State roundup for February 27
House finance committee approves voter fraud bill
HONOLULU (AP) — House lawmakers will consider prohibiting Hawaii employers, unions and candidates from helping voters complete their ballots after a committee approved a bill aimed at preventing voter fraud.
The House Committee on Finance approved a proposal that would also require people who send in absentee ballots to pledge that they did so in secret.
The bill approved Monday would also and require ballots to include information about voter fraud and its consequences.
Supporters say the bill is necessary because of past problems with voter intimidation. They say the proposal could help protect the democratic process.
County clerks from Maui and Kauai say the bill would impose an administrative burden on their offices. They say state law is already consistent with federal law regarding voter fraud.
Hawaii targets NY, Chicago with marketing campaign
HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau heavily promoting the state to New York and Chicago this month.
CEO John Monahan said Monday the agency wants to increase demand to support existing flights from the New York area. The agency also wants to increase flights from Chicago.
He says carriers have lowered airfares to attract passengers. But he says unprofitable routes don’t last long.
The $500,000 campaign started last week with a focus on Oahu. It will focus on a different island for each of the next three weeks: Maui, Hawaii and Kauai.
The advertisements include segments on Hawaii weather to be aired during local television weather broadcasts.
Online, the agency will have Hawaii-branded weather “page skins” and homepage “takeover” ads.
Residents to be asked to pay for fireworks
HONOLULU (AP) — Organizers of the annual Kailua Fourth of July fireworks do not want the display to fizzle again this year.
KITV-TV (http://is.gd/5mna0M) reports to keep that from happening, there is a move under way to have residents of the beachside community northeast of Honolulu pay for fireworks.
Free fireworks have been a tradition for residents in Windward Oahu. But Jody Sakaba with the Kailua Fireworks Committee says it has become an ordeal to put on the show. Last year, there was no show.
Now a number of residents have formed a nonprofit organization to ensure that the show goes on. Instead of relying on big contributions from business for the fireworks display, a fundraising campaign will be targeted at residents.
UH to conduct accountability study
HONOLULU (AP) — A University of Hawaii Board of Regents task group will conduct an accountability study of the university system.
The news comes in the wake of last year’s botched Stevie Wonder concert that was intended to raise funds for the athletic department, but instead cost the school more than $200,000. The problem was that Wonder and his representative never authorized the concert.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (http://is.gd/WsuV6S) reports that the $260,000 study will include interviews of UH administrators, legislators and representatives from the governor’s office. He says the inquiry is unprecedented in its scope and will focus on financial transactions.
University spokeswoman Lynne Waters says the review is expected to be completed within 12 weeks.
Shots fired at Honolulu school
HONOLULU (AP) — Honolulu police are investigating a report that shots were fired at a Punahou School building.
No one was injured in the shooting early Sunday morning. However, KITV-TV (http://is.gd/UmTiu2) reports that three glass windows of the Omidyar K-1 Neighborhood complex were damaged.
Police believe it was a random act of vandalism and are asking witnesses to come forward.
Security at the school has been increased.
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