Plastic Bag Ban Takes Effect
After much debate and discussion, Maui County’s plastic bag ban is here. Effective January 11, stores can no longer provide plastic bags at the point of sale. They’ll still offer paper bags, but the best thing to do—if you want this law to work, and you should—is to get yourself a few nice, sturdy reusable bags (and, this is key, actually bring them with you when you go shopping).
But here’s the real question: what are stores supposed to do with all the now-illegal plastic bags they have laying around? The answer isn’t to throw them away; that defeats the purpose and empty plastic bags are far more likely to blow out of the landfill—which, contrary to what that creepy kid from American Beauty would have you believe, is not beautiful.
Instead, stores can give their leftover petroleum-based satchels to the Community Work Day Program (cwdhawaii.org), which will offer them to any resident who owns at least three reusable bags. The idea is that people will then keep the plastic bags as reminders of a bygone era—or more likely stuff them with trash, so that when they do reach the landfill they’ll at least be weighed down.
ACLU: New Year, New (And Old) Fights
As 2010 drew to a close, ACLU Hawaii (acluhawii.org) issued a list of accomplishments—and previewed a few percolating issues that could lead to legal action in 2011. On the back-patting side, they touted a successful gender discrimination suit against the Department of Education and Maui County over inadequate high school softball facilities, blocking random drug testing of Hawaii public school teachers, and successfully defending the right of a female Hawaii inmate incarcerated in Arizona to get married behind bars.
Meanwhile, ACLU highlighted some battles it plans to wage in the new year: pushing for same-sex civil unions, ending religious invocations at government meetings, ensuring the rights of protesters ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference on Oahu, fighting Operation Green Harvest (which ACLU terms “warrantless aerial searches” for marijuana) and investigating claims that the Maui Police Department and Immigrations and Custom Enforcement officials “have violated Maui residents’ constitutional rights in enforcing federal immigration law.”
That’s a lot of fights—some likely unwinnable. But, you know, at least someone’s fighting them.
Board and Commission Deadline Extended
If you’re a slacker who also wants to serve on a Maui County board or commission, good news: the deadline to apply has been extended to January 14. Positions are open on the Lighting Standards Committee, Cost of Government Commission, Liquor Control Adjudication Board (almost-guaranteed way to get your name mentioned in MauiTime) and more than 30 others.
Applicants are selected by the Mayor and approved by the County Council and all positions are volunteer, so if you thought you were going to perform a civic service and get rich, sorry. For more info, visit co.maui.hi.us.