House Speaker: ‘No Disrespect’ Bill Not Targeted at Any One Individual; City Proposes $450 Million Line of Credit for Rail Project; Hearing on Controversial Undersea Cable Will Be Held in Senate Thursday

article top
House Speaker Calvin Say - Photo courtesy of House Majority Blog

House Speaker: ‘No Disrespect’ Bill Not Targeted at Any One Individual

Disrespect a Hawaii legislator and you could face additional penalties under a new House proposal, House Bill 2751, introduced January 25 by House Speaker Calvin Say.


Speaker Say told Hawaii Reporter: “HB 2751 is intended to assist in the maintenance of order and decorum during legislative sessions and committee hearings.  The bill applies to the disruption caused by any person, no matter the person’s reason for the disruption or viewpoint on any issue.

“HB 2751 is a product of the House leadership’s discussion of disruptions that occurred in the House and Senate chambers in the recent past.  During the discussion, House leadership and staff determined that the policies and procedures for keeping order in the House chambers and committee rooms during sessions and hearings may need clarification.  HB 2571 is intended to provide the clarification.

He notes a companion bill, SB 3026, has been introduced in the Senate.

The legislation, which has been referred to two committees for review, dictates those making “loud, boisterous or incessant shouts,” refusing to remain seated, assaulting any member of the legislature or the public or threatening bodily harm to legislators or members of the public, will be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor.

Hawaii lawmakers have been under verbal attack this year and last by Mitchell Kahle, a self declared Atheist, and his small band of associates, who have pushed both the Senate and City Council to stop its daily opening prayer. The House, headed by Say, has so far refused to stop its opening prayer held daily on session days. Kahle continues to show up at the capitol and the Catholic Cathedral in downtown Honolulu during the Legislative “red mass” and shout at lawmakers during the prayer.

But Say maintains the bill “is not directed at any particular individual.”

City Proposes $450 Million Line of Credit for Rail Project

The Federal Transit Administration ordered the city administration December 29 to “further strengthen” the financial plan for its proposed $5.3 billion rail project.

After meeting with FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff in Washington D.C. on January 18, Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle announced yesterday the city will establish a $450 million line of credit.

But University of Hawaii Professor Panos Prevedouros said the open line of credit based on bond float for repayment means that the local taxpayer will shoulder 100 percent of cost overruns.

Bond based line of credit is the worst possible deal, Prevedouros said, and there is no cap.

The public will have a chance to weigh in at a public hearing on the matter, but Council Chair Ernie Martin is already supportive.

The city has collected $810 million in General Excise Tax surcharge revenues for rail and contracted more than 50 percent of the construction.

But there is still a good chance the rail project could be stopped.

There is federal lawsuit challenging its environmental impact and former Gov. Benjamin Cayetano, a rail opponent who has never lost an election in 28 years in office, is now running for Honolulu Mayor to put a halt to it.

Hearing on Controversial Undersea Cable Will Be Held in Senate Today 

Should there be an undersea cable from the Hawaiian Islands to transfer power from Maui County to the more populated island of Oahu?

The Senate takes up the controversial issue on Thursday via Senate Bill 2785.

Henry Curtis, spokesperson for Life of the Land, said there are cheaper and more reliable ways to increase renewable energy.

He notes the Public Utilities Commission is about to re-start the Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) process whereby different future scenarios are developed and analyzed. “Big Cable gets ahead of that process by determining in advance that the cable will be the winner,” Curtis said. He added “the cable bill requires the interconnected of two or more islands, so an undersea transmission developer who wants to build a cable between one island and an ocean energy hub is excluded.”
Curtis’ organization isn’t the only opponent of the plan. Many neighbor island residents are opposed to putting windmills on their islands only to transfer the power to Oahu via a $1 billion cable.

Curtis maintains and many agree Hawaii needs a robust and inclusive community driven process for developing and promoting our energy future.

But powerful politicians are supporting the project, including U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye and Gov. Neil Abercrombie.