While members of Hawaii’s House Finance Committee were debating the upcoming budget for the Department of Agriculture during a hearing at the state Capitol on Friday, key lawmakers with oversight over agricultural policy were 4,000 miles away in Baton Rouge, La., at an ag conference sponsored and paid for by major corporations, including biotech giants Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Syngenta, which grow seed corn and conduct crop trials in Hawaii.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 9, 2017
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - December 6, 2016
A $10 million response plan to combat rapid ohia death, a fast-moving fungal infection killing millions of ohia trees, will include funding allotted for public outreach and research. Ohia trees with the disease are shown on Hawaii island.
Experts in the campaign to combat the rapid ohia death that has killed millions of trees across Hawaii island have unveiled a $10 million strategic response plan to cope with the disease over the next three years.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - December 5, 2016
The Senate leadership has reshuffled some of the key committee assignments as it readies for the start of the 2017 legislative session in January.
Sen. Will Espero will take over as chairman of the Housing Committee, which had been led by Sen. Brickwood Galuteria. The committee is expected to take up high-priority proposals relating to the state’s homeless problem and lack of affordable housing.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - August 22, 2016
Federal and state officials say they are moving forward with plans to survey and study the pueo as residents raise concerns about impacts of development in West Oahu on the bird’s habitat.
The pueo is an endemic subspecies listed by the state as endangered on Oahu, likely due to loss and degradation of habitat and predation.
- Lawmakers: Hawaii Can Do More For Foreign Crews On U.S. BoatsHonolulu Civil Beat - October 19, 2016
Hawaii lawmakers endeavored Wednesday to find ways to improve the working conditions of foreign crew members on U.S. commercial fishing boats and address allegations of human trafficking.
Rep. Kaniela Ing, chair of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, and Hawaiian Affairs, peppered a dozen state officials and fishing industry leaders with questions about what can be done to boost sanitation, low pay, access to contract information and overall accountability.
“Nobody wants to decimate the industry,” Ing said. “We just want humans to be treated as they should.”
- CBS News - October 17, 2016
Two wildlife issues have collided in Hawaii, pitting one group of animal defenders against another in an impassioned debate. The point of contention? Deadly cat poop and the feral felines that produce it.
Federal researchers believe feces from the legions of feral cats roaming Hawaii is spreading a disease that is killing Hawaiian monk seals, some of the world’s most endangered marine mammals. Some conservationists advocate euthanizing those cats that no one wants, and that’s got cat lovers up in arms.
- India-West - October 11, 2016
HONOLULU, Hawaii — The Gandhi International Institute held its second annual event to celebrate the 147th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi on Oct. 2 outside the Honolulu Zoo.
Dr. Raj Kumar, who founded the GIIP on Sept. 11, 2001, released his new book, “Gandhi’s Wisdom For You,” a compilation of 108 best quotes for self-realization, social change and world peace. Over 300 people, including locals, children, and tourists, attended the event.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - October 3, 2016
At the Kalaeloa Heritage Park, there is a story about almost everything.
From the ancient coral structures to the ti plants, there are features that paint a picture of the subsistence lifestyle of people who inhabited the Ewa plain more than 600 years ago.
Much of the land at the sprawling 77-acre park, nestled between two runways at the Kalaeloa Airport and about a mile mauka of White Plains Beach, is covered in kiawe trees and other vegetation. The ground is packed with dirt and mulch, and logs and upright stones mark trails of historic sites.
- Pacific Business News - September 16, 2016
Hawaii lawmaker is urging state regulators to approve Texas-based developer Hunt Cos.’ plan to acquire the water and wastewater infrastructure in Kalaeloa in West Oahu, Pacific Business News has learned.
Hunt has a multimillion-dollar plan that includes building some 4,000 homes in the area over a 20-year period.
A Hawaii lawmaker is urging state regulators to approve Texas-based developer Hunt Cos.’ plan to acquire the water and wastewater infrastructure in Kalaeloa in West Oahu.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - September 9, 2016
Amid mounds of neatly compacted dirt next to a field of ripening cantaloupe, one of Hawaii’s largest homebuilders commemorated the end of an 11-year battle and the start of building the 11,750-home Ho‘opili community on Oahu’s Ewa Plain on Thursday.
Representatives of development firm D.R. Horton and local government leaders reflected on the tribulations surrounding the $4.6 billion project, which once failed to get past the state Land Use Commission and then endured court challenges. They celebrated persevering with a blessing on the site of the first 293 homes.
- But the state still needs to write rules to put Hawaii’s program in place. And Gov. Ige needs to free up $400,000 to help it along.Honolulu Civil Beat - July 18, 2016
Beneficial circumstances and the dogged persistence of one legislator over many years intersected in this year’s legislative session in the form of Senate Bill 2659 — aka the Hemp Bill, which Gov. David Ige wisely signed into law.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - July 17, 2016
On July 7, Gov. David Ige signed into law what might prove to be the most important piece of economic legislation in the past 50 years. Hawaii now enjoys the best hemp law in the nation.
We who have been active in bringing back hemp to agriculture believe that generations will still be saying mahalo to those who worked, some for decades, to get this law passed. Now it’s time to implement it.
- It calls for a pilot program through the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.Honolulu Civil Beat - July 7, 2016
Hawaii Gov. David Ige on Thursday signed into law a bill that establishes a pilot program through the state Department of Agriculture allowing for the cultivation of industrial hemp and distribution of hemp seed “for purposes of agricultural or academic research.”
The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Mike Gabbard, a Democrat like Ige, and championed by state Rep. Cynthia Thielen, a Republican.
- Retailers of products made out of endangered species have one year to purge their inventory before the sales are banned.Honolulu Civil Beat - June 30, 2016
After a battle at the Capitol spanning three years, Gov. David Ige has signed into law Act 125, which will prohibit the sale of many wildlife products.
Hawaii legislators have been trying to pass law to ban most ivory sales since 2013. Even this year, the bill faced opposition during a Senate floor vote.
Investigations found Hawaii has the nation’s third-largest ivory market behind New York and California, respectively.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - June 25, 2016
Adoptees who are at least 18 years old now have unfettered access to their original birth certificate and adoption records under legislation signed into law this week by Gov. David Ige.
With Act 80, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that are easing or eliminating restrictions to birth records — allowing adult adoptees greater access to information surrounding the circumstances of their birth, the names of their birth parents and information that could help them know more about their family medical history.
- States like Hawaii are loosening restrictions on industrial hemp, but the real breakthrough could come at the federal level.Honolulu Civil Beat - June 22, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sitting on the wide green lawn that separates the U.S. Capitol and the Supreme Court building, Eric Steenstra handed over a pocket-size copy of the U.S. Constitution made from hemp paper.
“Tree-free hemp-blended paper,” to be exact, and made in America.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - June 19, 2016
Jeffery Guillemette stood in Punchbowl cemetery earlier this month in what marked a reunion of sorts with his deceased mother, who 64 years ago had given him up for adoption shortly after giving birth to him at the Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital.
He had been searching for his biological parents for about two decades, but because of obstacles in Hawaii law relating to the release of adoption records and original birth certificates, it wasn’t until after she had died that he discovered her identity.
- Lahaina News - June 16, 2016
On Friday, June 3, a special charter hosted by Trilogy Excursions, affectionately dubbed the "Boatload of Decision Makers," departed from Lahaina Harbor with a passenger list that included local business leaders, State House and Senate lawmakers, state and county officials, nonprofit representatives, state and community resource managers, and cultural practitioners.
Brought together by partners within the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative, the event provided a unique educational platform along with the opportunity to experience Maui's reefs firsthand with an array of experts.
- Dead fish float in the greenish-brown pools, which have long been a headache for state maintenance workers.Honolulu Civil Beat - May 16, 2016
Dead fish are floating in two reflecting pools at the Hawaii State Capitol that are supposed to symbolize the ocean waters surrounding the islands.
It’s the latest in a series of maintenance issues that have arisen since the Capitol was completed in 1969.
The putrid greenish-brown pools often reek. Poor water circulation results in out-of-control algae growth. And they leak.
- The Thirty Meter Telescope dispute may become one of many to gain access to an expedited appeal process that should still safeguard litigants and the public.Honolulu Civil Beat - May 13, 2016
Gov. David Ige quietly signed into law Wednesday what might be the legal equivalent of a zipper lane for the contested-case-hearing process that is about to open for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.
House Bill 1581 doesn’t change the mechanics of the TMT hearing, soon to be conducted by Judge Riki May Amano, whose appointment was unanimously approved last Friday by the Board of Land and Natural Resources.