Honolulu Prosecutor Does Not Support Early Release of Prisoners

Honolulu City Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro admits he is in the minority, but he is not fully supportive of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative’s plan that may lead to the early release of 1,500 prisoners.

In a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Kaneshiro told Senators he is critical of bringing Hawaii’s prisoners from mainland facilities before there is bed space available here, and he opposes taking power away from the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee and Senate Public Safety Chair Will Espero were concerned enough about Kaneshiro’s view they put off decision making on two related bills until next Tuesday at 10 a.m.

Military Would Get Highest Preference When Competing for Government Contracts Under House Plan

House Republicans are supporting a Democrat introduced measure to give government contracting preference to military, including those who have been injured in combat.

HB 2318, which will be heard Thursday, February 2, at 9 a.m. in the House Public Safety & Military Affairs Committee, requires the procurement policy board to adopt rules to promote Hawaii small businesses that include a 5% preference for small businesses, a 7% preference for veterans, and a 9% preference for disabled veterans when apply for government contracts.

Hawaii already gives an edge to veterans who apply for public service jobs. However, Hawaii does not providing preferences when veterans compete for government contracts.

Veterans own an estimated 3 million businesses nationwide, including 10,300 in Hawaii.

House Republicans maintain by dedicating just three percent of the state contracts to companies operated by qualified military veterans, Hawaii would provide $33 million in much-needed state support each year.

The bill was introduced by House Democrats including Rep. MCKELVEY, AQUINO, AWANA, CARROLL, CULLEN, MIZUNO and YAMASHITA.

Slom’s Prayerful Protest

Sen. Sam Slom - Photo courtesy of Mel Ah Ching Productions

Hawaii lawmakers have been under verbal attack this year and last by Mitchell Kahle, a self declared Atheist, who successfully pushed both the Senate and Honolulu City Council to stop its daily opening prayer with threats of lawsuits.

The House, headed by House Speaker Calvin Say, has so far refused to halt its opening prayer held daily on session days, and Kahle has made his displeasure known, shouting in the gallery during the daily session and holding a protest outside the Catholic Cathedral on Bishop Street during the recent “Red” Mass, which brought together government and religious leaders.

While the Senate officially stopped its prayer last year on the second day of session because Senate leaders feared litigation, Republican Minority Leader Sam Slom, a frequent contributor to Hawaii Reporter, has his own protest. He says a prayer every day as a part of his closing remarks on the Senate floor.

Kahle continues to show up at the capitol to protest any form of worship. When Slom sees him in the gallery, he specifically addresses his prayer to Kahle.

Looking directly at Kahle in the gallery on Tuesday, Slom said “May God bless and keep us all, including the least of us, the misinformed, and the ignorant.”

Slom told his colleagues on opening day, January 18, in these difficult times when so many of our citizens are struggling, they look beyond the Legislature for support and guidance and lawmakers should acknowledge we do not have all of the answers and now more than ever should seek a higher power to help us in our deliberations.”

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