Monday, April 30, 2012
Star-Advertiser reports another suit filed related to assault on activists in 2010
by Larry Geller
Taxpayers will no doubt have to fork up more money for state misconduct in this new lawsuit, filed by activist Mitchell Kahle and videographer Kevin Hughes against then Senate President Colleen Hanabusa.
In April 2010, Kahle was forcibly ejected from the Senate gallery after protesting the prayer with which the Senate opened each session (the Senate has since given up the practice). From today’s Star-Advertiser breaking news:
Kahle and Hughes reached a $100,000 settlement earlier this year with the state in their lawsuit against Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Ben Villaflor, his subordinates and sheriff's deputies.
Kahle was arrested in connection with the April 2010 incident, but later acquitted of a disorderly conduct charge. Hughes video recorded Kahle protesting the prayer and said several Sergeant-at-Arms employees attacked him and broke his camera.
[Star-Advertiser, Activist Mitchell Kahle and videographer file lawsuit against Hanabusa, 4/30/2012]
This is the incident I referred to in Contemplating violence? Who, us? (3/27/2012). The Sergeant-at-Arms was standing near the door during the Senate confirmation hearing for Hawaii Health Connector nominees chaired by Senator Roz Baker. Due to the reports of the settlement, the actions of this man were fresh in the minds of several of us, and his presence could not help but be intimidating.
So now there is a new suit. It could end in another settlement. Would Hanabusa pay that out of her own pocket?
Of course not. The state takes the money from our pockets to pay these settlements.
As long as I mentioned the intimidation…
At the confirmation hearing, three insurance company appointees were confirmed for the board of the Hawaii Health Connector despite the obvious conflict of interest and over community objections. See Sen. Roz Baker Blasted Over Hearing Conduct (Civil Beat, 3/27/2012). At present, SB2434, which would remove the three insurance company representatives, has not gone to conference. Unless the Senate agrees with the House version, the three will be seated.
If you’re not totally worn out by the various legislative battles this session, why not drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask Senators to please agree with the House version of SB2434 HD3, which will eject (with no violence, I promise) the insurers from the board of the Hawaii Health Connector. Why? Because the HHC will set the conditions under which insurance is sold in Hawaii under Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
And don’t feel too sorry for them. The way the federal law is set up, insurers make out like bandits no matter what.
I believe Kahle was within his rights to protest, but hasn't he already collected $100,000 in taxpayer money as settlement?
I have not seen the original settlement agreement, but whoever handled the original settlement for the State was negligent if they didn't include a release for all State officers, employees, and agents.