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

BY MALIA HILL – Vote redistricting delayed over House dissidents’ allegations

So, remember last week when I reported that House anti-Calvin Say dissidents were alleging that the redistricting process unfairly disadvantaged them?

Yeah, that allegation appears to have worked, at least in the short term.

The dissidents submitted an alternate map and proposed that the final vote on reapportionment scheduled for Wednesday be postponed.

Their request was granted, and the earliest the vote could proceed would be Friday, with a more likely vote being scheduled for late next week.

This is wonderful news for those hoping that Hawaii’s newly drawn lines aren’t the product of gerrymandering.

City proposal to ban plastic bags in Honolulu remains alive

Last week, I reported on the darkly humorous occurrence that was the sponsor of the plastic bag tax bill “accidentally” killing the bill in committee.

I wish I had similar news regarding a city-level attempt to ban plastic bags, but that is not the case.

The Star-Advertiser reports that a proposal to ban plastic bags in Honolulu County is alive and well and has progressed out of committee and will head to the City Council for readings and deliberation.

Two Council members have expressed a desire to “wait and see” if the State will pass the bag tax before acting on a city level.

Here’s a thought: if retailers and consumers alike are opposed to this bill (which the article indicates), the City Council should show leadership and kill the proposal!

Banning plastic bags; yet another anti-consumer, anti-business measure up for consideration by the City Council.

Lawmakers consider creating a gambling commission

Some things, like zombies, just won’t die.

One of those things is the legalized gambling movement in Hawaii.

While legislation that would legalize gambling is not projected to pass the legislature this year, this lack of potential action has not stopped advocates from suggesting the creation of a “gambling commission”, which would advise the legislature in the event that gambling was ever seriously considered.

It is not known how much support this effort has, but it is proof positive that the gambling issue continues to have advocates in and out of the legislature.

State Unveils Plan for New Prisons Here

There are currently 1,738 felons residing in Arizona prisons who are the administrative responsibility of the State of Hawaii.

The State has long been planning to bring these prisoners home, in an attempt to lower the costs of this particular brand of outsourcing, both in terms of finances and public relations.

This week, pursuant to the goals of this plan, the State announced that it is going to build new prison facilities on three islands designed to house 900 inmates.

The Abercrombie administration projects that by 2015; only 750 inmates would remain outside of Hawaii’s prisons yet under State administrative control.

One in Eight Spikes Pension

Approximately 1 in 8 of all state employees engage in a practice known as “pension-spiking” in their last three years on the job.

What this basically entails is the manipulation of overtime work to trigger clauses that vastly increase the value of pensions over the life of the pensioner.

How vast are we talking?

The Star-Advertiser reports that nearly five dozen former state employees are taking home pensions in the six figures, well more than most state employees make before retirement.

Hawaii has a long-neglected, fast-expanding unfunded liabilities problem, with pensions being the most obvious issue.

This practice must be reformed, lest an already cumbersome burden become more problematic.

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