Hawaiian Affairs Caucus logo

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS CAUCUS
LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES – 2021

December 27, 2020

 

  1. APPROPRIATIONS

 

  1. OHA:  Public Land Trust; Pro Rata Share (2020 HB402 HD1 SD2)
  2. OHA Budget
  3. DHHL Budget
  4. DOE Budget; Proposed cuts $254, 381 from Hawaiian Studies and $298,737 for Hawaiian Language Immersion.  Oppose:  Contrary to the Hawaii State Constitution that recognizes Hawaiian as an official language of the state of Hawaii.
  5. DHHL Casino Proposal (New)

 

  1. PUBLIC LAND TRUST
  2. Support bills that protect the Public Land Trust
  3. Assure that the PLT corpus is not eroded

 

  1. CULTURE
  2. Support bills that protect sacred places, such as Mauna’ala, Iolani Palace, Kukaniloko, Mauna Kea, etc.
  3. Support bills that advance the revitalization of the Hawaiian language
  4. (Added Jan 26) Track HB544, Making an Appropriation for a Capital Improvement Project at Mauna Kea on the Island of Hawai‘i

 

  1. (Added Jan 26) Track HB620, Relating to Legal Personhood Status
Establishes a means of determining which physical sites, geographical features, and natural resources having historical, cultural, or religious significance to native Hawaiians should be granted special protection by securing legal personhood status for these places and resources. Designates the aha moku advisory committee as the lead agency to coordinate this effort. Requires the department of land and natural resources to adopt rules no later than 12/31/2023.

 

  1. HEALTH

 

  1. State Data Governance Models (AHCC Resolution):  The unavailability of timely, clear, and detailed data, and the lack of consistent data collection, processing, retention, sharing, and governance practices in critical government agencies, have stymied efforts by OHA, Papa Ola Lokahi, and groups such as the Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander Hawaii COVID-19 Response, Recovery, Resilience Team to identify, develop and advocate for effective and targeted policies and interventions to address the impacts of the COVID-19 Response, Recovery, and Resilience Team pandemic on the health and social determinants of health of the Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities in Hawaii.  The lack of timely, clear, and detailed data on Native Hawaiians experiencing challenges in areas such as employment, education, domestic violence, and incarceration have hindered efforts of state agencies to address systemic inequities and the ongoing legacies of historical injustices and generational trauma.

Need to disaggregate data of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, to inform policymaking and interventions that directly and effectively targets health and associated disparities and inequities facing the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities.  Especially need as available information indicates that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders in substantial, various, and respectively unique ways and exacerbated their pre-pandemic health and associated socioeconomic disparities; and because there continues to be substantial data gaps regarding unemployment rates, infection trends, housing and social services needs, law enforcement interactions, and other pandemic-related outcomes specific to Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders, and other vulnerable communities who may desperately need targeted and data-informed relief to address their health and health-associated needs.

    1. Telehealth Access: In view of COVID-19 and reliance on on-line platforms for education, health treatment, etc., there is a need to increase telehealth access especially for rural communities.  Broadband access has been an issue in Homesteads and for families in West O’ahu.
    2. Provide for at least two members of the State Council on Mental Health to have demonstrated knowledge of or work experience involving Native Hawaiian concepts of well-being, culturally grounded mental health methodologies or traditional healing or health practices. (HB174 and HB292)
    3. Provide for health benefit plans to include coverage for Native Hawaiian culture-based activities.

 

  1. EDUCATION (AHCC Resolutions)

 

  1. Urge the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to Maintain its Commitment and Responsibility to the Indigenous People of Hawaii in its mission and for programs of study in Hawaiian Language, History and Culture.  See 1D above.
  2. Urge Retention of Windward Community College in its Current Status as a Stand-Alone Community College of the University of Hawaii.
  3. Support the Inclusion of ‘Aha Punana Leo as a Non-Term Limited Member of the State of Hawaii Early Learning Board

 

  1. EMPLOYMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

 

  1. Support bills to fund retaining programs
  2. Support bills to fund small business

 

  1. ENVIRONMENT

 

  1. Support bills that address the adverse impact of climate change

 

  1. HOUSING

 

Urge the Governor of the State of Hawaii to adopt a Broad Moratorium on Residential Evictions Caused by the Nonpayment of Rent and No-Fault Evictions of Residential Tenants Where the Failure to Pay Rent from Income Loss Stems as Result of the Novel Corona Virus and Provide Rental Assistance to Stabilize Hawaii’s Affordable Housing (AHCC Reso)

Support Expungement of Records for Violations Relating to the Houselessness (OHA Bill)

 

  1. DHHL Bills (Tentative)

 

Proposal HHL-01(21)

RELATING TO INDEPENDENT LEGAL COUNSEL

This proposal allows the Department to retain independent legal counsel to be paid by the State and use the services of the attorney general as needed when the interests of the State and the department are aligned.

The Department has a trust duty to its beneficiaries, and in the fulfillment of its trust obligations, the Department may at times be at odds with the interests of the State.  It is at these times that the Department must be assured that its counsel provides legal guidance strictly in the interest of its client.  Independent counsel that is hired and retained by the department eliminates any cloud of uncertainty that there is a conflict of interest that the department is represented by the Attorney General’s office that also represents the State of Hawaiʻi.

 

Proposal HHL-02(21)

RELATING TO THE COMMISSION ON WATER RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

This proposal adds the Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission or the Chairman’s designee to the Commission on Water Resource Management.

The Water Code requires that planning decisions of the Commission on Water Resource Management ensure that sufficient water remains available for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian Home Lands.  In order to further the interest of beneficiaries, the Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission or the Chair’s designee should serve as an ex officio voting member of the Commission on Water Resource Management.

 

Proposal HHL-03(21)

RELATING TO AGRICULTURE

This proposal adds the Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission to the Board of Agriculture.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, headed by the Board of Agriculture, works to support, enhance, promote, and protect Hawaiʻi’s agriculture and aquaculture industries.  The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act authorizes the Department to lease agricultural lands or lands used for aquaculture purposes.  As the State looks to increase food security across the state, the interests of agricultural homestead lessees should be represented on the Board of Agriculture.

 

Proposal HHL-04(21)

RELATING TO AGRICULTURE

This proposal adds the Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission to the Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Development Corporation.

The mission of the Agribusiness Development Corporation is to provide leadership and advocacy for the conversion of agribusiness into a dynamic growth industry.  The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act authorizes the Department to lease agricultural lands or lands used for aquaculture purposes.  As the State looks to increase food security across the state, the interests of agricultural homestead lessees should be represented on the Board of Directors of the Agribusiness Development Corporation.

 

Proposal HHL-05(21)

RELATING TO HOUSING

This proposal exempts any housing development for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands from school impact fee requirements.

Lands set aside for use as Hawaiian Home Lands were withdrawn for other purposes, including public schools, since the enactment of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.  Additionally, the Department provides affordable housing that often accounts for the educational facilities that may be needed to support the community with the siting of public schools, public charter schools, early learning facilities, and other similar facilities on or near Hawaiian Home Lands.

 

Proposal HHL-06(21)

RELATING TO HOUSING

This proposal exempts any housing development for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands from general excise taxes.

The Department provides housing at affordable rates when compared to similar housing available in Hawaiʻi.  In order to further the interest of beneficiaries, any housing development for the Department should be exempt from general excise taxes.

 

Proposal HHL-07(21)

RELATING TO CESSPOOLS

This proposal establishes a low-interest loan program to offer financial assistance for lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands with cesspools to be upgraded or converted to septic systems or aerobic treatment unit systems, or connected to existing sewer systems or any other wastewater treatment systems approved by the Department of Health.

Cesspools are a nonpoint contamination source of great concern.  Collectively, the State’s cesspools release more than 53 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each day.  In response to the State’s cesspool pollution problem, legislation was enacted in 2017 that requires all cesspools not excluded by the Director of Health to be upgraded or converted to septic systems or aerobic treatment unit systems or connected to sewage systems by January 1, 2050.  In order to work toward meeting this deadline, cesspools on Hawaiian Home Lands could be a good place to start.

 

Proposal HHL-08(21)

RELATING TO THE COUNTY BOARDS OF WATER SUPPLY

This proposal clarifies requirements on the County Boards of Water Supply to reserve water credits for the use of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

The lack of available water has been and remains a significant barrier to the State’s ability to develop Hawaiian Homes projects.  Working with the Department, the Commission on Water Resource Management has set some groundwater and surface water reservations for Hawaiian Homes projects on each island with lands set aside for homesteading purposes.  Nevertheless, some Counties treat the Department like a developer without differentiating or prioritizing water for Hawaiian Homes projects.

 

Proposal HHL-09(21)

RELATING TO WATER RIGHTS

This proposal sets the upset price for water that is leased to no less than 80% of the total cost of the least expensive actually practicable source of water for the given use, as determined by an independent third-party appraiser.

The Native Hawaiian Rehabilitation Fund, programs for watershed management by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and funds for the betterment of conditions of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs all benefit from revenues generated by the disposition of water rights, so setting an upset price is aimed at increasing revenues.

 

Proposal HHL-10(21)

RELATING TO COUNTIES

This proposal requires the Counties within 60 days to maintain infrastructure, under specified conditions, as part of any housing development for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

The Department complies with County requirements when developing subdivisions, yet the maintenance of infrastructure is often still the responsibility of the Department.  Moreover, lands utilized by DHHL to provide housing for native Hawaiians are offered at affordable rates when compared to similar housing available in Hawaiʻi.

 

Proposal HHL-12(21)

RELATING TO INDUSTRIAL HEMP

This proposal expands the industrial hemp pilot program administered by the Department of Agriculture on Hawaiian Home Lands.

The Department’s large agricultural landholdings provide a great opportunity to diversify economic outputs and revenue.  The opportunity to cultivate industrial hemp would increase jobs and training for native Hawaiians in the development of this new sector.  The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Department of Agriculture, and the Board of Agriculture would need to collaborate to ensure proper compliance and development of the industrial hemp industry within the confines of the pilot program.

 

Proposal HHL-13(21)

RELATING TO HISTORIC PRESERVATION REVIEWS

This proposal allows the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to assume review of the effect of any proposed project on historic properties or burial sites for lands under its jurisdiction.

Instead of requiring the Department to consult with the Department of Land and Natural Resources regarding the effect of a project upon historic properties or burial sites, this proposal would streamline the process by allowing the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to assume this review.

 

Proposal HHL-14(21)

RELATING TO THE EXPEDITED AGENCY HEARING

This proposal establishes an expedited agency hearing for any criminal activity that threatens the health and safety of the community or any drug-related criminal activity.

Concerns have arisen regarding the ongoing activity that is threatening the health and safety of the community.  This bill will allow for a prompt response through an expedited agency hearing

  1. Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA) Bills

 

  1. JUDICIARY

 

  1. Urging the Full Implementation of Recommendations from the Native Hawaiian Task Force, Pu’uhonua Summit, and Justice Center, as a comprehensive criminal justice reform to reduce the incarcerated population, including the Native Hawaiian Incarcerated Population, by Twenty-Five Percent by 2023
  2. Funding a Plaque to be placed by the statue of President McKinley on the true and accurate story of the invalid annexation of Hawai‘i to the United States