State breifs 5/1


Hawaii Legislature OKs more gun background checks

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Legislature has passed a bill requiring background checks for people who are registering guns that they purchased in other states.

Both the Democratic House and Senate approved the measure Tuesday.

Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom criticized the bill. He says Second Amendment rights can’t be compared to the privilege of getting a driver’s license.

Majority Floor Leader Sen. Will Espero says he doesn’t know why Slom objected. He says the bill merely closes a loophole in existing state law which requires background checks for gun owners in Hawaii.

The Hawaii Rifle Association has supported the proposal, saying criminals do try to register firearms. The gun rights advocacy group effectively shot down every other gun control measure introduced this session.

Hawaii Senate approves bill to develop school land

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Legislature has approved a bill to create a pilot project that allows the state to lease public school lands to raise money for school repairs and maintenance.

The Senate voted Tuesday to pass the bill. The House is also debating the measure.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie has been pushing the so-called 21st Century Schools proposal to help the state upgrade its schools, which are an average of 65 years old.

Sen. Jill Tokuda says the bill allows just three projects in five years. She says the bill doesn’t fast-track development.

Critics worry that the proposal is another version of the state’s Public Land Development Corp., which Abercrombie abolished recently in response to public criticism of its broad powers to develop state lands.

Hawaii Senate OKs bill for phased project approval

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Senate has approved a bill allowing the state Historical Preservation Division to approve projects in phases rather than all at once.

Advocates of the proposal say the new rules will make it easier for the state to start complex projects like new highways.

But nine of the Senate’s 25 members opposed the bill. Several spoke out vigorously against the proposal on the floor including Sen. Clayton Hee, Sen. Laura Thielen and Sen. Sam Slom.

Thielen says that phased approval would put unnecessary pressure on the division to OK projects that are already underway because developers could lose money.

The House passed the bill earlier this session. Rep. Kaniela Ing said Tuesday that the proposal was in the Senate’s hands completely and urged the chamber to kill the bill.