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Big Island Police Looking for Witnesses to Start of Brush Fire that Continues to Burn

Hawaiʻi Island police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating witnesses to the start of a brush fire (July 7) in Kamuela.

The fire started at approximately 11:58 a.m. in a dry grassy area of a residential property in the 64-700 block of Paeli Alanui Street. The fire spread quickly through the dry brush causing damage to an uninhabited structure and a vehicle and continues to burn.

There have been no reported injuries and the extent of the damages incurred by this fire have yet to be determined as Hawaiʻi Fire Department personnel continue their efforts to contain the fire.

This investigation is being continued by the Area II Criminal Investigation Section and police ask that anyone with any information about this incident to contact D etective Dominic Uyetake at 326-4646, extension 228, or via email at Dominic.Uyetake@hawaiicounty.gov or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Callers who prefer to remain anonymous may call the island-wide Crime Stoppers number at 961-8300 and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Landmark Cost of Living Reduction Bill to be Signed Into Law

Gov. David Ige will sign House Bill 209, a landmark cost of living reduction bill, into law on Monday, July 10 in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office.

HB 209 establishes a state earned income tax credit, mirroring the federal earned income tax credit, to help low-income workers retain a larger percentage of their yearly income. The bill also permanently extends the higher rates of the refundable food/excise tax credit, which makes it less costly for those in need to afford necessities like food.

“Creating a state-level earned income tax credit is the most significant anti-poverty measure passed by the Legislature in decades,” said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki.

HB 209 is a financially responsible measure that is financed through the restoration of the highest income tax brackets that existed until 2015.

“HB 209 is all about helping working people keep more of what they make. At its core, it’s a compassionate, fair, and responsible reform to tax policy that helps to alleviate Hawaii’s oppressive cost of living,” said Rep. Aaron Ling Johanson, author and introducer of the bill.

According to the Department of Taxation, HB 209 will give $130 million back to low-income families in the first six years of the credit. More than 107,000 people claim the federal earned income tax credit and would potentially be able to claim the state credit. Additionally, the Refundable Food/Excise Portion amounts to $110 per exemption per claimant.

Ninth Circuit Rules District Court Has the Ability to Interpret and Enforce the U.S. Supreme Court’s Order

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order this afternoon in response to today’s filing by the State of Hawaii asking the Ninth Circuit to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump.

The Ninth Circuit’s order explained it lacks jurisdiction to address the State of Hawaii and Dr. Elshikh’s appeal of Judge Watson’s order denying the motion to clarify the scope of the injunction, because Judge Watson’s order denying the motion to clarify was not a final judgment nor immediately appealable. According to the court, “[b]ecause the “practical effect” of Plaintiffs’ requested relief is declaratory in nature—not injunctive—we do not construe their clarification motion before the district court as one for injunctive relief. And this scenario does not present an order of “practical finality” because … Plaintiffs may seek injunctive relief from the district court.”

Of critical importance, the Ninth Circuit said in part:

[W]e note that … the district court … does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against, for example, a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction … Because the district court was not asked to grant injunctive relief or to modify the injunction, we do not fault it for not doing so.

Attorney General Chin said, “Today’s Ninth Circuit ruling makes clear that Judge Watson does possess the ability to interpret and enforce the Supreme Court’s order, as well as the authority to enjoin against a party’s violation of the Supreme Court’s order placing effective limitations on the scope of the district court’s preliminary injunction. We appreciate the Ninth Circuit for ruling so quickly and will comply.”

Three Hawaii State Land Use Commissioners Reappointed

Gov. David Ige has re-appointed three members to the Land Use Commission (LUC). They are Nancy Cabral (Hawai‘i County), Linda Estes (Kaua‘i County) and Gary Okuda (At-Large).

Nancy Cabral has served on the LUC since 2013. She is a property manager and the owner of Day-Lum Rentals Management and of Coldwell Banker Day-Lum Properties in Hilo.

Nancy Cabral

She has been an active member of the Rotary Club, is currently involved with Ku‘ikahi Mediation Center, the Hawai‘i Island Leadership Council for Hawai‘i Community Foundation and the H.C. Shipman Foundation. In addition, Cabral is a member of the Zonta Club of Hilo, Rotary Club of Hilo, the National Association of Property Managers, the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association and the Hawai‘i Horse Owners Association. She recently received the Athena Award for her success in helping women in the community and work place.

Linda Estes (Photo not available) has served on the LUC since 2015. She retired from the University of New Mexico in 2000 before moving to Koloa on the island of Kaua‘i. Estes previously served as vice president of the Koloa Community Association Executive Board, as a member of the YWCA Executive Board, founding member of the Patsy Mink PAC and she served as Kaua‘i democratic party chair from 2008-2010. While in New Mexico, Estes served as associate athletics director, instructor with the Peace Corp Training Program, director of women’s athletics and assistant professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at the University of New Mexico.

Gary Okuda is an attorney who was appointed to the LUC in 2016. He is a partner and attorney at Leu Okuda and Doi, Attorneys at Law.

Gary Okuda

Born and raised in Hawai‘i, Okuda graduated from Kailua High School before attending Windward Community College and graduating from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He received his law degree from the University of California at Davis and has practiced law in Hawai‘i since 1981, specializing in diverse real estate matters.

The three nominees are considered holdover commissioners. Their re-appointments are subject to Senate confirmation.

Ninth Circuit Dockets Hawaii Appeal Regarding Scope of Travel Ban

Today the State of Hawaii asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to review the scope of the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump after federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson declined to grant Hawaii’s motion for clarification.

Click to view Ninth Circuit Filing

On June 26, 2017, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments in October regarding this case. In a 6-3 decision, the Court ordered that while arguments were pending, people from the six Muslim-majority countries with no connection to the United States may not enter the country, but those with a good faith connection to a U.S. individual or entity may enter. The same standard applies with respect to refugee admissions. Hawaii alleges that the Trump Administration’s guidelines issued on June 29 are overly restrictive and do not comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling. That same day, Hawaii asked the federal district court to clarify the Supreme Court’s order.

Yesterday’s order from Judge Watson declined to address the merits of the request and suggested that Hawaii instead seek clarification from the Supreme Court. Judge Watson also stated that he would rule on the merits if instructed to do so by the higher court.

Today’s motion is directed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for first review. This tracks the ordinary process for appeals within the federal courts and is done to indicate to the Supreme Court that Hawaii followed proper procedures in the courts below. Both district courts and courts of appeal routinely interpret Supreme Court decisions.

Attorney General Chin said, “We are now in the middle of a 90-day partial travel ban. The Trump Administration has reserved the option to extend or even expand the travel ban at the end of it. Many felt the balance struck by the Supreme Court was nuanced and fairly reasonable, but the Trump Administration has flouted the Supreme Court’s order from the start. What happens in the next several weeks matters a lot if the administration is not subject to the checks and balances of the courts.”

Today’s motion states in part:

Parties seeking to clarify or enforce an injunction—even an injunction that has been partially stayed by the Supreme Court—must seek relief in the first instance from the district court that issued it. That is precisely what the State of Hawaii and Dr. Elshikh did when they became aware that the Government intended to flagrantly violate the injunction against the President’s thinly veiled Muslim bans. They had obtained the injunction from the District Court of the District of Hawaii to protect their own constitutional and statutory rights, as well as the rights of the citizens of the State of Hawaii and the United States as a whole. They therefore returned to that District Court to ensure that injunction was followed and their rights were vindicated. But the District Court refused to grant this relief, making the assertion—endorsed by no party—that Plaintiffs must seek relief directly from the Supreme Court.

That is wrong. For over a week, the Government has been unlawfully excluding foreign nationals and thereby inflicting irreparable harm on the American individuals and entities with whom they have relationships. For over a week, the Government has been ignoring the dictates of the Judicial Branch, fashioning and imposing a new Muslim ban wholly divorced from any national security rationale. Every day that passes is a day when our Government is turning away human beings—from newborn children to elderly grandparents—whom the injunction requires to be admitted. It is therefore incumbent on this Court to fulfill its traditional role by reversing the District Court’s erroneous holding and issuing the injunctive relief necessary to ensure that Plaintiffs’ statutory and constitutional rights are protected in the manner intended by the District Court, this Court, and the Supreme Court itself.

Agencies Renew Monk Seal Safety Warnings – Mother Seal at Kaimana Beach May Become More Aggressive

Since an endangered Hawaiian monk seal gave birth to a pup on O‘ahu’s Kaimana beach late last month, there haven’t been any reports of people going beyond the established safety corridor. As RH58, known as Rocky, continues to nurse her offspring, marine resource experts predict she may become more aggressive. Today they renewed their encouragement for people to keep a safe distance and abide by signs and ropes that keep both humans and the seals safe.

David Schofield, the Regional Marine Mammal Response Program Coordinator, for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service, said, ”Hawaiian monk seals are for the most part docile, but as with any other wild animals, females protecting their young can be highly aggressive.”

Volunteers from Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) establish safety perimeters whenever seals beach in populated areas in the main Hawaiian Islands. The group’s president Jon Gelman explained, “We are privileged to have the opportunity to see one of the world’s rarest marine mammals, one that only lives in Hawaiian waters, right here in Waikiki. But that privilege comes with the responsibility to view the animals from a safe distance, and to give this seal mom and pup the opportunity to peacefully coexist with us on our beach and in our waters.” He reports that occasionally people walk by who are listening to music and accidentally walk by the signs, but once volunteers get their attention they avoid the closure area. However there has been some drone activity in the area and flying an aircraft within 1000 feet of a marine mammal is prohibited under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

This is the second mom and pup pair to show up on an O‘ahu beach in the last month and a half. Just prior to Memorial Day a mother and her pup beached on Moku Nui (Mokulua North) islet, a popular kayaking destination on the windward coast. DLNR working in partnership with NOAA produced a monk seal safety video that is required viewing for people renting kayaks from Kailua-area shops. Shop owners say the video has been very helpful and informative in providing visitors with a frame of reference, calling it an awesome tool. DLNR is now producing a location-generic monk seal information video that will be available free of charge to lodging properties, tour companies, and any others who work directly with visitors. It’s believed the video has helped prevent any human-seal encounters at Moku Nui.

All of the agencies charged with protecting the seals and people are determined to keep animals and humans safe. Kristen Kelly, Program Assistant with the DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) Marine Wildlife Program said, “Kama’aina and visitors are fortunate to have this opportunity to view a Hawaiian monk seal mom and pup. But these are wild and potentially dangerous animals, especially protective moms like Rocky. Please put the safety of yourself and your family first. If you want to swim, we encourage you to take this opportunity to explore many of Oahu’s other beautiful beaches.”

In 2009 a woman on Kaua‘i was badly injured by a protective mother seal after she went into the water despite being warned. She required reconstructive surgery to her face and forearm. Kurt Lager the Acting Chief of the City & County of Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services said, “Public safety is the lifeguard’s number one priority. Ocean Safety will continue to warn beachgoers of the hazards of entering the ocean in close proximity to a wild animal.”

Experts predict Rocky and her pup will be at Kaimana for the next eight weeks or so until the pup weans. This also gives the pup time to acclimate once its mother leaves.

Moku Nui Monk Seals from Hawaii DLNR on Vimeo.

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Big Island Man

The Coast Guard suspended the active search Friday for a man in the water in the vicinity of Ka’alu’alu Bay on the Big Island.

Shane Romena, 48, remains missing.

Shane Romena

“Our sincerest condolences go out to Romena’s family and friends during this difficult time,” said Senior Chief Brian Wear, a command duty officer at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu. “Suspending a case is never an easy thing to do and it’s something that is handled with the utmost care and consideration. We want to thank our partners at the Hawai’i Fire Department for all their assistance during this search.”

On-scene assets searched a total area of more than 1,615 square miles (1,404 square nautical miles) over a 4-day period.

Involved in the search were:

  • HC-130 Hercules airplane and MH-65 Dolphin helicopter aircrews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point
  • Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island (WPB 1349), homeported in Honolulu
  • Hawai’i Fire Department helicopter aircrews and shore parties

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers shortly after 6 p.m., Monday, stating Romena’s 10-year-old son had witnessed him fall into the water while trying to clean a cooler and he lost sight of him shortly after. The two were reportedly out fishing.

Two helicopter crews from the Hawai’i Fire Department conducted initial searches of the area but did not locate Romena. His son was airlifted from the rocky shoreline by HFD and brought to a designated landing zone where he was picked up by his grandmother.

Weather conditions on scene during the time of the incident were reported as 40 mph winds, seas to 8 feet with a 3-foot swell.

Hawaii DLNR Applauds Environmental Court for Sending Strong Message to Albatross Killer

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case today, applauded Environmental Court Judge Jeannette Castagnetti for sending a strong message to the community and to one of the men convicted of the brutal killing of albatross at Ka‘ena Point Natural Area Reserve (NAR) on O‘ahu in December 2015.

“The fact that this man will serve jail time and community service recognizes the severity of these killings and the terrible impact it will have for years to come on the albatross breeding colony at Ka‘ena Point,” Case said after the sentencing of Christian Guiterrez. She added, “Jail time, combined with the fine, sends a very strong message to the community that there is no tolerance for abuse, destruction, or killing of Hawai‘i’s unique and precious wildlife – whether it’s albatross, monk seals, turtles, or anything else.”

Christian Guiterrez file photo

Case and Marigold Zoll, the O‘ahu Branch Manager for the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife both presented victim impact statements during today’s sentencing. Zoll provided background on laws, funding, and on the public values of impacted resources. She pointed out that the Ka‘ena Point NAR has been under active management for the past 34 years by DLNR, contractors, conservation partners, and a wide variety of dedicated volunteers.

Zoll testified, “Unlike wildlife found in other places, albatross are so docile that I would trust my eight-year-old child to wander amongst them without threat of injury. The impact of this crime extends well beyond the 32 animals we know were killed. Based on conservative estimates of lifespan, reproduction rates and fledgling success we estimate we lost 320 animals from the intentional killing of 32 adults and eggs by Gutierrez and his friends.” Zoll concluded her testimony saying, “The Department considers the killing or taking or protected wildlife to be the most egregious trespass of our laws.”

DLNR is heartened by the tremendous amount of community outrage directed toward the perpetrators of this heartless action and believes that outrage helped inform the judicial system and today’s resulting sentence. Case said, “It showed that most people truly care about our natural resources and that when they are abused or mistreated in any way, they expect us, prosecutors, and the courts to do the right thing. Today a very strong message was sent that these crimes will not be tolerated and will be punished to the fullest extent possible.”

As part of her testimony Case played a DLNR produced video that depicts the work being done with the albatross colony at Ka‘ena Point NAR:

Hawaii Federal Court Judge Declines to Rule on Request to Clarify Scope of Travel Ban

Hawaii federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson today denied the State of Hawaii’s motion to clarify the scope of the injunction regarding the travel and refugee bans in Hawaii v. Trump.

Click to view 6 page docket

In its order today, the court specifically did not address the substance of either party’s arguments regarding the proper scope of the injunction. Rather, the order focused exclusively on the procedural question regarding which court is the appropriate forum to decide the merits of Hawaii’s motion.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “The key takeaway from Judge Watson’s order is that he declined to address the specific merits of our request to clarify the scope of the injunction of the travel and refugee bans. The scope of the travel and refugee bans badly needs to be resolved and not just according to the Trump Administration’s interpretation. While we understand Judge Watson’s direction to address our request to the United States Supreme Court, we must evaluate that against the normal course of order as it relates to appeals and the clarification of injunctions. Whatever course it takes, we will get this resolved.”

Hawaii Attorney General Chin Joins 18 States to Protect Students Cheated by for-Profit Colleges

Attorney General Doug Chin today joined a coalition of 18 states in suing the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Betsy DeVos for abandoning critical federal protections that were set to go into effect on July 1, 2017.

Click to view full document

The complaint, filed by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in U.S. District Court in D.C. alleges that the Department of Education violated federal law by abruptly rescinding its Borrower Defense Rule. This rule was designed to hold abusive higher education institutions accountable for cheating students and taxpayers out of billions of dollars in federal loans. The rule was finalized by the Obama administration in November 2016 after nearly two years of negotiations, following the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, a national for-profit chain.

Attorney General Chin said, “More than 2,400 students in Hawaii were hurt by the actions of Heald College, the local brand name of Corinthian Colleges. Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Steve Levins and I joined 18 states last month asking the federal government to act quickly to protect them. Secretary DeVos refused and is instead bending over backwards to help for-profit colleges.”

In May 2017, Secretary DeVos announced that the Department was reevaluating the Borrower Defense Rule. On June 14, the Department announced its intent to delay large portions of the Borrower Defense Rule without soliciting, receiving, or responding to any comments from any stakeholders or members of the public, and without engaging in a public deliberative process. The Department simultaneously announced its intent to issue a new regulation to replace the Borrower Defense Rule.

In a short notice published in the Federal Register, the Department cited pending litigation in the case California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools (CAPPS) v. Betsy DeVos as an excuse for delaying implementation of the Borrower Defense Rule. State attorneys general argue in their new lawsuit that “the Department’s reference to the pending litigation is a mere pretext for repealing the Rule and replacing it with a new rule that will remove or dilute student rights and protections.”

Additionally, without the protections of the current Borrower Defense Rule, many students who are harmed by the misconduct of for-profit schools are unable to seek a remedy in court. The Borrower Defense Rule limits the ability of schools to require students to sign mandatory arbitration agreements and class action waivers, which are commonly used by for-profit schools to avoid negative publicity and to thwart legal actions by students who have been harmed by schools’ abusive conduct.

Today’s complaint asks the Court to declare the Department’s delay notice unlawful and to order the Department to implement the Borrower Defense Rule.

The Department of Education’s negotiated rulemaking committee helped develop the Borrower Defense Rule, in large part as a result of state and federal investigations into for-profit schools such as Heald College. Under the rule, a successful enforcement action against a school by a state attorney general entitles borrowers to obtain loan forgiveness, and enables the Department of Education to seek repayment of any amounts forgiven from the school.

The coalition involved in today’s lawsuit, led by Massachusetts Attorney General Healey, include the attorneys general of Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, Vermont, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the complaint is attached.

Napali Coast State Wilderness Park Showing Recovery and Improvement – Additional Arrests Made

A three day operation last week in the Kalalau section of Kauai’s Napali Coast State Wilderness Park resulted in additional arrests and the dismantling of large, illegal camps in Kalalau Valley.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case commented, “Our Divisions of State Parks and Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) are continuing to work together to restore lawfulness to Napali and address the natural and cultural resources damage created by long-term squatters and their illegal camps. These sustained efforts began more than two years ago and are beginning to pay off. Every week we receive correspondence from people who’ve legally hiked into Kalalau and are commenting on how clean the area is and how the number of illegal camps and campers are greatly diminished.”

State Parks Assistant Administrator Alan Carpenter and archaeologist Sean Newsome conducted a rapid reconnaissance of cultural sites in Kalalau Valley a week before the combined clean-up and enforcement operation. Carpenter said, “In my 25 years of visiting Kalalau this is the cleanest I’ve ever seen it in terms of rubbish and illegal campers. The degradation to cultural sites is at an all-time high, however, because those impacts are cumulative, representing decades of abuse. Reversing those impacts and restoring sites is a future goal, requiring a combination of documentation, compliance, staffing and community stewardship. Clearly there is additional work to do to protect the important cultural resources and natural resources in this pristine area, but I’m heartened that the keen focus on Kalalau is definitely showing an improved experience for permitted visitors, who are generally not responsible for the degradation of Napali resources.”

A sure sign of improvement and the fact that the no-tolerance for illegal activity “word” is getting out, several DOCARE Officers report that in every contact they made along the trail, hikers had the required state permit. It is required for travel beyond the two-mile marker at Hanakapiai Stream and allows camping only designated camping areas such as the one at Kalalau Beach. During previous enforcement visits to the wilderness park, officers arrested dozens of people for failing to produce a permit.

DOCARE officers arrested six people for closed-area violations. They also eradicated eight young marijuana plants from an abandoned campsite. Squatters have also established elaborate gardens where they’re growing bananas, papaya, taro and other fruits. Officers provided support for a State Parks maintenance team, which removed 15 large illegal camps, plus additional smaller ones and gear stashes. Two and a half tons of rubbish was airlifted by a helicopter in 15 sling loads. Seven State Parks staff and between six and twelve DOCARE officers were involved daily during last week’s operation.

“These combined operations are logistically complex, costly and deplete operational funds that could be applied at other state parks,” said State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell. “A critical method to enhance public safety, protect significant historic features and to ultimately insure the quality of the wildness experience is to create permanent staff with specific equipment for Kalalau. Dedicated staff will have communication access to deter the return of illegal camping and insure authorized limits, helping eliminate the overuse of composting toilets, provide additional campsite and trail maintenance service on a daily basis, direct campers to the authorized camping areas, further inform campers about on site safety issues and the sensitivity and history of cultural sites, and support both hikers and kayakers who may sustain injuries in this remote and unique wilderness destination,” Cottrell added.

The Division of State Parks is expected to renew its request to the 2018 Hawai‘i State Legislature to provide funding for full-time staff to support the management of Hawai‘i’s largest and most remote state park.

North Kona Water Restriction Update – One Well Fixed… Four to Go

This is a Civil Defense Message. This is a Water Restriction update for North Kona customers for Wednesday July 5 at 4 PM.

The Department of Water Supply (DWS) reports that Keahuolu Deepwell, which was out of service since last Thursday causing an emergency restriction limiting water usage to health and safety needs only, has now been repaired and is operational.

Due to your help, water service was maintained to all users during this emergency.

Because four (4) wells are still being repaired, you are reminded that the mandatory water restriction is still in effect for the North Kona area. This means everyone must continue to reduce their normal usage by 25 percent.

DWS will continue to monitor water use.

For more information including schedule of well repairs and ways to reduce water usage, please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org or call the Department of Water Supply. During normal business hours – 961-8060. After-hours and emergencies – 961-8790.

Travel Ban Parties Rebut Trump Administration’s Interpretation of U.S. Supreme Court Ruling

Today Hawaii filed a reply memo supporting its June 29th request to federal district court Judge Derrick K. Watson to clarify the scope of the travel and refugee ban injunction in Hawaii v. Trump, in light of last Monday’s ruling by the United States Supreme Court. Hawaii’s latest filing is a reply to the opposition memorandum filed by the Trump Administration on July 3rd.

In the Trump Administration’s opposition, it argued that “close familial relationships” should only be those specifically described in certain portions of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). The U.S. Supreme Court, however, already decided that this is not the case. For example, one of the relationships the Supreme Court said was “clearly” close family – Dr. Elshikh’s mother-in-law (and those “similarly situated”) – is not found in any provision of the immigration laws the Trump Administration cites. Yet the Supreme Court still included them as a “close familial relationship” for the purposes of the injunction obtained by Hawaii. Additionally, other immigration laws include the very same close family members the Trump Administration wants to exclude.

Attorney General Doug Chin said, “In its 6-3 order, the U.S. Supreme Court used a balancing test that says the travel and refugee bans should not be applied when doing so would inflict a concrete hardship on someone in the United States. The Trump Administration’s guidelines may inflict a concrete hardship by excluding grandparents, uncles, nieces, cousins, and more. This is why we have asked the federal court to clarify the scope of its injunction.”

Hawaii’s reply memorandum states in part:

For five days and counting, the Government has been directing U.S. consulates and refugee processing organizations to deny entry to foreign nationals whose grandparents, aunts, nephews, and other close relatives are waiting for them in this country. At the same time, the Government has barred the doors to numerous refugees with a connection to the United States, even where a resettlement agency has a relationship with a particular refugee that involves the investment of copious resources for pre-arrival planning. These actions plainly “burden * * * American part[ies] by reason of [their] relationship with [a] foreign national,” and so are unlawful.

The Government could have avoided this result. It could have engaged with Plaintiffs in a dialogue that would have brought to light these harms, as well as the multiple additional errors the Government has already corrected. But the Government refused. Indeed, even on the day of the rollout, the Government spent precious hours conducting a conference call not with Plaintiffs, but with reporters. It then issued flawed guidance regarding fiancé admissions that a brief discussion with Plaintiffs would have easily avoided.

In short, the Government elected to implement the stay in a manner that jeopardizes the rights of countless Americans and keeps the Government on the deeply flawed trajectory it has pursued since the release of the first Executive Order.

Hawaii filed its reply memorandum today, one day early, because the people that the Trump Administration has excluded from the definition of “close family members” might already be denied entry into the country.

Click to read full memo

Nation’s Broadest Wildlife Trafficking Ban Takes Effect

As the “endangered species capital of the world,” Hawai‘i knows first-hand the devastating impacts of losing significant and iconic native species. And now state has taken a historic step in helping to prevent the further loss of critically endangered species within its own borders and abroad.

Senate Bill 2647 (Act 125), sponsored by Senator Mike Gabbard, is the most comprehensive U.S. state law targeting the illegal wildlife trade. The bill prohibits the sale, offer for sale, purchase, trade, possession with intent to sell, or barter for any part or product of any species of elephant, mammoth, rhinoceros, tiger, great ape, shark and ray, sea turtle, walrus, narwhal, whale, hippopotamus, monk seal, lion, pangolin, cheetah, jaguar, and leopard, all identified as threatened with extinction by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Endangered Species Act.  This law does not prohibit the mere possession of such items.

While the bill passed in the 2016 legislature, enforcement of the law was delayed until June 30, 2017, to grant individuals and businesses with wildlife products in their possession time to lawfully dispossess of the items. The law also provides continued reasonable exemptions for bona fide antiques, musical instruments, guns and knives, and traditional cultural practices.

“I worked on this issue for a number of years after learning that a 2008 investigation identified Hawai‘i as having the 3rd largest ivory market in the US, only behind New York and California. Many may not be aware that globally, wildlife trafficking falls right behind, and often hand in hand with illegal drugs, weapons and human trafficking crimes. Act 125 now serves as a model for other states and nations to emulate,” said Senator Mike Gabbard.

“Wildlife trafficking remains a high priority for enforcement. We support any legislation that recognizes the importance of protecting species that are at risk of exploitation. Hawai’i is doing its part to be globally aware of this issue”, said the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Conservation and Resource Enforcement Chief Robert Farrell.

In the past 4 years, a number of states across the U.S. have pushed for stricter laws to crack down on illegal wildlife trafficking.  New York, New Jersey, California and most recently Nevada have each passed laws prohibiting the purchase and sale of products made with elephant ivory and rhino horn and other imperiled species.   Washington and Oregon enacted similar measures through ballot initiatives. State measures are a critical tool to complement federal and international efforts to combat transnational wildlife crime.

The Hawai‘i bill was supported by local residents and dozens of grassroots and national conservation and animal protection groups including The Humane Society of the United States, Conservation Council for Hawaii, NSEFU Wildlife Foundation and the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos, Vulcan Inc., International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Humane Society International (HSI), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Search for Missing Fisherman Called Off Until Tomorrow

A search for a missing fisherman at Kaalualu Bay has been called off for the night and will resume tomorrow:

Situation Found at Scene: Per bystander, witnessed male party fall down the cliff into the ocean. Upon arrival of C-1 and C-2, aerial survey done with negative findings.

Cause: Under investigation by HPD

Remarks: Search called off due to night fall and will resume at first light.

Coast Guard Media Release:

The Coast Guard is searching for a man in the water in the vicinity of Ka’alu’alu Bay on the Big Island, Monday.

Missing is Shane Roena, 48-years-old.

Roena was reportedly last seen wearing green and red shorts and was not wearing a shirt. He is 6 feet 2 inches tall and approximately 180 lbs.

Anyone with information about the location of Roena is asked to call Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point is currently searching the area and the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, homeported in Honolulu, is en route to assist in the search.

Watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed 911 emergency call from dispatchers shortly after 6 p.m., stating Roena’s 10-year-old son had witnessed him fall into the water while trying to clean a cooler and he lost sight of him shortly after. The two were reportedly out fishing.

Two helicopter crews from the Hawai’i Fire Department conducted initial searches of the area but did not locate Roena. His son was airlifted from the rocky shoreline by HFD and brought to a designated landing zone where he was picked up by his grandmother.

Weather conditions on scene are reported as 40 mph winds, seas to 8 feet with a 3-foot swell.

More information will be released once it becomes available.

Hawaii Governor’s Statement on the Request for Voter Roll Data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

Governor Ige’s Statement on the request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The State of Hawai‘i has received no request for voter roll data from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.  Taking a look at what other states have received, I’m skeptical.  At this point, we have no assurance that personal information would be secured.  It also appears that the commission aims to address voter fraud.  By all accounts, incidents of actual voter fraud are extremely rare.  I’m concerned this type of investigation would lead to a denial of voter access.  When we get the request, I will share my concerns with state and county elections officials.

From what I’ve heard, I don’t think we should share these records.

Newly Enacted Laws Support Women’s Health, Improves Healthcare Access, Protects Children

Members of the Hawai‘i Women’s Legislative Caucus (WLC) were on hand as Governor David Ige signed several measures into law which provide greater assurance for families who utilize child care services, supports women’s health and access to healthcare, and addresses the growing opioid abuse epidemic.

The three measures signed into law were part of a package of bills submitted this session by the WLC.  An additional resolution, HCR 158, was adopted by the Legislature. HCR 158 encourages the continuation and expansion of community-based work furlough programs to assist female inmates transition back into society.

The Women’s Legislative Caucus is a bi-partisan organization comprised of women legislators in the House and Senate, as well as the County level, who support an agenda designed to improve the lives of women, children, and families in Hawai‘i.

“I’m pleased the Governor joins us in striving to make our state stronger by supporting women and families,” said Sen. Rosalyn Baker (S Dist. 6 – South and West Maui) and WLC Co-convener. “It’s a joy to work alongside these women legislators who consider the health, safety and well-being of the women and families of our state as a priority.”

“We are a caucus that is persistent. We not only passed bills, we also passed key resolutions that really build upon the collaboration of state, county and community stakeholders,” said Representative Della Au Bellati (H Dist. 24 – Makiki, Tantalus, McCully, Pawa‘a, Mānoa) and WLC Co-convener. “Signing the bill is just one thing, we now have to implement these measures. So, by partnering with our department agencies and folks within the communities, we make sure these bills actually deliver on the policies we put in place.”

The House and Senate bills signed by the Governor today:

SB505 SD1 HD2 CD1 (Act 66) Relating to Health

Requires prescribing healthcare providers to adopt and maintain policies for informed consent to opioid therapy in circumstances that carry elevated risk of dependency. An informed consent process is considered a best practice in tackling over prescriptions of opioids. Establishes limits for concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions. Clarifies Board of Nursing authority to enforce compliance with Uniform Controlled Substances Act. Repeals 6/30/2023.

SB513 SD1 HD2 CD1 (Act 67) Relating to Contraceptive Supplies

Authorizes pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered hormonal contraceptive supplies to patients regardless of a previous prescription, subject to specified education and procedural requirements. Enables pharmacists to be reimbursed for prescribing and dispensing contraceptive supplies.

SB514 SD1 HD1 CD1 (Act 68) Relating to Health

Authorizes pharmacists to administer the human papillomavirus, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), meningococcal, or influenza vaccine to persons between eleven and seventeen years of age. Specifies requirements pharmacists must meet prior to administering the human papillomavirus, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), meningococcal, or influenza vaccine.

Kona Water Restriction Update

This is a Department of Water Supply Water Restriction update for Monday, July 3, at 4:00  p.m.

The Department’s Keahuolū Deepwell is out of service and currently being repaired. ALL residents and customers in North Kona must continue to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes) only. Cease all irrigation activities.

Work to install the replacement pump and motor continues. Crews will continue to work double shifts and throughout the Fourth of July holiday to complete repairs. Completion is still expected by Sunday, July 9.

DWS appreciates everyone’s assistance and continued cooperation. Due to your help, water service has been maintained to all users.

DWS will continue to monitor for unnecessary water use.

We also recommend that residents store a sufficient amount of water for basic household needs, such as drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes, in the event of service disruptions.

For your use, a water tanker is located on Hina Lani Street between Anini Street and Manu Mele Street and a water spigot on a fire hydrant along Ane Keohokalole Highway, between Kealakehe Parkway and Kealakehe High School.

Please visit our website at www.hawaiidws.org for more information. To report wasteful water use, call the Department of Water Supply. During normal business hours – 961-8060. After-hours and emergencies – 961-8790.

The next update is scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, at 4:00 p.m.

Dead Snake Found in Kauai Garden & Preserve

A jogger came across a dead snake on her morning jog today along Kuhio Highway in Haena, Kauai. The woman who found the snake is an intern with the Limahuli Garden & Preserve, which is near to where the snake was found. Another employee from the preserve retrieved the snake and inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) picked up the snake soon after it was reported.

The snake has been identified as a boa constrictor measuring about five feet in length. It is not known at this time what the sex of the snake is or how it died. It will be transported to Honolulu and arrangements have been made with a zoologist at the Bishop Museum who will examine and catalog the snake.

Both the Limahuli Garden & Preserve and HDOA are very concerned that this snake was found in an area that is a preserve for many endangered native birds and other biota.

Boa constrictors are non-venomous and are native to Central and South America.  They can grow up to 12 feet in length and have a normal diet of small mammals such as mice and rats.  Snakes have no natural predators in Hawaii and pose a serious threat to Hawaii’s environment.  Many species also prey on birds and their eggs, increasing the threat to endangered native birds.  Large snakes can also be a danger to the public and small pets.

Snakes are illegal in Hawaii. Persons possessing illegal animals are subject to stiff penalties, including fines of up to $200,000 and up to three years in prison.

Anyone with information on illegal animals should call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378). Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the state’s amnesty program, which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA Office, municipal zoo or Humane Society – no questions asked and no fines assessed.

Man Arrested in Kauai Resort Burglary

Kaua‘i police arrested an ‘Anini man in connection with a burglary complaint at the Hanalei Bay Resort in Princeville.

Jeremy Coyaso

Jeremy Coyaso, age 27, was arrested on June 9 in the Hanalei district for two outstanding warrants, in addition to Burglary in the second degree and Theft in the third degree.
Stolen property items, including chainsaws, were recovered during the arrest.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Coyaso is currently being held at Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center (KCCC) with bail set at $2,000 for an unrelated case that also remains under investigation.