The Legislature is pau, but the talk is of a special session to take care of unfinished business.
1:52 p.m. Akaka Back on Capitol Hill
Returning to work after breaking two ribs last week, Dan Akaka co-hosted a conference in Washington addressing significance of legal empowerment for indigenous peoples.
“As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee, I intend to do everything possible to better the relationship between the Federal and Native governments and address the concerns of all our nation’s indigenous communities — including the Native Hawaiians and our cousins the Alaska Natives,” the senator said in a press release.
Akaka was also honored in a “naming ceremony” held by the Alaska Federation of Natives:
Akaka was given names in three different Alaska Native cultures — “Jín da aadí” meaning “Helper” in Tlingit, “Akumleq” meaning “Chair” in Yupik, and “Ilaagudax” meaning “Helper” in Unangam Tunuu, the Aleut Language.
10:46 a.m. Legislative Stats
The state House majority communications office (@hihousedems and @georgettedeemer) has tweeted out useful statistics from the Legislative Reference Bureau on the just-completed session.
A total of 3,224 bills were introduced but only 252 passed. Of those that passed, as of Friday, 49 have been signed into law and two have been vetoed.
• a bill that would have granted “explicit authority” to the state auditor to inspect the financial affairs of the Department of Taxation and to implement policies to protect confidentiality of tax returns;
• a bill that would extend the period in which an owner of a new car is exempted from obtaining a certificate of inspection from two years to three years from the date of purchase.
Of the 918 resolutions introduced, 187 passed.
The LRB reminds us that June 27 is the day the governor must give 10 days’ notice of plans to return a bill to the Legislature with objections.
July 12 is the deadline for the governor to sign, veto or let a bill become law without his signature.
Tweets from Ed and Mufi
Declared U.S. Senate candidate Ed Case (@EdCaseHawaii) over the weekend tweeted, “Mabuhay signwaving at Filipino Fiesta in Waikiki, http://ow.ly/4Puuq.”
Undeclared U.S. Senate candidate Mufi Hannemann (@MufiHannemann) over the weekend tweeted, “Just wrapped up our Molokai Charity Walk. Lots of fun! Props to MHLA and Chamber of Commerce foundation for their kokua on this great event.”
Inouye on Palestinian Unity
Dan Inouye is among 29 U.S. senators who signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to cut off aid to the Palestinian government if it joins with Hamas.
“The decision of Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to form a unity government with Hamas — a designated terrorist group — threatens to derail the Middle East peace effort for the foreseeable future and to undermine the Palestinian Authority’s relationship with the United States,” begins the letter, which was spearheaded by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Robert Casey (D-PA).
The Garden Islandreports that Kauai‘s Bernard Carvalho Jr. has released a supplemental budget for FY 2012, adding a $26.26 million reserve fund to the original March 15 budget submission:
“Establishing the reserve fund and policy is important from many standpoints,” Carvalho said, adding that the reserve fund will provide a buffer for natural and man-made disasters, create a basis for higher credit ratings and insure financial stability.
The original March 15 budget submittal proposed an operating budget of $164.98 million.
The Hawaii Tribune-Heraldreports that, “Within a day of its release, Mayor Billy Kenoi‘s $367.3 million county budget request was generating criticism from County Council members threatening significant shifts in his spending package:
“I still have some major, major concerns about the way the budget is being presented,” council Chairman Dominic Yagong of Hamakua said Friday.
Specifically, Yagong objects to the way Kenoi balanced the budget, which involves deferring a $20.1 million prepayment for providing health insurance to the county’s future retirees.
And The Maui Newsreports that the County Council has reached a budget deal that would cut Alan Arakawa‘s spending request for 2012 by almost 11 percent:
The budget includes almost $468 million for county operations and $102.8 million in capital improvement projects.
It also includes a property tax rate increase for a number of categories, although the county would collect around $12 million less in property taxes overall, due to declining real estate values.
• Veterans Affairs officials are independently evaluating radiation levels at their Hilo outpatient clinic, following the report that workers there were exposed to small doses of radiation over the last six years.
• The new director of Hoku Kea, the University of Hawaii at Hilo’s 36-inch telescope on Mauna Kea, is examining why the $1.2 million scope isn’t yet operational.
• Clift Tsuji says a tax on the net weight of imported freight will increase 50 percent, but the money will be used to hire 15 of 22 agriculture inspectors as a defense against invasive species at harbors and airports.