Senior Reporter

Kevin Dayton

A Cautious Legislature, Locked In The Capitol, Played It Safe Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

A Cautious Legislature, Locked In The Capitol, Played It Safe

Critics hoped the pandemic would be the catalyst for significant changes to address long-term problems facing Hawaii. But the budget shortfall dominated the 2021 session.

Lawmakers Credit Federal Relief Funds For Saving Session Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Lawmakers Credit Federal Relief Funds For Saving Session

But Gov. David Ige questions the need to reduce funding for the Hawaii Tourism Authority and moving around some state agencies.

House Creates Panel To Probe Land Fund, Agriculture Agency Cory Lum/Civil Beat

House Creates Panel To Probe Land Fund, Agriculture Agency

A resolution to create the special investigative committee cites audits of the DLNR’s land and development fund, and the Agribusiness Development Corp.

New County Hotel Tax Is Approved In Final Vote Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

New County Hotel Tax Is Approved In Final Vote

The Hawaii Legislature also approved a hefty rental car surcharge increase to squeeze more money out of tourists. The visitor industry is not pleased.

Senate Democratic Majority Leader J. Kalani English To Retire Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Senate Democratic Majority Leader J. Kalani English To Retire

UPDATED: The longtime lawmaker cites lingering effects of his COVID-19 infection late last year. He also wants Molokai Rep. Lynn DeCoite to succeed him.

Hawaii Legislature Agrees To Defer Pay Raises Ahead Of Final Votes Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii Legislature Agrees To Defer Pay Raises Ahead Of Final Votes

Some of Hawaii’s public workers unions also tentatively agreed to forgo raises this year as lawmakers, Gov. David Ige’s cabinet and state judges do the same.

New Taxes, Tourism Funding Cuts Among Bills Pushed Through As Legislature Winds Down Cory Lum/Civil Beat

New Taxes, Tourism Funding Cuts Among Bills Pushed Through As Legislature Winds Down

Lawmakers agreed on a number of measures Thursday that need full House and Senate approval and then Gov. David Ige’s signature.

House Speaker Expects Pay Raises For Lawmakers Will Be Deferred Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

House Speaker Expects Pay Raises For Lawmakers Will Be Deferred

But the House and Senate haven’t yet reached a formal agreement to delay raises for judges, cabinet members and the Legislature.

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki’s High-Profile Agenda Is Raising Questions Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hawaii House Speaker Scott Saiki’s High-Profile Agenda Is Raising Questions

Saiki has empowered the House to be a much-needed political player this year. But concerns about his methods and his ultimate goal are growing.