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Hawaii State Legislature opens session

The “battered” state budget will dominate the legislative agenda.

Views expressed in this Hawaii State News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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8:21 AM (4 hours ago)
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Locally Owned, Locally Committed Since 1955
1.20.2021
TOP STORIES
The Hawai‘i Legislature is back in session
The House and Senate convene today for the 31st session, but without the usual entertainment, speeches and food. The public won’t be allowed in the Capitol building but can watch the proceedings via YouTube and ‘Olelo television. KITV4. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

The battered state budget will dominate the Legislature’s agenda
Faced with an unprecedented plunge in state tax collections, Gov. David Ige in December crafted a proposed spending plan for the next two years that was packed with painful cuts, including jobs. Civil Beat.

House speaker launches probe of state auditor
Scott Saiki said late and unfinished reports could be cause for lawmakers to remove state Auditor Les Kondo. Civil Beat.

DOE to present grim staffing plan but says teacher layoffs are a “last resort”
Nearly 800 teachers, librarians and counselors, and 48 administrator slots, could disappear by June under the Department of Education’s proposed reorganization plan, to be presented to the BOE on Thursday. Civil Beat.
The teachers’ union said that budget cuts and layoffs are prohibited by federal rules that come with the stimulus funds. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. KITV4. Maui Now.

New prosecutor wants surgeon general’s case dismissed
Steve Alm submitted a motion yesterday to dismiss charges against U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and his aide for allegedly violating an emergency COVID-19 order at an O‘ahu beach in August. Honolulu Star-AdvertiserCivil Beat.

Leaders criticize “chronic mismanagement” of Native Hawaiian burials
Island burial council leaders say the state has mismanaged a program developed three decades ago to handle the discovery of Native Hawaiian burials. They are calling on the Legislature to implement reforms. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i Island educator tapped to fill vacant state Senate seat
Gov. David Ige selected Laura Acasio for the state seat left vacant by Congressman Kai Kahele. Acasio will represent the greater Hilo area. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Video News. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now.Hawai‘i vaccine shortage stymies mass rollout
Thousands of COVID-19 vaccination appointments are being canceled or not made at all because of limited supplies in the Islands. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now. Tribune-Herald. KITV4. Big Island Now. Garden Island. KHON2.

HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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OʻAHU
A year later, HPD is still investigating the shooting deaths of 2 officers on Hibiscus Drive
The Honolulu Police Department says it is still investigating a Jan. 19, 2020 attack in which two HPD officers and a local homeowner were killed and several homes were burned down in the Diamond Head neighborhood. Friends, family and neighbors recall the tragic day. Civil Beat. KITV4. KHON2. Hawaii News Now. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
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HAWAIʻI ISLAND
Zendo Kern is grilled by planning committee
The County Council Planning Committee spent hours yesterday questioning Mayor Mitch Roth’s choice for planning director. Some committee members expressed concern about Kern’s education and experience. West Hawaii Today.

Hospitals work to smooth the vaccine registration process  
Hilo Medical Center will begin vaccinating older kupuna today, but the hospital urges calm during the registration process. Kona Community Hospital said that yesterday’s technical issues with its vaccine registration phone line have been fixed. Tribune-Herald. West Hawaii Today.

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MAUI COUNTY
Maui Memorial says postponing 5,000 vaccine appointments was a “huge disappointment”
Maui Memorial Medical Center had to postpone appointments for three weeks because of a drop in supply. Hawaii News Now.

Maui Economic Development Board awarded $300K to scale up STEMworks program
The board was named one of seven nationwide winners of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s STEM Talent Challenge. Maui Now.

KAUAʻI
Historic Menehune Fishpond is up for sale
At $3 million, the sale listing for the Alekoko “Menehune” Fishpond breaks down to about $30,000 per acre for the two-parceled, culturally historic area. Legend says the fishpond was built in one night by a human chain of the mythical Menehune. Garden Island.
DECEMBER ISSUE
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