In Print

  • Industrial Hemp Bill Now Law

    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.

  • Ige Signs Act Prohibiting Most Ivory Sales in Hawaii

    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.

  • Ige signs adoption, gun measures

    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.

  • To Hear The Founding Fathers Tell It, Hemp Can Make America Great Again

    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.

  • A man’s efforts to find his birth parents leads to legislation that eases access to adoption records

    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.

  • ‘Boatload of Decision Makers’ studies plight of West Maui reefs

    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.

  • Future Of Hawaii Capitol’s Reflecting Pools Is As Murky As The Water

    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.

  • ‘Contested Case’ Changes May Speed Up TMT Ruling

    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.

  • Protests Don’t Overcome East Maui Water Diversion Bill

    Legislators hand former BiFive sugar company Alexander & Baldwin water for its lands in Central Maui
    Honolulu Civil Beat - May 4, 2016

    In the end, the bill that aroused the most vocal protests at the Hawaii Legislature this session passed rather quietly.

    On Tuesday, there was the usual chanting, music and blowing of conch shells in the Rotunda. But it did not last long, and it wasn’t as intense as during other rallies. The protesters seemed to know the shape of things to come and were already focused on the next battle.

  • Ban on Wildlife Trafficking, Ivory Sales Passes Legislature

    Maui Now - May 3, 2016

    The legislature today passed out Senate Bill 2647 and will now transmit the bill to the governor. If enacted, Senate Bill 2647 would ban sales of the parts and products of seventeen of the world’s most critically threatened, endangered, or protected species. This includes native Hawaii species, with certain exemptions for traditional practices, antiques, and other limited uses. If enacted, the ban would be the largest on the trafficking of products made from endangered wildlife in the United States.

  • House OKs bill preserving A&B water rights on Maui

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 29, 2016

    The House on Thursday passed a controversial bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to retain the rights to the water flowing through dozens of streams in East Maui while administrative and legal challenges to its request for a long-term lease for water are resolved.

    The full Senate was also scheduled to vote on the bill Thursday evening. However, Senate President Ron Kouchi, at the last minute, deferred the vote until Tuesday.

  • Alexander & Baldwin Will Keep Water Rights After Senate Vote

    Honolulu Civil Beat - April 22, 2016

    It took several hours Friday afternoon for legislators to agree on a contentious water rights bill, mainly because lawyers needed to look over the language.

    But by 5 p.m., state House and Senate committee conferees in House Bill 2501 had reached an agreement that allows the measure to move forward.

    The legislation still awaits a full vote in each chamber and, assuming it passes both, Gov. David Ige’s signature.

  • BREAKING: Historic Release – Water to Flow at Multiple East Maui Streams

    Maui Now - April 20, 2016

    In a landmark announcement today, Alexander & Baldwin announced the release of water to several East Maui streams.

    The decision to “fully and permanently” restore water to priority streams associated with taro farming comes after years of legal wrangling over water rights and demands from area kalo farmers and residents seeking a return of mauka to makai flows.

  • Kunia farmlands: Off-the-grid parcel zoned for ag draws concern

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 10, 2016

    Nestled in the Kunia foothills, the facility is billed as Hawaii’s first “doggy theme park.”

    The company that operates the doggy day care touts it as being unlike any other in the islands, with “a million dollar view” from six different parks spread over 2.5 acres.

    “Kama‘aina K9 Adventures goes beyond the traditional day care concept by providing nearly unlimited space to sniff, splash, run and explore in a safe, outdoor, theme park environment,” the company says on its website.

    There’s one problem.

  • Grow Hemp Here Now

    Edible Hawaii - April 4, 2016

    If there was an easy-to-grow crop that was drought-tolerant, could be harvested three times a year, and had countless uses from clothing, cosmetics and construction to fiber, food and fuel, would you grow it? And if you knew it could turn abandoned fields green, provide good jobs, and reduce Hawai‘i’s dependence on imported goods, would you support it?

  • Warming up: As droughts continue, Hawaii must protect its fresh water

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 27, 2016

    Last October, after an unseasonable and unprecedented rainy summer, the U.S. Drought Monitor declared that for the first time since April 15, 2008 no part of our island chain was suffering from drought.

    For seven long years, our farmers, ranchers and citizens had endured a prolonged dry period throughout Hawaii that caused cattle herds to be thinned, crops to suffer and spiked our rate of forest fires. Unfortunately, our relief was short-lived.

  • Hawaii lawmakers look to ban ivory

    Associated Press - March 27, 2016

    Cheryl Konrad has spent the last 35 years educating visitors to her Lahaina store about the centuries-old history of scrimshaw.

    Konrad fills the shelves in Lahaina Scrimshaw with the etchings of local artists on fossilized walrus and mammoth ivory. But if a bill to ban the sale of ivory becomes law this year, she worries that she will be forced to close her store.

    "I feel like I've been a part of history, it's just so hard to fathom that it could be criminal eventually," Konrad said.

  • Senate committee OKs water rights bill

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 23, 2016

    A bill that would allow Alexander &Baldwin to temporarily hold on to the rights to millions of gallons of water it diverts each day from East Maui streams survived a close vote in a key Senate committee Monday night.

    After a six-hour hearing on House Bill 2501, Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Chairman Mike Gabbard amended the measure to limit the extension of A&B’s water rights under the the bill to no more than three years.

  • Water rights bill brings out opponents

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 22, 2016

    Opponents turned out in force Monday to testify against a bill that would allow Alexander & Baldwin to temporarily hold on to the rights to millions of gallons of water it diverts each day from East Maui streams.

    At the start of the hearing by the Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Committee, Chairman Mike Gabbard announced that 577 pieces of testimony had been submitted on House Bill 2501.