Ryan Finnerty

Government and Public Policy Reporter

Ryan Finnerty is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's award-winning Government and Public Policy reporter focusing on state and county politics, business, economics, the military, science, and the environment. Before that he was a producer and reporter on HPR's local public affairs talk show The Conversation. His work has been featured nationwide on NPR programs Morning Edition,  All Things Considered, and Here and Now, American Public Media's Marketplace and C-SPAN Radio's View from the States project. Before coming to Hawaiʻi Public Radio, Ryan was an officer in the U.S. Army stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oʻahu. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in economics.   

Ryan Finnerty

Restaurants employ 13% of Hawaii workers. Many of those businesses face an existential threat from the coronavirus pandemic, but some are already finding success in the new reality.

Hawaii Tourism Authority

With economists predicting short-term unemployment rates as high as 25 percent, the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic will dwarf the Great Recession.

Screenshot from Maui County Council Live Stream

Civic participation is a challenge during the time of coronavirus. Some agencies are finding ways to still include the public, despite Gov. David Ige's emergency order suspending the requirement among other state laws.

Catherine Cruz/HPR

Updated: 3/31/20, 10:42 a.m.

It’s been less than a week since a statewide stay-at-home order largely shut down Hawaii’s economy in an effort to contain the coronavirus. The latest economic projections indicate restarting activity will take much longer.

Ryan Finnerty

Updated: 3/27/20, 4:50 p.m.

More than 97,000 new unemployment claims have been filed in Hawaii since March 1st. Workers in the restaurant and hotel industries have been some of the hardest hit.

Wikimedia Commons

Help is on the way says Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz. The words came as the U.S. Senate unanimously approved a $2 trillion aid package designed to save the American economy from collapse.

Ryan Finnerty

As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe, Americans returning to the U.S. were entering the country without any health screening.

NeedPix

Manufacturers say their supply chains haven’t been interrupted. Shippers say cargo volume is normal. So why are many Hawaii stores out of toilet paper?

Wikipedia

The first meeting of a state House advisory committee looking at a possible downturn in the Hawaii economy in the wake of the coronavirus heard what many suspected: the impact is here and it's worse than projected.

“The uncertainty is just enormous as to how long the spread continues,” said Carl Bonham, executive director of the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization.

Ryan Finnerty

Tax revenue coming into Hawaii state coffers is now expected to be $48 million to $80 million less than previous estimates for the rest of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Anthony Quintano / Civil Beat

Voters on Oahu will elect a new mayor in 2020. HPR will be sitting down with mayoral hopefuls to discuss their top concerns and why they want the job.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Both chambers of the state Legislature have passed some form of a prohibition on the governor and county mayors earning income from employment other than their elected office.

Simon_sees / Flickr

The idea of a carbon tax has broad support from economists and a version was already approved by the state Senate. If agreed to by the House and Gov. David Ige, it would become the first measure of its kind in the U.S.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

How long it takes to get the coronavirus to run its course will make the difference between a short-term hiccup and serious economic woes, says a University of Hawaii economist.

boaski / Flickr

There are still no reported cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Hawaii. But a spate of canceled events and falling visitor numbers from abroad indicate the virus is creating economic headwinds. 

Honolulu Rapid Transit Facebook Page / HART

The Honolulu transit fare review body wants to raise the price of a bus ride by 25 cents to $3, but provide free transfers between the rail and bus.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

The City and County of Honolulu signed an agreement with Hitachi worth $918 million over 13 years to operate the long-delayed rail transit system.

Japan Olympics and Global Economy; Electric Vehicle Bills; Hawaii Keeps Fluoride Out Of Drinking Water; Taxes - And Who's Paying Them; Sex Trafficking And Homelessness

Flickr Commons / Joe Parks
Flickr Commons / Joe Parks

The latest data from the Hawaii Tourism Authority shows the number of short-term vacation rentals on Oahu continued to decline, while Maui and Kauai saw substantial increases.

Delta News Hub / Flickr

Roughly 99 million Americans still do not have identification in compliance with a federal law set to take effect in October. More than half of Hawaii licenses and IDs are compliant, but for those on Oahu who haven't gotten the approved identifications, the wait for an appointment now stretches to about six weeks.

Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM/CDC

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz says the federal response to the coronavirus outbreak has fallen far short and he is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Japan embassy to see if that country can provide coronavirus test kits to Hawaii. 

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

Updated: 2/23/20, 7:10 a.m.

Dillingham Airfield on Oahu’s North Shore has been closed following a plane crash that killed two people Saturday morning. The fatal crash has rekindled debate over the airfield's future.

Grid Engine / Flickr

More than two dozen bills at the Hawaii Legislature aim to increase the use of electric vehicles, but auto dealers and green energy proponents are supporting different approaches.

Senator Brian Schatz / Facebook

A panel of national security experts told U.S. senators that climate change is already threatening national security and we ignore it at our own peril.

Ronen Zilberman / Civil Beat

The state’s Democratic Party is rolling out a new system for collecting members’ votes. The Republican Party cancelled its primary and awarded its delegates to President Donald Trump.

Courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency

Updated: 2/12/20, 7:57 a.m.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official who oversaw Hawaii and portions of the Western states was abruptly forced to resign last week – and is publically questioning why he was terminated. This comes as an ex-attorney for the nation's largest utility was named his replacement. 

Wikimedia Commons

A new federal law chips away at a 70-year old judicial ruling that prevents members of the U.S. military from seeking financial compensation for injuries received on the job.

Daniel Ramirez / Flickr

A proposal before the Honolulu City Council aims to reduce the long-term carbon footprint of Oahu’s buildings, but it has run into opposition from the island’s gas utility and construction industry.

Citing the recent killing of two Honolulu police officers, a group of lawmakers wants to further restrict access to firearms and expand the power to require mental health treatment.

ATTRIBUTION AT BOTTOM OF POST

Hawaii legislators on the House Agriculture Committee will consider several bills this week that would allow the commercial production of hemp and legalize the sale of hemp-derived products.

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