by Andrew Walden
Rep Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) is preparing to introduce a third version of the Akaka Bill in the US House to replace the existing text of HR 2314. And, according to one source, staffers in the office of Senator Dan Akaka (D-HI) are writing an amended version of S1011 to introduce in the Senate in place of the bill passed by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.
On Monday February 22 at 5PM EST (12 Noon HST) the House Rules Committee will consider allowing Abercrombie to amend the old version of the Akaka Bill with the latest new version.
Hawaii residents may see a copy of the proposed substitute amendment to HR 2314 only because the Republican minority of the House Committee on Natural Resources posted it on their website Friday, February 19. The Hawaii Congressional delegation has done nothing to make this bill available to the public.
HR2314—the original 2009 version of the Akaka Bill, introduced May 7, 2009--was passed by the House Committee on Natural Resources December 16, 2009 after Rep Abercrombie’s effort to introduce and pass a new version creating an instant Indian Tribe had been obstructed by Republican parliamentary maneuvering.
Hawaii’s Republican Governor Linda Lingle and Attorney General Mark Bennett--supporters of previous versions of the Akaka Bill—expressed sharp opposition in December to the new secretly prepared version.
But in the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Senator Dan Inouye, and Dan Akaka were able to pass their new version.
The Honolulu Advertiser and the Star-Bulletin—both supporters of the original version of the Akaka Bill--have since editorialized against the new version passed by the Senate.
The Star Bulletin December 20 demanded public hearings be held on the new version saying, “Akaka appears to have left many in the dark about the changes to the bill in the days preceding action by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.”
The Advertiser December 24 wrote: “Native Hawaiians have a history distinct from other American indigenous groups, one in which they have lived intertwined with the larger Island society for more than a century. And that larger society should have a place at the table where the relationship of the native, state and federal governments can be discussed.”
Now Hawaii’s Congressional delegation is creating another secret version of the Akaka Bill.
RELATED: (UPDATE) Akaka Bill: More than 73% of Hawaiians not "Qualified" for membership in Akaka Tribe , FULL TEXT: Latest version of Akaka Bill , House Expected to Vote Next Week on ANOTHER secret version of Akaka Bill
OHA DC Office: Changes proposed in the process of finding common ground to move forward with passage of the Hawaiian Recognition bill (Posted Jan 27: Includes proposed changes by AG Bennett, and opinions by OHA.)