THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO KULEANA LANDS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that article XII, section 7, of the Hawaii State Constitution requires the State to "protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua‘a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights." In Act 195, Session Laws of Hawaii 2011, the State recognized the native Hawaiian people as the only indigenous, aboriginal, maoli people of Hawaii.
The legislature finds that the State has a constitutional duty to protect the title to kuleana lands granted to native Hawaiians over one hundred fifty years ago, kuleana claims that were approved by the land commission, and land titles with a royal patent of confirmation which are based on claims to a right to the land before 1848.
The purpose of this Act is to require that claimants of kuleana land and original land titles that are land commission awards with a royal patent of confirmation that are still held by lineal descendants of original awardees or purchasers to hold title to a greater than fifty per cent interest in each parcel of the quiet title action.
SECTION 2. Section 669-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§669-1 Object of action. (a) [
Subject to this chapter, action may be brought by any person against
another person who claims, or who may claim adversely to the plaintiff, an
estate or interest in real property, for the purpose of determining the adverse
Action for the purpose of establishing title to a parcel of real
property of five acres or less may be brought by any person who has been in
adverse possession of the real property for not less than twenty years. Action for the purpose of establishing title
to a parcel of real property of greater than five acres may be brought by any
person who had been in adverse possession of the real property for not less
than twenty years prior to November 7, 1978, or for not less than earlier
applicable time periods of adverse possession.
For purposes of this section, any person claiming title by adverse
possession shall show that [
such] the person acted in good
purposes of this section, [
Good] good faith means that, under
all the facts and circumstances, a reasonable person would believe that the
person has an interest in title to the lands in question and [ such] the
belief is based on inheritance, a written instrument of conveyance, or the
judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) Action brought to claim property of five acres or less on the basis of adverse possession may be asserted in good faith by any person not more than once in twenty years, after November 7, 1978.
(d) Action under subsection (a) or (b) shall be brought in the circuit court of the circuit in which the property is situated.
(e) Action may be brought by any person to quiet
title to land by accretion; provided that no action shall be brought by any
person other than the State to quiet title to land accreted along the ocean after
May 20, 2003, except that a private property owner whose eroded land has been
restored by accretion may also bring [
such] an action for the restored
portion. The person bringing the action
shall prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the accretion is natural
and permanent and that the land accreted before or on May 20, 2003. The person bringing the action shall supply
the office of environmental quality control with notice of the action for
publication in the office's periodic bulletin in compliance with section 343‑3(c)(4). The quiet title action shall not be decided by
the court unless the office of environmental quality control has properly
published notice of the action in the office's periodic bulletin.
(f) Action may be brought by any person to quiet title to kuleana lands or land titles that are land commission awards with a royal patent of confirmation held by lineal descendants of original awardees or purchasers; provided that the claimant holds title to a greater than fifty per cent interest in each parcel of the action.
(g) The plaintiff shall bear the cost of any fees associated with resolving quiet title disputes and may only recover costs, expenses, or attorney's fees from the defendant as the court may deem equitable under the circumstances.
(h) As used in this section[
"Kuleana land" shall have the same meaning as in section 669-2.
"Permanent" means that the accretion has been in existence for at least twenty years. The accreted portion of land shall be considered within the conservation district. Land accreted after May 20, 2003, shall be public land except as otherwise provided in this section. Prohibited uses are governed by section 183-45."
SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Real Property; Kuleana Land; Quiet Title
Requires that claimants seeking to quiet title of kuleana land and original land titles that are land commission awards with a royal patent of confirmation which are based on claims to a right to the land before 1848 shall own more than fifty per cent of the land. Requires that the plaintiff bear the costs associated with resolving quiet title disputes. (SD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.