Issues and Preliminary Recommended Positions for HHC Consideration in April 2012 (14-Day Comment Period)

Issues and Preliminary Recommended Positions for HHC Consideration in April 2012 (14-Day Comment Period)

Since August 2011, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Ad Hoc Committee on Administrative Rules has considered a series of policy issues related to the implementation of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act through rules.  The commission plans to continue this process on a series of other policy issues.

On March 19, at the regular meeting of the commission, the Committee on Administrative Rules reported that starting this month it will announce a preliminary recommendation for the issue(s) to be considered at the next regular meeting of the commission.  Beneficiaries and the general public will be permitted a 14-day comment period to provide input on the preliminary recommendation(s).  This is an initial effort to receive basic input and ideas on a preliminary policy recommendation and is not a substitute for beneficiary consultation (which will occur once rule amendments are drafted).

Please provide your comments through our website by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2012. (Comment form, below).

ISSUES AND PRELIMINARY RECOMMENDED POSITIONS FOR APRIL 2012

For the next regular meeting, the commission will re-consider the issues of the treatment of previous lessees, the one chance concept, and will consider for the first time the issue of the sale of leases.  Below are the preliminary recommended positions:

Treatment of Previous Lessees

The Hawaiian Homes Commission should adopt a policy that clarifies:

  1. that a native Hawaiian may submit a single application for each type of homestead lease in his/her lifetime; and
  2. that an applicant who has previously been a lessee who has succeeded to a deceased family member’s application rights not be treated as a “previous lessee.”

The existing rules leave room for various interpretations by different administrations, commissions, and staff over time.  This purpose of this recommendation is to clarify the existing rules by eliminating subjective exemptions and potential arbitrary decisions or treatment of any beneficiary.

“One Chance”

The Hawaiian Homes Commission should adopt a policy that limits a previous lessee from immediately accepting another lease by requiring previous lessees to wait a specified period of time (e.g., 15 years), from the time he/she relinquishes interest in a lease to the time he/she may acquire another of the same kind of lease.  Exceptions similar to those in HAR §10-3-23 may be permitted.

This type of policy limits previous lessees from holding multiple leases over a lifetime in the interest of making homestead opportunities available to more native Hawaiians.  The growth rate of the applicant waitlist exceeds the rate at which the department delivers homestead awards.  This policy addresses the practice of beneficiaries repeatedly purchasing a lease and transferring it to a family member, while applicants who have never accepted an award are bypassed.  The imposed waiting period corresponds with the time a new applicant must wait before receiving a lease award from the department.

Sale of Leases

The Hawaiian Homes Commission should adopt a policy that prohibits the sale of leases, or the transfer of a lease to another native Hawaiian in exchange for monetary compensation.  Exceptions may be permitted upon approval by the commission.

The purpose of this recommendation is to support the intent of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of returning native Hawaiians to homestead lands in a long-term manner, and discourage the sales of leases for personal gain and profit.

Mahalo for taking the time to comment on the Sec. 228 Administrative Rules Beneficiary Consultation 2013.

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