Saiki: PLDC Went too Far Unchecked
News Release from House Democrats April 15, 2013
The state House of Representatives on Monday unanimously passed HB1133, SD2 that repeals the Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC).
The bill now heads to the governor for his consideration.
The PLDC was created in 2011 to develop state lands through public-private partnerships and generate revenues for the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
However, growing public concern over the corporation’s broad exemptions from land use laws, county zoning laws, and construction standards erupted into strong, statewide opposition and calls to repeal the PLDC.
Early in the 2013 legislative session, Rep. Cindy Evans (North Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala) introduced HB1133 calling for an outright repeal of the PLDC. The bill was unanimously approved by the House and sent to the Senate where it was also approved.
Evans noted that by repealing the PLDC, lawmakers changed the work of the 2011 Legislature.
“I believe we have listened to the people and responsibly debated HB 1133. This vote today is a vote for ethical management of our natural resources,” Evans said.
House Majority Leader Scott Saiki (McCully, Kaheka, Kakaako, Downtown) voted against the original 2011 legislation that created the PLDC.
Monday, in voting to repeal the corporation he said, “We know that government plays a pivotal role in facilitating economic development, but that entails responsible development. The PLDC failed because it went too far and unchecked.”
Several other members of the House also spoke in strong support of the bill with many of them citing repeal as the right thing to do, including first year Rep. Nicole Lowen (Kailua-Kona, Holualoa, Kalaoa, Honokohau).
“Society is healthiest when its citizens are confident their leaders are acting in their interest and this repeal is a step in the right direction,” Lowen said.
* * * * *
House Minority Caucus hails bipartisan PLDC repeal
News Release from House Republican Caucus April 15, 2013
HONOLULU – The House Minority Caucus today praised the bipartisan House effort to repeal the controversial Public Land Development Corporation (PLDC). After advancing from the Senate last week, House Bill 1133 SD2 passed the House in a unanimous floor vote today and will next be transmitted to the governor for signature into law.
"When legislation sparks such controversy among an array of diverse groups and the public, it is time to reconsider it. This repeal is a recognition of the public's outcry," said Minority Leader Aaron Ling Johanson.
Rep. Cynthia Thielen added, “I’m pleased that we were able to accomplish this repeal in a bipartisan fashion. There are many things the two parties do agree on – it’s encouraging to see members from both sides coming together for such good work. This is a prime example of the Legislature collaborating to satisfy the wishes of the people it serves.”
The previous Legislature established the Public Land Development Corporation with the intent of growing Hawaii’s economy, but its hurried process and closed-door implementation were criticized by a host of environmental and good-government organizations and individuals.
The repeal of the PLDC was a top priority of the House Minority Caucus this legislative session. The primary introducers of HB 1133 SD2 include thirteen Democrats and six Republicans.
* * * * *
LEGISLATURE REPEALS THE PLDC
News Release from Sierra Club April 11, 2013
Today the Sierra Club of Hawaii, the state's largest environmental grassroots organization with over 12,000 members and supporters, praised the Hawaii State Legislature's decision to repeal the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC). The House of Representatives voted to accept HB 1133 today, thus sending a bill repealing the PLDC to the Governor. The Governor previously indicated he would not oppose such a bill.
The PLDC was created by Act 55 in 2011, with the express purpose of developing public lands to generate additional revenue for the state. Countless individuals and organizations raised alarm about the law's no-bid contract provisions, the slant towards developing public resources instead of conservation, and the creation of a semi-autonomous agency exempted from routine oversight of state and county government. Many of the more controversial aspects of the law were added at the end of session with a two-hour hearing notice to the public.
Statement of Director Robert Harris:
"With this vote, the Hawaii legislature took a strong step towards restoring public trust and transparency in our governmental process. People deserve to have a meaningful voice in what happens to the special places in their community. Back-room deals, political cronyism, and rampant development should not be a part of Hawaii's future."
The Sierra Club and its members went gone to great lengths to ensure legislators understood the concerns about the PLDC. As a watchdog environmental organization, we saw our obligation to raise the public's awareness about the implications of this law. From creating the advocacy website, GrandTheftAina.com, to leading door-to-door community organizing efforts, and endorsing and advocating for candidates who publicly supported a repeal of the PLDC, the Sierra Club is proud to have played a significant part in today's vote along with numerous other committed individuals and organizations.
We salute the many legislators who listened to their community, and showed strong leadership today in putting this matter a bit closer to being finished."
The Sierra Club of Hawaii
Founded in 1968, the Sierra Club of Hawaii is the state’s largest and most active grassroots environmental organization. The Club actively promotes reducing the impacts of global climate change by encouraging the development of clean renewable energy, reducing the use of fossil fuels, and ensuring our fragile native habitat is protected from harm. www.sierraclubhawaii.org
# # # #