Track Legislation

Opening Day at the 2017 Hawaii State Legislature.

Here are brief summaries on bills currently making their way through the Hawaiʻi State Legislature this 2017 session that may have an impact on the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the beneficiaries we serve:

Budget Bill

  • HB100 – State Biennium Budget for Fiscal Years 2017-2019
    Synopsis: Appropriates funds for the operating and capital improvement budget of the Executive Branch for fiscal years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019.
    Status: (1/23/2017) Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the House Finance Committee (FIN).

Blood Quantum for Successors Bills

  • SB959 – Reduce Blood Quantum for Successors (House Companion HB1093)
    Synopsis:
    Lowers the required blood quantum to one-thirty-second Hawaiian for the lessee’s relatives currently eligible to succeed to a lease with one-quarter Hawaiian including a lessee’s husband, wife, children, grandchildren, brothers, or sisters. Requires Congressional approval.
    Status: (As of 1/25/2017) Awaiting hearings to be scheduled by the Senate Committees on Hawaiian Affairs (HWN) and Judiciary & Labor (JDL)
  • HB1093 – Reduce Blood Quantum for Successors (Senate Companion SB959)
    Synopsis:
    Lowers the required blood quantum to one-thirty-second Hawaiian for the lessee’s relatives currently eligible to succeed to a lease with one-quarter Hawaiian including a lessee’s husband, wife, children, grandchildren, brothers, or sisters. Requires Congressional approval.
    Status: (As of 1/27/2017) Awaiting hearings to be scheduled by the House Committees on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH); Judiciary (JUD); and Finance (FIN).
  • HB451 – Reduce Blood Quantum for Successors
    Synopsis: Reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second.
    Status: (As of 02/14/2017) The bill PASSED with amendments out of the House Judiciary Committee (JUD). The votes were as follows – 11 Ayes: Representatives Nishimoto, San Buenaventura, Belatti, Brower, Johanson, C. Lee, Morikawa, Nakashima, Oshiro, McDermott, and Thielen. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the JUD vote.  
  • SB849 – Reduce Blood Quantum for Successors
    Synopsis: Reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second.
    Status: (As of 2/14/2017) The bill passed with amendments out of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs (HWN). The votes were as follows – 4 Ayes: Senators Shimabukuro, Galuteria, English, Green; and 1 Excused: Senator Kim. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the HWN vote.  Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee (JDL).

Protecting Beneficiary Privacy Bills

  • SB960 – Protecting Privacy of Beneficiary Information (House Companion HB1094)
    Synopsis: Specifies certain content of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands homestead applicant and lessee files are not required to be disclosed.
    Status: (As of 2/14/2017) The bill PASSED with amendments out of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs (HWN). The votes were as follows – 4 Ayes: Senators Shimabukuro, Galuteria, English, Green; and 1 Excused: Senator Kim. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the HWN vote. Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the Senate Judiciary & Labor Committee (JDL).
  • HB1094 – Protecting Privacy of Beneficiary Information (Senate Companion SB960)
    Synopsis: Specifies certain content of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands homestead applicant and lessee files are not required to be disclosed.
    Status: (As of 2/9/2017) The bill PASSED with amendments out of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH).  The votes were as follows – 7 Ayes: Representatives Ing, Gates, Creagan, DeCoite, LoPresti, Takayama, Thielen. Click here  for a copy of the testimony presented before the OMH vote.  Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the House Judiciary Committee (JUD).

Lānaʻi Commissioner Bills

  • SB961 – Appointing a Lānaʻi Commissioner to the Hawaiian Homes Commission (House Companion HB1095)
    Synopsis: Amends the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to reduce the number of commissioners that are residents of the city and county of Honolulu and adds a commissioner from the island of Lānaʻi.
    Status: (As of 2/7/2017) The bill PASSED unamended out of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs (HWN). The votes were as follows – 4 Ayes: Senators Shimabukuro, Galuteria, English, Green; and 1 Excused: Senator Kim. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the HWN vote.
  • HB1095 – Appointing a Lānaʻi Commissioner to the Hawaiian Homes Commission (Senate Companion SB961)
    Synopsis: Amends the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act to reduce the number of commissioners that are residents of the city and county of Honolulu and adds a commissioner from the island of Lānaʻi.
    Status: (As of 2/7/2017) The bill PASSED without amendments out of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH). The votes were as follows: 7 Ayes: Representative(s) Ing, Gates, Creagan, DeCoite, LoPresti, Takayama, Thielen. Click here  for a copy of the testimony presented before the OMH vote. Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the House Committee on Judiciary (JUD).

Other DHHL-related Bills

  • HB389 – Relating to Affordable Housing 
    Synopsis: Appropriate funds to various housing agencies to improve the quality of existing public and affordable housing stock and increase the supply of affordable and public housing units in the State.
    Status: (As of 2/14/2017) The bill PASSED with amendments out of the House Committee on Housing (HSG). The votes were as follows – 6 Ayes: Representative(s) Brower, Nakamura, Aquino, Hashem, Quinlan, San Buenaventura; and 1 Excused: Representative McDermott. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the HSG vote. 
  • SB641 – Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairperson to Serve on Commission on Water Resource Management 
    Synopsis: Amends the membership of the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) to add the chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission or the chairperson’s designee to serve as an ex-officio voting member.
    Status: (As of 2/8/2017) The bill PASSED unamended out of the Senate Committees on Hawaiian Affairs (HWN) and Water & Land (WTL). The votes out of HWN were as follows: 4 Aye(s): Senator(s) Shimabukuro, Galuteria, Green, Kim; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 0 No(es): none; and 1 Excused: Senator(s) English. The votes out of WTL were as follows: 3 Ayes: Senators K. Rhoads, Inouye, Kim; and 2 Excused: Senators Gabbard & L. Thielen. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the HWN and WTL vote.   
  • HB846 – Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairperson to Serve on Commission on Water Resource Management 
    Synopsis: Amends the membership of the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) to add the chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission or the chairperson’s designee to serve as an ex-officio voting member.
    Status: (As of 1/27/2017) Awaiting for hearing to be scheduled by the House Committees on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH) or Water & Land (WAL); as well as Finance (FIN)
  • HB372 – Establish Working Group for Hawaii Island Beneficiaries 
    Synopsis: 
    Establishes a working group to address and provide findings and recommendations regarding issues that beneficiaries of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on Hawaii Island face relating to the financing and insuring of homes. Appropriates funds.
    Status: (02/17/2017) The bill PASSED unamended out of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH). The votes were as follows – 7 Ayes: Representative(s) Ing, Gates, Creagan, DeCoite, LoPresti, Takayama, and Thielen. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the OMH vote. Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the House Finance Committee (FIN).
  • HB65 – Redevelopment of Bowl-O-Drome Property
    Synopsis:
    Authorizes general obligation bonds and appropriates funds to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for redevelopment of the Bowl-O-Drome property, located at 820 Isenberg Street, with the assistance of the Hawaii Community Development Authority.
    Status: (As of 2/7/2017) The bill PASSED with amendments out of the House Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs (OMH). The votes were as follows – 7 Ayes: Representative(s) Ing, Gates, Creagan, DeCoite, LoPresti, Takayama, Thielen. Click here  for a copy of the testimony presented before the OMH vote. Awaiting hearing by the House Finance Committee (FIN).
  • SB591 – Financing Affordable Housing Development
    Synopsis: Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for construction and infrastructure development projects to provide affordable housing units for middle class and low-income residents. Allows moneys from the conveyance tax and the county surcharge on state tax to be used to repay the bonds.
    Status: (As of 2/17/2017) The bill PASSED unamended out of the Senate Committees on Transportation & Energy (TRE) and Housing (HOU). The votes out of the TRE were as follows – 4 Ayes: Senators Inouye, Dela Cruz, English, and Harimoto; and 1 Excused: Senator Shimabukuro. The votes out of HOU were as follows – 3 Ayes: Senators Espero, Harimoto, and Keith-Agaran; and 2 Excused: Senators K. Kahele and Nishihara. Click here for a copy of the testimony prsented before the TRE and HOU vote. Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the Senate Ways and Means Committee (WAM).
  • HB869 – Financing Affordable Housing Development
    Synopsis: Authorizes the issuance of general obligation bonds for construction and infrastructure development projects to provide affordable housing units for middle class and low-income residents. Allows moneys from the conveyance tax and the county surcharge on state tax to be used to repay the bonds.
    Status: (As of 2/15/2017) The bill passed with amendments out of the House Committee on Housing (HSG). The votes were as follows – 7 Ayes: Rep(s) Brower, Aquino, Hashem, Quinlan, San Buenaventura, McDermott; Ayes with reservations: Rep. Nakamura. Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the HSG vote.  Awaiting hearing to be scheduled by the House Finance Committee (FIN).

Bills Deferred in 2017 Legislative Session

  • HB66 – Agricultural Lands Transfer to DHHL or OHA
    Synopsis: Authorizes the legislature to reclassify certain agricultural lands and transfer them to DHHL or OHA. 
    Status: (As of 1/27/2017) This measure was deferred by the House Committee on Agriculture (AGR). Click here for a copy of the testimony presented before the AGR vote.

Here are summaries of the legislative proposals approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission in 2016, and submitted to Governor David Ige for inclusion in the Administration’s 2017 Legislative package. The Governor included the first three of five proposals listed below:

Proposal 1: Blood Quantum for Successors
This proposal would lower the blood quantum to one-thirty second Hawaiian for the lessee’s relatives currently eligible to succeed to a lease with one-quarter Hawaiian including a lessee’s husband, wife, children, grandchildren, brothers or sisters.  DHHL continues to receive requests from beneficiaries, particularly lessees in our older homestead communities, to reduce the blood quantum requirement for successors.  As these communities age, the lessees with one-quarter Hawaiian are facing the possible loss of a homestead lease that has been within the family for several generations because their descendants lack the required blood quantum.  This amendment will provide lessees with greater flexibility to retain homestead leases within their families. 

Proposal 2: Protecting Homestead Applicant and Lessee Information
The second proposal specifies that certain content of DHHL’s homestead applicant and lessee files are not required to be disclosed to the public.  DHHL has received Uniform Information Practices Act (UIPA) requests for specific homestead application files and homestead lease files that include personal contact information, genealogies, finance and loan documents, and other correspondence.  DHHL’s administrative rules require that “personal data received or recorded by the department shall be held in absolute confidence and no release of information shall be made without written approval of the individual concerned.”  Public access to this information should be considered an unwarranted invasion of privacy.  This proposal would further protect the interest of Hawaiian home land applicants, lessees, and their successors by protecting information in which they have a significant privacy interest. 

Proposal 3:  Appointing a Hawaiian Homes Commissioner from the Island of Lanai
The third proposal changes the composition of the HHC by reducing the number of commissioners that are residents of the City and County of Honolulu and adding a commissioner from Lanai.  The HHC is currently composed of nine members, and at least one member is a resident of each island on which DHHL has land with the exception of Lanai.  DHHL acquired 50 acres on Lanai in 1999 and awarded 29 leases and has 66 applicants awaiting lease awards.  However, there is no provision for a member of the HHC to be a resident of Lanai.  This proposal would provide for a more direct connection for native Hawaiian beneficiaries on Lanai to the HHC.   

Proposal 4:  Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Retains the Right to Independent Counsel
The fourth proposal allows DHHL to retain independent legal counsel to be paid by the State and also use the services of the attorney general as needed when the interests of the State and DHHL are aligned.  DHHL has a trust duty to its beneficiaries and in the fulfillment of its trust obligations, DHHL may at times be at odds with the interests of the State.  It is at these times that DHHL must be assured that its counsel provides legal guidance strictly in the interest of its client.  Independent counsel that is hired and retained by DHHL eliminates any cloud of uncertainty that there is a conflict of interest that DHHL is represented by the Attorney General’s office that also represents the State. 

Proposal 5:  Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairperson to also serve on the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM)
The final proposal would add the Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission or the Chairman’s designee to the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM).  The Water Code requires that planning decisions of the CWRM ensure that sufficient water remain available for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian Home Lands.  In order to further the interest of beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Chairman of the Commission or the Chair’s designee should serve as an ex-officio voting member of the CWRM.