Kevin Dayton, Author at Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Cost grows for delayed upgrade at Halawa Correctional Facility

Gov. David Ige’s administration has requested an additional $4.3 million to house Hawaii prison inmates on the mainland while contractors finish a long-­delayed overhaul of the electronic locks and video surveillance systems at Halawa Correctional Facility. Read More

State lawmakers announce spending agreement

House and Senate lawmakers unveiled a budget agreement Friday that provides for more than $16 billion in general treasury spending over the next two years while acknowledging the state could end up spending substantially more on as-yet unbudgeted costs such as homeless programs, college scholarships and pay raises for public workers. Read More

Bill to boost excise tax for education dies

A proposal to increase the state excise tax to boost funding for Hawaii public schools and the University of Hawaii will not get a hearing in the state House and appears to be dead for this year. Read More

Supreme Court rejects lawsuit over rail tax skim

The Hawaii Supreme Court has rejected a lawsuit challenging the state’s practice of “skimming” 10 percent of the excise tax surcharge set aside for the rail project and depositing the money into the state treasury. Read More

Federal inspector inquires about Honolulu rail concerns raised in whistleblower suit

The Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation is inquiring about claims by a former quality manager for a Honolulu rail contractor who alleges he was fired last year after he complained about flaws in construction of columns and shafts that support the airport segment of the rail line. Read More

Ige makes 2 DBEDT appointments

Gov. David Ige has appointed Randall Tanaka to serve as deputy director of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and named Mary Alice Evans to lead the state’s Office of Planning within DBEDT. Read More

Federal investigation, funding issues increase risk for rail bidders

Getting companies on board for a public-private partnership could be a challenge given the uncertainty surrounding a federal investigation and funding issues, observers say. Read More

State won’t pay Honolulu rail invoices subject to subpoena by feds

The state has warned the Honolulu rail authority that it will not release funding for invoices that are being scrutinized by the federal government as part of the ongoing federal investigation of the city rail project, according to state Comptroller Curt Otaguro. Read More

Panel trims revenue estimate for state by $80M

The growth of the state economy is slowing, prompting a panel of Hawaii experts Tuesday to lower its estimate for how much the state will collect in taxes this year by about $81 million. Read More

State fires firm auditing rail change orders

The Hawaii State Auditor has canceled a contract with a company that was supposed to review change orders for the $9.2 billion Honolulu rail project, and it is unclear whether that report will ever be completed. Read More

Lawmakers aim to scale back state scrutiny of rail

House lawmakers gave preliminary approval Tuesday to bills that scale back the role of the Hawaii State Auditor in overseeing the Honolulu rail project, which is now the subject of a federal investigation. Read More

State audit alleges cheating in redemption payments in Hawaii recycling program

The new audit released this morning concluded that “the Department of Health (DOH) still has not addressed fundamental weaknesses of the program, which previous audits identified more than a decade ago.” Read More

California rail drama doesn’t raise fears about HART project

The recent blowup between the state of California and the Trump administration over that state’s high-speed rail project does not raise any concerns about the HART project, experts say. Read More

New HART subpoena seeks payment records

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation has been served with a new subpoena seeking information about payments made to tenants who were relocated on the rail’s path. Read More

Honolulu’s transit authority receives second grand jury subpoena

A spokesman for the project declined to answer questions about the subpoena this morning but said HART CEO Andrew Robbins would meet with reporters this afternoon. Read More

Hawaii drivers might get ticketed for running red lights under new legislative proposal

State lawmakers are again moving forward with a program to deploy cameras at traffic lights to photograph the license plates of motorists who run red lights so they can be ticketed. Read More

Attorney general warns staff against sharing opinions

A memo by newly appointed state Attorney General Clare Connors caused a stir this week because it instructed representatives of state departments who testify at the Legislature that their testimony “shall not contain personal opinions of any kind.” Read More

State to pay to settle pregnancy center lawsuits

The state has agreed to pay more than $60,000 to resolve two federal lawsuits that successfully challenged a state law requiring religiously affiliated pregnancy centers to inform women about publicly funded contraception and other family planning serv­ices. Read More
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‘Red flag’ law deferred in House as lawmaker seeks study

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Despite emotional testimony from gun control advocates, House lawmakers put the brakes on a proposed “red flag” law for Hawaii that is intended to keep firearms away from people who may pose a danger to themselves or others. Read More

Federal subpoena could affect Oahu’s rail funding

Rail officials were hoping the federal government would release more federal funding this month to help finance rail construction. Read More

Feds subpoena Honolulu rail authority for construction documents

The Star-Advertiser reported in December that federal authorities were taking an interest in the project, but it is still unclear exactly what aspect of rail has triggered the investigation. Read More

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