State briefs 3/22

Hawaii senators advance social-media privacy bill

HONOLULU — Two Senate committees have approved a bill to prohibit employers from requiring employees or job applicants to provide access to personal social media accounts.

The senators voted Wednesday to advance the measure, which already passed the House.

The American Civil Liberties Union says the bill would ensure that legal privacy protections keep pace with changing technology.

Barbara Duarte, a nurse, testified previously that employees at Maui hospital were written up for comments made on Facebook in 2011. She says the bill would protect privacy and free speech.

But several members of Hawaii’s business community had concerns about the proposal.

The state Chamber of Commerce says the bill is well-intentioned but that the issue isn’t a prevalent problem in Hawaii.

The Maui Police Department also opposed the measure, saying it would limit the department’s ability to conduct background checks.

The department suggested amending the bill to allow employers to ask about usernames for social media accounts but not passwords.

The committee adopted the department’s suggestion as well as amendments proposed by several businesses to make sure the proposal won’t interfere with human resources or cybersecurity practices.

The bill now goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Hawaii’s proposal follows the example of similar legislation in other states.

Molokai woman shot and killed; suspect arrested

KAWELA, Molokai — Police in Molokai say they have arrested a 33-year-old man on suspicion of shooting and killing his 24-year-old girlfriend in Kawela.

Police said Thursday that Malia Kahalewai of Honouliwai was killed Wednesday night at an apartment complex along Kamehameha Highway.

Authorities say her boyfriend, Marlin Lavoie of Honouliwai was arrested later without incident. Police say Lavoie and Kahalewai have children together.

Hawaii car dealer found not guilty of tax charges

HONOLULU — A federal judge in Honolulu has ruled a retired Hawaii car dealer not guilty of tax fraud and lying on his income tax returns.

U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi found 87-year-old James Henry Pflueger not guilty on four charges, including underreporting a capital gain on a $27.5 million property sale in San Diego.

Pflueger’s accountant testified in the case that he, not Pflueger, falsified tax return documents because the car dealer needed money to pay legal expenses for a separate manslaughter case.

Pflueger is expected to go on trial on state manslaughter charges after seven people died when an earthen dam broke on his Kauai property in 2006.

Pflueger’s attorney, William McCorriston, in the manslaughter case told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser he’s happy the tax case is behind Pflueger.

Kauai man arrested after posting video

LIHUE, Kaui — Kauai Police say a man was arrested after he posted an online video of himself drinking while driving.

Police say Richard Gerald Godbehere Jr. of Kapaa was arrested in February for allegedly consuming or possessing liquor while operating a vehicle and driving without a license. He has been released pending an April court appearance.

Police say the four-minute video appears to have been posted online in late December. In the video, police say Godbehere pops open a capped beer bottle and proceeds to drink it while speaking into the camera.

According to police, Godbehere says in the video, “I’m so happy to be drinking and driving.”

Kauai Police Chief Darryl Perry says the video shows Godbehere exhibiting a blatant disregard for the law.

Man dies after missed jump into pool

HONOLULU — A Honolulu man who tried to jump from the fourth floor of an apartment building into a pool has died.

Hawaii News Now says the medical examiner has determined that Quinn Kunitomo died from head injuries due to the fall.

Honolulu police say the young man tried to jump from an apartment building into a swimming pool at University of Hawaii at Manoa off-campus housing early Sunday morning. He missed the pool and landed on the pool deck instead.

Construction begins on Marine Corps building

HONOLULU — Construction has begun for a new Marine Corps air station operations complex at Kaneohe Bay.

The $47 million complex will include an air passenger terminal, fire truck bays and a dormitory for air rescue and firefighting Marines.

The contractor broke ground last week. Construction should be finished in September 2014.

The contractor for the work is dck pacific construction. The company is also building the South Range Project at Schofield Barracks.