House District 13

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House Bill 2676 Exempts Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) From the Procurement Process to Purchase Food and Fuel

In News Release, Photos on April 28, 2010 at 1:59 am

HONOLULU—On Tuesday, April 27, 2010 members of the State House of Representatives and the Senate voted to pass HB 2676 HD1 SD1 CD1.  The bill will now advance to the Governor for her signature into law.

House Bill 2676 HD1 SD1 CD1 temporarily exempts contracts made by the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) for the procurement of food and fuel products from the Hawaii Public Procurement Code, Chapter 103D, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Representative Mele Carroll (D-13th), who represents the island of Kaho’olawe and is Chair of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, introduced the bill as a result of her visit to the island last year in September.  She and her colleagues from the Senate spent the night on Kaho’olawe to do sight visits and get updates from the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission staff.  “We are appreciative of the dedication and commitment the staff and volunteers have demonstrated in taking on the enormous task of rehabilitating the island that was used for target practice by the navy for decades,” says Representative Mele Carroll.  “This procurement bill will assist KIRC to meeting their immediate needs of bringing food and fuel to the island in a timely manner.”

She continues, “Exempting the KIRC from the procurement process will mean that they can form contracts with reliable vendors without having to wade through the paperwork and the waiting period the Procurement Code currently requires.  As the KIRC has been underfunded from the beginning, it is my hope that this bill will allow them to accelerate their efforts while maintaining accurate records of their purchases.”

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Bill requiring two-thirds vote approval process for land sales passes conference

In News Release, Photos on May 1, 2009 at 8:52 am

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Honolulu. A bill that requires a two-thirds majority by the two houses (Senate and House) in the Legislature approval process for all sales of public lands, which includes “ceded lands,” passed in conference committee today.

The purpose of Senate Bill 1677 SD1 HD2 CD1 is to establish a more comprehensive process for the sale of state-owned land, and to reserve a larger oversight role for lawmakers to assure that key information about certain sales or exchanges of land is shared with the Legislature.

The policy of this bill is that the selling of public lands requires the adoption of a concurrent resolution by two-thirds majority vote of each house in the Legislature. In addition, the bill adds to current law dealing with the transfer and exchange of public land. Existing law currently requires any exchange of public land for private land to be subject to disapproval by the Legislature by two-thirds vote of either the Senate or the House.

Throughout the session, Rep. Mele Carroll, Co-Chair of the Conference Committee and Chair of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, pushed for transparency and public notification of state land sales in order to protect against the sale of “ceded lands” while the reconciliation process between the State and Native Hawaiians takes place.

“Although I support, and the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs supported, a full moratorium of the sale and transfer of ‘ceded lands,’ this particular bill has allowed for the discussions to be carried out,” Rep. Mele Carroll said. “The two-thirds vote process is what lawmakers have ultimately supported as a compromise.”

Under Senate Bill 1677 SD1 HD2 CD1, a State department or agency proposing to sell public land must submit a concurrent resolution describing the location of the parcels of land; the appraisal value of the land; the names of all appraisers involved; the date of the appraisal valuation; the purpose for which the land is being sold; and a detailed summary of any development plans for the land.

A copy of the concurrent resolution for the prior approval of sale must be submitted to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs when it is submitted to the Legislature. And prior to finalizing any proposal for the sale, the State agency or entity must hold an informational briefing in the community where the land is located.

Senate Bill 1677 SD1 HD2 CD1 requires that a copy of the resolution requesting a transfer or exchange of land be submitted to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs when it is submitted to the Legislature. It will be the responsibility of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to notify their beneficiaries of the sale or transfer of “ceded lands.”

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Affordable housing bill passed in conference

In News Release, Photos on April 30, 2009 at 4:01 am
The Conference Committee reached an agreement on Senate Bill 1268 SD2 HD1 CD1 today.

The Conference Committee reached an agreement on Senate Bill 1268 SD2 HD1 CD1 today.

Honolulu. A bill that permits the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to assign or transfer county affordable housing credits passed conference today with amendments.

“Allowing the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to take part in the counties’ housing credit process will help to provide homes to the department’s 20,000 Native Hawaiian beneficiaries and at the same time help to alleviate the housing crisis during these difficult economic times,” said Rep. Mele Carroll, House Co-Chair of the Conference Committee and Chair of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs.

At a previous conference committee meeting, concerns were raised by the City and County of Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting over the 60-day approval process of requests for tax credits by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.

Department of Planning and Permitting Director David Tanoue said in a letter to the Conference Committee: “Under the city’s affordable housing program, a credit is earned if the unit is sold or rented at an affordable price; the occupant – buyer or tenant – qualifies as a household within the affordable housing range; and, more importantly, the unit remains in this affordable housing program for ten years. Thus, for new housing, the City will have no choice but to deny the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands’ request within the mandated 60-day period.”

Today’s conference also resolved a disagreement between the Senate and House conferees over the time period that the bill takes effect, with both sides agreeing to a 6-year period.

The Conference Draft, Senate Bill 1268 SD2 HD1 CD1, removes the 60-day deadline for the approval process. The Conference Draft states that counties shall authorize and issue affordable housing credits to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands upon a request for the transfer or assignment of credits by the department. The credits shall be issued on a one-for one basis and applied within the same county in which the credits were earned to satisfy affordable housing obligations imposed by the county. The bill takes effect on June 1, 2009 and shall be repealed on June 30, 2015.

House Conferees were Co-Chairs Rep. Mele Carroll, Rep. Rida Cabanilla, and Rep. Roland Sagum III and members Rep. Pono Chong, Rep. Maile Shimabukuro, and Rep. Gene Ward.

Senate Conferees were Chair Sen. Clayton Hee, Co-Chairs Sen. Norman Sakamoto and Sen. J. Kalani English, and member Sen. Sam Slom.

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Resolutions urge for recognition of U.N. indigenous peoples declaration, honoring of Prince Kuhio, and a study of disparate treatment in Hawai‘i’s criminal justice system

In News Release, Photos on April 17, 2009 at 6:00 am

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Honolulu. The House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, chaired by Rep. Mele Carroll, adopted three resolutions yesterday.

House Concurrent Resolution 27 requests 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.

“It is essential that we take a closer look at the process so that we can understand why the disparity is the way it is and better address the needs of Native Hawaiians,” Rep. Mele Carroll said.

The resolution refers to studies based on data from the 2000 U.S. Census that Native Hawaiians are overrepresented in Hawai‘i’s prisons and jails, despite making up only 20 percent of the State’s population. The resolution also notes that Native Hawaiians make up forty-five percent of all parolees state-wide and are at the greatest risk of being re-arrested and returning to prison, while 60 percent of children who are placed in child protective services are of Native Hawaiian decent.

In testimony of support for House Concurrent Resolution 27, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs stated that Hawai‘i State policies may be racially biased and that a comprehensive study addressing the disparate treatment is much needed.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i testified in strong support of the resolution, saying that the recommended study will help lawmakers identify subjective, rather than objective, points of decision-making in law enforcement and that studying the reasons for the disparities will help to ensure that Hawai‘i’s criminal justice system operates in an even-handed manner. House Concurrent Resolution 27 was adopted with technical amendments.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 SD1 requests that the U.S. Postal Service issue a commemorative stamp honoring Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole, who was elected Hawaii’s delegate to U.S. Congress in 1902 and held the post for 10 consecutive terms. Prince Kuhio endeavored to restore native Hawaiians’ pride in their race through education, political activism, and by re-organizing the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and forming the first Hawaiian Civic Club. Senate Concurrent Resolution 66 SD1 was adopted without amendments, with notes in the committee report acknowledging testimony received regarding concerns with the Americanization of Hawaiian culture and recognizing the visibility of a postage stamp as a way to educate the broader community about Prince Kuhio’s legacy. “As a postage stamp is so visible, this may encourage discussion about Prince Kuhio in our schools,” said Rep. Maile Shimabukuro, Vice-chair of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. “Many people didn’t know that he was the one who got the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands off the ground.”

Senate Concurrent Resolution 127 urges the President of the United States and the U.S. Congress to adopt the United Nations 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education, and other rights. Senate Concurrent Resolution 127 passed unamended.

“The indigenous Peoples all over the world are seeking freedom as a people in their homelands,” said Richard Pomaikaiokalani Kinney in supporting testimony of the resolution. “Freedom as a unique people with a very important culture that needs to be saved from further desecration and perpetuated for all mankind.”

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Hawaiian Affairs Committee discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s Ruling and prompts both sides to seek a settlement and agreement to a proposed compromise bill

In News Release, Photos, Videos on April 9, 2009 at 9:06 am

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Honolulu. The House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs held an informational briefing today on the United States Supreme Court’s ruling and “What’s Next.” It was both Attorney General Mark Bennett and attorney at large Bill Meheula who gave their interpretation of the ruling and described in their own words a proposed comprised draft amendment to SB 1677 by expressing that this could be the best policy on the sale and transfer of ceded lands the Legislature could possibly support.

Click here to see video of Rep. Mele Carroll’s comments after the 4/8 hearing

Both Attorney General Mark Bennett and Attorney Bill Maheula explained that in the proposed compromise language, it will establish a new part in Chapter 171, HRS, applicable to certain state lands which include both ceded and other state lands.

The language includes that any sales of certain state lands are subject to legislative approval. If the legislature fails to approve the concurrent resolution by at least a two-thirds majority vote of both houses, the transaction shall not be consummated by the state department or agency.

The state department or agency proposing to sell any state land listed under subsection (a) shall submit for introduction to the legislature a concurrent resolution for review of any sale of state land. The concurrent resolution shall contain the following information: the location and area of the parcels of land to be sold; the appraisal value of the land to be sold; the name of all appraisers performing appraisals of the land to be sold; the date of the appraisal valuation; the purpose for which the land is being sold; and a detailed summary of any development plans for the land to be sold.

This proposed draft would exempt remnants, licenses, permits, easements, leases, and land exchanges conforming with section 171-50, HRS from legislative approval of sale. Disapproval by resolution of exchanges of public land as defined in chapter 171, HRS occurs by removing disapproval by two-thirds vote of either the Senate or the House, and retaining disapproval by majority vote of both houses of the Legislature. The department shall submit for introduction to the legislature a concurrent resolution, single house resolution, or both, for review of action on any exchange deeds, which will be executed by the parties together with the required information such as: the location and area of the parcels of land to be exchanged; the value of the lands to be conveyed by the State and the private party; the name or names of the appraiser or appraisers; and the date of the appraisal valuation.

Another consideration added to this language is that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs would be notified of any proposed transfer or exchange of “ceded lands.”

“The reason why we are recommending this proposed language to SB 1677 is because we believe it is fair,” said Bill Meheula, who represent the four native Hawaiians who originally filed the lawsuit. “The bill is doable in the sense that we are confident that both houses could support it as well as the Governor probably approving it.”

Attorney General Mark Bennett said, “If there are no current plans to sell any ‘ceded lands’ by the administration and the Legislature has a pre-approval process, then passing this bill and ending the lawsuit is beneficial.”

In testimony on other bills proposing a moratorium on the sale of “ceded lands,” the Attorney General had criticized those bills as being in conflict with the Admission Act and said that the bills’ purposes raised the likelihood of an 14th Amendment challenges.

Rep. Mele Carroll asked the Attorney General for his opinion on a bill that proposed a sunset date on a moratorium. The Attorney General said that a bill dealing only with the sale of “ceded lands” and not exchanges would less likely have Admission Act problems, and that a moratorium with a one year statute would likely not have any 14th Amendment challenges because it was not enough time for a lawsuit to make it into court.

“What we’re proposing to you is something that doesn’t have a sunset date, and you will be able to reject individual sales,” Attorney General Mark Bennett said.

Vice Chair, Rep. Maile Shimabukuro expressed concerns over the disapproval process of the bill, whereby a single committee chair has the power to pull a resolution before it is heard. If a legislator wants a transfer or exchange of ceded lands transaction to happen, all they have to do is make sure that the concurrent resolution is not heard. This kills the resolution and therefore no disapproval occurs.

Rep. Della au Bellatti made the point today that the legislature doesn’t have to take the recommendation that the Attorney General Mark Bennett and Attorney Bill Meheula is proposing. The Legislature has the power and the ability to set the policy and will have to look at all possibilities.

“I am still in favor of a full moratorium,” said Rep. Mele Carroll, Chairwoman of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. “However, I could live with a sunset date on a moratorium making it one, two, three or even five years to give us some time to discuss, evaluate and come up with a policy that we can all live with, if that is the direction this body wants to move in, our goal should be that the trust is protected, especially if the Legislature cannot reach an agreement on the policy.”

It was noted that all of the clients in this case will need to be consulted on the new proposed language to SB 1677. Bill Meheula is optimistic and confident that this is the way to go because of the uncertainty of the outcome of the Hawaii Supreme Court case should this be argued again. “We may or may not lose everything,” said Bill Meheula. “Reaching a settlement may be our best solution and we are hopeful that the outcome would be just that, so we can dismiss this case without prejudice.”

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Homesteaders speak out against exclusion from National Heritage Area process

In News Release, Photos on April 2, 2009 at 8:46 am

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Honolulu. Hawaiian homesteaders at today’s House Hawaiian Affairs Committee hearing spoke out against the Hawai‘i Capital Cultural Coalition’s process to create a national heritage area in Honolulu, which did not involve dialogue with the native Hawaiian homestead communities who would be affected.

“I feel strongly about this, I do not believe the people here were consulted,” said Kahealani Keahi, of Kalawahine Hawaiian Homestead and the President of Hui Maka‘ainana a Kalawahine.

House Concurrent Resolution 213 and House Resolution 183  request Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation to withdraw its support for the Hawai‘i Capital National Heritage Area proposed federal legislation until there has been an opportunity for native Hawaiian groups and individuals to consider the designation and express their concerns.

“This National Heritage Area is honorific, it is only a star by your name,” said Rep. Corrine Ching, who testified at the hearing. “We’ve got places you can’t find anywhere else, and we’re losing them.”

The proposed Hawai‘i Capital National Heritage Area by the Hawai‘i Capital Cultural Coalition would encompass a large ahupua‘a-like area from the Nu‘uanu Pali down to the ocean, with its easterly boundary along Punahou Street and its westerly boundary along Kalihi Street, containing within it many historically and culturally significant areas, including ‘Iolani Palace, the State Capitol, Washington Place, the Royal Mausoleum at Mauna Ala, the National Cemetery of the Pacific at Puowaina, and historic Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown.

“The process itself has not been inclusive,” Tamar deFries said in testimony in support of the House resolutions. “A key requirement of the proposed National Heritage Area designation is that the local community supports the designation and the boundaries of the proposed heritage area. Besides the arts groups which comprises part of the coalition, there have been minimum efforts to inform the affected residents. Known community stakeholders were not informed of the process until after legislation was introduced at the national level. Many community stakeholders who will be affected by this legislation know little or nothing about it.”

At the hearing, spokespeople for Hawai‘i Capital Cultural Coalition said that they had not sufficiently reached out to the native Hawaiian community and did not speak with any Hawaiian homesteaders whose homesteads would be included in the Hawai‘i Capital National Heritage Area. As a result of the discussions about House Concurrent Resolution 213 and House Resolution 183, the Hawai‘i Capital Cultural Coalition said it will now try to initiate a dialogue with the homesteaders.

“How can one make this kind of decision without talking to the people that are affected?” Rep. Mele Carroll said. “I hope this coalition rethinks its decision-making process and takes steps to include the native Hawaiian Community in their discussions. It’s about protocol and doing the right thing by consulting with the people that live in the district.”

Chinatown business owners also testified that they were not consulted at all about this National Heritage Area designation.

“We were not included in the process from the beginning and now we’re being asked to participate only because this resolution was introduced,” said Chinatown business owner Lee Stack. “I find this very troubling.”

House Concurrent Resolution 213 and House Resolution 183 passed unamended with notes in the Committee Report that the Hawai‘i Capital Cultural Coalition admitted that they did not consult with the Hawaiian Homesteaders in the proposed Heritage Area’s vicinity. Rep. Mele Carroll asked the Hawai‘i Capital Cultural Coalition to be open and start the dialogue with the Hawaiian community, especially the Hawaiian Homesteaders of that area.

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Hawaiian Caucus Day at a glance

In Photos on March 28, 2009 at 3:43 am

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Pulling taro back home on Maui

In Photos on March 21, 2009 at 2:03 am

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“Ceded lands” discussions on the forefront

In Photos on March 19, 2009 at 11:04 pm
Rep. Mele Carroll met with U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka during her visit to Washington D.C. to reach out to the Obama Administration on the issue of "ceded lands."

Rep. Mele Carroll met with U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka during her visit to Washington D.C. to reach out to the Obama Administration on the issue of "ceded lands."


Members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I accompanied Rep. Mele Carroll in the nation's Capital.

Members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I accompanied Rep. Mele Carroll in the nation's Capital.

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Rep. Mele Carroll met with former Hawaii Governor John Waihee to talk about "ceded lands" on March 17, 2009.

Rep. Mele Carroll met with former Hawaii Governor John Waihee to talk about "ceded lands" on March 17, 2009.

A glimpse of today’s continuing rally & vigil

In Photos on February 25, 2009 at 10:57 pm

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View the rest of the photos here.