My name is Ka‘i‘ini Kaloi, and I am the Director for the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations at the U.S. Department of the Interior. I am writing to ask for your comments on Act 174, 2012 Hawai‘i Session Laws, proposing to amend the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920 (HHCA).
This state law proposes, first, to amend the HHCA by exempting Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) expenditures of less than $100,000 from the Hawaii Public Procurement Code. Currently, expenditures by the DHHL of less than $100,000 must comply with Chapter 103D of the Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”). The State of Hawai‘i’s proposed exemption would apply to expenditures out of the Hawaiian Home Operating Fund, the Hawaiian Home Receipts Fund, the Hawaiian Home Trust Fund, the Native Hawaiian Rehabilitation Fund, and the Hawaiian Home Administration Account, provided that DHHL develop internal policies and procedures consistent with the goals of public accountability and public procurement practices for the procurement of goods, services and construction. Second, Act 174 would require DHHL to submit an annual report to the State Legislature detailing all solicitations and procurements of goods and services.
The reason we are seeking comments is that my office is required to determine whether any proposed amendment to the HHCA increases or decreases benefits to the beneficiaries or the lessees of Hawaiian Home Lands. If the Act decreases benefits to the beneficiaries or the lessees of Hawaiian Home Lands, then only Congress may approve the proposed amendment. Also, Congress must approve the Act if it reduces or impairs the Hawaiian home-loan fund, Hawaiian home-operating fund, Hawaiian home-development fund, increases encumbrances on Hawaiian home lands by officers other than those charged with administering the HHCA, or changes the qualification of lessees, among other things. If Congressional approval is required for one of these latter reasons, it is also helpful to know what you think about the Act so we can decide whether to recommend Congress approve the proposed amendment.
To assist those who choose to provide input on Act 174, I have attached the following documents:
- Act 174;
- A letter from the DHHL forwarding the Act;
- A letter from the Department of the Attorney General for the State of Hawai‘i discussing the Act; and
- Testimony presented to the Hawai‘i State Legislature by Alapaki Nahale-a while he was Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. Please e-mail your opinion on Act 174 to firstname.lastname@example.org and include in the subject line “Opinion on Act 174.” I hope to hear from you within the next 30 days.
Ka‘i‘ini Kimo Kaloi