THE SENATE

S.R. NO.

96

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


SENATE RESOLUTION

 

requesting a management and financial audit of the department of the attorney general.

 

WHEREAS, the value of protecting, defending, and advocating the public trust is recognized in Article IX, sections 7 and 9 of the Hawaii State Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the Public Trust Doctrine is an ancient and universal code, dating back to the 4th century, that protects humans' primary relationship to the earth; and

WHEREAS, in Hawaii it provides that public trust lands, waters, and living resources of the State are held by the State in trust for the benefit of native Hawaiians and the general public; and

WHEREAS, the State Supreme Court has reaffirmed the pre-existing rights of Hawaiians to access lands for the purpose of exercising traditional and customary gathering practices, religious practices, and activities as found in Article XII, section 7 of the Hawaii State Constitution; and

WHEREAS, Chapter 6E-1, Hawaii Revised Statues, declares that "the historic and cultural heritage of the State is among its important assets" that are threatened by the rapid social and economic development of contemporary society; and

WHEREAS, these declarations further provide that "it shall be the public policy of this State to provide leadership in preserving, restoring, and maintaining historic and cultural property, to ensure the administration of such historic and cultural property in a spirit of stewardship and trusteeship for future generations, and to conduct activities, plans, and programs in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of historic and cultural property"; and

WHEREAS, state and federally mandated responsibilities to protect the public trust and the lands held therein are also expected to be upheld by the Department of the Attorney General currently representing the Aloha Tower Development Corporation, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and its Historic Preservation Division, which receives approximately forty per cent of its funding from federal sources and the remainder from state legislative appropriations; and

WHEREAS, concerns have been raised about the management and operations of the Department of the Attorney General and the conflicts of interest within the Department in separately representing all three named agencies involved in various capacities in the preservation and protection of historic Irwin Memorial Park, as deeded in trust to the State in 1930, held in the public trust since that time, and listed on the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places in 1999; and

WHEREAS, concerns have been raised about the management and operations of the Department of the Attorney General in representing the Aloha Tower Development Corporation in contesting the unanimous decision of the Historic Preservation review board to list Irwin Memorial Park on the State Register of Historic Places; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature has not seen any firm plans or administrative actions being taken to remedy these recurring concerns; and

WHEREAS, it is appropriate that the Legislature exercise its public trust responsibilities to ensure the proper treatment of Hawaii's historic and cultural resources for the enrichment of Hawaii's native people, resident communities, and visitors; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-First Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, that a management and financial audit of the Department of the Attorney General is requested; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Auditor shall gather and consider information provided by historic preservation consultants, government agency staff, native Hawaiians, and members of the beneficiary public that are most directly impacted by and depend upon the Department's mandated services; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the audit shall include, but not be limited to the following:

(1) The general operations of the Department of the Attorney General;

(2) The organizational structure of the Department, including personnel practices, conflicting case representation, etc.; and

(3) Internal budgeting and fiscal controls to ensure the effective and appropriate expenditure of legislative appropriations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Auditor is requested to consider how other state attorney general departments address conflicts between economic and cultural interests, the need to meet National Historic Preservation Act requirements, and the mandate to preserve and protect matters of the public trust; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Auditor is requested to submit to the Legislature a report of its findings and recommendations no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2003; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Department of the Attorney General, the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and the State Auditor.

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

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Report Title:

Audit of the Department of the Attorney General in regards to compliance with the public trust doctrine and other historic and cultural preservation requirements