FULL TEXT: S675 as Amended (new version of Akaka Bill)
CB Akaka Bill Amended, Passed With Little Discussion Thurs 9-13-2012: Wyoming Republican John Barrasso said his position is that new tribes should go through the Interior Department recognition, which the Akaka Bill would circumvent…. At the end of the hearing, Barrasso noted that John McCain also wished to be recorded as a no vote. (Scroll down for news release from Akaka's office.)
Inouye: “Well, the odds are bad, but we're going to try our best."
PR Markup Weds 9-12-2012: “The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee on Thursday is scheduled to consider an amendment to a Native Hawaiian federal recognition bill to reflect a state law recognizing Hawaiians as an indigenous people.”
CB Weds 9-12-2012: Lingle, Hirono: Pleased, Proud
The committee has scheduled a "markup" for Thursday afternoon so Akaka can streamline what had been roughly a 60-page package into a 15-page proposal he hopes will be easier for colleagues to pass, even if it happens after he's gone, according to Akaka spokesman Jesse Broder Van Dyke.
The existing version of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act includes a lengthy section that would set up a roll, determine who qualifies as Native Hawaiian and require action from the Secretary of the Interior.
But the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission authorized by the Hawaii Legislature last year is now up and running, eliminating the need for the federal government to get involved in that step. The amended version of the bill Akaka will push Thursday would acknowledge the state's Roll Commission….
"I am very pleased to learn that the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has scheduled a 'markup' of the Akaka Bill in an effort to move this very important legislation forward. This would be a great testament to Senator Dan Akaka's service to our state," Lingle said in an emailed statement from her campaign Tuesday night.
"I have been consistent and unwavering in my support for federal recognition for native Hawaiians. I personally traveled to Washington, D.C. on several occasions to attract bipartisan Senatorial support by convincing key Senators to become co-sponsors of the Akaka Bill, and was successful in ensuring that Senator John McCain (then‐Chairman of the Committee on Indian Affairs) scheduled committee hearings, where I offered testimony in support of the bill. These hearings helped the bill pass out of committee but, unfortunately it did not have enough votes to pass the full Senate.
"If elected as the next U.S. Senator from Hawaii, I will devote myself to assuring native Hawaiian recognition by convincing my Republican colleagues to do the right thing and vote in favor of this important legislation. Our lack of a Republican Senator is one of the primary reasons the Akaka Bill has not passed."
Hirono's campaign provided a statement thanking Akaka for his "moral leadership, legislative guidance, and unwavering support of Native Hawaiian recognition."
"After the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act is marked up this Thursday, I hope the critical measure will be brought to the Senate floor for approval before the end of the year," Hirono said in the emailed statement.
"I have long supported the Akaka Bill, and since being elected to Congress, I have been a strong advocate of the bill in the U.S. House. In the current 112th Congress, I proudly introduced the House version of the bill. We must continue to fight for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians."
The New Roll: 2011 Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe
Meet the Boss of the Akaka Tribal Roll: State Sues to Get Back $39M Looted from Graves by John Waihee
And the Tremendous Outpouring of Support: 0.3% of Hawaiians Sign up for Akaka Tribe
Announcement: Senate Indian Affairs Committee
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Indian Affairs committee approves amended Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act
Streamlined bill now up for consideration by the full Senate
News Release from Office of Sen. Dan Akaka (D-HI) Thu, September 13, 2012
WASHINGTON D.C. - Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, chaired by Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii), amended the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2011 (S. 675) by voice vote and favorably reported it to the Senate floor.
Earlier this year, the State of Hawaii's Native Hawaiian Roll Commission began developing a roll of Native Hawaiian constituents for the purposes of reorganizing a Native Hawaiian government. As a result, significant portions of the bill, which was approved by the Indian Affairs Committee last spring, are no longer required.
Chairman Akaka said: "My amendment, guided by extensive consultation and witness testimony, streamlines my bill, builds on recent efforts by the State of Hawaii, and incorporates longstanding principles of federal Indian law.
"The Native Hawaiian people are the only federally-recognized Native peoples without a government-to-government relationship, and no clear path to securing one without legislation. This bill will create parity in federal policy so that Native Hawaiians will be treated the same as all other recognized indigenous peoples - no more no less.
"Congress has created and continues to fund programs to address the Native Hawaiian needs in the areas of health, education, welfare and housing, but has failed to uphold the final and most important piece of the trust relationship with Native Hawaiians, a guaranteed right to self-governance.
"By approving this amendment today, the members of this Committee took a stand for justice and a step towards equity."
Senator Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii) said: "Federal recognition for Native Hawaiians is long overdue and I will continue the fight started by my longtime partner and friend, Senator Akaka. Whether it be during this Congress or the next, I will not rest until the sovereign rights of Native Hawaiians are recognized and Senator Akaka's legacy is fulfilled."
The committee also approved S. 1345, the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Grand Coulee Dam Equitable Compensation Settlement Act, and S. 1684, the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2011.
S. 1345 would provide compensation to the Spokane Tribe for the generation of hydropower by the Grand Coulee Dam and would absolve the Secretary of the Interior of any trust responsibility for the investment, supervision, administration, or expenditure of any amounts paid under the Act. S. 1345 was introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington).
S. 1684 would streamline the process for approving tribal energy resource agreements and make the approval process for these agreements more predictable for Indian tribes. S. 1684 was introduced by Vice Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) and co-sponsored by Chairman Akaka.
"I applaud my colleagues' efforts to take up the priorities of their tribes and to work to make lives better for tribal people throughout their states and throughout Indian Country," said Chairman Akaka. "Although we do not have much time left in this Congress, the members of this Committee and I will continue to fight for what is right."