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Report: State auditor not in "complete compliance" with constitution
A legislative report released yesterday on State Auditor Les Kondo’s office faulted it for appointing executives without proper experience and for being “inconsistent” in its application of auditing standards. The assessment could pave the way for Kondo's removal. Civil Beat. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Senate panel approves increases in Hawai‘i estate, conveyance taxes
The Senate Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved a bill yesterday that increases the state conveyance tax on multi-million-dollar property sales and adjusts the state inheritance tax. Currently, estates of $5.49 million or less are exempt from the tax, but the bill would limit that exemption to estates of $3.5 million or less. Civil Beat.

Restaurants could escape shifting pandemic rules under a proposed program
Under the program, restaurants could bypass the tier system if they agree to adopt federal CDC guidelines and allow Hawai‘i Department of Health inspections. The initiative has gained traction with some policymakers and could eventually include other industries. Civil Beat.

Bill to disclose COVID-19 cases by school makes headway at Legislature
A bill requiring the state Department of Education to publicly identify schools with infections is moving forward at the Legislature, although state officials are concerned it might lead to panic and stigma. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Hawai‘i jockeys for advantage in Biden’s $2T infrastructure plan
Local politicians, business leaders and labor organizers say the state needs funds to reduce its dependence on petroleum, boost rail and improve wastewater systems. Civil Beat.

How addressing the affordable housing crisis could help farming efforts
Farmers say housing insecurity threatens their ability to retain employees and makes it difficult to ramp up production. Some are tapping into federally funded programs aimed at helping farms develop affordable housing for workers. Civil Beat.

Hawai‘i officials are concerned about the dramatic increases in car rental prices
Prices spiked into hundreds of dollars a day after rental car companies found themselves trying to keep up with high demand and low supply. Many had to sell or ship vehicles back to the Mainland when the industry crashed last year. KHON2.

Vaccination sites prepare to ramp up as record number of doses head to Hawai‘i
It’s the moment state health officials have been waiting for as an abundance of vaccines are on the way. Hawaii News Now.
The Department of Health is asking Neighbor Islands to expand eligibility, and many are jumping at the opportunity. Hawaii News Now.

Illustration Thinkstock
5 Steps to Turn Conflict Into Cooperation
Conflict in the workplace is natural and normal, says mediator Catherine Lampton. Here’s how to turn potentially destructive and expensive conflict into constructive conflict... 
read more.
O‘ahu restaurants maneuver new ban on plastic ware
Restaurants are adjusting to the ban on plastic bags, plastic straws and plastic utensils that went into effect Thursday. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Kahuku wind farm case goes before Hawai‘i Supreme Court
The fate of dozens of endangered hoary bats was at the center of state Supreme Court arguments on Thursday. The case could potentially stall operations at the wind farm and raise the stakes for other renewable energy projects in Hawai‘i. Civil Beat.

HOLO cards are the new way to pay on TheBus
The old paper passes are being replaced with a card that riders can tap against a card reader when they enter. Hawaii News Now. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Former Little League coach charged with 15 counts of child pornography
An indictment identified six underaged victims, some of whom he met with multiple times. The allegations date back to 2012. Hawaii News Now.

Photo: Courtesy of Elemental Excelerator
Attract Your Dream Investor
Every major milestone has a story, which only comes to life in hindsight. Looking back on our seven-year journey, here are three things you can do to position yourself to land your dream investor... read more.
COVID-19 vaccinations now open to all Big Island residents 16 and older
Hilo Medical Center announced its expanded eligibility Thursday. The facility is preparing to administer 5,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine on Saturday. Tribune-Herald. Big Island Now.

Post-flight testing program to be scaled back
Testing of trans-Pacific travelers arriving at the Kona and Hilo airports will be reduced by 50% in April, said a spokesman for Mayor Mitch Roth. West Hawaii Today.

Youth Challenge Academy funds pass budget muster
The approved state budget restores more than $600,000 in general funds and $2.3 million in federal funds to the program, and retains more than 40 full-time positions that would have been cut. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaiʻi PUC suspends PGV docket pending environmental review
Puna Geothermal Ventures and Hawaiian Electric are proposing to expand the geothermal-generation facility’s capacity from 38 megawatts to 46 megawatts, extend the power purchase agreement and decrease pricing. Big Island Video News.

Owners of Hilo Iron Works building request change of zoning
The building, built in 1907, was the subject of a Windward Planning Commission discussion on Thursday. The owners are requesting a zoning change to make the site more palatable for developers. Tribune-Herald.

Illustration: Getty Images
Before Going Back to School

Thinking of going back to school? Jennifer E. Walsh of Hawai‘i Pacific University suggests five things to consider before taking that big step..read more.
King’s Cathedral and Chapels disputes virus cluster designation
The Kahului church is pushing back against the state Department of Health’s determination that at least 55 infections have spread among church members, saying the cases were scattered across its two dozen congregations in Maui County. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Maui News. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KHON2.

Mayor seeks mandatory post-arrival testing
Citing fast-moving variants sweeping the island, Mayor Michael Victorino said a second test may be mandated by mid-April for returning residents and visitors to Maui County. Maui News.

Virtual conference to explore energy transition 
The 8th Hawaiʻi Energy Conference will be held virtually on June 22 and 24. Maui Now.
Vaccines open to residents 16 and older
Starting Monday, April 5, all residents 16 and up are eligible for COVID-19 vaccines at clinics around the island. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i is reentering the Safe Travels program
The county plans to join the Safe Travels program on Monday. As it prepares to welcome back more visitors, some rules at the Lihu‘e Civic Center Kapule Building will change. Garden Island.

$3.5M in capital improvement project funds released for Kaua‘i
The projects span from road safety and school improvements to design for the Ahukini landfill and new medical equipment. Garden Island.

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