House District 13

Archive for the ‘Mele’s Words’ Category

Native Hawaiian issues must remain at the forefront

In Mele in the News, Mele's Words on April 17, 2009 at 9:02 am

For Molokai Dispatch This Legislative Session has brought to the forefront many Hawaiian issues thanks in part to active participation by the community and an increasing effort to educate our lawmakers.

Last week, the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Student Association collected 1,042 signatures of UH Hilo students urging the Hawai‘i State Legislature to pass a moratorium to prohibit the State and the Lingle Administration from selling “ceded lands.”

This legislative session also saw Hawai‘i’s commitment to ensuring taro security when the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs received over 500 testimonies in support of a bill to prohibit the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting or growing of genetically modified taro in the State of Hawai‘i.

As part of the Hawaiian Caucus Day celebration on March 24, 2009, an O‘ahu Taro Festival hosted by KAHEA and Na Kahu o Haloa in collaboration with the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus was held on the ground floor rotunda of the State Capitol. Hundreds arrived to watch taro farmers from throughout the state and participate in the largest unified gathering of Ku‘i Kalo to celebrate Hawai‘i’s living taro traditions.

In a floor presentation during session on the day of the Hawaiian Caucus Day event, I introduced House Resolution 292, which honors the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu’s 90th anniversary and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs’ 50th anniversary. For decades, these outstanding organizations have preserved Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi’s vision to help Hawai‘i’s young people secure an education that would enable them to compete successfully in the new cultural environment introduced to Hawaii in the 19th century. The Hawaiian Civic Clubs have generated thousands of dollars for higher education opportunities for Hawaiians while perpetuating Hawaiian formal elegance.

There are many other issues that I have taken on to address this session, such as: issuing a commemorative stamp honoring Prince Kuhio; requesting the University of Hawai‘i to meet with the Kanaka Maoli Council on its Sustainability Plan; developing a Kupuna honorary degree program; urging the counties to adopt measures that provide real property tax relief for Kuleana lands; supporting the discussions for a Hawaiian Constitutional Convention; requesting the Department of Human Services to determine the feasibility of increasing Foster Board Payment Rates; providing adequate funding for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands; urging the President of the United States to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; developing a plan to implement replicas of Hawaiian Hale on the State Capitol lawn; asking the University of Hawai‘i to study the feasibility of planting non-GMO kalo in the reflecting pool that surrounds the State Capitol Building; requesting the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to convene a working group to review the system and procedures for the review of Native Hawaiian burial sites; and requesting that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs contract with a nationally respected and objective consulting firm to conduct a study of disparate treatment of Native Hawaiians in Hawai‘i’s criminal justice system.

The following bills that were referred to the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs that have made it through crossover, will now be deliberated in conference, where lawmakers will work out the differences between the House and Senate drafts as the session comes to a close. The following measures relating to Native Hawaiian issues that will go to conference are:

House Bill 899 – Clarifies and strengthens the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ bond authority
House Bill 900 – Appropriates funds for the operating budget of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
House Bill 1015 – Enables the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to begin construction on affordable housing projects without having the full and final amount of the capital costs on hand at the beginning of the project.
House Bill 1663 – Prohibits genetic modification of Hawaiian taro in Hawai‘i.
House Bill 1665 – Prohibits the sale of public lands on which government-owned fishponds are located.
Senate Bill 602 – Authorizes funds to support performing arts and restoration of works of art for Bishop Museum and ‘Iolani Palace.
Senate Bill 995 – Resolves claims and disputes relating to the portion of income and proceeds from the lands of the public land trust for use by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs between 1978 and 2008.
Senate Bill 1268 – Permits the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to assign or transfer county affordable housing credits.
Senate Bill 1677 – Requires majority vote of the House and Senate to disapprove the sale or exchange of state-held lands to non-state entities and requires community briefing prior to the sale or exchange.

It is my goal as the Chair of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs to bring to the forefront the many issues relating to native Hawaiians that have been shelved for years. Through our process we will continue to educate, bring awareness, participate in meaningful conversations as well as find solutions to the many unresolved concerns impacting native Hawaiians. It is time to work together, take action and get results. “A’ohe hana nui ka alu’ia.” “No task is too big when done together.” I’m ready for the task, let’s unite and stand together.

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Native Hawaiian issues on the forefront this session

In Mele's Words on April 7, 2009 at 4:42 am
In recognition of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu’s 90th anniversary and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs’ 50th anniversary, Rep. Mele Carroll honored Leimomi Khan, president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs; Leatrice Kauahi, president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; Anita Naone, immediate past president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; Momi Clark, director of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; and Manu Boyd, past president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu.

In recognition of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu’s 90th anniversary and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs’ 50th anniversary, Rep. Mele Carroll honored Leimomi Khan, president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs; Leatrice Kauahi, president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; Anita Naone, immediate past president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; Momi Clark, director of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; and Manu Boyd, past president of the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu.

Honolulu. The legislative fight for a moratorium is one that has united kupuna, native Hawaiians, lawmakers, communities, and activists from across the state. The resounding support to bar the selling of “ceded lands” until the reconciliation process can take place is not simply there to institute a legal measure. The powerful emotions and voices that have emerged from our Kukakuka with Hawai‘i’s community reflect the willingness of Hawai‘i’s people to continue to move forward with this healing process and to protect the lands for future generations.

Protecting against the sale of these “ceded lands” is truly at the heart of native Hawaiian issues, and you’ve seen that in the vocalization, demonstration, and activism by native Hawaiians in media coverage this year.

Moving forward with the reconciliation process is the kuleana of all of Hawai‘i’s people. And part of that kuleana involves facilitating an open and transparent dialogue.

With the start of the 2009 Legislative Session, I’ve had discussions with Gov. Linda Lingle, Attorney General Mark Bennett, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Chair Micah Kane, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees Haunani Apoliana, Walter Heen, Oswald Ostender, Collette Machado, and Robert Lindsey, OHA’s Administrator Clyde Namu‘o as well as OHA’s attorney Bill Maheula, regarding the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on “ceded lands.”

Other members of the Hawaiian community who I had discussions with about legislation I introduced which calls for a moratorium on the sale and transfer of “ceded lands” are the Royal Order of Kamehameha Ali‘i Nui Clifford Hashimoto and members, Hawai‘i attorney Sherry Broder, The Reinstated Hawaiian Government Prime Minister Henry Noa, Aha Kiole Representatives, Association of Hawaiian Civics Clubs President Leimomi Kahn, Kumu Hula Vicky Holt-Takamine of Iliuokalani and many, many others.

It is imperative not just for native Hawaiians, but all of Hawai‘i’s people that a moratorium on the selling of “ceded lands” remain in place to preserve this process of reconciliation.

As Chairwoman of the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee and Chairwoman of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, which consists of six State Senators and 22 State Representatives, I have kept an open and transparent discussion to educate lawmakers on the cultural, emotional, and inherent significance of these “ceded lands” to the Hawaiian people. And I think that in turn has allowed for these lawmakers to have that dialogue with their own constituents.

In late January 2009, the Caucus supported a full moratorium on the selling of “ceded lands” and made it a priority to see that one is implemented.

With the issue of “ceded lands” back from the U.S. Supreme Court and in the hands of our state’s governing bodies, the Legislature has an opportunity to pass a law where we can set policy to ensure that “ceded lands” are not sold or transferred until the State fulfills its fiduciary responsibility and moral obligation to native Hawaiians.

In February, I travelled to Washington D.C. to reach out to President Barrack Obama’s administration on the issue of “ceded lands.” While I was not able to speak with the President in person, I did establish a presence with his administration and open the line of communication for future discussions on this issue.

Going into the Legislative conference, there are several vehicles and many options that we have to place a moratorium on the sale of “ceded lands.” It is essential that our lawmakers hear from Hawai‘i’s public on the importance of moving forward with this healing process and protecting the lands for future generations.

I also found it essential to bring the discussion of addressing income due to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, as constitutionally mandated for the 30-year period from November 7, 1978 to July 1, 2008, to the Hawaiian people from across the state.

In February, I took the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee to Maui, Kona, Hilo, and Kaua‘i to hear testimony on House Bill 901, which explores finally meeting the State’s obligation to OHA for that 30-year period settlement through an exchange in land.

This legislative session also saw Hawai‘i’s commitment to ensuring taro security when the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs received over 500 testimonies in support of a bill to prohibit the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting or growing of genetically modified taro in the State of Hawai‘i.

As part of the Hawaiian Caucus Day celebration on March, 24 2009, an O‘ahu Taro Festival hosted by KAHEA and Na Kahu o Haloa in collaboration with the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus was held on the ground floor rotunda of the State Capitol. Hundreds arrived to watch taro farmers from throughout the state and participate in the largest unified gathering of Ku‘i Kalo to celebrate Hawai‘i’s living taro traditions.

In a floor presentation during session on the day of the Hawaiian Caucus Day event, I introduced House Resolution 292, which honors the Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu’s 90th anniversary and the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs’ 50th anniversary. For decades, these outstanding organizations have preserved Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole Pi‘ikoi’s vision to help Hawai‘i’s young people secure an education that would enable them to compete successfully in the new cultural environment introduced to Hawaii in the 19th century. The Hawaiian Civic Clubs have generated thousands of dollars for higher education opportunities for Hawaiians while perpetuating Hawaiian formal elegance.

There are many other issues that I have taken on to address this session, such as: issuing a commemorative stamp honoring Prince Kuhio, requesting the University of Hawai‘i meet with the Kanaka Maoli Council on its Sustainability Plan, developing a Kupuna honorary degree program, urging the counties to adopt measures that provide real property tax relief for Kuleana lands, supporting the discussions for a Hawaiian Constitutional Convention, requesting the Department of Human Services to determine the feasibility of increasing Foster Board Payment Rates, providing adequate funding for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, urging the President of the United States to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, developing a plan to implement replicas of Hawaiian Hale on the State Capitol lawn, asking the University of Hawai‘i to study the feasibility of planting non-GMO kalo in the reflecting pool that surrounds the State Capitol Building, and requesting Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation withdraw its support for the Hawai‘i Capital National Heritage Area.

It has been a very important year for Hawai‘i and for native Hawaiians. I’m proud to be the Chair of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs of Hawaiian and of Hawaiian decent. Furthermore, I’m thrilled to see that the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus has grown to 28 members, including 22 Representatives and 6 Senators.

We have to ensure, in the media, in government, and throughout the community, that these and all native Hawaiian issues remain at the forefront of discussion. These are not just issues affecting native Hawaiians. It is the kuleana of all the people of Hawai‘i to protect the host culture and its people.

“Ceded lands” moratorium, Moloka‘i projects a priority for Rep. Mele Carroll

In Mele's Words on April 3, 2009 at 6:33 am

rep-mele-carroll

From the Molokai Dispatch. With the issue of “ceded lands” back from the U.S. Supreme Court and in the hands of our state’s governing bodies, the Legislature has an opportunity to pass a law where we can set policy to ensure that “ceded lands” are not sold or transferred until the State fulfills its fiduciary responsibility and moral obligation to native Hawaiians. Protecting these lands is our kuleana, and we should resolve the issue here at home.

Last year, the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ordered that there be an injunction to prevent the State from selling “ceded lands” from the public land trust. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court Justices acknowledged the State’s fiduciary duty to preserve those lands until the unrelinquished claims of Native Hawaiians have been resolved.

The Hawai‘i Supreme Court also said that given the crucial importance of the ‘aina to the Native Hawaiian people and their culture, their religion, their economic self-sufficiency, and their sense of personal and community well-being, any further diminishment of the “ceded lands” from the public lands trust will negatively impact the contemplated reconciliation and settlement efforts between native Hawaiians and the State.

Protecting the lands is the responsibility of all of Hawai‘i’s people, and now is the time to keep the “ceded lands” issue on the forefront.

In February, I travelled to Washington D.C. to reach out to President Barrack Obama’s administration on the issue of “ceded lands.” While I was not able to speak with the President in person, I did establish a presence with his administration and open the line of communication for future discussions on this issue.

Going into the Legislative conference, there are several vehicles and many options that we have to place a moratorium on the sale of “ceded lands.” It is essential that our lawmakers hear from Hawai‘i’s public on the importance of moving forward with this healing process and protecting the lands for future generations.

Along with seeing that the “ceded lands” are protected, it has been my priority to see that Moloka‘i receives the funding that it needs for its critical projects.

The State Budget Bill, House Bill 200 HD1, passed the House of Representatives last week at the midway point of the 2009 Legislative Session with $13.7 million going toward Moloka‘i Capital Improvement Projects. Although I do not sit on the House Committee on Finance this session, I have managed to get in the budget Capital Improvement Projects for Moloka‘i, which are: $3.5 million for Moloka‘i Irrigation System repair and maintenance improvements, $1.5 million for Moloka‘i Airport Security and CCTV, $4.5 million for Kamehameha V Highway Kawela Stream Bridge, $3.7 million for Kamehameha V Highway Makakupaia Stream Bridge, and $500,000 for land acquisition for Maui Community College’s Moloka‘i Campus.

House Bill 200 HD1 has crossed over to the Senate, where it will then go to conference amended as a Senate Draft. We need everyone’s support out there to call the Legislature and to let them know if you support these Capital Improvement Projects so that they remain in the State Budget.

With so many issues before us during these hard economic times, it is the responsibility of the Legislature to balance the State’s budget. While trying not to further burden Hawai‘i residents and businesses with tax increases, layoffs or furloughs of state employees, and further cuts to public services or programs, the reality is that all of these issues are being looked at to balance the budget.

It is my hope that through active participation and keeping the lines of communication open between the Hawaiian community, general public, and lawmakers, that all of Hawai‘i’s people may be able to ensure a future that is pono.

We must keep Hawaiian issues in the forefront of discussion

In Mele's Words on March 19, 2009 at 10:43 pm
In February, Rep. Mele Carroll travelled to Washington D.C. to reach out to President Barrack Obama’s administration on the issue of “ceded lands.”

In February, Rep. Mele Carroll travelled to Washington D.C. to reach out to President Barrack Obama’s administration on the issue of “ceded lands.”

This Legislative Session has brought to the forefront many Hawaiian issues, including those of “ceded lands,” protecting taro, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

As Chairwoman of the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee and Chairwoman of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, which consists of six State Senators and 22 State Representatives, I have kept an open and transparent discussion to educate lawmakers on the cultural, emotional, and inherent significance of these “ceded lands” to the Hawaiian people.

In late January 2009, the Caucus supported a full moratorium on the selling of “ceded lands” and introduced a bill that became the Caucus’ priority as part of a legislative package.

The legislative fight for a moratorium is one that has united kupuna, native Hawaiians, lawmakers, communities, and activists from across the state. The resounding support to bar the selling of “ceded lands” until the reconciliation process can take place is not simply there to institute a legal measure. The powerful emotions and voices that have emerged from our Kukakuka with Hawai‘i’s community reflect the willingness of Hawai‘i’s people to continue to move forward with this healing process and to protect the lands for future generations.

In February, I travelled to Washington D.C. to reach out to President Barrack Obama’s administration on the issue of “ceded lands.” While I was not able to speak with the President in person, I did establish a presence with his administration and open the line of communication for future discussions on this issue. It is essential that the “ceded lands” discussion continues at every level of government in order to educate the public in finding the most effective and just way to reach reconciliation with the Hawaiian people.

I also found it essential to bring the discussion of addressing income due to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, as constitutionally mandated for the 30-year period from November 7, 1978 to July 1, 2008, to the Hawaiian people from across the state. In February, I took the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee to Moloka‘i, Maui, Kona, Hilo, and Kaua‘i to hear testimony on House Bill 901, which explores finally meeting the State’s obligation to OHA for that 30-year period settlement through an exchange in land.

This legislative session also saw Hawai‘i’s commitment to ensuring taro security when the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs received over 500 testimonies in support of a bill to prohibit the development, testing, propagation, release, importation, planting or growing of genetically modified taro in the State of Hawai‘i.

Through active participation and by keeping the lines of communication open between the Hawaiian community, general public, and lawmakers, all of Hawai‘i’s people will be able to ensure a future that is pono.

Rep. Mele Carroll makes ‘ceded lands’ statement in Molokai Dispatch column

In Mele's Words on February 23, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Protecting the ‘aina is a priority for Maui Representative
By Rep. Mele Carroll
Molokai Dispatch

When the Hawai‘i Supreme Court ordered that there be an injunction to prevent the State from selling “ceded lands” from the public land trust last year, the Justices correctly acknowledged the State’s fiduciary duty to preserve those lands until the unrelinquished claims of Native Hawaiians have been resolved.

The Hawai‘i Supreme Court, citing the 1993 Apology Resolution by Congress as well as State legislation, said that given the crucial importance of the ‘aina to the Native Hawaiian people and their culture, their religion, their economic self-sufficiency, and their sense of personal and community well-being, any further diminishment of the “ceded lands” from the public lands trust will negatively impact the contemplated reconciliation and settlement efforts between native Hawaiians and the State.

It is imperative not just for native Hawaiians, but all of Hawai‘i’s people that a moratorium on the selling of “ceded lands” remain in place to preserve this process of reconciliation.

As Chairwoman of the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee and Chairwoman of the Legislative Hawaiian Caucus, which consists of six State Senators and 22 State Representatives, I have kept an open and transparent discussion to educate lawmakers on the cultural, emotional, and inherent significance of these “ceded lands” to the Hawaiian people.

In late January 2009, the Caucus supported a full moratorium on the selling of “ceded lands” and introduced a bill that became the Caucus’ priority as part of a legislative package.

I have also provided an ongoing forum through the Caucus “Kukakuka” meetings as well as heard and passed out measures to address the moratorium issue, which involved the public in the discourse and allowed lawmakers to hear arguments from different sides of the “ceded lands” debate.

With the start of the 2009 Legislative Session, I’ve had discussions with Gov. Linda Lingle, Attorney General Mark Bennett, Department of Hawaiian Home Lands Chair Micah Kane, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustees Haunani Apoliana, Walter Heen, Oswald Ostender, Collette Machado, and Robert Lindsey, OHA’s Administrator Clyde Namu‘o as well as OHA’s attorney Bill Maheula, regarding the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court on “ceded lands.”

Other members of the Hawaiian community who I had discussions with about the moratorium are the Royal Order of Kamehameha Ali‘i Nui Clifford Hashimoto and members, Hawai‘i attorney Sherry Broder, The Reinstated Hawaiian Government Prime Minister Henry Noa, Aha Kiole Representatives, Association of Hawaiian Civics Clubs President Leimomi Kahn, Kumu Hula Vicky Holt-Takamine of Iliuokalani and many, many others.

The legislative fight for a moratorium is one that has united kupuna, native Hawaiians, lawmakers, communities, and activists from across the state. The resounding support to bar the selling of “ceded lands” until the reconciliation process can take place is not simply there to institute a legal measure. The powerful emotions and voices that have emerged from our Kukakuka with Hawai‘i’s community reflect the willingness of Hawai‘i’s people to continue to move forward with this healing process and to protect the lands for future generations.