Ceded Lands Update: Hawaiian Affairs Committee Discusses Supreme Court Ruling

Maile pictured with friend and Waianae resident Aika Makaula at the Taro Festival on Hawaiian Caucus Day at the State Capitol.

By Travis Quezon April 12, 2009

HONOLULU — The House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs held an informational briefing this week on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling and “What’s Next.”…[and the] proposed compromised draft amendments to SB 1677 [was also discussed]…

Both Attorney General Mark Bennett and Attorney Bill Meheula explained that in the proposed compromise language…any sales of certain state lands are subject to legislative approval. If the legislature fails to approve the concurrent resolution by at least a two-thirds majority vote of both houses, the transaction shall not be consummated by the state department or agency…

Disapproval by resolution of [transfers or] exchanges of public land as defined in chapter 171, HRS occurs by… by two-thirds vote of either the Senate or the House, [or]…by majority vote of both houses of the Legislature….the Office of Hawaiian Affairs would be notified of any proposed transfer or exchange of “ceded lands.”…

Vice Chair, Rep. Maile Shimabukuro expressed concerns over the disapproval process of the bill, whereby a single committee chair has the power to pull a resolution before it is heard. If a legislator wants a transfer or exchange of ceded lands transaction to happen, all they have to do is make sure that the concurrent resolution is not heard. This kills the resolution and therefore no disapproval occurs…

“I am still in favor of a full moratorium,” said Rep. Mele Carroll, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. “However, I could live with a sunset date on a moratorium making it one, two, three or even five years to give us some time to discuss, evaluate and come up with a policy that we can all live with, if that is the direction this body wants to move in, our goal should be that the trust is protected, especially if the Legislature cannot reach an agreement on the policy.”

For the full text of the article, click here:
Hawaiian Affairs Committee discusses Supreme Court ruling

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