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For Saturday, July 16, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

LAST UPDATED: 7:50 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Hirono resigns ethics post

U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono is stepping down from the House Ethics Committee.

The congresswoman told House Speaker John Boehner of her resignation in a letter Thursday. Ethics Committee Chairman Rep. Jo Bonner and Rep. Linda Sanchez, the ranking member of the committee, have been informed of her intentions.

In May, Hirono announced her candidacy to succeed U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, who is retiring at the end of his term.

She's competing for the seat against former U.S. Rep. Ed Case in the Democratic primary. Hirono narrowly defeated Case in the Democratic primary for the 2002 governor's race, but she later lost to Republican Linda Lingle.

Law to help fix state facilities

Hawaii government buildings may be sold to private investors and leased back to the state under a law signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie this week.

The measure is intended to make it easier to repair, renovate and maintain state facilities by putting the private sector in charge of improvements.

Bill introducer Rep. Sharon Har says these types of public-private partnerships work in other states and will help the state upgrade its ailing infrastructure.

The legislation allows the state to create a list of suitable facilities and enter into agreements with private investors to sell the buildings.

The private investor would make improvements and lease the facility back to the state, which would retain ownership of the underlying land.

The state would have the option to buy back the facility.

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