In Print

  • Critics: Water Bill Could Hurt Customers And The Environment

    The Sierra Club is mounting a last-minute push amid worries the measure will remove private water distribution companies from state regulation.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - April 28, 2017

    The Hawaii chapter of the Sierra Club is trying to persuade lawmakers to amend a bill that the organization fears would remove governmental oversight of private companies that distribute non-potable water.

    House Speaker Joseph Souki and Rep. Ryan Yamane introduced House Bill 1536 to help farmers by clarifying that the Board of Agriculture can use eminent domain to acquire and run irrigation systems.

    The proposal also sought to ensure that those state-owned irrigation systems would be exempted from oversight by the Public Utilities Commission.

  • Majority Leader Leads Senate In Absenteeism This Session

    J. Kalani English has already missed 12 days, partly because of trips to Fiji and Micronesia.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - April 26, 2017

    The majority leader of the Hawaii state Senate has missed 12 legislative session days this year, twice as many as any other senator.

    That included five straight days in March. Even if Sen. J. Kalani English attends the remaining session days (there are 60 in all), he will have missed one-fifth of them.

    English’s office referred questions to a Senate spokeswoman, who said in an email that English was in Fiji in mid-March to attend a “high level” regional preparatory meeting for The Ocean Conference, a United Nations event that will be held in New York City in early June.

  • Kids, activists rally for bill setting clean-fuel goal

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 24, 2017

    Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation, spoke to students from seven schools Thursday at the state Capitol in support of reducing gasoline reliance.

    More than 600 students joined activists at the state Capitol rotunda Thursday in support of a bill that sets a goal of having all ground transportation in Hawaii run on renewable fuel by 2045.

  • U.S. ConCon resolution advances

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 24, 2017

    Hawaii is close to joining a growing number of states urging Congress to convene a national constitutional convention — an event that, other than the original 1787 convention, has never taken place in U.S. history.

    The state’s Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee advanced a resolution Tuesday calling for a convention to claw back the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, which has increased the influence of corporate money in political campaigns.

  • Senators shelve foam ban proposal

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 12, 2017

    A bill seeking to ban foam containers was shelved this session, despite sizable public support.

    Most of the 615 submitted testimonies supported Senate Bill 1109, which would have prohibited the use of polystyrene foam products by food vendors starting in January 2020. The material is commonly used for coffee cups and takeout containers.

  • Bill would have state uphold terms of Paris accord

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 4, 2017

    Hawaii legislators have drafted a bill that would make the state an eco-friendly outlier.

    In response to President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from some international environmental commitments, lawmakers have introduced a measure to incorporate requirements into state law that reflect many of the environmental obligations agreed to in the 2015 Paris Agreement on global warming.

    Senate Bill 559 would require the state to adopt “the best available science to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

  • Measures target abuse of ag land

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 26, 2017

    Regulators will gain more authority to crack down on illegal structures and uses on agricultural land if two bills advancing at the Legislature become law.

    The legislation was introduced to address enforcement gaps that emerged over the past several years as dozens of unregulated buildings, including illegal dwellings, were erected in an off-the-grid ag development in West Oahu.

  • Legislation seeks commitment to Red Hill

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 18, 2017

    Hawaii’s congressional delegation is weighing in on the Red Hill fuel farm, saying in proposed legislation that the “sense of Congress” is that the facility is a “national strategic asset” whose relocation or closure would undermine Pacific security and strategy.

    The lawmakers are calling for “sustained” federal commitment to see through fixes to be agreed to by the Navy, state Health Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Defense Logistics Agency.

  • Bill Would Force The Navy To Upgrade Red Hill Fuel Tanks Sooner

    The Honolulu Board of Water Supply says the current plan for modernizing the tanks poses too high a risk to Oahu’s drinking water.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - February 8, 2017

    Hawaii lawmakers plan to consider a bill Wednesday to require the Navy to upgrade aging underground fuel storage tanks at Red Hill by July 2027 or shut down the facility by July 2030.

    Sen. Mike Gabbard introduced Senate Bill 1259 which would require the state Department of Health to adopt rules for “field-constructed underground storage tanks and tank systems” to ensure they conform with recently revised federal regulations and comply with state law. Currently such tanks are exempt from certain requirements.

  • Will This Be The Year For A Styrofoam Ban?

    A Senate bill to ban polystyrene food containers is slated for its first hearing Wednesday.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - February 6, 2017

    The quintessential Hawaii plate lunch comes with meat atop two scoops of rice next to mac salad, with sauce overflowing from the cracks of a styrofoam takeout clam.

    This year lawmakers hope a bill will force vendors to replace those single-use containers with more environmentally friendly ones.

    Scheduled for a joint committee hearing Wednesday, Senate Bill 1109 would ban food vendors from using styrofoam and other polystyrene containers.

  • Bill would impose fines on Hawaii parking lot owners for not having EV spaces

    Pacific Business News - February 6, 2017

    A new Hawaii bill would add penalties and increase the amount of electric vehicle parking spaces shopping malls and other places, would need to dedicate at their respective properties.

    Senate Bill 817, introduced by state Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Keaau-Pahala, would mandate “places of public accommodation,” including hotels, restaurants, movie theaters and health care facilities, to have at least one EV parking space per 100 spaces by July 1, 2018 and two parking spaces per 100 spaces by July 1, 2023.

  • State Senate committee moves pesticide measures

    Garden Island News - January 31, 2017

    The Hawaii Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment voted Monday to adopt three measures dealing with pesticide exposure and safety.

    Several Kauai residents testified on the matter.

    Jeri Di Pietro, president of Hawaii SEED and GMO Free Kauai, said it’s imperative to see the recommendations implemented.

    “Citizens on our island have done everything we can think of as far as following the steps of law,” Di Pietro said. “We think these recommendations should be (implemented) on Kauai, but also across the island chain.”

  • Mixture of Pro and Anti-Gun Bills Introduced in the Hawaii Legislature

    NRA-ILA - January 27, 2017

    Wednesday, January 25, marked the cutoff date for bill introduction in the Hawaii legislature and as expected, a number of pro- and anti-gun bills have been introduced. While none of the bills have been scheduled for hearings just yet, we anticipate committee hearings to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

    Pro-Gun Bills:

  • Money Sought To Protect Watersheds And Grow More Food

    Hawaii Gov. David Ige joins department heads asking legislators to approve funds for his Sustainable Hawaii Initiative.
    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 26, 2017

    Gov. David Ige and key state department heads made a public pitch to legislators Thursday for resources to implement the administration’s broad Sustainable Hawaii Initiative.

    The governor is seeking new positions and hundreds of millions of dollars for land, environment, agriculture, business and economic development agencies to double local food production, implement a biosecurity plan, protect watersheds, manage marine resources and transition to 100 percent renewable energy over the coming years.

  • Lawmakers attend agricultural summit amid local concerns

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 9, 2017

    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.

  • $10M plan would target rapid ohia death

    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.