TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE HAWAIIAN HOMES COMMISSION ACT.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature recognizes that the State has a fiduciary duty to support the rehabilitation of the Hawaiian people, in part by ensuring long-term tenancies to beneficiaries and successors of beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended.
The legislature emphasizes that many descendants of lessees of Hawaiian home lands do not qualify as successors because interracial marriages and blended families produce descendants who are less than twenty-five per cent Hawaiian. These disruptions create undue hardships of displacement and interfere with families' abilities to maintain the equity of their homes and businesses.
The legislature further finds that a reduction in blood quantum requirements for certain successors will lead to a reduction in the trend of "highest bid" and "leapfrog" homestead lease sales. Further, this reform will encourage current lessees to maintain and invest in their residences, as the lessees anticipate that their descendants will be able to make use of the properties for many generations to come.
The purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Clarify that any beneficiary who transfers by sale or gift any lease shall not be placed on the wait list again; and
(2) Reduce the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one quarter to one thirty-second.
SECTION 2. Section 208 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, as amended, is amended to read as follows:
"§208. Conditions of leases. Each lease made under the authority granted the department by section 207 of this Act, and the tract in respect to which the lease is made, shall be deemed subject to the following conditions, whether or not stipulated in the lease:
(1) The original lessee shall be a native Hawaiian, not less than eighteen years of age. In case two lessees either original or in succession marry, they shall choose the lease to be retained, and the remaining lease shall be transferred, quitclaimed, or canceled in accordance with the provisions of succeeding sections.
(2) The lessee shall pay a rental of $1 a year for the tract and the lease shall be for a term of ninety-nine years; except that the department may extend the term of any lease; provided that the approval of any extension shall be subject to the condition that the aggregate of the initial ninety-nine year term and any extension granted shall not be for more than one hundred ninety-nine years.
(3) The lessee may be required to occupy and commence to use or cultivate the tract as the lessee's home or farm or occupy and commence to use the tract for aquaculture purposes, as the case may be, within one year after the commencement of the term of the lease.
(4) The lessee thereafter, for at least such part of each year as the department shall prescribe by rules, shall occupy and use or cultivate the tract on the lessee's own behalf.
(5) The lessee shall not in any manner transfer to,
or otherwise hold for the benefit of, any other person or group of persons or
organizations of any kind, except a native Hawaiian or Hawaiians, and then only
upon the approval of the department, or agree so to transfer, or otherwise
hold, the lessee's interest in the tract; except that the lessee, with the
approval of the department, also may transfer the lessee's interest in the tract
to the following qualified relatives of the lessee who are at least [
one thirty-second Hawaiian: husband, wife, child, or grandchild. A
lessee who is at least [ one-quarter] one thirty-second Hawaiian
who has received an interest in the tract through succession or transfer may,
with the approval of the department, transfer the lessee's leasehold interest
to a brother or sister who is at least [ one-quarter] one
thirty-second Hawaiian. Such interest shall not, except in pursuance of
such a transfer to or holding for or agreement with a native Hawaiian or
Hawaiians or qualified relative who is at least [ one-quarter] one
thirty-second Hawaiian approved of by the department or for any
indebtedness due the department or for taxes or for any other indebtedness the
payment of which has been assured by the department, including loans from other
agencies where such loans have been approved by the department, be subject to
attachment, levy, or sale upon court process. The lessee shall not sublet the
lessee's interest in the tract or improvements thereon; provided that a lessee
may be permitted, with the approval of the department, to rent to a native
Hawaiian or Hawaiians, lodging either within the lessee's existing home or in a
separate residential dwelling unit constructed on the premises.
(6) Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (5), the lessee, with the consent and approval of the commission, may mortgage or pledge the lessee's interest in the tract or improvements thereon to a recognized lending institution authorized to do business as a lending institution in either the State or elsewhere in the United States; provided the loan secured by a mortgage on the lessee's leasehold interest is insured or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other federal agency and their respective successors and assigns, which are authorized to insure or guarantee such loans, or any acceptable private mortgage insurance as approved by the commission. The mortgagee's interest in any such mortgage shall be freely assignable. Such mortgages, to be effective, must be consented to and approved by the commission and recorded with the department.
Further, notwithstanding the authorized purposes of loan limitations imposed under section 214 of this Act and the authorized loan amount limitations imposed under section 215 of this Act, loans made by lending institutions as provided in this paragraph, insured or guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other federal agency and their respective successors and assigns, or any acceptable private mortgage insurance, may be for such purposes and in such amounts, not to exceed the maximum insurable limits, together with such assistance payments and other fees, as established under section 421 of the Housing and Urban Rural Recovery Act of 1983 which amended Title II of the National Housing Act of 1934 by adding section 247, and its implementing regulations, to permit the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to insure loans secured by a mortgage executed by the homestead lessee covering a homestead lease issued under section 207(a) of this Act and upon which there is located a one to four family single family residence.
(7) The lessee shall pay all taxes assessed upon the tract and improvements thereon. The department may pay such taxes and have a lien therefor as provided by section 216 of this Act.
(8) The lessee shall perform such other conditions, not in conflict with any provision of this Act, as the department may stipulate in the lease; provided that an original lessee shall be exempt from all taxes for the first seven years after commencement of the term of the lease.
Any lessee who transfers a lease under this section shall not be placed on the wait list again and shall be prohibited from purchasing another lease."
SECTION 3. Section 209 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
Upon the death of the lessee, the lessee's interest in the tract or tracts and
the improvements thereon, including growing crops and aquacultural stock
(either on the tract or in any collective contract or program to which the
lessee is a party by virtue of the lessee's interest in the tract or tracts),
shall vest in the relatives of the decedent as provided in this paragraph.
From the following relatives of the lessee who are (1) at least [
one thirty-second Hawaiian, [ husband,
wife,] spouse, children, grandchildren, brothers, or sisters, or (2)
native Hawaiian, father and mother, widows or widowers of the children, widows
or widowers of the brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews,——the
lessee shall designate the person or persons to whom the lessee directs the
lessee's interest in the tract or tracts to vest upon the lessee's death. The
Hawaiian blood requirements shall not apply to the descendants of those who are
not native Hawaiians but who were entitled to the leased lands under
section 3 of the Act of May 16, 1934 (48 Stat. 777, 779), as amended, or
under section 3 of the Act of July 9, 1952 (66 Stat. 511, 513). In all cases
that person or persons need not be eighteen years of age. The designation
shall be in writing, may be specified at the time of execution of the lease
with a right in the lessee in similar manner to change the beneficiary at any
time and shall be filed with the department and approved by the department in
order to be effective to vest the interests in the successor or successors so
In case of the death of any lessee, except as hereinabove provided, who has failed to specify a successor or successors as approved by the department, the department may select from only the following qualified relatives of the decedent:
Husband or wife;] Spouse; or
(2) If there is no [
husband or wife,] spouse,
then the children; or
(3) If there is no [
husband, wife,] spouse or child, then the
(4) If there is no [
husband, wife,] spouse, child, or grandchild, then
brothers or sisters; or
(5) If there is no [
husband, wife,] spouse, child, grandchild, brother,
or sister, then from the following relatives of the lessee who are native
Hawaiian: father and mother, widows or widowers of the children, widows or
widowers of the brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews.
The rights to the use and occupancy of the tract or tracts may be made effective as of the date of the death of the lessee.
In the case of the death of a lessee leaving no
designated successor or successors, [
husband, wife,] spouse,
children, grandchildren, or relative qualified to be a lessee of Hawaiian home
lands, the land subject to the lease shall resume its status as unleased
Hawaiian home lands and the department is authorized to lease the land to a native
Hawaiian as provided in this Act.
Upon the death of a lessee who has not designated a successor and who leaves a spouse not qualified to succeed to the lease or children not qualified to succeed to the lease, or upon the death of a lessee leaving no relative qualified to be a lessee of Hawaiian home lands, or the cancellation of a lease by the department, or the surrender of a lease by the lessee, the department shall appraise the value of all the improvements and growing crops or improvements and aquacultural stock, as the case may be, and shall pay to the nonqualified spouse or the nonqualified children as the lessee shall have designated prior to the lessee's death, or to the legal representative of the deceased lessee, or to the previous lessee, as the case may be, the value thereof, less any indebtedness to the department, or for taxes, or for any other indebtedness the payment of which has been assured by the department, owed by the deceased lessee or the previous lessee. These payments shall be made out of the Hawaiian home loan fund and shall be considered an advance therefrom and shall be repaid by the successor or successors to the tract involved. If available cash in the Hawaiian home loan fund is insufficient to make these payments, payments may be advanced from the Hawaiian home general loan fund and shall be repaid by the successor or successors to the tract involved; provided that any repayment for advances made from the Hawaiian home general loan fund shall be at the interest rate established by the department for loans made from the Hawaiian home general loan fund. The successor or successors may be required by the commission to obtain private financing in accordance with section 208(6) to pay off the amount advanced from the Hawaiian home loan fund or Hawaiian home general loan fund."
SECTION 4. The provisions of the amendments made by this Act to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended, are declared to be severable, and if any section, sentence, clause, or phrase, or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held ineffective because there is a requirement of having the consent of the United States to take effect, then that portion only shall take effect upon the granting of consent by the United States and effectiveness of the remainder of these amendments or the application thereof shall not be affected.
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act, upon its approval by the governor of the State of Hawaii with the consent of the United States Congress, shall take effect on January 7, 2059.
Hawaiian Home Lands; Successors; Blood Quantum; Wait List
Prohibits any lessee who transfers a lease from being placed on the wait list again and from purchasing another lease. Reduces the minimum Hawaiian blood quantum requirement of certain conditions and successors to lessees of Hawaiian home lands from one-quarter to one thirty-second. Takes effect on 1/7/2059. (SD2)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.