THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO STATE HOLIDAYS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that every state in the Union celebrates holidays unique to that state's history. Texas celebrates its own Texas Independence Day, a day honoring Texas' independence from Mexico's central government. Utah celebrates Pioneer Day, the day Brigham Young ventured to its territory. Alaska celebrates Seward's Day, when the purchase treaty between the United States and Russia for the Alaska Territory was codified. The distinctive cultural and storied past of Hawai‘i has its own holidays that have been celebrated up through the Territory of Hawai‘i. Lā Kū‘oko‘a, Hawaiian Recognition Day, was widely celebrated with pride as Hawai‘i became an emerging power in the Pacific among the global powers of that time.
The history and culture of Hawai‘i are showcased around the world to tell the story of the archipelago. Hawai‘i's culture and native language are used to make areas, buildings, and communities relevant with a sense of place. Lā Kū‘oko‘a has long been a source of pride in Hawai‘i and in recent years has garnered a new found energy in its celebration.
The legislature further finds that during the reign of Kamehameha III, Great Britain and France recognized the independence of the Hawaiian Kingdom by joint proclamation on November 28, 1843. The United States followed on July 6, 1844. These leading world powers recognized Hawai‘i as an independent nation state due to the diplomatic work of Timoteo Ha‘alilio, the first diplomat of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i, and his associate William Richards, who were sent as envoys of Kamehameha III to secure formal diplomatic relations with these countries.
In 1847, Kamehameha III required his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Crichton Wyllie, to determine a fitting way to recognize and celebrate the anniversary of Hawai‘i's welcome into the family of nations. On October 15, 1847, Wyllie delivered his report, by Privy Council, to the King and ministers. That year marked the first official celebration of Hawaiian Recognition Day, Lā Kū‘oko‘a.
Throughout the 1850s and 1870s, Hawai‘i celebrated Lā Kū‘oko‘a with lū‘au, music, and marches. The celebration grew under the reign of King Kalākaua, with formal proclamations sent by official circular to the foreign diplomatic corps in Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian Kingdom consuls abroad, informing them of the holiday.
The day remained a national holiday under the Provisional Government of Hawai‘i (1893), the Republic of Hawai‘i (1894-1898), and the initial years of the Territory of Hawai‘i. Lā Kū‘oko‘a was among the codified list of national holidays enacted by the Republic of Hawai‘i in 1896 (Act 66).
The purpose of this Act is to reestablish Lā Kū‘oko‘a, Hawaiian Recognition Day, as an official state holiday and to repeal Good Friday as a state holiday.
SECTION 2. Section 8-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§8-1 Holidays designated. The following days of each year are set apart and established as state holidays:
The first day in January, New Year's Day;
The third Monday in January, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day;
The third Monday in February, Presidents' Day;
The twenty-sixth day in March, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day;
The Friday preceding Easter Sunday, Good
The last Monday in May, Memorial Day;
The eleventh day in June, King Kamehameha I Day;
The fourth day in July, Independence Day;
The third Friday in August, Statehood Day;
The first Monday in September, Labor Day;
The eleventh day in November, Veterans' Day;
The fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving Day;
The twenty-eighth day in November, Lā Kū‘oko‘a;
The twenty-fifth day in December, Christmas Day;
All election days, except primary and special election days, in the county wherein the election is held;
Any day designated by proclamation by the President of the United States or by the governor as a holiday."
SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
State Holiday; Lā Kū‘oko‘a; Hawaiian Recognition Day
Reestablishes Lā Kū‘oko‘a, Hawaiian Recognition Day, as an official state holiday. Repeals Good Friday as a state holiday. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.