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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 7, 2009

Budget help on Kailua Beach

By David Shapiro

The Hawai'i Legislature, shifting into high gear to sort through 1,843 bills in the House and 1,680 in the Senate, tops our "flASHback" on the week's news that amused and confused:

Lawmakers are excited about a bill that would make it easier for struggling families to get food stamps, but the Lingle administration is resisting. Let them eat innovation.

Two bills in the Legislature would study building a nuclear power plant in Hawai'i. If we can't grow the economy, at least we can make it glow.

A House committee advanced a bill to ban smoking on Waikiki Beach. Beachgoers can smoke in the water if they carry ashtrays.

Legislators are considering a bill that would name an official state insect. The Democrats feel obligated to name something after Gov. Linda Lingle when she ends her term.

Lawmakers warned nonprofits not to expect funding for safety net programs to help the needy. All together now: We're sure folks are happy to do without shelter and sustenance so legislators can have their 36 percent pay raises.

Kailua Beach is eroding so badly that beachcombers reported finding silver coins from the 1920s. State budget officers immediately kicked everybody off the beach until they could pick up all the loose change.

Ring the dinner bell: The city began soliciting bids for the $600 million first phase of the $5.3 billion O'ahu rail system. Salivating bidders are required to bring their own bibs.

The City Council may deploy "smart boots" to force drivers to pay their parking tickets. Council members should cover their seats before they give voters ideas about putting the words "smart" and "boot" together.

Hawai'i delegates introduced a new version of the Akaka bill in Congress minus the previous prohibition against gambling on Hawaiian lands. The new bill number is 7-come-11.

Unions are fighting a measure to replace teachers and administrators at schools that keep failing federal goals in reading and math. They want the students fired.

Big Island residents can get up-to-date information on volcanic sulfur dioxide levels by logging onto a new state Web site. Or they can just stick their heads out the door.

And the quote of the week ... from state Rep. Joe Souki on the lack of support for his bill to reinstitute traffic cameras to catch speeders: "I just wanted to bring it back to see if there was a pulse, but not too much pulse for it. I need to let it rest a little bit." You could say the same about a lot of legislators.

Reach David Shapiro at dave@volcanicash.net.