Governor Ige’s 2018 State of the State Address

“Building a Hawaiʻi for Our Children”

Hawaii Independent Staff / Hawaii Politics / Read
One year after Trump, Women’s March brings progressives together, looks toward November

As resistance remains strong, the movement expands and sets its sights on the upcoming 2018 elections with its “Power to the Polls” message.

Will Caron / National Politics / Read
Almost 19 thousand signatories tell A&B to save Manoa monkeypod trees

The land developer had planned on cutting down the iconic trees to make way for more parking at Manoa Marketplace.

Hawaii Independent Staff / Conservation / Read
ʻOnipaʻa: To move while rooted to this place

Dr. Jon Osorio's remarks delivered at yesterday's ‘Onipa‘a Kākou event inside the Capitol rotunda commemorating the 125th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Jon Osorio / Hawaiian Sovereignty / Read
Saving David Ige

What bold, progressive move should the governor make to secure the progressive vote on August 11? Members of that community weigh in.

Will Caron / Hawaii Politics / Read
Nuclear Wake Up Call

Flawed interface design can be easily fixed: The real missile mistake is militarism.

Will Caron / Militarism / Read
Ige responds to Rep. Hanabusa’s 2018 challenge, touts record of “hard work” over politics

The governor claims to have eliminated favoritism and pay-to-play cronyism in state government.

Governor Ige’s response to Rep. Colleen Hanabusa’s official announcement that she intends to challenge him for the governorship in 2018:

The people of Hawai‘i are always served by choices in leadership. I welcome Colleen’s entrance into the race.

It is one thing to criticize, and it is another to get the people’s business done. I am proud of our record during the last three years. We have made hard decisions, sometimes unpopular decisions, because it was the right thing to do and in the best interests of the people of this state.

Our team has improved our financial standing saving the state hundreds of millions in interest payments and rekindled long-stalled infrastructure
projects. I kept my promise to cool schools, protected over 40,000 acres of watershed forests on four islands, and ended favoritism and pay to play cronyism in state government, opening up more contracts to our local small businesses. I am also proud of how my administration has taken on the Trump Administration when they have put Hawai‘i’s and the nation’s values and rights in jeopardy, doing more than most other governors to fight unfair and discriminatory policies coming out of Congress and the White House.

I may not be the typical politician, but what we need today is less politics and more hard work. The historic firsts coming out of my administration and things I have done since taking office reflects this effort. That is the kind of leadership I believe Hawai‘i deserves.

Hawaii Independent Staff / Hawaii Politics / Read
13 ways the Trump-GOP tax plan will hurt working people

According to tax experts, the proposed legislation will benefit the wealthiest Americans—like President Donald Trump, his cabinet and members of Congress—at the expense of working families with children.

Hawaii Independent Staff / Tax Reform / Read
Ige’s budget reflects continued reliance on outdated, ineffective and injurious policies

Inside the governor's Supplemental Budget proposal are requests for money meant to crack down on the houseless and to explore private prison options

“Keep public places public”—the governor’s new phrase for keeping the public out of public spaces, per his supplemental budget request. He’s asking for money to beef up security to crack down on the homeless at public locations.

Specifically, $419,302 for deputy sheriffs positions to “support homeless and illegal camping operations.”

To be fair, he’s also asking for $50 million for homelessness programs like Housing First and rapid rehousing and $75 million for the affordable housing revolving funds, which is great. But the perceived need for those extra sheriffs to force houseless people into shelters and other housing programs is a proven waste of taxpayer dollars and a contributing factor to our overcrowded jail and prison population.

Speaking of prison “highlights,” the governor wants $10 million for Department of Public Safety statewide facility master plans (they’ll be ADA accessible though, so, at least we can incarcerate the disabled without worrying about a lawsuit there), as well as an additional $33 million for new prison housing facilities and site assessments on each of the neighbor islands and and other $4.7 million for the department’s general administration and lump sum CIP.

Also, embedded in the capital improvement project budget, way down at the bottom, is $1 million for planning and assessment of public-private prison partnerships. Because making a profit off of incarcerated individuals has never, ever led to human rights-violating conflicts of interest.

Will Caron / Criminal Justice Reform / Read
Voter suppression in Alabama confirms true threat to free and fair elections

Under the guise of enforcing voter fraud protections—and with a gutted Voting Rights Act doing little to stop them—conservatives in power appear to be doing everything they can to suppress minority votes.

Dechauna Jiles has always voted at the First Assembly of God church in Dothan, Alabama. Last fall, she cast her ballot there in the presidential election. When she returned to her longtime polling place a week ago, on Tuesday, December 12, to vote in the Alabama special Senate election, poll workers said her registration status was “inactive.”

“That makes no sense,” Jiles told ThinkProgress. Workers told Jiles that she could only cast a “provisional” ballot, one that would not be counted unless she drove to another precinct to update her information. Jiles wasn’t the only one at the First Assembly polling place that was told this. Six other voters were given the same line.

“It’s not that we’re not showing up to vote—we’re being suppressed,” said Jiles.

Jiles, who is African-American, said it would be a “dishonor to her family” not to vote. Her parents grew up two blocks from the historic 16th Street Baptist Church: a rallying point for civil rights activists during the pivotal Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963. It was here that one of the era’s most heinous acts of terror occurred. Klu Klux Klansmen set off a powerful explosive during a Sunday morning service, killing four little girls, in September of that year.

Doug Jones, the winner of the Alabama Senate election, successfully prosecuted two of the Klansmen responsible nearly 40 years after the bombing.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) expressed concern going into the special election that Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s decision to inactivate 340,000 voters one month before the August primary, as well as his recent threat of jailing crossover voters, would have a chilling effect on turnout.

Merrill said he was updating the voter rolls to reflect address changes. But Black voters in Alabama are right to be suspicious. Accoriding to the SPLC, the state has a long history of making it harder for them to cast their ballot. In an interview with the SPLC ahead of 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, Dorothy Guilford, then 94, recounted taking a literacy test to become eligible and standing in long lines to pay her poll tax.

“Now that, I think, discouraged a lot of people, the long lines, because so many had to go back to work,” Guilford said in the interview.

The Voting Rights Act (VRA) put an end to such overtly discriminatory measures, but the Supreme Court’s decision in 2013 to gut key provisions of the Act opened the door to new forms of discrimination.

In January of 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation concluded that Alabama—which requires a form of photo ID to vote—disproportionately hurt Black voters in 2015 when it closed 31 driver’s license offices, including offices in eight of the 10 counties with the highest proportion of Black residents.

“Based on its investigation, DOT has concluded that African Americans residing in the Black Belt region of Alabama disproportionately underserved by [the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency]‘s driver licensing services, causing a disparate and adverse impact on the basis of race,” the department said.

Thanks to the federal probe, some of the offices have since reopened. But the closures weren’t the last attack by an Alabama lawmaker on the right to vote.

Just before last year’s presidential election, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill attacked the policy of automatic voter registration calling it the “sorry and lazy way out,” and claiming that “just because you turned 18 doesn’t give you the right to do anything.”

Merrill’s comments were not only ignorant (the 26th Amendment gives citizens who turn 18 precisely the right to vote), but demonstrative of a broader campaign to suppress minority voters.

This campaign appears in the form of President Trump’s wildly unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud, in lawmakers’ purges of voter rolls, in lawsuits against poor counties for out-of-date voter rolls and in gerrymandered districts, which The Root calls potentially the “Civil Rights issue of our time.”

And it appeared in Alabama last Tuesday, when voters across the state reported misleading ballots, police intimidation at the polls and text messages erroneously telling them that their polling locations had changed.

“It’s important for everybody to be able to vote and let their choice be known,” Dorothy Guilford told the SPLC shortly after the VRA was gutted.

Without its protections, systematic voter suppression—not voter fraud—is the real threat to free and fair elections in the United States.

Hawaii Independent Staff / Civil Liberties / Read