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Ka`u News Briefs Tuesday, March 7, 2017

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Teachers at Ka`u High School, hold signs Tuesday morning on the March 7 Day of Action in support of
 all public
school teachers in Hawai`i who are asking for fair pay in their negotiations with the state. 
Photo by Dave Berry
HAWAI`I WILL BE THE FIRST STATE TO SUE AGAINST THE NEW TRAVEL BAN issued by President Donald Trump. Hawai`i's Attorney General Doug Chin filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Honolulu on Tuesday, stating that the State of Hawai`i and the Muslim Association of Hawai`i will ask for a temporary restraining order to block the ban on travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. Chin joined the Muslim Association at its center on O`ahu to make the announcement.
        In a statement issued Monday, the AG said, "This new executive order is nothing more than Muslim Ban 2.0. Under the pretense of national security, it still targets immigrants and refugees. It leaves the door open for even further restrictions."
     Trump's new Executive Order bars new visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen and shuts down the refugee program administered by the U.S. government. Neal Katyalm, a Washington, D.C. attorney working on the suit with the State of Hawai`i, tweeted today: "Here we go / Proud to stand w/State of Hawai`i challenging Pres. Trump's 'new' Executive Order issued yesterday."
      In a statement this evening, Chin said, "The state, together with the Department of Justice, asked Judge Derrick K. Watson for an expedited briefing schedule on a motion for temporary restraining order. If Judge Watson agrees, this schedule will allow the court to hear the state's motion before the new travel ban goes into effect on March 16, 2017."
     On Feb. 28, Chin, who led Hawai`i in filing a suit against the first Trump travel ban, questioned Trump during a White House session with Attorneys General from across the country. When Chin asked Trump to explain his thinking behind the executive order and what the President wanted to accomplish, Trump said his goal was   to make America safe again and that extreme vetting was part of  achieving the goal. Chin said, "The security and safety of our nation is a universal goal. I firmly believe you don't have to target people based on national origin or religion to get there - in fact, doing so harms our nation's security. our Constitution does not allow such discrimination." 
"Love Trumps Hate" say members of the Muslim Association of Hawai`i
who joined the State of Hawai`i on Tuesday in announcing the first suit
in the country against the second travel ban placed on residents
of six Muslim majority countries.
Photo from Muslim Association of Hawai`i
    Chin reported that after the session with Trump, Vice President Mike Pence told Chin that the administration cared about Hawai`i's concerns.                                                                
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RIGHTS FOR TRANSGENDER STUDENTS is another aim of  Hawai`i's Attorney General, Doug Chin, who joined an amicus brief, filed with the U.S. Supreme Court and signed by 19 Attorneys General, in support of a transgender student. who is suing a public school for discrimination.
    "The Attorneys General argue that discrimination on the basis of gender identity causes real and significant have to both transgender people and the states themselves. the Court will consider whether the Clouscheter County School Board in Virginia's prohibition against transgender boys and girls form using restrooms that other boys and girls use discriminates against transgender students on the basis of sex, in violation of Title IX. Chin said, "This is about protecting civil rights. Period."

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"HOUSING IS HEALTHCARE," a slogan of west Ka`u's state Senator Josh Green, got some legs today as Senate Bill 2  and Senate Bill 7 crossed over to the House of Representatives. Senate Bill 2 would require all Hawai`i Medicaid providers to cover housing for those suffering chronic homelessness with drug addiction, disability and/or mental illness. Senate Bill 7 would support the state Department of Human Services and Department of Health to study and pursue the provision of housing for homeless people.
Sen. Josh Green on national tv promoting housing for homeless,
which would be prescribed by physicians. Green claims the
program would save government money paid
for ER and other medical services for people without housing.
     "Let me be clear," stated Green, a physician. "This is a paradigm shift for the good of society." Senate Bill 2 would classify chronic homelessness as a medical condition and give doctors authority to write patients homeless for more than six months a prescription for housing. "It will allow us to better use Medicaid dollars to help our most vulnerable people improve their lives."
    Green said that he has seen the revolving door of chronically homeless people using the Emergency Room for expensive care they might not need as often if they had places to live. A place to live can reduce health care costs by 43 percent, he said, saving the state millions of dollars in Medicaid expenses. Housing 1,800 people could save the state $300 million a year, he predicted.
     Green said he has bipartisan support locally and coverage in the mainland and international press.

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MACADAMIA TREE HEALTH INITIATIVE is legislation introduced Tuesday by the Hawaiʻi congressional delegation. The aim is to help fight the macadamia felted coccid, an invasive species destroying macadamia trees and threatening the domestic macadamia nut industry at large. Since the invasive insect was introduced to Hawaiʻi in 2005, it has cost the local macadamia nut industry millions every year, threatening the vitality of one of Hawaiʻi's most important crops.
     The Macadamia Tree Health Initiative would authorize highly sought research and development to help fight the invasive insect and establish an Areawide Integrated Pest Management (AIPM) plan in affected areas to help manage the invasive pest in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and cost effective way.
Macadamia felted coccid can destroy the trunk of the nut tree.
Photo from U.H. Hilo
     Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said, "The macadamia felted coccid is one of more than 4,300 invasive species that threaten our agriculture industry in Hawaiʻi and across the United States. In Hawaiʻi alone, this pest costs our local farmers, landowners and agriculture industry millions of dollars a year, and puts hundreds of local farms, thousands of local workers, and the future of one of our most important crops at risk. Very little is known about this invasive pest, making it difficult for our farmers and agriculture industry to fight back. The Macadamia Tree Health Initiative will authorize much-needed research and development and establish a comprehensive management plan to help our local agriculture industry combat these invasive, harmful insects."
     Sen. Mazie Hirono said, "Our delegation is united in the fight against macadamia felted coccid – which has been ravaging our $46 million macadamia nut industry for over a decade. We need to bring in federal resources to fight this invasive pest and work to protect and support Hawaiʻi agriculture."
     Sen. Brian Schatz said, "Hawai'i's tropical climate and constant movement of people and cargo expose our farmers and their crops to pests from all over the world. As we address the macadamia felted coccid, I hope that we can use lessons learned from fighting the coffee berry borer to develop an integrated approach that will be able to turn and fight other pests when they are introduced. Quick, systematic action gives us the best chance to save crops and keep Hawai'i's economy strong."

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LEARNING TO LIVE ON MARS is the subject for the `Imiloa’s Maunakea Skies talk with Brian Shiro, Geology Lead at HI-SEAS. During the presentation on Friday, March 17 at 7 p.m., Shiro will report on the doings in the dome on Mauna Loa where scientists are simulating conditions for humans spending time on the Red Planet. He will explain the  Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, aimed at researching issues related to how crews will function on long-duration missions to Mars. HI-SEAS creates missions and recruits crewmembers who live in the Mars-like habitat for periods ranging from four to twelve months, in order to better understand the planet’s living conditions. This is the Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) program, which is aimed at researching issues related to how crews will function on long-duration missions to Mars. HI-SEAS creates missions and recruits crewmembers who live in the Mars-like habitat for periods ranging from four to twelve months, in order to better understand the planet’s living conditions. 

Weave Coconut Fronds (Ulana Niu), Wed, Mar 8, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., Kīlauea Visitor Center lānai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Learn how to weave coconut fronds into useful and beautiful items with local expert Cathy Gouveia. The coconut palm is one of the most useful and important plants in the world. Free; park entrance fees apply.

Jazz in the Forest, Sat, Mar 11, Volcano Art Center. With Jean Pierre Thoma & The Jazztones. 967-8222


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