In Print

  • End of the 27th

    Honolulu Weekly - May 8, 2013

    On Thursday, May 2, the 27th Hawaii State Legislative session came to an end. Here’s a look at some bills that passed into law, and some that didn’t.

    SB 1214: Barely passing the final floor vote (13-12), SB 1214 stemmed from a letter, drafted by the State Attorney General and endorsed by the Office of Consumer Protection, that found the practice of tire-booting to constitute “criminal tampering.”

  • Legislators fail to reform solar tax credit

    A bill would have reduced the credit over time from its current 35 percent
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - May 1, 2013

    State lawmakers for the second consecutive year failed in the waning days of the legislative session to agree on a bill reforming Hawaii's renewable energy tax credit law.

    However, reverting to the status quo this time leaves solar energy companies in a much more precarious position than a year ago.

    Without a change in the law, solar photovoltaic installers will be forced to operate under temporary administrative rules that have been in effect since Jan. 1, significantly restricting the amount of tax credits their customers can claim.

  • Hawaii Natural Energy Institute risks losing funding from so-called barrel tax

    Pacific Business News - April 24, 2013

    The Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, a key research entity that has existed for nearly four decades and is aimed at helping to oversee Hawaii’s attempts to wean itself from imported oil, is in serious jeopardy of losing crucial funding from the state’s so-called barrel tax.

    For every barrel of petroleum that is imported to Hawaii, the institute, which was formed by the Legislature in 1974 and is part of the University of Hawaii, gets 10 cents of the $1.05 total.

  • Energy Officials Turn Attention to Conservation

    Pacific Business News - April 5, 2013

    The state is taking a hard look at what many in the energy industry call an overlooked, yet extremely critical part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative — efficiency.

    The state’s current mandate calls for 70 percent of its energy usage to come from renewable sources by 2030. Of that 70 percent, 40 percent will come from the production of clean energy and 30 percent from energy conservation. The state estimates that it currently is at 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

  • Supporters of solar tax credit light up Capitol

    Supporters of solar tax credit light up Capitol
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 21, 2013

    Proponents of solar energy rallied at the state Capitol Wednesday to show their support for a renewable energy tax credit program that lawmakers are proposing to scale back.

    The leading bill in the Legislature addressing the issue (SB 623) calls for gradually reducing the size of the state’s renewable energy tax credit through the next five years from the current 35 percent. The bill was introduced by legislators concerned that the amount of tax revenue lost because of the credit was becoming a drain on the state’s finances.

  • Restrain riding in pickup beds

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - March 20, 2013

    Three teenagers were seriously injured late Saturday afternoon after being thrown from the bed of a pickup truck in a collision in Waialua, a reminder of the danger of riding unrestrained in the backs of trucks. Hawaii is among states that have attempted to address the hazards of riding in pickup cargo areas but those states too often include exemptions that allow little protection.

  • State might OK red-light cameras

    A bill advances to install devices that would catch drivers breaking the law
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 20, 2013

    A new bill to install red-light cameras at intersections across Oahu is gaining speed, and state lawmakers are encouraged that this year’s effort could succeed where previous attempts hit the skids.

  • State loans urged to help residents install solar gear

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 19, 2013

    The state might help more consumers afford solar panels by tapping into the same bond financing that utilities have used to improve power plants and respond to storm damage.

    Under bills moving through the Legislature, the state would issue revenue bonds to raise money for loans that consumers could obtain to install solar water heaters or rooftop photovoltaic systems. Consumers would repay the loans over time from the energy savings on their electrical bills.

  • Bag-fee bill would raise funds to protect watershed

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 18, 2013

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie's plan to raise money for watershed protection and invasive species control by charging consumers a 10-cent fee on disposable checkout bags or increasing taxes on multimillion-dollar real estate transactions is alive at the state Legislature.

    Last year, lawmakers killed bag-fee bills but agreed to provide the state with more than $5 million to protect Hawaii's watersheds.

    Abercrombie said last month in his State of the State address that he now hopes to secure long-term funding.

  • Lawmakers weigh disposable-bag fee

    The 10-cent charge for paper and plastic versions would fund watershed protection
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - February 3, 2013

    Single-use disposable checkout bags — whether paper or plastic — would carry a 10-cent fee charged to shoppers under a proposal that is back before lawmakers.

    Several variations of the so-called "bag bill" have been introduced once again after Gov. Neil Abercrombie suggested in his State of the State speech that such a fee could raise as much as $15 million for watershed protection initiatives.

  • Blame it on the oil

    West Hawaii Today - January 30, 2013

    Hawaiian Electric Co. officials were hesitant Tuesday to pick one path as the sole avenue to reduce Hawaii’s high energy costs.

    HECO Executive Vice President Robbie Alm told state senators and representatives the state’s electricity providers have to reduce the amount of oil-fueled energy, but also need to explore the possibilities of an interisland cable transferring power from one island to another, bringing liquefied natural gas in large quantities to the state and increasing the renewable energy portfolio.

  • Rights groups seek action on legalization of same-sex marriage

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 26, 2013

    Two years after Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a law approving civil unions for couples in Hawaii, civil rights groups are mobilizing at the Legislature to make a push for legalizing same-sex marriage.

    Proposals in the House and Senate would extend to same-sex couples the right to marry and receive all the same rights, benefits, protections and responsibilities of marriage as opposite-sex couples.

  • Hawaii lawmakers push for marriage amendments

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 25, 2013

    A bipartisan group of 15 Hawaii representatives is advocating for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
    If passed, the amendment would be placed on the ballot during the November 2014 election.

    Sen. Mike Gabbard, a Democrat, is proposing a similar bill in the Senate.

    A bill to legalize same-sex marriage was also introduced in the House on Thursday. Rep. Faye Hanohano, a Democrat, is the bill’s sole sponsor.

  • A call to action

    Abercrombie urges lawmakers to change the tone of politics and fund public preschool
    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 23, 2013

    Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Tuesday condemned the "virus of absolutism" that he said infects politics, and appealed to state lawmakers to set strident voices aside and take action on early childhood education, renewable energy, economic diversification and the state's debt.

  • DLNR Renews Calls for Watershed Protection in 2013 Legislative Session

    Honolulu Civil Beat - January 14, 2013

    The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is mounting a renewed push for long-term funding for the protection of the state’s critical watershed areas.
    At stake is the islands’ fresh water supply. Hawaii's streams and estuaries are being threatened by hotter and drier conditions due to climate change, and watershed forests are being ravaged by invasive species, state and county officials told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee at a Friday briefing.

  • State must fight invasive species now to minimize future costs, groups say

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 12, 2013

    If the state fails to provide adequate funding for protection from invasive plant and animal species, it could cost the state more in the long run, state and private agency heads told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee on Friday.

    "If we don't put adequate resources into it now, who's going to pay the consequences? It'll be our children and grandchildren," said Teya Penniman, manager of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, in a hearing at the state Capitol.

  • State must fight invasive species now to minimize future costs, groups say

    Honolulu Star Advertiser - January 12, 2013

    If the state fails to provide adequate funding for protection from invasive plant and animal species, it could cost the state more in the long run, state and private agency heads told the Senate Energy and Environment Committee on Friday.

    "If we don't put adequate resources into it now, who's going to pay the consequences? It'll be our children and grandchildren," said Teya Penniman, manager of the Maui Invasive Species Committee, in a hearing at the state Capitol.

  • State Exempts Some Solar Projects From Tax Credit Crackdown

    Honolulu Civil Beat - December 13, 2012

    CORRECTION: The state tax department says that exemptions, or "letter rulings," were sent out November 29, not on Wednesday, as a previous version of this article stated.

    The Hawaii Department of Taxation has exempted some solar projects from new rules that effectively limit the number of state tax credits that can be claimed on solar systems.

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