POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010

Bill would pay Interest on delayed refunds

Hawaii residents might be paid interest if their income tax refunds are delayed too long.

The House unanimously passed a bill yesterday requiring the state government to pay monthly interest at a rate of one-third of 1 percent of the refund amount if a tax overpayment is not refunded within 90 days. It had previously passed the Senate.

The measure is in response to a move by Gov. Linda Lingle to delay payment of this year's refunds until July, when the next fiscal year begins, so that the state can save $275 million on paper.

The state budget passed by the Legislature on Tuesday perpetuates the delay of income tax refunds next year as well.

Interest payments would begin 90 days after tax returns are filed or 90 days after April 20, whichever is later.

The bill is HB 1948.

Legislators stop Birth certificate bill in Arizona

PHOENIX » A bill to require presidential candidates to show their birth certificates to get on the state's ballot has been set aside at the Arizona Legislature.

With lawmakers working toward adjournment of their annual session, the sponsor of the bill used to resurrect the proposal said yesterday it would not get a Senate vote because some fellow Republicans do not support it.

The House narrowly approved the measure last week, sending it to the Senate.

The bill is an outgrowth from some Obama critics' doubts over whether he was born in the United States. Hawaii officials have repeatedly confirmed Obama's citizenship.

Health program gets $84,083 boost

Hawaii's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children has for the second year earned a bonus of $84,083 for its performance.

The state Department of Health program was the only one to receive a perfect score in 14 states evaluated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Western Regional Office, according to the Health Department.

Five program areas examined for performance were percentage of eligible population served, breast-feeding rates, issuance of contract formula, lack of repeat technical violations and timeliness/accuracy of reports.

The Hawaii program served 91.4 percent of eligible infants and children in the federal fiscal year ending last Sept. 30.

The average number of low-income infants and children at nutritional risk dropped to 25,655 per month last year from 27,546 per month the previous year.

The breast-feeding initiation rate improved to 83.6 percent from 82.9 percent, and the duration of breast-feeding at 6 months of age went from 41.1 percent to 41.2 percent—”;rates well above the regional average,”; the Health Department reported.

6 in Presidential Scholar semifinals

Six Hawaii students have been selected as semifinalists in the 2010 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.

Three of the students—Kathryn Lau, Eric Liaw and George Tang—go to Punahou School. The other three are Lauren Clark of Seabury Hall, Nolan Kamitaki of Waiakea High School and Caitlin Mori of Sacred Hearts Academy.

Of the nearly 3.2 million graduating high school seniors in the country, about 3,000 were identified as candidates. Only 560 semifinalists were selected. Up to 141 students are named as Presidential Scholars each year.

Earlier this year, 42 Hawaii students were identified as Presidential Scholar candidates based on their academic accomplishments.

UH vice president earns award

David Lassner, University of Hawaii vice president and chief information officer, has been selected by Internet2 for its annual Richard Rose Award for extraordinary individual contributions that extend advanced networking into the K20 community.

The term K20 indicates the number of years in school, from kindergarten through graduate school and beyond. But it also encompasses institutions with an educational mission, such as libraries and museums, said Internet2, an advanced networking consortium led by the research and education community.

Lassner, a co-founder of the Hawaii Educational Networking Consortium, has spent a lifetime extending advanced networking to Hawaii's educational community, the university said in a news release.

It said he blazed the trail “;to establish state-of-the-art connections throughout the Hawaiian Islands as well as from Hawaii to the rest of the world.”;

“;He has played multiple influential roles, from the University of Hawaii's first and only chief information officer to the chair of Hawaii's Broadband Task Force, and has championed a wide range of broadly inclusive efforts that deliver the benefits of advanced network services and applications to Hawaii's statewide education community and beyond.”;

DUI checkpoints up through June 30

The Honolulu Police Department will be conducting impaired-driver checkpoints from today through June 30.

The checkpoints will be set up before, during and after the Memorial Day weekend, as well as during the graduation season. The checkpoints will be set up at unannounced times and locations.

Big Isle seeks ban on riding in truck beds

HILO » The Hawaii County Council is about to take up a resolution that calls on next year's Legislature to outlaw riding in the bed of pickup trucks.

The resolution was introduced by County Councilman Kelly Greenwell. He says it is “;stupid”; to require the use of seat belts in a truck cab but not require protection for adults and teenagers in the cargo area.

The measure seeks the support of Hawaii's three other counties.

State lawmakers have rejected the proposal in the past as a courtesy to residents who live on the neighbor islands.

Greenwell says he wants to make sure state lawmakers do not use that reason again.

The Big Island Council has already outlawed driving while using a hand-held cell phone.