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Sunday, January 19, 2014
OHA Introduces 2014 Legislative Package
By News Release @ 3:37 PM :: 3840 Views :: OHA

2014 Legislative Package

From Office of Hawaiian Affairs

As part of its mandate to advocate for Native Hawaiians, each year OHA submits a package of proposed bills to the Hawaii State Legislature, and the agency’s Board of Trustees also votes to take positions on a wide variety of legislation impacting the Hawaiian community.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees has approved the following bills and resolutions to be put forward as OHA’s 2014 state legislative package:

  • OHA-2 HB224/SB410 Hawaiian Language Assessments: The Hawaiian language and education communities have raised strong concerns about negative impact the current Hawaiian translation of the Hawai‘i State Assessment test has on Hawaiian language immersion students and programs. Reported problems from the translated Hawai‘i State Assessment include cultural and translation biases, translation inaccuracies, and terminology inconsistencies, which have resulted in highly inaccurate assessments of Hawaiian language immersion schools and students. To address these concerns, this bill requires the state Department of Education to develop independent reading, math, and science assessments in the Hawaiian language for Hawaiian language immersion students in grades three through six. Bill Status: HB224 HD3 SD2 is in conference committee; SB410 was not heard.

View the House Bill on | View the Senate Bill on

  • OHA-6 HB220/SB406 Native Hawaiian Law Training Course: State boards and commissions regularly make decisions involving public trust resources, and have a duty to protect and enforce the legal rights of Native Hawaiians. However, while board and commission members are often selected for their depth of expertise in a range of specialized areas, they may not necessarily have specific knowledge of their additional duties relating to Native Hawaiian rights and the public trust. By requiring certain board and commission members to attend an OHA-sponsored training course on these topics, this bill provides these individuals with some of the tools they need to fulfill their legal responsibilities.Bill Status: HB220 HD2 passed Second Reading, must be heard by the House Committee on Finance; SB406 SD2 HD1 was deferred in conference committee.

View the House Bill on | View the Senate Bill on

  • OHA-11 HB216/SB402 Act 178 Financial Review: Enacted in 2006, Act 178 requires state agencies to report all annual revenues generated on public land trust lands to OHA to ensure that OHA receives its pro-rata share of such revenues as mandated by the Hawai‘i State Constitution. However, accounting practices have continued to raise questions as to whether agencies are fulfilling the requirements and the intent of Act 178. This bill accordingly authorizes OHA to conduct and finance a financial review of state agencies’ compliance with the requirements of Act 178.Bill Status: HB216 HD1 passed Second Reading, deferred by the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs; SB402 SD1 passed Second Reading, must be heard by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.

View the House Bill on | View the Senate Bill on

  • OHA-12 Native Hawaiian Health Disparities: Data shows that Native Hawaiians, other Pacific islanders and Filipinos continue to have disparate health outcomes compared to the rest of the state population. This bill updates our State Planning Act to ensure that the health planning of the state will focus on creating policies, interventions, programs and funding targeted at eliminating health disparities by addressing the social determinants of health such as housing, education, social services, leisure, individual rights, culture, and public safety. If enacted, this bill will codify the state’s commitment to improving the health of the state’s most vulnerable communities which in turn improves the health and well-being of the overall population.

  • OHA-13 Remnant Clarification: Enacted in 2009, Act 176 prohibits the sale of public lands, including ceded lands, without (1) prior notice to OHA and (2) the approval of two-thirds of the Hawai‘i State Legislature. However, neither of these requirements applies if the land to be sold is a “remnant,” which is currently defined as “a parcel of land economically or physically unsuitable or undesirable for development.” Given that much of the lands held by the state may be considered “unsuitable or undesirable for development,” the current remnant definition can be broadly interpreted to allow the sale of numerous public lands, including ceded lands, outside of the Act 176 legislative approval process. To address this concern, this bill amends the remnant definition to clarify that, in addition to being unsuitable or undesirable for development, a remnant shall also be: (1) Land acquired by condemnation which is in excess of the needs for which condemned; or (2) Vacated, closed, abandoned, or discontinued road, street or alley or walk, railroad, ditch, or other right-of-way.

  • OHA-14 Native Hawaiian Cultural Expert on the Board of Land and Natural Resources: As the state agency mandated to manage the state’s natural and cultural resources, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) regularly makes critical decisions that impact Native Hawaiians and their cultural practices. Despite this critical decision-making authority, there is no requirement that any member of the BLNR possess expertise on Native Hawaiian rights or cultural practices. This bill requires that at least one of the BLNR members shall have substantial experience or expertise in traditional Hawaiian land usage and knowledge of cultural land practices.

  • OHA-15 Phased Archaeological Review: Last year, Act 85 was enacted to authorize the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division to approve development projects based on phased archaeological reviews. OHA opposed this legislation because it would allow construction to start before an archaeological survey is completed, which would threaten iwi küpuna and cultural sites. Moreover, OHA believes that the phased archaeological review allowed under Act 85 is far broader than what is allowed under Act 85’s federal counterpart. Therefore, this bill seeks to only allow phased archaeological reviews for projects subject to the federal National Historic Preservation Act to ensure that phased review in Hawaiʻi is conducted in compliance with federal law.

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