Welcome to Capitol Watch. There’s a month to go at the Hawaii Legislature and the budget crunch is taking center stage. Civil Beat is all over the story.

4:50 p.m. Acoba Named Kauai Judge

Mark Recktenwald has appointed Edmund D. Acoba as district court judge for the Fifth Circuit on Kauai.

Acoba fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Calvin Murashige.

Acoba is currently the supervising attorney of the Office of the Public Defender on Kauai.

Acoba’s appointment, Recktenwald’s first full-time pick as chief justice, is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.

3:33 p.m. Kawakami to be Sworn in Tomorrow

Derek Kawakami will be sworn in tomorrow at noon by CJ Mark Recktenwald in House chambers.

Kawakami was named by the governor to fill the Kauai seat vacated by Mina Morita.

The state House will then be back to full membership.

3:20 p.m. DHHL Chair Testifies in D.C.

Alapaki Nahale-a shared with the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation his views on helping Native Hawaiians close the “digital divide.”

Nahale-a, according to a press release from Hawaiian Home Lands, said that Hawaiians have historically had less access to telecommunications services as compared with other segments of the U.S. population.

“We believe that the deployment of broadband into Hawaiian Home Lands and our rural Native Hawaiian communities accelerates our ability to address the social, health, education, and economic challenges we face,” Nahale-a told senators.

Dan Inouye presided over the Senate hearing.

2:33 p.m. UPDATE: Senate Cuts $650M From Gov’s Budget

Read all about it here.

1:14 p.m. Inouye, Obama Try to Settle Budget With GOP

Dan Inouye took part today in the White House meeting on the budget impasse. But no agreement was reached.

The meeting with Barack Obama and Joe Biden included lawmakers John Boehner, Harry Reid and Harold Rogers.

ABC News reports:

When asked who would be to blame if there’s a shutdown, the president said, “I don’t think the American people are interested in blaming somebody. They want people to fix problems and offer solutions. They’re not interested in finger pointing and neither am I.”

And yet throughout his remarks the president made it clear that in his view Republicans were putting politics and ideology above what was best for the nation.

10:05 a.m. Judiciary Approves Louie Appointment

Senate Judiciary and Labor voted 3-0 to recommend David Louie be confirmed by the state Senate. The appointment now goes to the full Senate for a final vote, which will likely be in the affirmative.

Louie was questioned for about an hour primarily by Clayton Hee.

Hee wanted to know more about Louie’s positions on Native Hawaiian issues like ceded-land revenue, taxing state pensions, his role as former board member of the Aloha Tower Development Corporation and his view on whether white males could be considered a class in cases involving discrimination.

Hee seemed satisfied with Louie’s answers, and the senator never raised the issue of complaints against the attorney general nomination that he had spoke of in a hearing last week.

The audience in the committee room erupted in applause after the vote to advise and consent.

Decision Making: Judiciary on AG Louie

Senate Judiciary and Labor is scheduled to vote on the nomination of Attorney General David Louie.

Testimony on the nomination was overwhelmingly in favor of Louie, but Chair Clayton Hee said the committee was examining some complaints against Louie. Hee did not explain the nature of the complaints but said Louie would have the chance to respond to them.

Louie is the last of Neil Abercrombie‘s 16 Cabinet nominees to await Senate confirmation.

Speaking of the AG: Check out this YouTube clip where Louie teamed up with Ask, Listen, Learn and 22 other attorneys general to create a PSA to encourage kids to say “yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “no” to underage drinking. The PSA’s are set to run this month.

Decision Making: WAM on State Budget

Senate Ways and Means is scheduled to vote on House Bill 200, the state’s budget for the next two fiscal years.

HB 200 will end up soon in conference committee, where WAM, House Finance and Kalbert Young will hash out the final details on how to balance the budget in the face of a $1.3 billion deficit.

Decision Making: Local ‘Akaka Bill’

House Finance is scheduled to decide the fate of two bills — Senate Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1520 — that essential begin a process at the state level that could lead to recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

The measures have support from several Hawaiian organizations, including OHA.

If passed into law, the measures would be made moot should the U.S. Congress pass the federal Akaka bill — which has a steep hill to climb.

Resolution: Preseason NFL in Honolulu

House Tourism is scheduled to hear a resolution urging the National Football League to hold a preseason game in Honolulu.

Why?

WHEREAS, the State and the National Football League have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship for more than thirty years; and

WHEREAS, Hawaii has served as the host of the highly successful NFL All-Star game, known as the Pro Bowl, thirty-one times and possesses the necessary infrastructure, resources, and ancillary personnel to ensure that any National Football League game would be conducted in a safe and efficient manner; and

And:

WHEREAS, holding a National Football League preseason game in Hawaii would provide significant marketing and public relations benefits to the State and the National Football League.

Post-Tsunami Update in Kailua

Lawmakers representing the Kaneohe, Kailua and Waimanalo areas will hold a meeting “to gain community input regarding tsunami evacuation plans” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Kailua Intermediate School’s Cafeteria.

Operation of warning sirens, location of evacuation shelters and coordination of emergency services will be among the topics discussed, and experts and officials invited to provide answers include Ed Teixeira, Charles McCreery and Melvin Kaku.

Lawmakers expected to attend are Pohai Ryan, Jill Tokuda, Chris Lee, Cynthia Thielen, Ken Ito and Ikaika Anderson.


Catch up on previous coverage:

About the Author