BY SAM SLOM – Minimum Wage Vote Today. The Senate Ways & Means Committee votes on the Senate Judiciary Chair Clayton Hee’s bill to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 while eliminating the restaurant tip credit. The bill is bad for business and for entry-level employees. SBH opposes the bill because the cost of doing business is already the highest in the nation, and driving the costs up even more through a minimum wage increase will result in businesses being forced to lay off workers or stop hiring.
Any pay increases also boost the cost of workers compensation, unemployment, TDI and other employer mandates. The pay increases also force up other wages within the company. Just three percent of Hawaii’s workers are on minimum wage, which is an entry and training wage, meant to rise after the employee gets experience.

Djou to Run? Hawaii Democrats have had the 1st Congressional race (and all the media coverage) all to themselves but they may get a major Republican challenger after this weekend. Former Legislator and Congressman Charles Djou will weigh his options and decide whether to enter the race next week. It’s late, money gathering will be tough, but voters-and small business- need some real choices. Djou has experience and some positive early poll results. Senate President Donna Mercado Kim is the best of the Democrats, and is currently in the Primary lead, but anything could happen there with so many Democrat candidates all touting their ethnicity, and heritage, and focusing on issues.

Duke’s All In. Republican Duke Aiona has taken a major step to begin his campaign for Governor. He lost to Neil Abercrombie in 2010 and after a stint at St. Louis School and back to his law practice, he has thrown his visor in the ring. Current polls show he would beat Abercrombie today. But Abercrombie could lose in the Primary to State Senate Ways and Means Chair David Ige. And then there is Mufi …. Running as an “independent?”

SBH Sunrise Cancelled. Tomorrow’s scheduled monthly SBH SUNRISE Networking Breakfast has been cancelled because of a venue scheduling conflict. The Tax Foundation’s Tom Yamachika was slated to speak.

Unconference Saturday. Aerial drones, bitcoin and cyber­currencies, the maker movement, and civic hacking are among the engaging sessions expected at Unconferenz 2014, Hawaii’s longest running grassroots technical and creative “unconference.”

Saturday’s gathering turns the conventional conference on its head, as every participant has a hand in building the program on the spot, and keynotes and panels are pushed aside in favor of open conversation and collaboration. And the day wraps up with Ignite STEM, a fast paced speaker series where thought leaders share their passions… 15 seconds at a time.

Each year, Unconferenz tackles the hottest issues of the day, and often plays a pivotal role in growing new ideas into full­fledged movements.

Last year, makers from across the state came together at the Unconferenz to spread the word of the maker movement, and lay the groundwork for Hawaii’s first official Mini Maker Faire, set for March 15 at ‘Iolani School.

Every Unconferenz participant can suggest an issue to discuss, and attendees vote on the final program topics on the morning of the event. And, as with any gathering, the talkstory in the halls and over lunch are often just as vibrant and likely to lead to a new startup or partnership.

The closing session for Unconferenz will again be Ignite STEM, focused on Science, Technology, Engineering in Math. Presenters will have only five minutes and 20 slides ­­ automatically advanced every 15 seconds ­­ to share their passions. Presenters include nationally recognized drone expert Ted Ralston, Roy Gal of the UH Institute for Astronomy, Bitcoin Hawaii co­founder McKay Davis, and gubernatorial candidate David Ige.

Unconferenz is the brainchild of Burt Lum, a self­ described “digital ronin” who has engaged the local tech scene for more than three decades. He co­hosts a weekly technology radio show on Hawaii Public Radio, and serves as the executive director of Hawaii Open Data, dedicated to fostering civic engagement and entrepreneurial innovation in the Aloha State.

Unconferenz 2014 will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 1 in Hale Ākoakoa at Windward Community College. Advance photo ops and demos by participants can be arranged. For more information, visit

Battle of the Microbes. A bill to name a state microbe had a heated hearing in yesterday’s Senate TEC Committee headed by Glenn Wakai. Academics battled it out with the House Flavobacterium Akiainvivens state microbe entry and Vibrio Fischeri the Senate entry. In the end, Wakai deferred the bill. What about the only Hawaiian state land mammal, the Hawaiian Hoary Bat, Opea’pea, stuck in the House?

Ukulele Moves On. Meanwhile, the ukulele, bidding to become Hawaii’s State Musical Instrument, passed 3-0 in the Senate TEC Committee, even though the “jumping flea” came from Portugal.

Olive Garden Out. The much-awaited debut of the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Hawaii is on hold again. The first outlet to be based in West O’ahu was put on hold without explanation by the restaurant’s national owners. We still get those national commercials.

Aunty Pasta East. Despite some community opposition in East O’ahu (traffic, noise) Aunty Pasta hopes to operate a new Italian restaurant, Aunty Pasta East, in the Aina Haina Shopping Center.

Applebee’s In. An Applebee’s Restaurant, part of the IHop family, will be completed in Pearl City by September. Now you can act on those commercials we’ve seen for years.

Lucky 7 For Pier 1. Pier 1 Imports will open its 7th Hawaii store in Kapolei. Its last store launch was on Kauai last year.

A KISS from Colt Brennan. UH Football super star and QB of the 2007 unbeaten year, Colt Brennan, was signed by the new LA KISS Arena Football team. He will debut next month. The team is owned by Rock legend (KISS) Gene Simmons, the SBH Conference keynote speaker in 2008.

38th SBH Business Conference, May 13. The SBH 38th Annual Business Conference has been re-scheduled to Tuesday, May 13 at the Ala Moana Hotel, Hibiscus Ballroom.

Best-selling author and motivational business success speaker, Patrick Snow, will be the SBH’s Keynote Luncheon Speaker. Current issue topics, networking, business exhibits and more will be included.
Make reservations now by calling SBH at 808-396-1724.

Rosen Approved.  Gov. Abercrombie’s choice for new Director of the State Department of Health, Linda Rosen, was approved by the Senate Health Committee Monday. Her confirmation now goes to the full Senate. Rosen succeeds Loretta Fuddy who died after her plane crashed last year and she was awaiting rescue.

Legislative Recess. The Hawaii State Legislature ends a mandatory 5-day recess tomorrow. Floor sessions in the House and Senate resume. The first crossover of 2014 bills between each House will take place March 4.

New Facebook Link. The Hawaii Senate Minority has a new Facebook and a new look. Check it out here>
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Hawaii, Hawaii’s first electronic daily newspaper launched in 2002, has all the breaking news and unlike other publications in town, is still free. Award winning Hawaii Reporter and Malia Zimmerman report daily (M-F) on the Rick Hamada Show heard on KHVH radio on 830 AM at 7:05 am. Malia will share the news behind the news.

Tune in to Panos Prevedouros. SBH Director and UH Engineering Professor Dr. Panos Prevedouros is a weekly guest on Rick Hamada’s morning radio show every Tuesday from 7:05 a.m. to 8 am. Tune in!

Read SB NEWS. Don’t forget to read your current (November) monthly SB NEWS by PDF attachment or link. More expanded news and views for the Hawaii business community. A limited number of printed copies are available for mailing if you call SBH (396-1724).

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