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/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.

mrbrkly / Flickr

A close look at the more than 2,000 bills under consideration at the Hawaii State Capitol reveals that some of those proposals don’t contain any language.

Governor David Y. Ige / Flickr

Hawaii’s chief executive says, under current industry estimates, there is not enough land to cover the state’s energy needs solely using photovoltaic solar. But he sees promise in other options for the state to reach 100 percent renewable energy.

Ryan Finnerty
Ryan Finnerty

Despite a recent high-profile shooting that left two police officers dead and a series of violent robberies, some targeting elderly victims, Hawaii Gov. David Ige says he still believes Hawaii is a safe place to live.

PXHere

Although a large drop in Hawaii's price of goods and services isn’t likely even as the governor and lawmakers deem it a priority, a small decline may be enough to reverse the trend of population decline.

Courtesy of Maui County

Following a meeting with President Donald Trump, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino came out in support Friday of Trump’s plan to loosen federal environmental rules on development.

Ryan Finnerty/AP

Gov. David Ige delivered his sixth State of the State address Tuesday, laying out details about efforts worked out with legislative leaders that aim to address Hawaii's high cost of living in areas that include housing and child care.

Hawaii Department of Transportation

After years of failing to address infrastructure problems at state airports, lawmakers will once again consider making a change this session.

Ryan Finnerty / Hawaii Public Radio

Several months after Hawaii County stopped accepting plastic products at its recycling program, residents are looking for an alternative, and one not governed by international markets.

Catherine Cruz / HPR

Problems abound but no single issue appears to have yet united Hawaii lawmakers as the opening of the 2020 legislative session approaches on Wednesday.

Ryan Finnerty

Hawaii Island is in the enviable position of having a landfill with anywhere from 20 to 100 years of capacity left to take in trash. But the island still wrestles with significant issues like plastic products that are no longer being recycled.  

Travis Thurston / Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii’s chief economist told lawmakers on Tuesday that 24% of Hawaii homes were purchased by buyers from outside the state. The figure is even higher on the neighbor islands.

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim / Facebook

The 2020 state legislative session hasn’t even begun, but already a dispute is brewing over funding for the University of Hawaii.

Justin Singer / Federal Emergency Management Agency

The National Weather Service is changing the way it sends out some cell phone alerts, with the goal of better capturing users’ attention.

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

Updated: Dec. 26, 2:15 p.m.

Hawaii County is temporarily closing the Mauna Kea Access Road on Hawaii Island until Saturday as the road is cleared and made completely accessible to the public, Mayor Harry Kim announced Thursday. This follows a morning when public traffic was flowing around protestersʻ tents on the road. 

Wayne Yoshioka / Hawaii Public Radio

In a recent national poll, the YWCA asked female voters what issues are on their minds ahead of the 2020 election.

Dan Dennison/DLNR via AP

Updated: Dec. 20, 6:45 a.m.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Thursday he is withdrawing state law enforcement officers from Mauna Kea after informed that the $1.6 billion Thirty Meter Telescope won't proceed with construction at this time. Protesters who have stopped construction of the telescope say they were told to move out by Dec. 26 or face arrest.

Ryan Finnerty / HPR

The number of vacation rentals on Oahu declined more than 5 percent from the same time last year. Honolulu’s recent restrictions on short-term renting appear to be the cause.

Ryan Finnerty

Hawaii Gov. David Ige wants to spend an additional half a billion dollars over the next two years on state government operations.

Although the provision is contained in a Defense Department budget bill, the paid family leave benefit would apply to all civilian federal workers.
DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force

A provision in the annual defense appropriation bill authored by Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz would grant 2 million federal workers 12 weeks of paid family leave.

Courtesy of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative

The United States, Mexico, and Canada have finalized the details of a new free trade agreement. Hawaii stands to see modest benefits.

Ryan Finnerty

Thousands of people attended a ceremony over the weekend marking 78 years since the Pearl Harbor attack, despite two recent mass shootings at Navy bases, including the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard.

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