HAWAII STATE CAPITOL Photo: Emily Metcalf
HAWAII STATE CAPITOL Photo: Emily Metcalf

Legislators Rush to Get Bills Introduced in Time

The Hawaii State Legislature convened last Wednesday and already hundreds of bills have been introduced.  By the filing deadline this Wednesday, the number will likely increase to thousands. Those are in addition to the bill proposals carried over from the 2011 legislative session.

Some of the measures include:

  • Sen. Donna Mercado Kim’s slot machine bill;
  • Rep. Marumoto’s legislation to add three positions for dog handlers in the Department of Agriculture to protect Hawaii from a brown tree snake invasion;
  • Rep. George Fointaine’s bill to deter cybercrime;
  • Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland’s bills to help human trafficking victims;
  • and Sen Slom’s bills to deregulate of the electric distribution monopoly of HECO

Governor Throws Teacher Union Leadership ‘Under the Bus’

Gov. Neil Abercrombie lashed out at the Hawaii State Teachers Association leadership on Friday when he blamed the union leaders for failed contract negotiations with the state.

Teachers turned down a contract offer last week that the union leaders, Board of Education, Department of Education and state administration had agreed on.

In a press conference late Friday afternoon, Abercrombie said blamed poor communication between the union leadership and its members and insinuated union leaders are out of touch.

The governor said the State was prepared to invest $72 million for teacher salary increases based on performance. In addition, the State was agreeable to re-negotiating the salary scales should there be money available.

Hawaii Reapportionment Commission Out of Time, Money, Options

The Hawaii Reapportionment Commission met on Friday in executive session for two hours behind closed doors.

The Hawaii Supreme Court rejected the commission’s motion for reconsideration on Friday after it previously ruled in favor of two sets of Big Island plaintiffs who challenged the commission’s redistricting plan on the basis that non resident military on Oahu were illegally being included in the state’s population count.

Commissioners are now out of money, time and quickly running out of options. The Candidate Filing deadline is February 1. The Commission also is out of money to pay its staff.

Legislators will likely need to appropriate money for staff and operations.

In addition, legislators may need to extend the Candidate Filing deadline because it looks as if the Big Island may gain a senate and House seat and Oahu will lose those as district lines are redrawn.

 

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