THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

921

THIRTIETH LEGISLATURE, 2019

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to the department of the attorney general.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that an understanding of the scope of Hawaiian shoreline public access rights law in the State of Hawaii is critical to the fair and even-handed application of relevant law by the legal staff of the department of the attorney general.

Further, executive departments, boards, and commissions are obligated to properly apply the law of the State of Hawaii, including shoreline public access rights, on matters relevant to their executive and administrative decision-making. Therefore, the legislature finds that the State of Hawaii should provide such legal advice through a division of deputy attorneys general with the appropriate educational background and training in the Hawaiian language and Hawaiian culture.

SECTION 2. Section 26-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"26-7 Department of the attorney general. (a) The department of the attorney general shall be headed by a single executive to be known as the attorney general.

(b) The department shall administer and render state legal services, including furnishing of written legal opinions to the governor, legislature, and such state departments and officers as the governor may direct; represent the State in all civil actions in which the State is a party; approve as to legality and form all documents relating to the acquisition of any land or interest in lands by the State; and, unless otherwise provided by law, prosecute cases involving violations of state laws and cases involving agreements, uniform laws, or other matters which are enforceable in the courts of the State. The attorney general shall be charged with such other duties and have such authority as heretofore provided by common law or statute.

(c) There shall be within the department of the attorney general a commission to be known as the commission to promote uniform legislation which shall sit in an advisory capacity to the attorney general and to the legislature on matters relating to the promotion of uniform legislation. The composition of the commission shall be as heretofore provided for the commission to promote uniform legislation existing immediately prior to November 25, 1959. The members of the commission shall be nominated, and by and with the advice and consent of the senate, appointed by the governor for terms of four years each, provided that each member shall hold office until the member's successor is appointed and qualified; and provided also that the provisions of section 26-34, limiting the appointment of members of boards and commissions to two terms and the duration of membership to not more than eight consecutive years shall not be applicable.

The functions and authority heretofore exercised by the attorney general, high sheriff, and the commission to promote uniform legislation as heretofore constituted are transferred to the department of the attorney general established by this chapter.

(d) There is established in the department of the attorney general a division dedicated exclusively to providing legal advice regarding Hawaiian shoreline public access rights to the governor, executive departments, boards, and commissions and the legislature and its members.

The division shall have a staff of at least three deputy attorneys general with at least four years of formal education in the Hawaiian language and Hawaiian culture. The division shall also have one or more staff members who have at least a baccalaureate degree in Hawaiian studies, Hawaiian history, or the equivalent, to assist the division's attorneys.

(e) For purposes of this section, "Hawaiian shoreline public access rights" includes the traditional Hawaiian rights to gather firewood, house timber, aho cord, thatch, and ki leaf; to access drinking water and running water; to have right of way to the ocean and shoreline; any other such rights so recognized; and any related or similar rights."

SECTION 3. Beginning with the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the department of the attorney general shall request as a separate line item in the budget the sum of $400,000 or so much thereof as may be necessary per fiscal year to fund the annual operating costs of the division established pursuant to section 2.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.

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

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Department of the Attorney General; Hawaiian Shoreline Public Access Rights

 

Description:

Creates a division within the Department of the Attorney General to provide legal advice regarding Hawaiian shoreline public access rights.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.