In Print

  • Lawmakers in Hawaii Aim to Pump Life Into Heart Defects Bill

    Honolulu Civil Beat - February 25, 2014

    A simple test that can save babies lives isn't mandatory in Hawaii.

    Last year, a measure that would have required newborns to be screened for congenital heart defects before leaving the hospital didn't make it through the House's health committee. More than 30 states have already enacted similar measures.

    Hoping to resuscitate the issue, a constituent approached Sen. Mike Gabbard about writing and sponsoring a bill, Senate Bill 2194, with more precise language than last year's bill, which some lawmakers believe was so broad that it resulted in its demise.

  • Exclusive: What Is It Like To Party With Duane 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Chapman?

    Honolulu Magazine - February 7, 2014

    On Thursday evening, tourists lounging on Waikiki Beach got a surprise when a reality television star made an unexpected appearance just a few feet away. As soon as Duane Chapman and his wife Beth Chapman walked towards the Royal Hawaiian Hotel’s outdoor cocktail bar for a private birthday bash, a crowd gathered along the picket fence with their smartphones and point-and-shoot cameras to snap candid photos of the celebrities.

    “If you’re in Hawaii, you’ve got to get a photo of Dog Chapman,” one man said, smartphone in hand.

  • Educators: Thousands of Hawaii Children Left Behind in Preschool Talks

    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 30, 2014

    As high-profile deliberations over whether there should be publicly funded preschool resume, some Hawaii educators and parents are growing frustrated with the limited attention that policymakers are giving to imminent changes to the state’s kindergarten age requirement. The changes are expected to shake up the entire public school system and leave thousands of families without a place for their children to study.

  • Honolulu Harbor Molasses Spill Sparks Legislation

    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 27, 2014

    Hawaii lawmakers have proposed a number of bills this year aimed at making sure Hawaii is better prepared to deal with a toxic spill in the wake of the September molasses leak at Honolulu Harbor that killed thousands of fish and devastated coral reefs.

    A ruptured pipeline caused a quarter million gallons of molasses to spill into the harbor, sparking intense public scrutiny of Matson shipping company as well as state agencies charged with regulating the harbor, in particular the Hawaii Department of Transportation.

  • Hawaii lawmakers urge changes after molasses spill - January 27, 2014

    Hawaii lawmakers are responding to last year's molasses spill in Honolulu Harbor by suggesting any fines or settlements the state collects for ocean spills be put toward restoring coral reefs.

    Rep. Chris Lee said Monday that the proposed special fund for the Department of Land and Natural Resources is one of several changes the state can make to prevent or respond more efficiently to future spills.

  • Bill clamps down on county ag laws

    State and federal regulations top efforts to limit modern practices, lawmakers
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 24, 2014

    Two state lawmakers want to strengthen Hawaii's Right to Farm Act by preventing counties from restricting agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices that are allowed under federal and state law.

    The bill was prompted by a Kauai County law that regulates genetically modified organisms and pesticide use and a Hawaii County law that bans new GMO crops. The bill could cast a legal cloud over the Kauai and Hawaii island laws and could preclude other counties from taking similar action to restrict GMOs.

  • Alien species alarm re-sounded

    More funding is needed to tackle the problem, officials tell a Senate panel
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 9, 2014

    Last year, a mosquito capable of spreading dengue fever began showing up at Honolulu Airport.

    And on Dec. 23 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, state inspectors found coconut rhinoceros beetles, or Oryctes rhinoceros -- insects capable of destroying palm and coconut trees as well as sugarcane.

    Hawaii is facing serious threats from new alien species, state Health Department officials warned lawmakers Wednesday, saying more financial support and coordinated focus is necessary to stem an invasion of harmful insects capable of causing billions in economic losses.

  • Rebellion against use of GMOs may compel governor to intervene

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - November 21, 2013

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie will likely face increased pressure for the state to intervene in the debate over genetically modified organisms now that two counties are moving to restrict GMO crops.

    The Hawaii County Council on Tuesday voted to approve a bill that would prohibit the expansion of open-air GMO crops on the island. The bill, which now goes to Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi for review, would exempt papaya growers and others who already farm with GMO and would permit experimentation in enclosed areas, such as greenhouses.

  • State of the solar industry in Hawaii - October 17, 2013

    Hawaiian Electric Co. has had difficulty contending with the growing amount of solar installations in the state. It has not been amenable to solar consumers hooking up to the grid in the past. However, it will now allow more than 200 Oahu consumers who already had photovoltaic contracts before these conflicts to connect to the grid, according to Senator Mike Gabbard. This is good news, as HECO's solar photovoltaic grid interconnection policy was creating problems in the state's solar energy industry.

  • HECO application change stymies PV installation, firms say

    Slow response is causing delays for clients, says the Hawaii Solar Energy Association
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - October 15, 2013

    Changes Hawaiian Electric Co. made last month in the way it processes applications for residential solar photovoltaic systems have delayed many PV installations on Oahu and cost installers millions of dollars in lost revenue, industry representatives told state lawmakers Monday.

    Companies represented by the Hawaii Solar Energy Association have had to put on hold anywhere from 30 percent to 75 percent of their scheduled PV installations since HECO announced the changes Sept. 6, said Leslie Cole-Brooks, HSEA executive director.

  • Millions at stake

    Residents in various communities are fighting the possible closure of five post offices statewide
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - September 28, 2013

    Five Hawaii post offices are on the chopping block in a U.S. Postal Service plan to cut costs. But those who object to the closures aren't just mailing in the opposition.

    No one's gone postal or anything, but they are voicing their displeasure, gathering signatures for petitions and urging their elected officials to rally against the proposed shutdowns.

    "The post office is an institution. They can't do that," said Ernest Abrams, who has collected nearly 300 signatures over three days in an online petition at in support of the targeted Kaimuki Post Office.

  • Gov Wades Into Hawaii Pesticide Debate as Kauai Poised to Take Action

    Honolulu Civil Beat - September 25, 2013

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie is trying to cool the heated debate over GMOs and pesticides on Kauai by promising that the state will increase its oversight of pesticide use.

    Yet the governor’s sudden entry into the escalating fight over biotech, which comes just as the Kauai County Council is considering tough restrictions on pesticides, has angered GMO opponents more than it has pacified them.

  • Taking a bite out of oil

    Garden Island News - August 16. 2013

    Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard will be the first to tell you that Hawaii must kick its addiction to foreign fossil fuels. And his daughter, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, is going to do everything she can to help, according to the senator.

  • Inouye, Mink memorials sure to stir up passions

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - August 2, 2013

    Within a year or so in downtown Honolulu, there will be a new $250,000 art piece dedicated to Hawaii's U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.

    Sometime after that, there will be another $250,000 art piece honoring the late U.S. Rep. Patsy T. Mink.

    The works are expected to be sculptures or statues, but the direction from the Legislature is only that they be public works of art and be three-dimensional.
    The new law calling for the works of art came at the urging of state Sen. Mike Gabbard.

  • Law Aims to Help Landlords While Lowering Renters’ Utility Bills - July 3, 2013

    A bill signed into law today allows landlords to essentially serve as independent power companies while expanding the use of renewable energy sources.
    Senate Bill 19, enacted by Gov. Neil Abercrombie as Act 261, removes landlords from state law’s definition of what constitutes a public utility.

    The act allows them to install renewable energy systems on their property and then sell that electricity to their tenants or lessees.

  • Ban truck-bed riders, officials say

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - June 18, 2013

    The driver of a pickup truck that crashed Saturday near Makua Cave, killing a male and seriously injuring four teenagers, appeared in court Monday on minor, unrelated driving infractions.
    Because the accident involved passengers in the truck's bed, two state senators said they will press again for passage of a bill that would prohibit riding in the back of trucks except in very limited situations.