STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1445
RE: S.R. No. 150
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2021
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred S.R. No. 150 entitled:
"SENATE RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING THE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION OF THE HAWAIIAN HOMES COMMISSION ACT OF 1920, AS AMENDED,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to recognize the centennial celebration of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act Of 1920, as amended.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.
Your Committee finds that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, as amended, was enacted to provide homestead lots for native Hawaiians, who following the Māhele of 1848, lost their parcels due to a myriad of reasons, including the lack of understanding of the imposed foreign legal and judicial system, introduction and expansion of large-scale ranching and plantation operations, the decline of taro cultivation due to the mass diversion of water for large-scale planting and ranching operations from large community-maintained traditional irrigation systems, the acquisition of parcels through adverse possession or quiet title actions, and the seizure of parcels as payments for debt and taxes. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act sought to provide homesteading programs for native Hawaiians by placing approximately 203,500 acres of the 1,800,000 acres of former government and crown lands into the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, in which the day-to-day management is vested in the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands headed by the Hawaiian Homes Commission. The Hawaiian Homes Commission administers the trust solely in the interest of beneficiaries and uses reasonable skill and care to make the trust property productive.
Your Committee further finds that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act was signed on July 9, 1921, in which Congress sought to lay the foundation for a comprehensive program to resettle Hawaiians on land that could be farmed and ranched with adequate water and financial assistance to get them started. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act also sought to increase native Hawaiian land ownership by making the land title inalienable. More specifically, Congress intended to provide homesteads and financial support to assist native Hawaiian beneficiaries, whose numbers were seriously declining due to complex sociological, economic, medical, and political factors. The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act presents a clear opportunity for the federal government, the State, and native Hawaiian beneficiaries to work toward increased self-determination and self-governance. Therefore, this measure seeks to recognize the centennial celebration of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting provisions to urge the executive departments to review their policies related to the beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and prioritize housing of beneficiaries under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act; and
(2) 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 Hawaiian Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of S.R. No. 150, as amended herein, and recommends its adoption in the form attached hereto as S.R. No. 150, S.D. 1.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs,
MAILE S.L. SHIMABUKURO, Chair