STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1478
RE: S.C.R. No. 215
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.C.R. No. 215 entitled:
"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE COMPACT OF FREE ASSOCIATION COMMUNITY IN THE STATE OF HAWAII,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to recognize the contributions of the Compact of Free Association community in the State of Hawai‘i.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from two individuals and a petition signed by eleven individuals and entities. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from one individual.
Your Committee finds that the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia have small populations, economies, and land sizes but stretch over two million square miles of ocean. Your Committee further finds that shortly after World War II, the United States assumed administration of the islands composing these nations and that, upon granting them independence, signed Compact of Free Association (COFA) agreements with them, allowing establishment of bases and access to territorial waters of these nations to the exclusion of other nations. Your Committee additionally finds that treaties arising out of the special and unique relationship that has existed between the three COFA island nations and the United States allow island citizens to enter the United States without work permits or student visas, live, and work, and to access benefits available to United States citizens, such as driver licenses and health care. Your Committee also finds that COFA migrants make significant contributions to the economy, cultural traditions, and communities of the State, and that the COFA island families residing in this country should be treated with honor and respect in recognition of their contributions and the special and unique relationship between the COFA islands and the United States.
In addition, your Committee notes that rule 61 of the Rules of the Hawaii Senate prohibits resolutions that are "congratulatory, commemorative, or memorial" in nature and lack any substantive direction, and that the removal of language to conform with rule 61 does not indicate disagreement with the removed language.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Removing nonsubstantive language expressing the recognition of the Legislature;
(2) Requesting the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts to research contributions made to the State by COFA migrants and submit a report to the Legislature prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2022; and
(3) Making a technical, nonsubstantive amendment 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 concurs with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 215, as amended herein, and recommends its adoption in the form attached hereto as S.C.R. No. 215, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair