State roundup for November 8


Gay marriage faces challenge

HONOLULU (AP) — A Hawaii judge has rejected a move to block lawmakers from legalizing gay marriage in a special session, but said he’ll hear the challenge if a law is passed.

Circuit Court Judge Karl Sakamoto on Thursday said many voters might have thought they were voting to narrowly limit marriage when they voted on a constitutional amendment in 1998. The amendment gave the Legislature the power to decide whether to limit marriage.

Rep. Bob McDermott, a Republican who has fought the bill, says he will go back to court right away if a new law passes.

The House will vote on the bill today, then give it to the Senate for final approval before it’s sent to Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Teacher accused in girl’s assault

HONOLULU (AP) — A man employed as a preschool teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting a young girl at a home more than two years ago.

An Oahu grand jury on Tuesday indicted Kaleb Acklin on one count of first-degree sexual assault.

The indictment says Acklin sexually assaulted a 4-year-old girl on Aug. 18, 2011, while he babysat the girl and a sibling in the girl’s home. Deputy city prosecutor Chastity Imamura says the girl told her mother about the assault the day it happened.

Circuit Judge Richard Perkins set bail at $100,000.

$1.4 million drug settlement

HONOLULU (AP) — Drug giant Johnson & Johnson is paying Hawaii $1.4 million as part of a multibillion-dollar national settlement over allegations it illegally promoted two of its best-selling antipsychotics drugs.

Hawaii Attorney General David Louie announced the settlement with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals on Wednesday.

He says the total settlement for Hawaii is about $2.9 million, with most of it going to the federal government, which pays for the majority of Hawaii’s Medicaid program.

The Justice Department alleged that the company promoted powerful psychiatric drugs for unapproved uses in children, seniors and disabled patients.

Louie says that in addition to the monetary sanctions, Janssen Pharmaceuticals will plead guilty in federal court to misbranding for its illegal marketing of the drugs.

 

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