by Andrew Walden
By a voice vote, the House Rules Committee today authorized Rep Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) to introduce a “substitute amendment” which replaces the old version of the Akaka Bill (HR2314) passed in December by the House Committee on Natural Resources. As a result of today’s vote, Abercrombie’s new version of the Akaka Bill will go directly to the floor of the House.
This version, the fourth to be created since the introduction of HR2314 and S1011 was made available to the public by minority Republicans only this morning. It replaces an earlier version released by Republicans last Friday. The Advertiser and Star-Bulletin provided copies of the new Akaka Bill only minutes before the Rules Committee meeting. The two latest versions are amended forms of the new HR2314 version which exploded in Abercrombie’s face last December after Governor Lingle and AG Bennett announced their strong opposition. The Advertiser, February 19, quoted Bennett as continuing to have objections to language contained in the bill. Governor Lingle, in Washington today on other business, made no statement regarding the Akaka Bill.
Two Republican amendments will be heard on the House floor. One, offered by Rep Doc Hastings (R-WA), demands an all-Hawaii plebiscite to create the Akaka Tribe and approve its governing documents. The second, offered by Rep Jeff Flake (R-AZ), requires that the Akaka Tribe adhere to the equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment. Under the Rules, no additional amendments will be considered and debate will be limited in duration.
HR2314 may be heard as early as tomorrow (Tues Feb 23). Neil Abercrombie is resigning from Congress effective February 28, 2010. It is almost certain that HR2314 be voted on by the House before his departure.
The Senate companion to HR2314 is S1011. In its current form, it is identical to the version of the new Akaka Bill which was rejected by the House Committee on Natural Resources last December. It has not yet been publicly rewritten to conform to the language in the revised version of HR2314 which Abercrombie will be presenting to the full House.
H.R. 2314 - Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009
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COMMITTEE ACTION: REPORTED BY A VOICE VOTE on Monday February 22, 2010
SUMMARY OF THE AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE IN PART A PROPOSED TO BE MADE IN ORDER
#1 ABERCROMBIE – Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute (ANS)-The substitute addresses several issues raised by the Attorney General of the State of Hawaii and others. In particular the ANS clarifies the definition of “Native Hawaiian” to ensure that the Native Hawaiian governing entity is a distinctly native community. While recognizing and affirming the sovereign immunity of the Native Hawaiian governing entity, the ANS expressly states the Act does not alter the sovereign immunity of the or the State of Hawaii allowing for negotiations. The ANS further clarifies that, pending negotiations and subsequent implementation legislation the following will occur: there will be no “Indian Country” within Hawaii; the United States will not take land into trust, nor restrict alienability of land owned by the Native Hawaiian governing entity; the governing entity may not exercise certain powers and authorities such as jurisdiction over non Native Hawaiian individuals without their consent; and the State of Hawaii will retain regulatory and taxation authority over Native Hawaiians and the Native Hawaiian governing entity. (30 minutes)
SUMMARY OF THE AMENDMENTS IN PART B, TO THE AMENDMENT IN THE NATURE OF A SUBSTITUTE IN PART A, PROPOSED TO BE MADE IN ORDER
#1 HASTINGS (WA) - The amendment requires that the voters of Hawaii approve the governing documents for the Native Hawaiian governing entity before federal recognition becomes operative. (10 minutes)
#2 Flake - The amendment states that nothing in this Act shall relieve a Native Hawaiian governing authority, from complying with the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. (10 minutes)