Ryan Finnerty

Reporter/Producer

Ryan Finnerty is a producer on Hawaiʻi Public Radio's local public affairs talk show The Conversation where he reports on local and state politics, business, economics, the military, science, and the environment. His work has been featured nationwide on 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.   

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The San Francisco based company Landed was created to help teachers working in high-cost areas achieve homeownership. The company has been meeting with teachers across Hawaii this week ahead of its planned expansion into the state.

Department of Defense Stock Photo

The Hawaii state legislature adjourned this year without taking much action to reduce teen vaping, but members of the U.S. Congress are now pursuing tobacco legislation at the federal level.

University of Hawaii ROTC / Facebook

Seniors at the University of Hawaii are preparing for graduation this weekend. On Friday, a small group of those students will also be commissioned as officers in the US military. But before they do, Army ROTC cadets at UH had to go through intensive training modeled on a battle in which a former University of Hawaii cadet was killed in action.

Ryan Finnerty
Ryan Finnerty

After months of debate, the Honolulu City Council was poised yesterday to approve new rules that would have restricted short-term rentals on Oahu. But after more than eight hours of public comment and deliberation, councilmembers sent two proposals back to committee for revisions.

Ryan Finnerty

Updated: May 8, 2:13 p.m.

 

A leadership shakeup today at the Honolulu City Council landed Ikaika Anderson the chairmanship of the council while Tommy Waters was sworn in to represent East Honolulu following a court challenge and months of delays. The changes came as the council also took up the contentious issue of short-term vacation rentals.

 

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Legal scholars and climate activists are gathering at the Hawaii State Capitol on Friday to outline a new strategy for combating climate change. Cities and states around the country are suing major oil producers over the financial cost of climate-related disasters.

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Update, April 30, 2:05 p.m.: The State Senate revoted on and passed SB 1292 imposing short term rental taxes by a margin of 13-12. The bill, already approved by the House of Representatives, now goes to Gov. David Ige for signature or veto.

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The National Immigration Law Center in Los Angeles is prepared for a multi-year battle in the courts and U.S. Congress to oppose Trump Administration policies that aim to restrict both legal and illegal immigration. 

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Hawaii’s coffee farmers have failed again to gain additional protections for their crop. It is a recurring issue during each year’s legislative session, which has consistently failed to gain traction.

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A legislative proposal to build affordable apartment housing on state-owned land has come back from the dead. The bill appeared to have failed back in March, but was resurrected in the closing days of the legislative session.

Ryan Finnerty

Honolulu’s Ala Wai canal is one of the most polluted waterways in the country. It’s so contaminated that in 2006, a local resident died from bacterial infection after falling into the Ala Wai boat harbor. But one local group thinks they can make the canal safe for swimming and fishing in just 7 years, without spending millions of dollars.

Robert Linsdell / Wikimedia Commons

On May 1st, a stretch of Kuhio Highway on Kauai’s North Shore will reopen to the general public for the first time in more than a year. State and County officials are rolling out a new permit system that aims to limit the human impact on one of Hawaii’s most popular attractions: the Na Pali Coast.

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Local lawmakers are making another attempt to regulate short-term rentals. On Wednesday, the Honolulu City Council held a public hearing on the latest proposals to rein in Oahu’s vacation accommodations, like those rented on Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO.

Federal Voting Assistance Program

Problems counting mail-in ballots and an extremely small margin created chaos in the 2018 Honolulu City Council election between Tommy Waters and Trevor Ozawa. Several bills at the legislature aim to correct those problems.

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State lawmakers are scheduled to wrap up their 2019 session in less than three weeks. Friday marked a critical deadline for any bills that are still alive, a process called Second Crossover. 

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From the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers, to short term rentals and the tourism industry, a new book chronicles the history of human society in the Hawaiian Islands. Hawaii: Eight Hundred Years of Political and Economic Change is the work of University of Hawaii economist Sumner La Croix.

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President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order requiring colleges and universities that receive federal funding to guarantee protections for free speech on campus. But according to one expert, there is a long history of free speech being constraining and pushed to the limits on campuses in the U.S.

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Hawaii lawmakers are on the path to eliminating a decades’ old exemption on corporate taxes for a certain class of real estate company. Real Estate Investment Trusts, or REITs, were created in Congress in 1960 and their profits are exempt from taxes by the federal government and 49 states.

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REITs Tax ExemptionBishop Museum, Flies & Biological Survey; Mayor Kirk Caldwell

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In December, President Trump signed the First Step Act into law. The bipartisan legislation was the first major reform to the federal criminal justice system in 30 years. The new law aims to reduce recidivism and lessen some mandatory minimum sentences. Last week the President announced a follow up effort: the Second Step Act.

Capt. Andrew Hoskinson / U.S. Air Force

State lawmakers are looking for ways to improve healthcare for Micronesian residents, many of whom seek care at Hawaiʻi emergency rooms which often results in the state paying for their treatment.

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Raising Taxes on REITs; Arting and Writing; Oral History Project Waikiki Segment

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Honolulu is the third most expensive housing market in the country. That is according to a February analysis from the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization. But Hawaii has always been an expensive place to live, according to one of the state's top economists. 

Ryan Finnerty

Repair work continues on Oʻahu’s Pali Highway where landslides in February blocked the tunnels that connect Honolulu with the Windward side.

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Kunia Solar Farm; Monster Homes Bill; Molokai Renewable Energy; Remembering Linda Kaiser

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Eighty percent of Singapore’s 5.6 million residents live in public housing. A 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom apartment can be purchased on the resale market for around $250,000 U.S. dollars. The island nation’s success in making housing affordable has caught the attention of lawmakers in Hawaiʻi.

N Gruber, ETH Zurich

Humans are pumping a lot of carbon into our environment. Since most of those emissions come in the form of exhaust from power plants, ships, and cars, you might think that carbon stays in atmosphere. But much of it is actually stored in the oceans.

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Both Chamiande University and Hawaii Pacific University have plans to take over the doctoral psychology program from the now defunct Argosy University Hawaii. But uncertainty over accreditation has left students feeling vulnerable.

Hawaii Public Health Institute / Kick Butts Day

Eighty students from six different islands rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday to protest the high rates of teen vaping seen in Hawaiʻi's schools. According to the Hawaiʻi Public Health  Insititute, one in four Hawaiʻi middle school students has tried an e-cigarette device.

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Members of the Honolulu City Council’s Planning Committee advanced two measures that would represent a sweeping change to the way short-term rentals are regulated on Oahu. The move comes in the wake of a court decision upholding similar regulation in Santa Monica, California.  

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