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Newswatch

For Tuesday, January 25, 2011

By Star-Advertiser staff

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:35 p.m. HST, Jan 25, 2011



CORRECTION

» Alan Spector is co-chairman of the group Equality Hawaii. His last name was misspelled in an earlier version of the brief titled "Civil unions hearing today."

 

Civil unions hearing today

Less than three months after voters backed most candidates that supported civil unions last year, lawmakers begin today the process of vetting another bill, with expectations high among those who hope to have it passed.

"We feel very optimistic, given how thorough civil unions has been debated in Hawaii the past few years and given that we already passed the bill," said Alan Spector, co-chairman of Equality Hawaii.

Today's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. in the auditorium of the state Capitol marks the third straight year in which lawmakers have taken up the issue that would grant same-sex and heterosexual couples the ability to enter into civil unions and receive the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as marriage under state law.

Senate Bill 232 is substantively the same as House Bill 444, Senate Draft 1, passed by the Legislature last year and vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle. The bill changes only the effective date of the law to Jan. 1, 2012.

A similar measure, SB 231, is more expansive and addresses some of the concerns about implementation raised last year by opponents to HB 444.

Snakes a risk in isles

Hawaii could face economic impacts of $593 million to $2.14 billion if the brown tree snake becomes established here, experts say. The public is invited to a discussion on invasive species such as the brown tree snake from 4 to 5:15 p.m. today at the state Capitol auditorium. The Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species and Rep. Hermina Morita are hosting the event.

NEIGHBOR ISLANDS

Government services face disruptions

Residents on the Big Island's west side will experience some delays and interruptions in government services for the next two months as county offices are moved to a central location.

Hawaii County offices and departments will be relocated in the new West Hawaii Civic Center. Here is the moving schedule for key county offices:

» Driver's Licensing and Motor Vehicle Registration, Mayor's Office and Research and Development: closed Jan. 25-26, reopened Jan. 27 in Building C.

» Office of Aging: closed today and tomorrow, reopened Thursday in Building B.

» Mass Transit and Human Resources (no previous office in Kona): opened Thursday in Building C.

» Parks and Recreation and Elderly Activities Division: opened Feb. 3 in Building B. Permit window at Kona Airport will remain open 7:45 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:14 p.m. until April 1, when it moves to the Civic Center.

» Department of Liquor Control: closed next Tuesday and Feb. 2, reopened Feb. 3 in Building B. By appointment only, 961-8218.

» Office of Housing and Community Development, and Office of Elections: closed next Tuesday and Feb. 2, reopened Feb. 3 in Building B.

» County Council offices: closed Feb. 7, reopened Feb. 10 in Building A.

» Fire inspector's office, Building Division of Public Works, and Planning: closed Feb. 14-15, reopened Feb. 16 in Building E.

» Engineering Division of Public Works, and Environmental Management: closed Feb. 22-23, reopened Feb. 24 in Building D.

» Real Property Tax Office: closed Feb. 23-24, reopened Feb. 25 in Building D.

For more information, call the Mayor's Office at 327-3602 (323-4444 after Thursday) or go to www.co.hawaii.hi.us.

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ON THE WEB






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