The civil union bill grabbed all the headlines, but a number of other laws and rule changes took effect this week at the county and state level. Here’s a sampling.
Furlough days. County offices closed one day per month; for a complete schedule, visit www.mauicounty.gov/furlough
Ban on use of handheld electronic devices while driving. See this week’s Coconut Wireless for more info.
Increased real property tax rates. Rates increase for all categories except commercial, industrial, time share and commercialized residential; for more info, visit www.mauicounty.gov/finance
Bus fare hikes. Former $1 routes now cost $2; former free routes now cost $1. Cost of monthly passes also increased: all-route pass, $45; students and seniors, $30; restricted monthly pass, $20.
Decreased hours at county landfills and increased tipping fees. Hours cut at Central Maui, Olowalu, Hana, Molokai and Lanai landfills; visit www.mauicounty.gov/solidwaste for more info. Tipping fees will increase by about $3 per ton.
Increased wastewater and water rates. Monthly base charge goes from $25.50 to $25.60, with rates increasing an average of 4.5 percent. Water rates go up an average of $1.75 per month.
Pools closed. County pools closed one day per week; Kahului and Wailuku pools closed every day except for pre-planned special events; call 270-8208 for more info.
STATE OF HAWAII
Emergency money for schools. Up to $67 million moved from the state Hurricane Relief Fund to end Furlough Fridays in Hawaii’s public schools.
Earlier due date for state taxes. State taxes—including transient accommodations taxes, insurance premium taxes, fuel taxes, use taxes, rental car surcharge taxes, liquor taxes and tobacco taxes—now due on the 20th of the month instead of the last day of the month.
Cigarette tax hike. Increases the tax on cigarettes by 40 cents per pack.
Ban on gun seizures. Firearms and ammunition can’t be confiscated from “law-abiding citizens” during a disaster or emergency.
Political contributions not deductible. Starting in the 2011 tax year, political contributions will no longer be tax deductible.
Ban on shark-finning. Possession or distribution of shark fins by restaurants, sellers or anyone else is prohibited statewide.
Hawaii driver’s license restrictions. Proof of that a person is legally in the United States now required to get a Hawaii driver’s license.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that proof of U.S. citizenship is required to get a Hawaii driver’s license.