Honolulu, Hawaii


RE: S.B. No. 697

S.D. 1




Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii




Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 697 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


The purpose and intent of this measure is to establish January of each year as "Kalaupapa Month".


Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Health, Ka Ohana O Kalaupapa, and three individuals.


Your Committee finds that in 1865, the Kingdom of Hawaii passed "An Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy", which required the Board of Health to "cause to be isolated and confined . . . all leprous patients who shall be deemed capable of spreading the disease of leprosy." Leprosy, also known as Hansen's disease, is an infection caused by mycobacterium leprae, a slow-growing bacteria, that can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose, and if left untreated can result in the crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness. Though it is now known that leprosy does not spread easily and there is effective treatment, for many years it was feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease. Accordingly, to prevent the spread of leprosy, the Kingdom bought eight hundred acres of land on the remote Kalaupapa peninsula of Molokai in order to forcibly remove from the general population individuals believed to have leprosy.


Your Committee further finds that on January 6, 1866, twelve citizens of Hawaii arrived at Kalaupapa, the first of an estimated eight thousand people who were taken from their families and forced into isolation. Your Committee additionally finds that on January 3, 1840, Jozef De Veuster was born in Belgium. Later ordained in Honolulu and known as Father Damien, he arrived at Kalaupapa in 1873 and spent sixteen years of his life caring for the people of Kalaupapa, ministering to them, building houses, churches, and tending to their medical needs, until his death at age 49 in 1889. Your Committee also finds that on January 23, 1838, Barbara Koob was born in Germany. She later became a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Syracuse, New York, and eventually became known as Mother Marianne Cope. She spent thirty years at Kalaupapa, supervising the Bishop Home for Single Women and Girls and serving as a leader in the community. Your Committee further finds that, given the significance of the month of January on Kalaupapa peninsula, it is appropriate to designate that month as Kalaupapa month.


Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1) Adding an explanation to the statutory language regarding the significance of selecting January to designate as Kalaupapa month;


(2) Revising the preamble to better explain the significance of Kalaupapa peninsula and why January has been selected as Kalaupapa month;


(3) Removing references to a specific organization in the preamble; and


(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.


As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 697, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 697, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,