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State briefs for January 8

House to update sexual harassment policy

HONOLULU — The state House of Representatives is expected to update the chamber’s sexual harassment policy a year after its former speaker resigned to resolve allegations brought by several women.

House Speaker Scott Saiki said Monday the proposed new policy covers complainants who are members of the public, not just employees.

It specifies that employees or members of the public can take their complaints to the speaker, the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or judiciary.

Existing policy calls for employee complaints to be filed to a supervisor, House speaker or chief clerk, who works for the speaker.

Former Speaker Joe Souki resigned in March. The only woman to publicly accuse Souki, Rachael Wong, led the state Department of Human Services and wasn’t a House employee.

Court-martial pretrial hearing in airman’s death in Guam

SHREVEPORT, La. — An Air Force electronic warfare journeyman pleaded innocent to a murder charge accusing him of stabbing and slitting his roommate’s throat while they were temporarily assigned to a base in Guam.

News agencies report that court-martial proceedings began Monday for Isaiah Edwards. He is charged with killing 20-year-old Bradley Hale of Montgomery County, Texas.

The Air Force says it cannot release Edwards’ age, and won’t release his hometown out of privacy and safety concerns for his family.

During a pretrial hearing, three first responders testified that they heard Edwards say “I killed him.”

Attorneys argued whether certain crime scene photos and other evidence should be admitted.

Guests return to Maui resort after brush fire evacuation

WAILEA, Maui — Guests at a Maui resort are returning to their suites after a brush fire prompted an evacuation.

Hotel Wailea spokeswoman Christy Stesky said resort operations were back to normal Monday morning.

Maui officials say the resort was evacuated Sunday when the brush fire threatened the hotel. Some area residents also were evacuated and later allowed to return to their homes.

Officials say winds that fanned the fast-moving flames died down early Monday. Officials said there were no injuries or property damage reported.

Stesky said the resort made arrangements for their guests to spend the night in area hotels.

More than 30 people, mostly tourists, went to a shelter. By Monday morning, a family of five remained in the shelter.

Officials said the fire was 60 percent contained by Monday morning. The cause of the blaze is not yet known.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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