Archive for February, 2012


February 29th, 2012

John Carroll, an attorney and former state lawmaker running for U.S. Senate, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul in the Republican presidential campaign.

Carroll, who is running against former Gov. Linda Lingle in the GOP primary for Senate, said he is in agreement with the libertarian-leaning Paul on the most important issues. He cited free trade, tax reform, government downsizing, individual liberty, a more responsible foreign policy, and preserving the integrity of the U.S. Constitution.

Carroll said in a statement that other candidates should make their presidential preference known. Lingle has not said which Republican candidate she endorses in Hawaii’s Republican caucuses on March 13.

From Carroll:

It says a lot about your own convictions, to go ahead and make your alignment known to the voters. I don’t understand candidates who are so opportunistic and wishy washy that they will not commit to anything publicly.


February 29th, 2012

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa has a new title within the Democratic Caucus in Congress.

The Hawaii Democrat today was named an Assistant House Whip by Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer.

Hoyer, in a news release, stated:

“Rep. Hanabusa has quickly become a leading voice in the Democratic Caucus and will be a strong addition to the Whip team. I look forward to working with her as we continue to promote Democrats’ agenda of job creation and strengthening the middle class.”

Said Hanabusa:

“I look forward to working with Congressman Hoyer and the Democratic leadership to further our position on important legislation. I have good relationships with many of my Democratic colleagues, and I think that will certainly be an asset in this position.”

The assistant whip is responsible for building unity across the Democratic Caucus by assisting in counting and moving votes among colleagues in support of positions taken by party leadership.


February 29th, 2012

The state House Finance Committee agreed Tuesday night to defer a bill that would have allowed the governor and county mayors to exempt certain state and county construction projects from the environmental review law.

State House Speaker Calvin Say (D, St. Louis Heights-Wilhelmina Rise-Palolo Valley) had sponsored the bill in the spirit of streamlining the process to get state projects launched faster. Lawmakers are hoping that an increase in state construction will help with economic recovery.

But the Sierra Club Hawaii chapter, the state Office of Environmental Quality Control and others were alarmed that lawmakers would consider exempting state projects from environmental review, even on a temporary basis. The Sierra Club also complained that the bill was re-referred from subject matter committees with jurisdiction over the environment and economic development — where it had not been scheduled for hearings — directly to the House Finance Committee.

Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa), the chairman of the House Finance Committee, said lawmakers listened to stakeholders on the issue. He said several other bills that would streamline procurement and permitting to help speed up state construction have advanced.

“I’m not going to be coming back on that,” he said of Say’s bill.


February 28th, 2012

The Democrats do not have a contested presidential primary this year, but Hawaii Democrats still hope to use Hawaii-born President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign as an organizing tool.

Democrats have planned a rally this Sunday afternoon at Washington Middle School and telephone banking to call attention the party’s presidential caucuses next Wednesday.

“Four years ago we had exciting and historic race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who are now an extraordinary team leading our country.  Although President Obama is uncontested in this year’s primary, we are already gearing up for a national presidential race which has great consequences,” Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz said in a statement. “In Hawaii we will also be working diligently to keep our Washington D.C. delegation Democratic to work with President Obama and keep us moving forward.”

On the Republican side, the results of the Michigan primary on Tuesday could help determine how long the GOP nominating fight plays out and whether the Hawaii caucuses on March 13 will get on the national  map.

Map, quest

February 27th, 2012

The state Reapportionment Commission on Monday released the latest maps outlining the state’s new political boundaries. The state House and Senate district lines could still be challenged in court but, for now, provide the grid for the August primary and November general election.

The new maps are available HERE.


February 24th, 2012

Hawaii Republicans had hoped that their first-ever presidential caucuses in March would draw some interest from the campaigns. So far, though, the GOP candidates have been focussed on other states.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s campaign has announced that Paul’s oldest son, Ronnie, and campaign manager John Tate will campaign in the islands before the March 13 vote.

*Update: Matt Romney, one of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s sons, campaigned for his father in Hawaii in December. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich made a quick swing to the islands last summer. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann was here early last year, before she dropped out.

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton did local news media interviews before the Democratic caucuses in 2008, and Clinton sent her daughter, Chelsea, to the islands to campaign. It was the first time that the caucuses received much attention, and helped produce record voter turnout, although still only a fraction of traditional turnout for a primary.


February 23rd, 2012

State lawmakers have taken some grief for a bill that would allow dogs in restaurants.

Some critics sarcastically wondered whether lawmakers had anything better to do, while others snickered over the bill’s provisions, including language prohibiting dogs from relieving themselves, barking or otherwise disturbing other restaurant patrons.

Every session, a few bills come to symbolize the political downside for lawmakers — especially House and Senate leaders — who introduce bills by request as courtesies to political allies, interest groups or constituents.

House Speaker Calvin Say declined to comment on who requested the dogs-in-restaurants bill, but Gov. Neil Abercrombie — the proud owner of Kanoa, a Shetland sheepdog — was a supporter of the idea.

Most observers understood that a (BR) listed next to a bill’s sponsor meant that the legislation was introduced by request, not necessarily because the lawmaker was behind the bill.

Still, there has been confusion. Our favorite example involves former state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who was criticized in the news media in 2007 for a “by request” bill that would have authorized the state to purchase a private jet. Former state Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu was actually behind the bill.

To make things crystal clear, the House clerk has now dropped the (BR) on the state Legislature’s web site in favor of (Introduced by request of another party.)

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday deferred the dogs-in-restaurants bill.

State of the City 2012

February 23rd, 2012

The complete prepared remarks of Mayor Peter Carlisle’s 2012 State of the City address, delivered Thursday, Feb. 23 at the Mission Memorial Auditorium.

2012 State of the City Address – Mayor Peter B Carlisle

Article IV, Section 6

February 22nd, 2012

Many state lawmakers are unhappy with the districts they ended up with in the proposed reapportionment plan.

Several in the House dissident faction, in particular, are not pleased with the new maps. In the six situations where sitting lawmakers were placed into the same House districts — meaning they would have to either run against another lawmaker or move into an open district — four involve dissidents.

The new maps have led to questions about whether the Reapportionment Commission adhered to the criteria set in the state Constitution.

From Article IV, Section 6:

2. No district shall be so drawn as to unduly favor a person or political faction.

The lawmakers who are researching the issue say they do not believe there has ever been a legal challenge testing the “political faction” criteria.

House dissidents have unsuccessfully sought to topple state House Speaker Calvin Say (D, St. Louis Heights-Wilhelmina Rise-Palolo Valley) for several years.

Dissidents, if they pursue a lawsuit, may have a difficult argument that they alone were targeted. Three House Republicans were also placed in the same districts as other lawmakers, a fairly high ratio given there are only eight Republicans in the House. Three of Say’s loyalists were paired with other lawmakers.

Here are the pairings in question, with an asterisk next to the dissidents:

Rep. Jerry Chang (D) v. Rep. Mark Nakashima (D)*

Rep. Barbara Marumoto (R) v. Rep. Mark Hashem (D)

Rep. Scott Saiki (D)* v. Rep. Della Au Belatti (D)*

Rep. K. Mark Takai (D)* v. Rep. Heather Giugni (D)

Rep. Rida Cabanilla (D) v. Rep. Kymberly Pine (R)

Rep. Jessica Wooley (D)* v. Rep. Gil Riviere (R)

Referral sheet 35

February 21st, 2012

State House leaders moved Tuesday to resurrect a bill establishing a fee for single-use plastic bags after mistakenly killing it on Friday.

The bill has been re-referred to the House Finance Committee for further action. A similar bill is also alive in the Senate.

House leaders took the step in part after private suggestions by environmentalists and others that the bill was recommitted on purpose.

House Majority Leader Pono Chong (D, Maunawili, Kaneohe), and state Rep. Denny Coffman (D, Keauhou-Honokohau), the bill’s sponsor, insist it was an accident.

“We’re not perfect over here,” Coffman said.