State briefs for April 15

Unemployment rate drops to 4.1% in March from 4.2%

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii’s unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 4.1% in March from 4.2% the previous month, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism said Thursday.


The drop continues a downward trend that’s been in place as the state slowly recovers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate fell to 3.6% last month from 3.8% in February.

The department said the leisure and hospitality sector added jobs, along with construction and professional and business services. The retail and wholesale trade sectors lost positions, as did health care and social assistance fields.

Hawaii’s jobless rate jumped from 2.2% before the pandemic to 22.4% in April 2020 as the spread of COVID-19 prompted the state to impose a quarantine on travelers. The rate has been gradually declining since.

Official pleads not guilty to perjury, other charges

HONOLULU (AP) — The head of training at the Hawaii Department of Public Safety pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges accusing her of lying about her educational background.

Public Training Officer J. Marte Martinez pleaded not guilty to perjury, tampering with a government record and unsworn falsification to authorities, according to her attorney Birney Bervar.

Trial is set for June, Bervar said, declining to comment on the allegations.

A complaint filed in court said Martinez made false statements about her educational background while testifying under oath before the Hawaii Labor Relations Board.

The alleged false statements included having a liberal arts degree from a Virginia university.

Martinez is also accused of submitting a transcript to the public safety department purported to be from an Oregon university, “which was falsely made, completed, or altered,” the complaint said.

When applying for positions in the public safety department, she submitted an application that contained “statements about her educational background that she did not believe to be true,” the complaint said.

The Department of Public Safety oversees Hawaii’s jail and prisons, along with law enforcement divisions, including sheriffs.

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