Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    H.B. No. 335

       H.D. 2




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred H.B. No. 335, H.D. 2, entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to enact the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Appropriations Act of 2017 to appropriate funds for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the fiscal biennium beginning July 1, 2017, and ending June 30, 2019.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Affairs Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii, Kamehameha Schools, Alakaaina Foundation, Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Pacific Islanders in Communications, Papa Ola Lōkahi, Kuaāina Ulu Auamo, Hoomana Pono, LLC, Hawaii Green Growth, Hawaiian Media Makers, Kalihi Palama HCC, Mana Maoli, Solutions Pacific, and five individuals.


     Your Committee finds that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is focused on strategic priorities for improving the conditions of Native Hawaiians in the areas of aina, economic self sufficiency, education, governance, and health.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs also conducts research to guide decisions and empower communities to inspire positive results in these areas.

     Your Committee further finds that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs enhances Hawaiian well-being by collaborating with various organizations to strengthen community resources.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs provides Native Hawaiian students with scholarship money to help pay for college and loans to help Native Hawaiians start businesses, improve homes, consolidate debts, and continue their education.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs also awards money to various organizations aiding Hawaiians, including Hawaiian-focused charter schools, Papa Ola Lōkahi, and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.


     Your Committee further finds that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs remains committed to leveraging each state dollar it receives toward targeted programs and services that systematically benefit the Native Hawaiian and larger Hawaii communities.


     Your Committee desires to bring to the attention of your Committee on Ways and Means the written testimony of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on this measure and its proposed S.D. 1, which restores some of the funding that has been reduced in the H.D. 2 version of this measure.  Your Committee believes that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is taking a harsh cut to its budget that will result in layoffs of personnel and jeopardize current levels of social services and improvement programs in education, health, housing, and income for Native Hawaiians.  These programs are the very essence of the office's constitutional and statutory duties to better the condition of Native Hawaiians.  Your Committee sympathizes with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, but realizes at the same time that the Council on Revenues has significantly adjusted downward its projection of revenues for the upcoming fiscal year.  This means that all state departments and agencies must share in the sacrifice by reducing their budgets.  The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has indicated that it understands this reality, however your Committee requests your Committee on Ways and Means to preserve the Office's budget to the greatest extent possible, and at the very least to preserve the funding levels in the H.D. 2 version of this measure, in order to continue to the betterment of Native Hawaiians.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Hawaiian Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 335, H.D. 2, and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs,