Saturday, February 2, 2002

According to Aloha Stadium officials, the 26-year-old structure is badly in need of repairs. They have asked state lawmakers for $1 million to ensure its safety.

Resolutions moving to
extend Felix panel

From staff and news reports

Concurrent resolutions calling for the continuation of the joint Senate-House Investigative Committee on the federal Felix consent decree are moving.

Legislature 2002 The resolution extends the life of the committee through next year's session, even though the composition of the Legislature could change with all legislative seats up for election.

The Legislature also is considering a bill aimed at tackling some of the problems the investigative committee uncovered during hearings last year.

In other news around the state Capitol this past week:

>> Reconstructed motorcycles: A House committee voted on a measure to address registration problems with custom-built motorcycles. The House Transportation Committee passed the bill that would allow the counties to decide whether to use federal vehicle identification numbers or another system designed by the county to identify reconstructed vehicles.

>> Stadium fix: Aloha Stadium officials went before state lawmakers asking for $1 million, saying the 26-year-old stadium needs repairs to its lower level or main concourse, or it may eventually become unsafe to hold spectator events there. The foot traffic of thousands of fans as well as normal wear over the years have caused various portions of the decking on the main concourse to collapse and the corrugated steel to deteriorate.

>> Kindergarten bill: Five-year-olds born after June may have to sit out a school year before entering kindergarten, under a bill heard by the Senate Education Committee. Department of Education officials say half of the 14,000 kindergartners would be affected if it is passed.

>> Medicare/Medicaid: Republican supporters and the state administration disagreed Wednesday whether a GOP bill to exempt Medicare and Medicaid services from the state's general excise tax would help the poor or doctors. Rep. Charles Djou (R, Kaneohe) said Medicare and Medicaid services let the state "profit off the poor and elderly when they get sick." However, state Tax Director Marie Okamura said there is no way to know if doctors and medical-equipment suppliers getting an exemption would pass the savings on to their patients.

>> Airline merger: The proposed merger of Hawaiian and Aloha airlines was denounced Wednesday by a key lawmaker who said it would be "the seeds of economic disaster" for the people of Hawaii. Sen. Ron Menor (D, Waipahu), chairman of the Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, said he and Transportation Committee Chairman Cal Kawamoto (D, Pearl City) will co-sponsor a resolution opposing the merger, which the Senate's three Republicans earlier said they oppose.

>> Campaign spending: Bills to prohibit labor unions and corporations from giving to political campaigns is gaining speed. The bills' authors say that is because of the concern over the recent criminal convictions of politicians and the investigation into Mayor Jeremy Harris' campaign fund raising.

Two senators who have blocked campaign reform previously are in favor of it.

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