Report Title:

Burial Sites

 

Description:

Clarifies provisions relating to inadvertently discovered native Hawaiian burial sites by amending sections 6E-43, 6E-43.5, 6E‑43.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Conforms the treatment of inadvertent native Hawaiian discovered burial sites with the treatment of previously discovered burial sites by the burial councils under the department of land and natural resources. (SD1)

 


THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1639

TWENTY-FOURTH LEGISLATURE, 2007

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

Relating to BURIAL SITES.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. Section 6E-43, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By amending subsection (b) to read:

"(b) All burial sites are significant and shall be preserved in place until compliance with this section is met [,except as provided in section 6E-43.6]. The appropriate island burial council shall determine whether preservation in place or relocation of previously identified and inadvertently discovered native Hawaiian burial sites is warranted, following criteria which shall include recognition that burial sites of high preservation value, such as areas with a concentration of skeletal remains, or prehistoric or historic burials associated with important individuals and events, or areas that are within a context of historic properties, or have known lineal descendants, shall receive greater consideration for preservation in place. The criteria shall be developed by the department in consultation with the councils, office of Hawaiian affairs, representatives of development and large property owner interests, and appropriate Hawaiian organizations[, such as Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei,] through rules adopted pursuant to chapter 91. A council's determination on previously identified native Hawaiian burial sites shall be rendered within forty-five days of referral by the department [unless otherwise], and on inadvertently discovered native Hawaiian burial sites shall be rendered within fifteen days of referral by the department. These times may be extended by agreement between the landowner and the department.

If the council's determination of the previously identified or inadvertently discovered burial site prove to be other than Hawaiian, the department shall determine the treatment of the burial non-Hawaiian site under subsection (e)."

2. By amending subsection (d) to read:

"(d) Within ninety days following the final determination[,] for previously identified native Hawaiian burial sites and within thirty days following the final determination for inadvertently discovered native Hawaiian burial sites, a preservation or mitigation plan shall be approved by the department in consultation with any lineal descendants, the respective council, other appropriate Hawaiian organizations, and any affected property owner."

SECTION 2. Section 6E-43.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By amending subsections (b) to (d) to read:

"(b) Appointment of members to the councils shall be made by the governor, in accordance with section 26-34, from a list provided by the department, provided that a minimum of twenty per cent of the regional representatives shall be appointed from a list of at least nine candidates provided by the office of Hawaiian affairs. The department shall develop the list in consultation with appropriate Hawaiian organizations[, such as Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei]. The membership of each council shall include at least one representative from each geographic region of the island as well as representatives of development and large property owner interests. Regional representatives shall be selected from the Hawaiian community on the basis of their understanding of the culture, history, burial beliefs, customs, and practices of native Hawaiians. The councils shall have a minimum of nine and a maximum of fifteen members, and have a ratio of not more than three to one and no less than two to one in favor of regional representatives.

(c) The department, in consultation with the councils, office of Hawaiian affairs, representatives of development and large property owner interests, and appropriate Hawaiian organizations[, such as Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei,] shall adopt rules pursuant to chapter 91 necessary to carry out the purposes of this section. The council members shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for necessary expenses incurred during the performance of their duties. The councils shall be a part of the department for administrative purposes.

(d) The councils shall hold meetings and acquire information as they deem necessary and shall communicate their decisions, findings, and recommendations to the department. Notwithstanding section 92-3, whenever the location and description of burial sites are under consideration, the councils may hold closed meetings. Concurrence of a majority of the members present at a meeting shall be necessary to make any action of a council valid."

2. By amending subsection (f) to read:

"(f) The councils shall:

(1) Determine the preservation or relocation of previously identified and inadvertently discovered native Hawaiian burial sites;

(2) Assist the department in the inventory and identification of native Hawaiian burial sites;

(3) Make recommendations regarding appropriate management, treatment, and protection of native Hawaiian burial sites, and on any other matters relating to native Hawaiian burial sites;

(4) Elect a chairperson for a four-year term who shall serve for not more than two consecutive terms; and

(5) Maintain a list of appropriate Hawaiian organizations, agencies, and offices to notify regarding the discovery of remains."

SECTION 3. Section 6E-43.6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended as follows:

1. By amending subsections (c) and (d) to read:

"(c) After notification of the discovery of multiple skeletons, the following shall be done within [two] three working days, if on Oahu, and [three] four working days, if in other council jurisdictions:

(1) A representative of the medical examiner or coroner's office and a qualified archaeologist shall examine the remains to determine jurisdiction. If the remains are the responsibility of the medical examiner or coroner, the department's involvement shall end. If the remains are historic or prehistoric burials, then the remainder of this section shall apply;

(2) The department shall gather sufficient information, including oral tradition, to document the nature of the burial context and [determine] assist in the determination of appropriate treatment of the remains[.] as set forth in section 6E-43. Members of the appropriate council shall be allowed to oversee the on-site examination and, if warranted, removal; and

(3) If removal of the remains is warranted, based on criteria developed by the department, in consultation with the councils, office of Hawaiian affairs, representatives of development and large property owner interests, and appropriate Hawaiian organizations[, such as Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei,] through rules adopted pursuant to chapter 91, the removal of the remains shall be overseen by a qualified archaeologist and a mitigation plan shall be prepared by the department or with the concurrence of the department.

(d) In cases involving the discovery of a single skeleton, the requirements of subsection (c) shall be fulfilled in [one] two working [day] days if on Oahu, and [two] three working days if in other council jurisdictions."

2. By amending subsection (f) to read:

"(f) In cases where remains are archaeologically removed, the department shall determine the place of relocation, after consultation with the appropriate council, affected property owners, representatives of the relevant ethnic group, and any identified lineal descendants[, as appropriate]. Relocation shall conform with requirements imposed by the department of health, and may be accompanied by traditional ceremonies, as determined by the lineal descendants, or, if no lineal descendants are identified, the appropriate council or representatives of the relevant ethnic group that the department deems appropriate. Specific or special reinterment requests from lineal or cultural descendants may be accommodated provided that the additional expenses incurred are paid by the affected descendants."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.