Welcome to Capitol Watch. The Hawaii Legislature is in full swing and Gov. Neil Abercrombie is delivering straight talk that’s not always welcome. Civil Beat is reporting on all of it.

4:14 p.m. Another Cabinet Appointment Moving Smoothly

Pat McManaman, Human Services director, received solid confirmation approval from Senate Human Services this afternoon.

With the exception of William Aila — and two appointees who have yet to get a hearing in Clayton Hee’s Senate Judiciary and Labor — the governor’s picks continue to zip through the Big Square Building on Beretania.

3:29 p.m. Local GOP Uses Gov in Fund-Raising Pitch

The Hawaii Republican Party has posted on its webpage a novel approach to raising money.

Its homepage this week promotes a campaign that reads “Stop Abercrombie’s Spending Spree.” Click on the link and it takes you to a page that encourages members to join a monthly donor club:

“You will be spreading your contribution through the year. This can be helpful for household budgeting. Please consider just $10/month, a dollar a day ($30 per month), or even $1.”

There’s no more mention of the governor, however.

The Hawaii GOP, it was reported not long ago, is having financial problems.

1:27 p.m. Protect Kahoolawe Legislation

The Maui News reports that “the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission would get a dedicated source of state funding under a proposal moving forward in this year’s Legislature”:

“Without state funding, the commission has spent down a federal trust fund for the management of Kahoolawe, reducing it from $33 million in 2003 to $13.5 million this year. One commissioner told legislators that unless the state begins to fund management of the reserve, the commission will have to shut down operations on Kahoolawe in four years.”

“One proposal, Senate Bill 816, would set aside 10 percent of the state conveyance tax to the Kahoolawe trust fund. The bill has passed two readings in the Senate and currently sits in the Ways and Means Committee.”

“A similar bill, House Bill 1224, has been referred to the House Finance Committee.”

Maui News also reports that there are other bills moving forward as well that would affect the former “Target Island.”

11:48 a.m. Abercrombie Has Inner Ear Illness, Cancels Washington Trip

It’s official. An inner ear inflammation has caused Gov. Neil Abercrombie to call off his trip to Washington D.C. for the National Governors Association conference. Press secretary Donalyn Dela Cruz released the following statement:

“Governor Neil Abercrombie today cancelled plans to attend the National Governor’s Association conference in Washington D.C. The Governor is being treated for an inner ear inflammation, which prevents him from flying.”

10:40 a.m. Census Data Delivered, Officially

The U.S. Census Bureau announced this morning that the official 2010 Census results have been received by Hawaii’s leadership, and posted some population and race data online for all to see. (Download the XLS file.)

Civil Beat gave you the first look at data for the state, the four counties and the two Congressional districts after it arrived via FedEx Wednesday.

We’ll be publishing more detailed looks at population growth in various locations since the 2000 Census, race and ethnic trends, and youth population change throughout the day.

Michael Levine

9:40 a.m. Abercrombie Postpones Trip to Washington

The governor was scheduled to leave the islands last night (as we noted in an earlier post here) to attend the National Governors Association conference in Washington, D.C., which runs Saturday through Monday.

But the Star-Advertiser is reporting he delayed his flight because of a lingering cold; we are waiting to hear from the administration on the latest. The administration previously issued a press release announcing his departure, but has not issued any further statements.

Abercrombie was scheduled to return Tuesday evening from D.C.

Senior Officials

This may come as no surprise, but the University of Minnesota’s Smart Politics has determined that Hawaii and Iowa have the longest-serving U.S. Senate delegations:

“Senators from Hawaii (68.2 years) and Iowa (56.2 years) are far and away the most seasoned in the 100-member body.”

“Hawaii’s Daniel Inouye, the chamber’s longest-serving member after the death last year of West Virginia’s Robert Byrd, has notched a longer tenure in the Senate (48.1 years) than the combined service from both delegation members of every single state in the nation with the exception of Iowa.”

“In fact, Inouye’s length of service is equal to the combined service of 33 individual members of the Senate: the delegations from Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, plus the junior senators from Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.”

Speaking of Sen. Inouye, he is the featured guest on PBS Hawaii’s “Island Insights” tonight at 7 p.m.

Bills: Vog and Leaf Blowers

At 10 a.m. in Conference Room 308, House Finance will hear House Bill 318, which sets up a Volcanic Activity Task Force to discuss the impact of vog on the people of Hawaii and find ways to address these issues.

At 3 p.m. in Conference Room 225, Senate Energy and Environment will hear two measures that set up task forces to study how other states reduce urban noise, and hear as well Senate Bill 132, which prohibits the use of leaf blowers “for more than a specified number of minutes per day per parcel of property.”

Bills: Renewable Energy on Ag Land

Senate Bill 631 allows renewable energy production on agricultural lands, “regardless of whether or not agricultural activity is the primary activity of the renewable energy enterprise.”

SB 631 is scheduled for 3:20 p.m. in Conference Room 225 before no less than three Senate committees.

Bills: Bank of the State of Hawaii

Yep, you ready that correctly. House Bill 853 establishes the bank of the State of Hawaii.

It’s purpose would be to increase access to capitol for business and farms, provide stability for the local financial sector and reduce the state’s expenses for banking services. The bank’s board of directors would include the governor as chair.

HB 853 has a hearing scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Conference Room 308 before House Finance, whose chairs are Marcus Oshiro and Marilyn Lee — co-introducers of the bill.

Bills: Military Liaison

House Bill 277 establishes a Military Affairs Liaison Trust Fund to help the state in matters relating to the military.

The bill says, “Hawaii’s economy benefits from this presence in that the military expends approximately $5,600,000,000 annually in Hawaii and provides employment opportunities to approximately one hundred twenty-five thousand residents. Next to tourism, military expenditures are currently the largest source of revenues to Hawaii’s economy.”

HB 277 is scheduled before House Finance at 10:45 a.m. in Conference Room 308.

Bills: Audits and Nepotism

At 2:30 p.m. in Conference Room 308, House Finance will hear bills calling for an audit of the Department of Taxation and Olelo Community Television.

And Senate Bill 994, which would prohibit legislators or their employees from appointing or employing a close relative, will be heard by Senate Judiciary and Labor at 9 a.m. in Conference Room 016.


Catch up on our previous week’s coverage:

About the Author