Political news

Governor Signs Earned Income Tax Credit Bill Into Law

Jul 10, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

A new law to provide relief to low income workers in Hawai’i was signed today.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.   

Governor David Ige signed House Bill 209 into law, establishing a state earned income tax credit.

“The intent of this legislation is to help Hawai’i’s low and moderate income families keep more of what they earn.  It’s currently estimated that the lowest income households pay 13 percent of their income to state and local taxes, while those in the top income brackets pay less than 8 percent.”

Wayne Yoshioka

The City and County of Honolulu is reviving a plan to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over the Ala Wai Canal.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Wayne Yoshioka

A plan to build affordable housing near major transportation hubs on all islands is being developed by the state.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Hawai'i GOP Divided But Eyes 2018

Jul 3, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The 2018 Primary Election is a little more than a year away.  Hawai’i Republicans are trying to organize for that election and win.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka attended a GOP meeting Saturday and filed this report.

Developers Push Back on Mayor's Affordable Housing Plan

Jun 29, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The Honolulu City Council is advancing bills with affordable housing mandates for developers.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka attended the hearing and filed this report.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell would like to require developers to build more affordable housing units and keep them affordable for 30 years.  He told members of the Honolulu City Council Zoning and Housing Committee that he wants affordable housing for lower wage earners.

“Where we’re focusing here is 120 percent Area Median Income (AMI) if it’s for sale; rental it’s 80 percent .  But you think, 80 percent AMI level for an

Wayne Yoshioka

AARP Hawai’i is conducting Caregiver Workshops throughout the state this summer.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka visited one of the sessions and filed this report.

Papahanaumokuakea National Monument archives

More than two dozen National Monuments are being reviewed by the U.S. Departments of the Interior and Commerce, including the largest U.S monument encompassing the Northern Hawaiian Islands.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

Governor Has Signed 48 Bills Into Law

Jun 22, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The Governor is busy reviewing 230 bills passed by the Legislature this past session.   So far, he’s signed 48 into law including one that will help inmates.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

In 2015, an estimated 300 inmates completed their sentences and were released into the community.   Many did not have the basic documentation required for re-entry into society.  Governor David Ige signed House Bill 845 into law to correct that.

Wayne Yoshioka

Legislation to ban certain sunscreen chemicals in Hawai’i stalled in the final days of the 2017 session.  But, state lawmakers are already starting their push to pass the bills next year.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

The chemical, oxybenzone, is an active ingredient in many sunscreen products.  Evidence provided by PhD environmental researcher, Craig Downs, links oxybenzone to the killing of baby coral and eventually entire reef systems in populated areas worldwide.

Help For Those Who Are Elderly and Poor

Jun 20, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

One in 6 residents in Hawai’i relies on Social Security benefits.  But as HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, many of the elderly recipients live on the borderline of poverty and homelessness and need public assistance.    

“I live on less than 10-thousand a year.”

Barbara Armentrout receives 775 dollars a month in social security disability benefits.

“And it’s hard.  People don’t realize you’re one accident away from being on work comp, not having enough credits and getting on something for the rest of your life.  And then you have to live like that and it’s hard.”

Wayne Yoshioka

State lawmakers on a joint Legislative Housing Committee were briefed on a plan to build 2,500 public housing units in Honolulu. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

DLNR Smart Phone App: Help Conservation Enforcement

Jun 14, 2017

Citizens armed with smart phones are being enlisted to help State Conservation Officers enforce rules on all islands.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka explains.    

State Pesticide Rules Advancing to Board of Agriculture

Jun 13, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The State is in the process of updating its Pesticide Rules for the first time since 2006.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.

TOD Legislation: Confusion at the City Council

May 25, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

Honolulu City and County lawmakers are struggling to enact development rules around future rail transit stations. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Wayne Yoshioka

The Hurricane Season Forecast for the state was announced today.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka was there and files this report.   

Wayne Yoshioka

The Honolulu City Council is urging the formation of a Task Force to clear illegal homeless camps.  HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Vet Aid '17: Homeless Veterans Update

May 22, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The latest homeless point-in-time count indicates an increase among veterans on Oʻahu. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka talked to veterans and homeless assistance providers for this update. 

Hawai'i Community Foundation: Leadership Change

May 18, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The Hawai’i Community Foundation is the top nonprofit contributor in the state and is undergoing a transition to new leadership over the next two months. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Wayne Yoshioka

The state conducted another public hearing for its proposed rule changes for workforce and reserved housing in Kaka’ako. But, as HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, developers and community groups disagree on the way forward.

Governor Ige: Other Issues We Face

May 16, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The state’s chief executive addressed Rotary Club of Honolulu members today during their weekly meeting in Waikiki. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka was there and filed this report.

State Seeks Public Input on Industrial Hemp Rules

May 15, 2017

The state launched a public hearing schedule today to determine the feasibility of growing industrial hemp in Hawai’i. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports. 

Wayne Yoshioka

The State and Counties are trying to meet a projected demand for 65-thousand housing units by 2030.  That estimate from the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.   But as HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, one millennial couple is not waiting for the government and is choosing to buy now.

Loren Bullard and fiancé Colin Hosking are Millennials in their early 30’s.   They took classes at the Hawai’i HomeOwnership Center, and a year-and-a-half later, they cashed in their savings for a 32-thousand dollar down payment on a condominium.

Government's Affordable Housing Model Doesn't Work

May 12, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The Governor, the Legislature and the Counties all have plans to build more affordable housing. But as HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, their developer-based financial model appears to be flawed.

Millennials in Hawai'i Are Purchasing First Homes

May 9, 2017

There will be an estimated demand for 65,000 housing units by 2025 in Hawai’i.   That, according to the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka takes a look at affordable housing through the eyes of a young couple who are taking charge of their lives.

Residents Rally to Voice Displeasure at State Capitol

May 8, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

This year’s legislative session ended last Thursday without providing future funding for Honolulu’s rail transit project.  But there were other issues important to community groups.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.    

(Chant:  “We voted you in, we can vote you out!”) 

Legislature Adjourns Without a Rail Funding Solution

May 5, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

State lawmakers adjourned today ending a contentious session with no solution on how to fund Honolulu’s rail transit project.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.    

Senate President Ron Kouchi told the 25-member body that their   proposed bill to extend the half-a-percentage General Excise Tax surcharge to fund Honolulu’s Rail Transit Project was rejected by the House of Representatives.

James Gonser, House Communications Office

There are 5 new Democrats in the State House of Representatives serving their first term. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka caught up with them and filed this report.    

House and Senate Disagree on Honolulu Rail Funding

May 2, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

The State Senate and House today each advanced separate measures to fund Honolulu’s Rail Transit System.   As HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports, lawmakers must agree on one measure before adjournment Thursday or leave the project with no funding source.

Wayne Yoshioka

Hundreds of O’ahu high school students are spending the day being exposed to career opportunities in the state’s top industries:  hospitality and tourism.  The program is sponsored by the Hawai’i Tourism Authority in partnership with Climb High-Hawai’i.  Julie Morikawa is president and CEO of Climb-High.        

Schatz and Gabbard: Views on Syria

Apr 17, 2017
Wayne Yoshioka

Two members of Hawai’i’s Congressional Delegation returned home for the April Recess to meet with constituents.   HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.