In Print

  • Fee Set at Ten Cents, But Passage Not Yet In The Bag

    Civil Beat April 28, 2011

    The Hawaii Senate and House have bridged the biggest gap between their differing versions of what would be the nation's first statewide fee on single-use checkout bags.But passage is still not in the bag."I clearly feel this bill is going to go down to the wire tomorrow," House Environmental Protection Committee Chair Denny Coffman told Civil Beat Thursday.

  • Hawaii Lawmakers Argue Over Checkout-Bag Fee

    Civil Beat - April 27, 2011

    The legislative session is nearly pau, but negotiations on the checkout-bag fee are seemingly just getting started.Meeting in conference to discuss Senate Bill 1363 for the first time Wednesday, Senate Environment Committee Chair Mike Gabbard and House Environmental Protection Committee Chair Denny Coffman traded numbers and agreed to talk again Thursday after huddling with colleagues to discuss finances.

  • Hawaii Checkout Bag Fee Not Yet Wrapped Up

    Civil Beat April 26, 2011

    A measure that could give Hawaii the first statewide fee on checkout bags is at a "sensitive" point in negotiations and could be changed dramatically before its conference meeting Wednesday, according to Senate Environment Committee Chair Mike Gabbard.The fee — which would cover both paper and plastic and ranged from a nickel to a quarter per single-use bag in previous versions — has the support of both environmentalists and retail merchants.

  • 'Unanswered Questions' Hold Up On-Bill Financing

    Civil Beat - April 26, 2011

    Time is running out for a bill in the Hawaii Legislature that would allow people to pay to install clean energy technology at their homes through their monthly electric bills.The lawmaker who holds the measure in his hands says he still has a lot of "unanswered questions.""It's not dead," House Energy Committee Chair Denny Coffman told Civil Beat Monday afternoon, "but like you said, time is running out."House Bill 1520 likely needs to pass out of conference by th

  • Students power effort to boost energy efficiency

    Star Advertiser - Apr 20, 2011

    More than 250 students rallied yesterday at the state Capitol in support of a proposal to give homeowners the option of financing solar electric panels, solar water heaters or energy-efficient appliances with the money they'd save on their electricity bills."There are 267,000 single-family homes in Hawaii, but only 4,000 of them have PV (photovoltaic) systems on their roofs," said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kalaeloa-Maka­kilo).

  • As Energy Targets Loom, Bill Shows Who Has Power

    Civil Beat - March 08,2011

    Hawaii's clean energy goals are ambitious, but a proposal before the state Senate shows they're not written in stone.In 2008, the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative laid out the state's short- and long-term roadmap to get off fossil fuels.In addition to a 30-percent increase in efficiency, the plan calls for utilities to generate 40 percent of their power from clean sources by 2030.

  • Bill would allow drinkers to light up

    Pacific Business News - Feb 7, 2011

    There’s a move afoot at the state Legislature to allow smoking in most drinking establishments.SB708 would create a “smoking establishment permit” that would allow patrons of bars, cabarets and private clubs to legally smoke. There are bar owners who ignore the state’s smoking ban and risk fines and penalties, but this bill would give them the right to let their customers puff away — for a price.The cost of a permit runs from $1,000 to $3,000 and money generated would go into the state’s general fund.

  • State’s ethanol fuel law comes under fire

    Pacific Business News - February 4, 2011

    By the state Legislature this session is a Senate measure that would repeal a law mandating that gasoline sold in Hawaii contain at least 10 percent ethanol.Senate Bill 715 was introduced by Sen. Mike Gabbard, D-Kapolei-Waikele, and was scheduled for a hearing before the committees on Commerce and Consumer Protection, and Energy and Environment Thursday.

  • Groups fear damage to land by Lanai, Molokai wind farms

    A survey finds cultural sites and access to hunting and fishing are among Lanai concerns
    Star Advertiser - Jan 12, 2011

    The damage that proposed wind farms on Lanai and Molokai could do to the islands' natural beauty and cultural sites outweighs the benefits they might have by helping the state reach energy self-sufficiency.That was the message from several community groups that testified at a legislative hearing yesterday.The projects, which would deliver a combined 400 megawatts of electricity to Oahu via undersea cables, are a major component of the state's plan to generate 40 percent of Hawaii's energy from renewable sources by 2030.

  • Viewpoint: Ban on force-feeding of birds sought

    Maui News - January 9, 2011

    When the Hawaii legislative session opens on Jan. 19, Rep. Angus McKelvey and Sens. Mike Gabbard, Chun Oakland and Clayton Hee will co-introduce a humane bill to prevent unspeakable cruelty to ducks and geese.More than 15 countries and the state of California have outlawed the cruel force-feeding of ducks and geese to enlarge their livers to more than 10 times their normal size in the production of foie gras, a fatty liver appetizer.

  • Data security needs attention

    Star Advertiser - Dec 22, 2010

    The digital age has meant that information can be exchanged much more freely than ever before. The flip side of this coin is that anything that is free tends to be devalued. Information is stolen, and the only ones bearing the burden of that loss are the victims of the data breach, not the ones who let their guard down.Figuring out how to correct that imbalance will be the job of the state Legislature, which is beginning to grapple with the vulnerabilities exposed by the latest breach at the University of Hawaii.State Sen.

  • Gabbard wants a law addressing data leaks

    A Liberty Coalition report calls for a fund to help ID-theft victims hurt by state breaches
    Star Advertiser - Dec 20, 2010

    Hawaii lawmakers are likely to take up proposed legislation that would punish state agencies responsible for data breaches that can result in identity theft."Right now the problem is that victims are the ones who bear all the brunt in recovering from identity theft," said state Sen. Mike Gabbard (D, Kalaeloa-Makakilo). "It's like having someone break into your house and then holding you responsible for crimes committed while the thief was wearing your clothes. Most people would agree that if you mess up, you should own up.

  • Hawaii senators visiting Taiwan

    Star Advertiser - Dec 14, 2010

    Seven Hawaii state senators are traveling to Taiwan to visit government agencies and businesses.The trip starts Tuesday, and it's sponsored by the Taiwanese government to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation.A statement from the Hawaii Senate says the trip comes at no cost to state taxpayers.The senators will visit Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, Department of Rapid Transit Systems, Council of Indigenous Peoples and the Bureau of Energy, electric car manufacturer Luxgen Motor Co. and alternative energy company iWind Energy Co.The delegation to Taiwan includes Sens.

  • Data breaches earn UH an 'F'

    Personal information in nearly 260,000 records has been exposed since 2005, a report says
    Star Advertiser - Nov 18, 2010

    A national organization has given the University of Hawaii a grade of "F" for online security breaches that exposed Social Security numbers and other sensitive information in nearly 260,000 records.The Liberty Coalition, a nonprofit civil liberties watchdog group, yesterday said more than half of the estimated 479,000 Hawaii records breached since 2005 were those mishandled by UH.PERSONAL DATA AT RISKA report by the Liberty Coalition, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit civil liberties watchdog group, states that: » Since 2005, at least 479,000 Hawaii records have been breac

  • Energy reform a top goal

    The gubernatorial candidates lay out their plans to boost state's use of alternative fuel
    Star Advertiser - Oct 10, 2010

    Former U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie and Lt. Gov. James "Duke" Aiona want to keep Hawaii on course to significantly reduce dependence on imported fossil fuel, but the candidates for governor differ on the best policy and regulatory framework to develop alternative energy.

  • Quake victims remembered

    Star Advertiser - Sep 28, 2010

    Village and church bells will ring 34 times tomorrow across American Samoa in remembrance of the 34 lives lost when a series of earthquake-driven waves began pounding the island territory one year ago at 6:48 a.m.
    In Honolulu, 2,600 miles away, Roshian Lafaele will be finalizing plans to return home to American Samoa on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the deaths of her cousin and two aunts in the deadly tsunami.
    "People are getting back to their routines," said Lafaele, a 23-year-old graduate student at Hawaii Pacific University, "but it's still hard."