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

3:58 p.m. The Ag Inspectors Are Back!

The administration issued a press release today saying it has approved the hiring back of 10 agricultural inspectors.

Some of the positions had been eliminated in 2009 due to budget cuts, and it was a New Day priority of the governor’s to restore the jobs.

Watch out, coqui frogs! Same for you, miconia!

12:54 p.m. ‘All Clear’ for State Building

KITV reports that the building that houses the state’s tax and labor offices on Punchbowl Street has been given the “all clear” after a lockdown this morning.

Why? “A state employee was believed to have seen a man possibly with a weapon.”

10:35 a.m. Dans Vote for Veterans

By an 89-11 vote, the U.S. Senate today agreed to open debate regarding a spending bill that will help support Veterans Affairs.

The Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies appropriations bill “increases funding for the VA by 5.8 percent and cuts military construction spending by $2.6 billion to reflect anticipated base closures and realignments,” according to a report.

Dan Inouye and Dan Akaka, both WWII vets, voted with the majority.

10:30 a.m. House Reps Oppose EPA Vote

Colleen Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono were among the minority in a 250-171 vote today in the U.S. House that limits EPA authority over states.

UPDATE The vote, which was on a rule change, was heavily along party lines. A later vote to pass the bill was 239-184, and Hawaii’s reps were in the minority again.

The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, according to a report, “would give states more flexibility to set their own clean water rules, even when they are not consistent with mandates” from the EPA.

The Hill reports that Hanabusa did manage to attach an amendment to the bill that includes “language requiring the EPA to submit to Congress a report on any increase in pathogenic microorganisms in waters regulated by a state under the bill. Republicans said they would accept the amendment if it were altered to require EPA to also report on any reduction in these microorganisms.”

9:40 a.m. Neighbor Isle Gov’t News

Kauai officials grapple over energy-saving audit

Big Isle police, fire facilities to be powered by sun

Filings by Maui fraud suspects criticized

‘Giant lights’ spotted off coast of Anahola

Big Isle bus fares may rise 20 percent

Briefing: Maoli People

The House Hawaiian Affairs Committee has scheduled a briefing this afternoon to hear from state agencies on responsibilities related to Native Hawaiians.

Those invited to participate include OHA, Hawaiian Home Lands, UH, DLNR and the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Meeting: Oahu Reapportionment

The Apportionment Advisory Council for Oahu is scheduled to meet this morning at the Capitol.

The agenda includes discussion and possibly action on the redrawing of state House and Senate district boundaries.


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