Creates a commission comprised of thirteen members to update and
reevaluate the 1986 LESA report and other related issues.  (SD1)

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                S.D. 1
STATE OF HAWAII                                            

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that article XI, section
 2 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution provides for standards,
 3 criteria, and procedures that are designed to conserve and
 4 protect agricultural lands and assure the long-term availability
 5 of agriculturally suitable lands.  These lands are critical to
 6 the long-term viability of agriculture as a major export industry
 7 and as a means to increase Hawaii's self-sufficiency and
 8 diversification in agriculture.
 9      The legislature further finds that in 1986, the State of
10 Hawaii land evaluation and site assessment (LESA) commission
11 submitted its final report to the legislature in accordance with
12 Act 273, Session Laws of Hawaii 1983.  The report presented the
13 commission's findings, conclusions, and recommendations
14 concerning:
15      (1)  The development of the initial inventory of the State's
16           "important agricultural lands" (IAL);
17      (2)  A classification system to identify these lands; and 
18      (3)  A process to review requests for a change in
19           designation of specific parcels from IAL to urban or to

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 1

 1           other uses.
 2      The report also provided an implementation framework and
 3 recommended amendments to existing state law to execute the
 4 proposed LESA system.
 5      Since 1986, many bills have been introduced that attempted
 6 to implement the LESA system.  For various reasons, none of these
 7 bills have succeeded in meeting all the needs and objectives of
 8 the interested affected parties.
 9      Additionally, since the completion of the LESA commission
10 report in 1986, the profile of Hawaii's agricultural lands has
11 changed dramatically.  Such events include:
12      (1)  The dramatic industry shift from a plantation-type
13           system with an emphasis on sugarcane production to the
14           current focus on small scale and diversified
15           agriculture; and
16      (2)  Hawaii's economic decline through the 1990s.
17      In the face of changing times and circumstances, the
18 legislature finds that there is a real need to reassess the
19 system and criteria recommended by the 1986 commission.  The
20 legislature further finds that updating the 1986 LESA report will
21 provide a mechanism by which to fulfill the intent and purpose of
22 article XI, section 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution, which
23 seeks to conserve and protect agricultural lands.

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 1

 1      The purpose of this Act is to create a new commission to
 2 update the 1986 LESA report by:
 3      (1)  Studying and recommending the best way to identify
 4           important agricultural lands;
 5      (2)  Addressing the intent of article XI, section 3, of the
 6           Hawaii State Constitution, to conserve, protect, and
 7           promote agricultural land cultivation, within the
 8           context of Hawaii's changing circumstances; and
 9      (3)  Examining related land use issues.
10      SECTION 2.  State of Hawaii land evaluation and site
11 assessment commission.  (a)  There is established, within the
12 office of the legislative reference bureau for administrative
13 purposes, the State of Hawaii land evaluation and site assessment
14 commission comprised of thirteen voting members as follows:
15      (1)  The chairperson of the board of agriculture;
16      (2)  The chairperson of the board of land and natural
17           resources;
18      (3)  The director of the office of planning under the
19           department of business, economic development, and
20           tourism;
21      (4)  The dean of the college of tropical agriculture and
22           human resources;
23      (5)  The planning directors of each of the four counties;

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 1

 1      (6)  Three representatives to be appointed by the governor,
 2           one member to be selected from each of the following:
 3           (A)  Land use research foundation;
 4           (B)  Office of Hawaiian affairs; and
 5           (C)  The Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation;
 6      (7)  One member who shall represent agricultural workers.
 7           The president of the senate and the speaker of the
 8           house of representatives shall each nominate two
 9           individuals, and the governor shall appoint one
10           individual from this nomination list; and
11      (8)  One member who shall represent a conservation
12           organization.  The president of the senate and the
13           speaker of the house of representatives shall each
14           nominate two individuals, and the governor shall
15           appoint one individual from this nomination list.
16      The chairperson of the board of agriculture shall be the
17 chairperson of the commission.  Any vacancy on the commission
18 shall be filled in the same manner in which the original position
19 was filled.  The members shall receive no compensation for their
20 services, but shall be reimbursed for travel expenses incurred in
21 the performance of their duties.
22      (b)  The commission shall:
23      (1)  Reevaluate, reassess, and update the 1986 LESA report;

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 1

 1      (2)  Examine the concept of a two-tier land evaluation
 2           system by which:
 3           (A)  Land that is currently being cultivated would be
 4                held to a lower criteria standard; and
 5           (B)  Land not currently cultivated would be held to a
 6                higher criteria standard;
 7      (3)  Recommend incentives for landowners to keep their lands
 8           in agricultural production.  Such incentives may
 9           include tax exemptions, agricultural easements, and
10           development rights; and
11      (4)  Examine "unique lands" as established by the U.S.
12           Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources
13           Conservation Service.  "Unique land" is land other than
14           "prime" that is currently used for the production of
15           specific high-value or high-yield crops.  Such food
16           crops include coffee, taro, rice, and watercress.
17      The commission shall exclude from its examination all lands
18 within the State urban district as well as all lands zoned for
19 urban use by any of the four counties.
20      (c)  The commission shall invite the participation of the
21 general public, particularly persons having an interest in
22 agricultural lands located in the State.  Public information
23 meetings and hearings may be held as frequently as deemed

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 1

 1 necessary and feasible prior to submission of the commission's
 2 report.
 3      SECTION 3.  Not later than twenty days prior to the
 4 convening of the regular session of 2000, the commission shall
 5 submit to the legislature a report of its findings and
 6 recommendations.  The report shall include but not be limited to:
 7      (1)  An in-depth evaluation of the LESA system as
 8           recommended in the 1986 LESA report, including a list
 9           of recommendations and action items required to update
10           the system;
11      (2)  Recommended goals relating to agricultural production;
12      (3)  An analysis of the concept of a two-tier land
13           evaluation system;
14      (4)  Recommended incentives for landowners to keep their
15           lands in agricultural production;
16      (5)  A set of maps reflective of the commission's findings,
17           if appropriate; and
18      (6)  Proposed relevant legislation.
19      The commission shall cease to exist on June 30, 2000.
20      SECTION 4.  There is appropriated out of the general
21 revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $          , or so
22 much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 1999-2000 for
23 the commission to carry out the purposes of this Act.

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                                     H.B. NO.           H.D. 2
                                                        S.D. 1

 1      SECTION 5.  The sum appropriated shall be expended by the
 2 legislative reference bureau for the purposes of this Act.
 3      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval;
 4 except that sections 4 and 5 shall take effect on July 1, 1999.