stress the demand and maintenance for these multi-purpose fields.

The 2009 recreation plan identified multi-use paths for walking, jogging, and bicycling as one of Hawaii’s recreational priorities and this trend continues into the 2015 SCORP.

In response to this demand, LWCF grants were awarded in 2014 to the County of Hawai‘i and DLNR to assist with the construction of the new Hilo Bayfront Trails. This multi-use trail system will run through several County parks, including Mo‘oheau Park, Hilo Bayfront Park and Hilo Bayfront Soccer Fields, as well as Wailoa River State Recreation Area.

Ocean recreation and hiking trails are major recreational activities that are experiencing higher demand and user conflicts as the population grows and the funds and staffing to expand and maintain the resources and facilities remain limited.

The increase in ocean and hiking related accidents and rescues points to the popularity of these recreational activities but also the dangers and concerns for public safety when recreating in Hawai‘i’s natural environment.

In response to the demand for hiking opportunities, another current project being assisted with an LWCF grant is the repair of, and improvements to the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline.

“We have seen the popularity of the Makapu‘u Trail continue to grow among both residents and visitors. The repairs will promote a safe, enjoyable hiking experience while the new viewing areas with interpretive signs will share the resources and history of this park,” said Dan Quinn, State Parks administrator. The Makapu‘u Trail work is currently underway with completion scheduled for July 2015.

A 14-page summary of the SCORP findings and strategic plan, as well as the full draft SCORP document with appendices, can viewed on the State Parks website: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/
Public comments are due by April 30, 2015 and can be submitted by e-mail or in writing to:

ccullison@pbrhawaii.com
or
PBR HAWAII & Associates, Inc.
Attn: Catie Cullison, AICP
1001 Bishop Street, Suite 650
Honolulu, HI 96813-3484

BACKGROUND
LWCF grants provide a match for State and County funds to acquire new land for outdoor recreation and develop or renovate recreational facilities. Since 1967, the State of Hawai‘i and the four counties have received more than $38 million in LWCF grants for acquisition and development of outdoor recreation lands and facilities. In recent years, LWCF grants have been awarded to the County of Hawaii to install new playground equipment at Panaewa Zoo in Hilo, to the City and County of Honolulu to replace the ball field lights at Ala Wai Community Park, to the County of Maui to construct a new skate park within the Lahaina Recreation Center, and to State Parks for renovation of the Makapu‘u Trail within the Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline on O‘ahu.

 

Mokulele Announces $30.00 Standby Fares

Mokulele Airlines, inspired by the Easter Bunny’s recent visit, announced today that they are launching a special Island Hopper standby fare in April that will give kama‘aina the opportunity to island hop for just $30 per segment.

mokulele plane

“We are a family-owned and operated airline,” said Ron Hansen, President & CEO of Mokulele Airlines, “and Easter is family time. So we came up with an idea to make it affordable for family and friends to visit loved ones on neighbor islands.”

Mokulele will post daily Facebook and Twitter posts announcing which flights have open seats. To take advantage of the $30 per segment fair, flyers need to arrive at the check-in counter 30 minutes before the scheduled departure.

“It’s a first come, first-served concept,” said Hansen. “We have over 100 flights a day so there are a lot of opportunities for people to standby and save.”

Mokulele Airlines has an eleven plane fleet and operates daily flights from 9 airports including – Honolulu and Barbers Point airports on O‘ahu, Kapalua, Kahului and Hana airports on Maui, Kona, and Kanhului Airport on the Big Island, Ho‘olehua and Kalaupapa airports on Moloka‘i.

“So hop online and follow our official Facebook and Twitter pages,” said Hansen. “We will be posting flight availability and open seats starting immediately.”

The standby rate offer is valid through the end of April. For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/Mokulele and https://twitter.com/MokuleleAir

HPCSN Announces 4th Annual Hawaii Charter School Awardees

Hawaii Public Charter School Network (HPCSN) will honor charter schools and leaders at the 2014-2015 Hawaii Charter Schools Awards, taking place Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Pomaikai Ballrooms at Dole Cannery from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Today, HPCSN announced a list of awardees, including:

voyager PCS

Charter School of the Year

  • Voyager Public Charter School, Honolulu, Oahu

Most Improved Charter School

  • Innovations New Century Public Charter Schools, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Creating New Best Practices

  • West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Kawaikini Public Charter School, Lihue, Kauai

Circle of Teaching Excellence

  • Mary Quijano, Na Wai Ola Public Charter School, Mountain View, Hawaii
  • Heather Nakakura, West Hawaii Explorations Academy, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Kananinohea Makaimoku, Ke Kula o Nawahiokalaniopuu Iki Laboratory Public Charter School, Hilo, Hawai‘i

Governing Board Member of the Year

  • Philip Whitesell, PhD, Lanikai Elementary School, Kailua, Oahu

Charter Leader of the Year

  • Jennifer Hiro, Innovations New Century Public Charter Schools, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

“We look forward to celebrating the innovation and achievement that happens every in charter classrooms across Hawaii,” said Lynn Finnegan, Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Charter Schools Network.

“This year’s theme, ‘Changing the Education Paradigm,” encompasses what charter schools are all about.  Despite many challenges, charter schools are doing more with less and delivering effective models of education.”

“Through our advocacy and support services, HPCSN works to help schools navigate these challenges, especially those unique to charter schooling in Hawaii, so that charter schools can focus on what they do best, educating students,” Finnegan added.

All awardees above as well as Legislators of the Year and Community Partner of the Year (yet to be selected) will be honored at the 4th Annual Hawaii Charter Schools Awards dinner.  The dinner is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by phone at 808-380-6403 or online at http://2015hawaiicharterschoolsawards.eventbrite.com/.

Video – Hawaii Dravet Syndrome Patient Treats Seizures with Cannabis Oil

MJ Kaneshiro has Dravet Syndrome (a rare form of epilepsy) and uses cannabis oil to treat her seizures.

Please support Senate Bill 682 SD2 HD1

Measure Title: RELATING TO MEDICAL MARIJUANA.

Report Title: Medical Marijuana; Patients and Caregivers; Protections; Certifying Physician

Description: Establishes a system of medical marijuana dispensaries and production centers. Requires that the number of licensed dispensaries and production centers increase gradually over an initial phase-in period. Prohibits counties from enacting zoning regulations that discriminate against licensed dispensaries and production centers. Allows a qualifying patient, primary caregiver, or an owner or employee of a medical marijuana production center or dispensary to transport medical marijuana in any public place, under certain conditions. Replaces the requirement that a certifying physician be the qualifying patient’s primary care physician with a requirement that the physician have a bona fide physician-patient relationship with the qualifying patient. Prohibits primary caregivers from cultivating medical marijuana after 6/30/2018, subject to certain exceptions. Appropriates funds. (HD1)

Hawaii Senate Honors Hokulea’s 40 Year History

In an historic gathering in the Senate chambers, Hawai’i’s State Senators recognized the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the twelve living crew members from the Hōkūle‘a’s maiden voyage to Tahiti in 1976. It is the first time all living members of the Hōkūle‘a’s original crew were together since the inaugural voyage.

Senatehonorshokulea

Recognizing the impact the Hōkūle‘a and the Polynesian Voyaging Society has made on the state of Hawai‘i, Senators honored the 40th anniversary of the legendary sailing canoe and its birth of the revival of traditional voyaging and wayfinding.

“This dedicated crew has inspired generations to be proud of their Pacific heritage and to continue to seek inclusive island wisdom of sustainability, responsibility and mutual respect and caring,” said Senator Gilbert Kahele (D 1st District – Hilo, Pi‘ihonua, Kaūmana, Waiākea, Keaukaha). “Hōkūle‘a is more than a voyaging canoe, she represents a design shared by the people of Hawai‘i, the Pacific and the world to perpetuate and protect our most cherished values and places from disappearing.”

“Forty years is a long time and it raises the question: ‘Is something like a voyaging canoe relevant? Does it still have meaning and value to our society?’” said Nainoa Thompson, pwo navigator, president of PVS and crewmember of the 1976 maiden voyage. “We are grateful to have our governmental body take the time to celebrate the worldwide voyage and to me, it shows that Hawai‘i is still with us, that the canoe still matters. As the voyage now heads into the Indian Ocean, which is much more dangerous, it gives us the strength to set sail.”

Honored today on the Senate floor:

  • Ben Finney, Ph.D. – In 1973, Finney co-founded the Polynesian Voyaging Society with Herb Kāne and Tommy Holmes. He served as PVS’s first president.
  • Milton “Shorty” Bertelmann – Bertelmann first learned traditional, observational navigation from Mau Piailug during the sail from Hawai‘i to Tahiti. He served as captain on Hōkūle‘a in 1980 and 1985.
  • Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana – Often referred to as the “Mayor of Makaha,” Keaulana is the winner of the 1960 Makaha International.
  • John Kruse – Kruse is a pillar of the canoe community on Kaua‘i and continues to lead work on the Garden Isle’s own sailing canoe, Namahoe.
  • William “Billy” Richards – Richards serves as a director on several public service organizations, Native Hawiian and educational boards, including Paepae O He‘eia, Bishop Museum Association Council, and ‘Aha Kāne. He is presently the Director of Communications for Partners in Development Foundation, a public not-for-profit company that serves the Native Hawaiian community through social and educational programs.
  • Charles Nainoa Thompson – Thompson is the first Hawaiian to practice the art of wayfinding on long distance ocean voyages since such voyaging ended in Hawai‘i around the 14th century. He now teaches a system of wayfinding that he developed by synthesizing traditional principles of ancient Pacific navigation and modern science.
  • Abraham “Snake” Ah Hee – Ah Hee is a veteran of the National Guard and served a tour in Vietnam.  He credits the Hōkūle‘a’s voyage for strengthening the Hawaiian culture in spirit.
  • Francis Kainoa Lee – Lee became a part of the Hōkūle‘a’s first crew after his wife signed him up for a workshop in Kualoa to get acquainted with sailing the wa‘a. Lee has sailed on many voyages since and continues to support the crews in the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage.
  • Kimo Lyman – Lyman worked for the first fire department in Waialua. He is a veteran of many sails on Hōkūlea starting in 1976 and was the instrumental navigator on the voyage from Tahiti to Hawai‘i.
  • Gordon Pi‘ianai‘a – Pi‘ianai‘a’s career at sea began shortly after he graduated from the Kamehameha Schools for boys and he entered the Navy. Gordon started sailing on Hōkūle‘a in 1976 and has served as captain on numerous legs, while sailing a part of each of the voyages from 1980 through 2014.
  • Penny Martin – Martin is one of only two women who took part in Hōkūle‘a’s first voyage in 1976. She now works for Papahana Kualoa’s Lelekamanu Project where she teaches cultural- based environmental education.
  • Dr. Ben Young – Dr. Young served as the crew’s doctor on the first voyage in 1976. Young authored the article, Psychological Effects of Long Ocean Voyages, which is still used to educate new crewmembers on how to recognize and plan for the psychological effects that could be experienced during long voyages.

Volunteers and employees of the University of Hawai‘i Honolulu Community College and its Marine Education and Training Center and the                                                                                                                                                                                                        Polynesian Voyaging Society who have supported the many sails over the past 40 years were also recognized on the Senate floor.  They include:

  • Cecelia Lindo — one of the first staff of PVS
  • Haʻaheo Mansfield — one of the first staff of PVS
  • Bert Kaihe Barber — one of the first volunteers for PVS and Hōkūleʻa
  • Robert Perkins — Director of the Marine Education and Training Center (where Hōkūleʻa and PVS are housed)
  • Laura Thompson — PVS Board Member, wife of Pinky Thompson and mother of Nainoa Thompson
  • Clyde Nāmuʻo — CEO of PVS
  • Dennis Kawaharada — Kapiʻolani Community College, English faculty and long-time PVS documenter
  • Neil Hannahs — PVS Board Chair
  • Marisa Hayase — PVS Communications Director
  • Lilikalā Kameʻeleihiwa — PVS Board Member
  • Billy Ornellas — PVS Board Member
  • Erika Lacro — Chancellor of Honolulu Community College

“Hōkūleʻa continues to be Hawai‘i’s canoe, a floating classroom for Hawai‘i and Island Earth, building on the awareness and understanding generated from her historic launching forty years ago,” said Sen. Kahele. “We extend our best wishes for the safety and success in their journey on their Mālama Honua, the Worldwide Voyage.”

For more information on the Polynesian Voyaging Society and the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage: www.hokulea.com

Keonepoko Elementary School to Reopen – Lava No Longer Immediate Threat

The Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) will begin the planning process to reopen Keonepoko Elementary School in Hawaiian Beaches now that lava is no longer an immediate threat to the area. The planning will also include addressing all of the adjustments made in October 2014 that affected 1,700 students and 300 employees.

Keonepoko

“Many families were affected by our contingency plans to safeguard access to education and we appreciate their cooperation and understanding through all of it,” said Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “We now have a ton of details to work out before making any official announcement on dates or assignments, however it is important to let families and staff know where we stand. The decision to reopen Keonepoko Elementary extends beyond just the facility. We want to be very thoughtful about our approach.”

The decisions affecting employees will be made in consultation with the Hawaii State Teachers Association, Hawaii Government Employees Association and the United Public Workers union. In upcoming weeks, principals in the Kau-Keaau-Pahoa Complex Area and DOE administrators will map out a course of action. The DOE is aiming to have details solidified by May to provide families ample time to plan for School Year 2015-16.

In late October 2014, DOE closed Keonepoko Elementary in response to the rapidly advancing lava flow. It was determined then that the lava would be crossing Highway 130. DOE built a temporary facility in the Keaau High lower parking lot and adjusted classroom assignments for students and staff within the complex area.

Recently the lava flow changed in threat status from ‘warning’ to ‘watch.’ Hawaii County Civil Defense has informed the Department that based on the most current information available the lava is no longer headed toward Pahoa.

Complex Area Superintendent Chad Farias stated, “We continue to evaluate what all possible futures might be for the education of children within Puna and are thinking not just about the current situation, but how to provide quality education to all of the families in our area for years to come.”

The DOE will provide more information to its staff and the public once it is available.

 

Commentary – Call for Moratorium on TMT is “Grandstanding”

The Thirty Meter Telescope project went through a seven year public vetting process, which included a lengthy contested case hearing for the conservation district use permit. The hearing officer upheld the BLNR’s findings, so the BLNR granted the CDUP and the site lease.

The University of Hawaii also implemented a comprehensive management plan for the Mauna Kea Science Reserve. This was mandated after the Keck Outrigger decision. The comprehensive management plan has imposed strict conditions on future telescope projects on Mauna Kea. The TMT will be last new telescope constructed on Mauna Kea; future telescopes will recycle existing facilities and footprint.

In short, I strongly believe OHA Trustee Apo’s call to place a temporary moratorium on the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope is pure and simple grandstanding.

Aaron Stene
Kailua-Kona

ZipMobile Repairs Successful – What Went Wrong

The Hawaii Department of Transportation’s (HDOT) two ZipMobiles used for the H-1 Freeway ZipperLane are both in operational condition after breaking down on Tuesday, Mar. 31, due to electrical malfunctions.

Zipmobile

The original ZipMobile breakdown on Tuesday morning was caused by an intermittent electrical problem with its computer battery pack unit.  As a result, the on-board CPU card was corrupted.  A replacement was attempted using the computer battery pack unit and CPU card from the backup ZipMobile, but it suffered the same electrical problem.

A technician from ZipMobile vendor, Lindsay Corporation, was flown from California to Hawaii and was able to diagnose the problem, replace the battery pack units and reprogram the CPU cards on Wednesday.  All other mechanical components of the vehicles were unaffected.

Both ZipMobiles were restored to full operational condition on Wednesday with the first at approximately 1 p.m. This ZipMobile closed the deployed ZipperLane between 2 and 4 p.m.  The second ZipMobile was fully restored at approximately 5 p.m. and opened and closed the ZipperLane overnight for normal rush-hour operation this morning.

HDOT will be examining all aspects of the vehicle maintenance plan and its public outreach plans to better inform motorists of large-scale traffic incidents.  These will include such items as:

  • Backup units for the computer battery pack that failed will now be held in reserve in the event of future problems. Previously, this unit was not held in reserve due to its limited, one-year shelf life in storage.  HDOT and Lindsay Corp. are also preparing a list of additional electronic backup parts that are practical to keep on hand.
  • Lindsay Corp. will allow HDOT use of its proprietary software and train local staff on reinstallation procedures.
  • HDOT is submitting a budget proposal to the State Legislature this week for the long-term rehabilitation or replacement for one or both ZipMobiles.
  • Highway operational improvements are being considered to formalize use of freeway shoulder lanes during afternoon rush-hour traffic in various locations, such as the H-1 right shoulders from Pearl Harbor to Salt Lake and from Aiea to Pearl City, that were used in the Tuesday and Wednesday traffic backups.
  • HDOT will be working with the City & County of Honolulu to improve public outreach for future traffic incidents. This will include regular media updates to television, radio and social media outlets.
  • HDOT will be working will all counties and other state departments for major event coordination.

All H-1 ZipperLane operations next week will proceed as normal. HDOT again sincerely thanks Oahu’s motorists for their patience and kokua this week.

DLNR Statement on Arrests of “Protectors” of Mauna Kea

Today Department of Land and Natural Resources, along with Hawaii County Police and assisted by Public Safety Department, took necessary action to preserve and protect public safety and public access on Mauna Kea.

Mauna Kea Arrest

We are working with the University of Hawaii and the Thirty Meter Telescope project to ensure that the Mauna Kea summit road remains clear for workers, and to ensure access to Mauna Kea for other public use. Persons expressing their views may peacefully protest if not blocking the road. Anyone impeding public safety or public access will be arrested.

In addition to enforcement action by Hawaii County Police, DLNR enforcement also arrested eight (8) adults who were obstructing the road for disobedience to police officers, and another eleven (11) adults were arrested for trespass after refusing to leave the TMT construction site at the summit. The arrests were peaceful, and there were no injuries or medical issues.

DLNR will be working closely with its partners to monitor the situation.

NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric to Hold Informational Meetings Across State

NextEra Energy, Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc., Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. and Maui Electric Company Limited (collectively referred to as Hawaiian Electric), today announced that the companies will be hosting a series of 13 open house informational meetings across Hawaii to introduce residents to NextEra Energy and the benefits of the companies’ pending merger as well as to provide members of the public with the opportunity to provide input directly to company officials.

NextEra Logo

The open houses will take place on Oahu, Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai and Lanai from April 7 to April 16.

“Since we announced our merger late last year, we’ve been gratified at the reception we’ve received as well as the high level of interest in this important topic for Hawaii,” said Eric Gleason, president of NextEra Energy Hawaii, LLC. “NextEra Energy shares Hawaiian Electric’s vision of increasing renewable energy, modernizing its grid, reducing Hawaii’s dependence on imported oil, integrating more rooftop solar energy and, importantly, lowering customer bills. We recognize that addressing Hawaii’s energy challenges requires Hawaii-specific energy solutions, and that is why we look forward to meeting with and listening to residents across Hawaii. The meetings will provide us with the opportunity to receive valuable feedback while allowing residents to learn more about NextEra Energy and the significant near- and long-term benefits this merger will deliver to Hawaiian Electric customers and the state of Hawaii.”

“In selecting NextEra Energy as our partner, we will join a company that shares our community and environmental values, has a proven track record of lowering electric bills, is the world’s largest generator of renewable energy from the wind and sun, and is committed to rooftop solar in Hawaii,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric’s president and chief executive officer. “We can’t imagine a better match to help us accelerate the clean energy transformation we all want for Hawaii. We hope our customers will take the opportunity to meet members of the NextEra Energy team and learn firsthand why NextEra Energy is the right partner to help us achieve a cleaner and more affordable energy future for Hawaii.”

About the Open House Meetings

Each open house meeting will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. Senior leaders and other employees from NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric will be available to discuss NextEra Energy’s track record of increasing renewable energy, lowering customer bills, creating innovative solutions for modernizing the grid, and supporting local communities, as well as all the expected benefits from the proposed merger with Hawaiian Electric.

The dates and locations for the meetings are as follows:

Maui County

April 7

  • Central Maui: Maui Electric Auditorium
  • South Maui: Kihei Community Center

April 8

  • West Maui: Lahaina Civic Center
  • Lanai: Lanai Community Center

April 9

  • Molokai: Kaunakakai Elementary School Cafeteria

Hawaii Island

April 13

  • Hilo, Hawaii: Hilo High School Cafeteria
  • Puna, Hawaii: Pahoa High School Cafeteria

April 14

  • West Hawaii: Kealakehe High School Cafeteria
  • Waimea, Hawaii: HPA Village Campus Dining Hall

Oahu

April 15

  • West Oahu: Kapolei High School Cafeteria
  • Leeward Oahu: Pearl City High School Cafeteria

April 16

  • Honolulu: Ward Warehouse, Kakaako Conference Room
  • Windward Oahu: Windward Community College, Hale Akoakoa

Website

To learn more about the benefits of the transaction, please visit www.forhawaiisfuture.com.

Hawaii Moon RIDERS Honored at Capital

The House of Representatives today recognized the Iolani School and Kealakehe High School robotics team, known as the Moon RIDERS, for their work on the electrodynamic dust shield lunar project and their partnerships with PISCES, NASA, and Google Lunar Xprize. 

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

PISCES Executive Director Rob Kelso, Moon RIDERS, and members of the Hawaii House of Representatives.

In February, the group was selected to take part in an experiment involving electrodynamic dust shield technology that will be conducted on the surface of the moon by the end of 2016. 

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

Kealakehe teacher Justin Brown, Kealakehe student Moon RIDERS, and Reps. Nicole Lowen and Mark Nakashima.

The selected Hawaii students will be mentored by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.  The project came about through an agreement with PISCES and NASA to work on a Hawaii high school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) project.

Hawaii Police Kill 5 Unarmed Hawaii Residents in 8 Months – Group Calls for Justice for Sheldon Haleck

Today we say NO MORE!   World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i calls on the people of Hawai`i to demand the truth about the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheldon Haleck.

JusticeWe challenge the media to vigorously investigate the actions of the HPD and to refuse to parrot police reports and attempts to vilify victims of police brutality and murder.

We challenge the people of Hawaii to stand with the victims of police brutality and create an atmosphere where families can talk openly about their loved ones, and where witnesses of police brutality can step forward to tell the truth.

justice2In the wake of the police murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, people across the U.S. righteously stood up against police murder and brutality, the targeting of Black and Brown people, and the lack of prosecution of the police for their crimes.

People of different races and nationalities, and from all walks of life, joined together to say, “We  Can’t Breathe,” in solidarity with those being victimized. Through many different forms of protest and resistance, the entire society was finally forced to confront this burning injustice.  Meanwhile, murder by police continues unchecked.

justice3In the last 8 months HPD has killed at least 5 unarmed Hawai`i residents.  Hawai`i has one of the highest rates of police murder and brutality in the U.S.

The epidemic of police murder and brutality must end!   NOW!

On April 14 World Can’t Wait-Hawai`i will be joining with people across the U.S. calling for a Shut Down to Stop Murder (#ShutDownA14).  Go to www.stopmassincarceration.net to connect with the growing movement against police murder, brutality and mass incarceration!”

Commentary:

15 people responded to our Call to a Vigil/Signholding in front of Iolani Palace to
Demand Justice for Sheldon Haleck.  A small memorial was set up and our signs lined King Street during rush hour.

Many commuters honked their horns; a few stopped their cars to ask what had happened; several pedestrians stopped to talk, thank us, or tell about their own experiences with police brutality.

We also heard some potentially important new information.  According to someone who was within several hundred yards of the killing but did not personally see Sheldon get tased,, Sheldon was “dragged from the street” rather than “escorted,” as the HPD report claimed, and  several people he had spoken with overheard conversations between the police immediately after Sheldon was tased saying they were “worried that the woman cop who tased Sheldon had tased him too long.”   At this point facts are still sketchy, but while we held signs we couldn’t help but note that there were a number of surveillance cameras in the vicinity that might hold important information.

A Press Release was sent to members of Hawai`i’s media; only Channel 9 came out.  The photographer took a lot of pictures, but we haven’t seen any coverage.

World Can’t Wait Hawaii

 

Big Island Legislators Secure Over $200 Million in Capital Improvement Funding for Island Projects

Big Island legislators secured over $200 million in Capital Improvement Project (CIP) funding for various projects across the island in the House proposed budget.

capital

The proposed budget includes funding for various highway improvements, monies for Big Island schools, plans for a new hospital in Kona, and continued financial support to complete the Kona Judiciary Complex.

Notable CIP funding highlights for Hawaii County include:

  • $55 million in continued funding for the design and construction of a Judiciary Complex in Kona
  • $1.2 million for the plans and design of a new hospital in Kona
  • $2.35 million for the design and construction of a Kamuela post-harvest facility and vacuum cooling plant
  • $330,000 for improvements to the research campus in the Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park
  • $30.212 for the construction of a new combined support maintenance shop complex for Hawaii Army National Guard at the Keaukaha military reservation
  • $1.675 million for Youth Challenge Academy renovations and improvements at Keaukaha military reservation
  • $2 million for the design of Building A phase 1 renovations at Hilo Intermediate School
  • $1 million for the construction of bleachers at Honokaa High School
  • $230,000 for the construction of drainage improvements and a raised covered walkway at Mountain View Elementary School
  • $450,000 for a new baseball batting cage at Waiakea High School
  • $1.58 million for the design of a new classroom building at Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School
  • $300,000 for parking improvements at Kealakehe Elementary School
  • $8.5 million for the land acquisition, design, construction and equipment for a multi-purpose workforce development processing facility
  • $1 million for the design and construction for Pu’u Wa’awa’a structure improvements and dam compliance
  • $400,000 for the plans and design for improvements at the North Kawaihae small boat harbor
  • $600,000 for the land acquisition and design for a community center in Waiakea Uka
  • $200,000 for building renovations and improvements at the Paauilo slaughterhouse plant
  • $3.5 million for airfield improvements at Hilo International Airport
  • $61 million for the design and construction of a new airport rescue firefighters regional training facility at the Kona International Airport at Keahole
  • $1.425 million for physical modifications to improve navigational safety and operational efficiencies at Hilo Harbor
  • $3.6 million for Kohala Mountain Road drainage improvements by mile post 10.60
  • $8 million for the rehabilitation of Ninole Bridge along Mamalahoa Highway (route 11)
  • $15 million for repair and maintenance of feeder roads and alternate routes for Highway 130
  • $660,000 for land acquisition to extend the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from the Hilo terminus to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway
  • $1.5 million for the construction of portable trailers at Hawaii Community College
  • $350,000 to renovate the tennis court at Honokaa High and Intermediate School
  • $2.46 million lump sum for renovations at Hilo High School
  • $1.23 million lump sum for renovations at Konawaena Middle School
  • $780,000 lump sum for renovations at Kohala High
  • $4.99 million for photovoltaic projects for East Hawaii HHSC region
  • $3.492 million total for renovations at Kona Community Hospital
  • $750,000 for an 80 bed intake unit at Hawaii Community Correctional Center to address overcrowding

 

Commentary – Hawaii Department of Transportation Airports Division Desecrates Memorial

Over the last year, Skydive Hawaii has won a formal Part 16 FAA Hearing regarding economic discrimination and exclusivity of use at Hana Airport – violations of FAA AIF Grant Assurances 22 and 23. Earlier this year, in the Supreme Court of Hawaii, we provided oral arguments on the limitations of the ability of the Director of Transportation to make rules at airports owned by the United States of America (Dillingham Airfield).

In 2005, the State of Hawaii DOT-A was found moving sand containing human bones to local North Shore resident Thomas Shirai’s property. At that time the DOT-A blamed the contractor, Stay and Sons for the problem.

Click to enlarge

The present barrier (click to enlarge)

On March 19, 2015, Mr. Curtis Lau and another maintenance worker at Dillingham Airfield, under the direct supervision of Mike Navares, erected a second rope barrier between the skydive memorial at Dillingham Airfield and Skydive Hawaii. Prior to commencing with the project, Frank Hinshaw, President at Skydive Hawaii explained to Mr. Lau and his worker that putting a barrier up would only serve to cause outrage in the skydiver community.

An aircraft crash into Pearl Harbor on December 5, 1981 took the lives of 11 skydivers. In their memory a memorial was established at their home, Dillingham Airfield. The memorial is simple, a large rock with a bronze plaque and 11 milo trees in a circular arrangement symbolizing the “round or star” skydiving formation.

Skydiving Memorial

At the time the State DOT-A said that the area would not be rented or leased under revocable permit. Over the years, the skydiving community has lost more friends, but this memorial has served as a place of all their remembrances. The staff of Skydive Hawaii has maintained the memorial, cutting the grass, raking the leaves, and keeping the trees trimmed for the last 25 years and at no time was access to anyone restricted in any manner.

Friday, January 30, Mike Navares, verbally notified this company that beginning February 1 2015 the State had leased the skydiver memorial to Pacific Skydiving, a commercial company. The State and Pacific skydiving understood that the area was a skydive memorial and that this would be considered as an act of disrespect.

Desecration 2

Barrier in early February

A Pacific Skydiving business sign was moved onto the “memorial property.”A first rope barrier was put up and rocks moved in the front of the memorial to prevent access. Outraged skydivers removed the first rope barrier.

While it appears to us that the State DOT-A is using the desecration of the skydiver memorial as retribution to our FAA hearing win and likely future victory at the Hawaii Supreme Court, the memorial held sacred by skydivers and representing the memories of those who have preceded us on that eternal flight should be held above commercialization and willful desecration by our State government.

Frank Hinshaw,
Skydive Hawaii

Skydivers

2011 group of friends at the memorial – 30th anniversary of the plane crash.