Prostitutes and World Leaders Converge on Hawaii for APEC – but Hawaii Lawmakers Have a Plan
With the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference set to attract world leaders to Honolulu in November, law enforcement said they are concerned, not only about security for President Barack Obama and other dignitaries, but also about a boom in the world’s oldest profession – prostitution. The way this news story has been reported here, it implies law enforcement thinks that the dignitaries won’t just be hustling just for their country’s agenda … but that is a whole different story.
Meanwhile, Hawaii legislators passed bills to crack down on prostitution from two angles.
The first, HB44, attempts to keep prostitution away from schools. Introduced by Rep. Karl Rhoads, the bill, which could take effect as on July 1 if the governor approves it, makes it a misdemeanor to “offer or agree to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of sexual conduct within 750 feet of a school or public park.”
The second, HB240, strengthens prostitution laws already in effect for both the prostitute and the solicitor and authorizes the attorney general to give these cases “greatest priority.”
“If the bills become law, both will be in effect when the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference convenes in Honolulu in November 2011, at which time government, tourism, and law enforcement officials expect a surge in prostitution activity and sex trafficking; security will be heightened,” the House majority said in a press statement.
“Together, HB 44 and HB 240 raise the stakes for pimps, sex traffickers and customers of prostitutes while adding protections for the prostitutes themselves who wish to testify against those who coerced them into the sex trade,” said Rep. Rhoads. “HB 44 raises the penalty for johns soliciting prostitutes close to schools and parks. Our keiki should not have to run a gauntlet of pimps and johns when they go to school or to the park.”
Legalized Gambling, New Taxes, May Return from the Dead – if Lawmakers Hold Special Session
Hawaii Democratic leaders have not decided whether or not to call a special session, a spokesperson for House Speaker Calvin Say said in a response to Hawaii Reporter’s query.
However, the Speaker is willing to address key measures that were not funded should the legislature return in early June. For example, during the session, which ran from January until May 5, legislators failed to fund $2.7 million in legal claims against the state, another $2 million for security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference set for November, and $4 million for the University of Hawaii medical school.
“If there is no special session, the House will look to address the issues in the next legislative session starting January 2012,” said Georgette Deemer, spokesperson for the House majority.
Lawmakers interviewed for this report said they prefer not to hold a special session, but will review what the state Council on Revenues forecasts for the economy at its May 26, 2011 meeting to see if the state operating budget plan needs to be adjusted. If lawmakers do hold a special session, and need additional revenue to balance the budget and fund outstanding bills, several tax proposals killed earlier this session could be revived.
Legalized gambling proponents see this special session as an opportunity to get through their proposal to build a stand alone casino in Waikiki with the owner paying the state $100 million for a 10 year license and a 15 percent general excise tax. Currently, Hawaii is one of only two states with no legalized form of gambling.
In addition, public union leaders and social service providers want tax increases on everything from sugary drinks to alcohol to the state General Excise Tax as well as a new tax on pensions. More than $600 million in tax increases already passed this legislative session to cover a $1.3 billion shortfall.
Daily Kos Down on Lingle’s US Senate Run – Again
The Daily Kos is on the attack against today against former Gov. Linda Lingle. In a report – HI-Sen: New poll confirms Lingle has no future in Hawaii politics – the Democratic-leaning publication, citing a recent Hawaii News Now/Star-Advertiser poll, claims Lingle cannot beat any of the major Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate.
The report by David Nir said:
“These numbers confirm the results of a Daily Kos/SEIU poll taken by PPP in March, which also showed former Gov. Linda Lingle losing badly to all comers. Lingle said just the other day that she’d make a decision on a possible run by the end of August, but I don’t know why she needs another three months to decide. Hawaii Republicans do have a couple of other options — ex-Rep. Charles Djou and ex-Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona — but they fared no better than Lingle in our PPP poll.”
Dylan Nonaka, executive director for the Hawaii Republican Party, said: “In response to this early polling in general, early Special Election polling had Charles Djou down by 17 points and he he ended up winning by 10. This early hypothetical polling rarely reflects the results on election day.”
See the full report here: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/05/17/976901/-HI-Sen:-New-poll-confirms-Lingle-has-no-future-in-Hawaii-politics
Hawaii Libertarian Convention Attracts Presidential Candidates
2011 Hawaii Libertarian Party Convention is set for Saturday, May 21, 2011, from 2 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at the Unitarian Church located at 2500 Pali Highway in Honolulu. The event, which is sponsored by the Libertarian Party, costs $35 (includes 1-year dues with the Libertarian Party of Hawaii)
Libertarian Presidential candidates Dr. Mary Ruwart and R. Lee Wrights will be featured speakers.
Mary Ruwart is the author of Healing Our World, which is about political freedom of choice. Currently in its third edition, Healing has been translated into Russian, Serbian, Croatian, Lithuanian, and Romanian.
R. Lee Wrights is founder and editor of LibertyForAll.net, America’s premier online libertarian newsletter.
Also speaking are Alan Matsuda is a certified financial planner and known to all as a long time member of the Libertarian Party of Hawaii and Richard O. Rowland, co-founder of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and the 1997 SBH Small Business Person of the Year Award.