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Political File

News, notes and anecdotes
on government and politics

Monday, March 12, 2001

DLNR tells itself to
turn that report in

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is finding it hard to meet deadlines.

The department's report on leasing public agricultural lands -- requested by law in 1996 and now three years overdue -- has lawmakers saying, "Hurry up, already."

To prod the department into action, a concurrent resolution asks that the report be turned in immediately with an accounting of the $150,000 appropriated for the study.

In a move that smacks of self-scolding, the land department itself testified in favor of the measure.

UNSEEN PRESENCE:

The state House has 19 Republican seats, but a powerful 20th seat swivels several blocks away at GOP headquarters, says Walter Heen, chairman of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

That seat, the chairman said, belongs to the high-profile GOP chair Linda Lingle.

Her presence at the House minority caucuses during legislative decision-making has been "well-established," Heen said, and Lingle was seen there Feb. 20 as House Democrats and Republicans negotiated procedures for recalling bills.

Challenging House Republicans "to reclaim their own caucus and perform the duties they were elected to do," Heen said, "by now, it should be obvious to any watchful person that Linda Lingle is the 20th House Republican and shepherdess of her flock of 19 sheep."

WEBCAST:

Political junkies can now catch state legislative hearings on the Web via OleloNet, a 24-hour Web streaming of 'Olelo, Oahu's community access television station.

Hearings that are broadcast live on 'Olelo's Channel 54 (Views) will be simulcast online at http://www.olelo.org

To view the Web cast, the site said, Netscape and Macintosh users need the Windows Media Player, which is available for downloading.

The site also says Mac users may not be able to receive the video signal.

WINNERS:

Bullet Lawmakers: Legislators won an extra $2,500 a year for legislative expenses, according to a state House bill. The money would be added to the $5,000 lawmakers already get for legislative expenses..

Bullet Police: Honolulu Police Department's DUI Patrol would pick up an extra $100 per arrest for drunken driving under a bill passed by the Senate. Neighbor Island police departments would also get an extra $100 per arrest, with the money coming from increases in DUI fines.

Bullet Hawaiian Airlines: It won a tax break from the House in a bill that exempts leased planes and engines from the state excise tax. A similar bill was vetoed last year by Gov. Ben Cayetano.

LOSERS:

Bullet Young drivers: Teen drivers on the road between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. would be required to have a licensed driver 21 or older on board under a bill approved by the Senate.

Bullet Robert Fishman: The executive director of the Hawaii Tourism Authority faces a possible audit and increased scrutiny from Sen. Donna Kim, chair of the Senate tourism committee, who says the authority is not being run properly.

Bullet Rep. Brian Schatz: He missed a week of the Legislature after he came down with a case of chicken pox.

This feature by Richard Borreca runs Mondays throughout the legislative session.



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