Latest Articles

  • Senators to Decide if Lawyer Labeled ‘Unqualified’ Should Be Big Island Judge

    · By Nathan Eagle

    UPDATED 2:30 p.m., 10/22/2014

    One of three judicial appointments pending this week in the state Senate has been labeled “unqualified” by the Hawaii State Bar Association despite significant testimony supporting her.

    Margaret Masunaga was nominated to a six-year term as a district judge in Big Island’s 3rd Circuit Court by Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, who chose her from a list of six names recommended by the Judicial Selection Commission in September.

    However, the bar association’s president, Calvin Young, told lawmakers in his written testimony that the board of directors “seriously questions the

  • UberX, Lyft Rerouted to Hawaii Legislature

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Hawaii lawmakers tried to learn more Wednesday about Lyft and UberX, two popular ride-sharing services that have been transporting people in and around Honolulu since June to the chagrin of taxi drivers who say they are skirting the law and creating unfair competition.

    State regulators believe the companies — both of which are rapidly growing Silicon Valley mobile tech startups — need to stop providing their ride-sharing services in Hawaii until they come into compliance with the law.

    It’s unclear what exactly that entails though because their services are so

  • New Law Gives Hawaii Unions Even More Power

    · By Nathan Eagle

    A new law championed by Hawaii’s most powerful unions has tilted the balance in favor of organized labor in a critical arena, although the effects on employers — and possibly taxpayers — won’t be fully realized for a few years.

    With little public fanfare, the Legislature last session passed a bill that changes how the governor appoints people to the Hawaii Labor Relations Board, a quasi-judicial agency that resolves labor disputes involving private and public sector employees and the organizations that represent them.

    The board hears everything from complaints

  • Hawaii Could Be $1 Billion in Hole by 2019, GOP Senator Warns

    · By Nathan Eagle

    The state Senate’s sole Republican is waving red flags over the pace of government spending in Hawaii.

    Sen. Sam Slom says the Legislature and new governor will face a big challenge next year because the state is on track to deplete its record $844 million carryover balance by 2016.

    A five-year financial outlook, based on current spending projections, shows the state budget hundreds of millions of dollars in deficit. By 2019, the projected carryover ending balance will be just over $1 billion in the hole, according to Paul Harleman, the

  • Hawaii Women Lawmakers Slam Police Chief for Canceling Domestic Violence Meeting

    · By Nathan Eagle

    A group of Hawaii women lawmakers on Wednesday blasted Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha for canceling a meeting with them about domestic violence.

    “We sincerely hope this is not a sign of the lack of importance the department places on the issue of domestic violence,” Senate President Donna Mercado Kim said in a statement. 

    The Hawaii Women’s Legislative Caucus, which includes 23 state lawmakers and three Honolulu City Council members, is perplexed by the chief’s decision not to meet with them Thursday as planned, she said.


  • County Councils Agree to Lobby State for More Hotel Tax Revenue

    · By Nathan Eagle

    UPDATED 9 a.m., 9/17/2014

    County officials agree on at least one thing as they prepare to lobby the Legislature next year: They want more funding for local government services ranging from roads to rescues.

    But Kauai, Maui, Big Island and Honolulu council members and mayors have different ideas on how to go about boosting their revenues.

    Council members plan to ask state lawmakers for a bigger share of hotel taxes. The mayors, although not opposed to more Transient Accommodations Tax money, may double down on new revenue proposals with

  • Hawaii Capitol to Prepare for ‘Active Shooter’ Scenario

    · By Nathan Eagle

    The Hawaii Capitol has never been the scene of a shooter running amok, although there have been incidents of white powder arriving in the mail (turned out to be sugar), suspicious bags left unattended and telephone threats.

    But with reports on the mainland of gunmen firing indiscriminately in schools, movie theaters and other public places, state officials say it’s time to prepare for the worst.

    The Honolulu Police Department is offering two sessions on “active shooter” preparedness this month for the hundreds of people who work at the Capitol.


  • Hawaii Counties Prepare for Another Battle over Hotel Tax Revenue

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Maui, Kauai, Hawaii and Honolulu counties want more money from the state — tens of millions of dollars more — to help offset the cost of providing services that visitors use, ranging from roads to rescue.

    Council members and mayors are already ramping up for the next legislative session, which starts in January, strategizing how they might grab a bigger slice of the state’s hotel tax revenue.

    It’s an annual fight that the state has dominated in recent years, particularly with the implementation of a cap on the counties’

  • Chad Blair: Republicans on Parade

    · By Chad Blair

    I’ve seen this parade before.

    Dozens of hopeful candidates from diverse walks of life, hopeful, excited, sporting banners and signs and buttons and T-shirts and stickers and websites, all believing this will be the election year that Hawaii elects more than a token representation of Republicans.

    I saw this parade just two years ago, when Linda Lingle and Charles Djou went down to defeat in runs for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

    I saw it as well in 2010, when Djou lost his re-election bid for the 1st Congressional District, Cam

  • Hawaii Legislature: Most Incumbents Win, But There Are Exceptions

    · By Chad Blair

    Voters throughout Hawaii are returning legislative incumbents to office with a couple notable exceptions in Saturday’s primary.

    That’s according to the state Office of Elections final summary report as of early Sunday.

    The exceptions:

    • Controversial Big Island Rep. Faye Hanohano was far behind challenger Joy San Buenaventura. But that district is in the area where final results will be delayed because of storm damage.

    • Also on the Big Island, former lawmaker Lorraine Inouye beat incumbent Malama Solomon by a wide margin.

    • Challenger Matt LoPresti handily defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Rida Cabanilla.

    A woman goes into

  • Ige Wants a Better BOE and More Transparency From UH Regents

    · By Nathan Eagle

    The gubernatorial candidate fielded questions on education, the University of Hawaii, taxes and how the state is doing.

  • Hawaii Legislature Pau, But Not Before Turtle Bay Land Deal Squeaks By

    · By Nathan Eagle

    Lawmakers spend final day of session plodding through dozens of measures, including the hastily put together Turtle Bay deal.