Watching and reporting about Hawaii from Washington Place to Washington, D.C.

5:05 p.m. 14 More Bills Signed Into Law

It’s been a busy week for the governor’s pen, given that he has a Tuesday deadline to sign, veto or let bills become law without his John Hancock.

In addition to the on-bill financing bill noted below, the governor has signed 14 other bills this week, raising the total for new laws enacted so far to 210.

The measures include a bill that prohibits employers from discriminating against victims of domestic or sexual violence “in certain employment-related situations” if the victim notifies the employer of such status or the employer has actual knowledge.

3:45 p.m. How U.S. House Reps Voted

Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono voted today with the majority in a 407-6 vote that reaffirms the United States commitment “to a negotiated settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.” (Note: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul were among the six who voted no.)

Hanabusa voted also “aye” and Hirono voted “no” in a 336-87 vote appropriating Department of Defense funds for fiscal year 2012.

Yesterday, Hanabusa voted “aye” and Hirono voted “no” on an amendment to the spending bill from Kucinich that would have prevented financing any military action in Libya. The vote failed 229-199.

Hanabusa also voted “aye” and Hirono “no” on another amendment that would prevent the Pentagon from giving military equipment and training to Libyan rebels. It passed 225-201.

1:50 p.m. Gov signs HB 1520 on-bill financing

In a surprise move, Neil Abercrombie has signed House Bill 1520 into law, though he had indicated just last month that he might veto the measure.

The bill, the darling of the Blue Planet Foundation, directs the PUC to investigate an “on-bill financing program” for electric customers to help pay for energy efficient or renewable-energy devices and systems.

Addressing clean-energy advocates at a forum today, Abercrombie said he decided to sign HB 1520 because, while there are “pro and con arguments” about how on-bill financing would work, the bill is a first step toward energy independence.

Blue Planet has agreed to help fund implementation of the bill, which Abercrombie had described as “an unfunded mandate” that was difficult for the state to pay for in tight budgetary times.

11:33 a.m. Spam Glitch at Governor’s Office

A Civil Beat subscriber received over 1,000 spams from gov.contact@hawaii.gov last weekend. The spams read:

Mahalo for your email. I value your opinion and appreciate you taking the time to contact me. Please know that I received thousands of e-mails a
week. My staff and I are trying to address these many emails efficiently and in a timely matter. Some issues require research and/or making contact with another government agency, and may delay us providing a response. I ask for your patience as we move forward. If your concerns require immediate attention, please call our office at 586-0034.

With warm aloha,

Governor Abercrombie

“Neil is spamming me!” the reader emailed us. “To make matters worse, there is an error in the 3rd sentence of his automatic response. ‘Please note that I receive (d) … ‘”

Spokeswoman Donalyn Dela Cruz promptly emailed a response to Civil Beat’s inquiry about the spam attack:

We inquired with the Tech folks, aka Office of Automation Section, Technology Support Services Branch (ICSD); and since receiving your question, they’ve been monitoring gov.contact.

What they noticed were situations where “out-of-office” responses and auto-responses have caused spamming situations. They are troubleshooting this situation.

Happy Clean Energy Day

It’s the third annual, actually.

The governor, Mina Morita, Richard Lim, Dwight Takamine and a whole bunch of other folks will participate in a forum this afternoon themed “Investing in Hawaii’s clean energy future: people and money.”

The sponsors are Hawaii Energy Policy Forum, Workforce Development Council, DBEDT, HECO, Blue Planet Foundation and ThinkTech Hawaii. It’s from 1-6 p.m. at the Lanaikea YWCA on Richards Street.

Utah Lawmakers Party in Hawaii

Read the story about outrage over some Utah legislators using tax money to attend an upcoming conference in Hawaii.

“While some may still back out, and others may eventually not use public funds, the fact that any taxpayer money may be used for the trip is causing some real aloha anger,” according to the report.

Inouye Still Defends Defense

Dan Inouye continues to resist calls for cuts to defense spending to reduce deficit spending and the national debt.

Here’s an excerpt from one story:

(Inouye) defended the massive growth in defense spending over the past 10 years — 47 percent in real dollars while domestic spending has remained essentially flat — as the result of growing threats to national security.

“We need an honest debate on how much is needed to preserve our security but let me say this — we can only substantially cut these programs at our nation’s peril,” he wrote.

Inouye liked the story so much he tweeted it (@Daniel_Inouye).

DOMA Repeal Hearings in Senate

The U.S. Senate is expected to begin holding hearings soon on the proposed repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA, as it’s called, bans the federal government from recognizing legal same-​sex marriages and allows states the right to chose to not recognize them either.

Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka are co-sponsors of the repeal bill, titled “The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families.”

Neighbor Isle Gov’t News

Big Isle plastic bag ban stymied again

Attempt to improve Big Isle Council manners thwarted

Huge mystery orb spotted over Mauna Kea

Hanalei deals with proposed river boating rules

Lahaina Halloween rules hit a snag

Molokai commission to vote on short-term rentals

Where’s Neil?

Here’s Neil:

Friday

• Remarks, 3rd Annual Clean Energy Day, Laniakea YWCA, 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Saturday

Kukui Gardens Resident Appreciation Event, Liliha Street, 11 a.m
10th Annual Hawai’i Korean Festival, Kapiolani Park Bandstand, 2 p.m.
Japanese Chamber of Commerce 7th Annual Generational Awards Banquet, Sheraton Waikiki, 6 p.m.  


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