Ryan Finnerty

Government and Public Policy Reporter

Ryan Finnerty is Hawaiʻi Public Radio's multi 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.   

prayitno.hadinata / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

Despite recommendations to the contrary by federal health authorities, millions of Americans plan to travel for Thanksgiving, with their numbers dipping only slightly from 2019 levels.

Associated Press

Canadian citizens will soon be eligible to skip Hawaii’s travel quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test.

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources / Vimeo

The state of Hawaii has expanded its trusted traveler program to include passengers arriving from Japan, but major obstacles remain for prospective Japanese visitors.

AP Photo/Marco Garcia

Economists, healthcare professionals, and elected lawmakers have all called for Governor David Ige to set statewide standards for the wear of masks.

Nick Yee / HPR

While the Democratic Party retained dominance in state politics, the results show that opportunities still exist for conservative candidates.

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Results in Hawaii’s first-ever vote by mail election were severely delayed last night by long lines of residents casting votes -- in person.

 

Although 2020 was billed as Hawaii’s first all-mail-in election, voters always have to read the fine print.

 

While the goal was for all registered voters to cast their ballots by mail or drop box, traditional, in-person voting was still available on every island.

 

Wikipedia Commons

As youth vaping rates surged, a powerful state lawmaker repeatedly held up anti-vaping laws while accepting nearly $20,000 in campaign contributions from tobacco companies and lobbyists.

Casey Harlow / HPR

A full 25% percent of all Hawaii businesses have closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.

Kurayba / Flickr

The cost of rent has been plummeting in some large American cities since the start of the pandemic.

Sgt. Ezra Camarena / U.S. Army

Five-thousand Hawaii-based soldiers with the U.S. Army are currently in Louisiana for combat training. COVID-19 testing and quarantines are planned when they head back to the islands.

Hawaii has some the highest levels of unemployment in the country. Joblessness rose to Great Depression-levels in the spring following shutdown orders that local authorities issued in March.

In addition to the business closures and restrictions on large gatherings common across the country, Hawaii was also the first state to require out-of-state travelers to quarantine upon arrival.

Kurayba / Flickr

As the number of Hawaii residents behind on rent climbs, a much-touted state program to help out-of-work residents cover their rent appears to be failing.

Courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines

Major players in Hawaii’s air travel and lodging industries are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to the state’s new travel testing program.

Ryan Finnerty

The state’s new traveler testing program starts later this week, but the Ige Administration has still not produced a final plan.

Hawaii Public Radio

Both Keith Amemiya and Rick Blangiardi say their top priority would be guiding Hawaii’s most populous island out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have different approaches for doing so.

Casey Harlow / HPR

One week after the launch of a call center meant to address the backlog of Hawaii unemployment claims, filers are still reporting problems getting through.

Ryan Finnerty

The state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations launched a call center to address an ongoing backlog of unemployment claims, but delays are pushing some residents to the brink of financial ruin.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

The Hawaii Department of Heath’s troubled contact tracing program is reporting new issues, even after an influx of new staff.

Brocken Inaglory / Wikimedia Commons

Low interest rates, combined with changing social and professional norms, are driving demand for homes, and prices, upward.

Flickr - Bytemarks Unemployment Office

Hawaii will likely see higher unemployment rates and weak economic activity well into 2021, according to the latest forecast from University of Hawaii economists.

1st Lt. Angelo Mejia / DVIDS

The deadline to distribute $1.25 billion in coronavirus relief funds given to Hawaii by the federal government is roughly three months away, but most of that money has not yet been spent.

Wikimedia Commons

Autonomous vehicles may soon be coming to Hawaii’s streets, but will still need a human operator for now.

creazilla / https://creazilla.com/nodes/67734-venus-3d-model

In a monumental announcement Monday, scientists say they have detected a chemical compound in the atmosphere of Venus that is strongly associated with biological life.

Hawaii Public Radio

Small businesses owners on Oahu say constant disruptions from efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 are making survival increasingly untenable.

Wikimedia Commons

One of the state’s top economists predicts that the number of visitors coming to Hawaii is likely to remain well below pre-pandemic levels for at least the next year. 

Prayitno / Wikimedia Commons

The drastic reduction in visitors coming to Hawaii has afforded scientists a unique opportunity to see how one of the state’s most popular natural attractions fares without a human presence.

Travis.Thurston/Wikipedia Commons / Creative Commons License 3.0

Local governments in Hawaii have not yet faced the acute budget woes being felt at the state level. That may change if more local businesses are forced to close.

Ryan Finnerty

All Hawaii airports that receive transpacific flights are now operating thermal cameras to screen out of state arrivals for symptoms of COVID-19.

K-State Research and Extension / Flickr

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