THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the Hawaiian language is Hawai‘i's indigenous and first language, as well as the original language of Hawai‘i's executive, judicial, and legislative branches. During his reign, King Kamehameha III famously declared, "He aupuni palapala ko‘u", or "Mine is the kingdom of education", in reference to the high literacy rate in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. This level of literacy continued into the 1900s, as 95.3 per cent of Native Hawaiians were literate, according to the 1910 United States Census. However, due to a myriad of political, economic, and social pressures, the Hawaiian language was materially marginalized, leading to its atrophy and eventual formal and practical exclusion from public and civic spaces. However, due to the Hawaiian language community's efforts and resilience, the existence of the Hawaiian language has been maintained and its vitality restored for future generations.
The legislature recognizes that Hawaiian language practitioners generally employ two written orthographies, namely unmarked language and marked language. The unmarked orthography was the first writing system of Hawaiian language. The marked orthography, which includes the ‘okina and kahakō, was created as a means to help learners of Hawaiian language determine when to elongate a vowel or where to insert a glottal stop. The intent of this measure is not to claim the superiority of one version of orthography over the other, or to invalidate communities with an unbroken lineage of Hawaiian speakers who do not follow contemporary Hawaiian writing or structures, as communities such as these are vital to Native Hawaiian culture and the State on the whole. Rather, the intent of this measure is to establish a standard for the spelling and punctuation of Hawaiian names and words when they appear in certain documents, letterheads, and highway signage created by state and county agencies for the purposes of consistency and uniformity.
Additionally, the intent of this Act is not to require that legislative bills and other official documents be written in Hawaiian as well as English; rather, if documents and letterheads prepared by or for state or county agencies or officials contain Hawaiian names and words, this Act only requires that the Hawaiian names and words be written in a consistent matter. This measure further clarifies that Hawaiian spelling not in conformance with the standards established by this measure will not invalidate an official document, nor will it allow a cause of action to arise. Finally, this measure intends that consistent spelling and punctuation of Hawaiian names and words be used only for state highway signs and the letterheads, symbols, emblems, and documents of certain designated state officials created after January 1, 2022, or when there is a need to reprint or revise existing state highway signs or the letterheads, symbols, emblems, and documents of certain designated state officials.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to require:
(1) Official stationery and website of designated state officials to include the Hawaiian translation of the office's or department's name; and
(2) All letterhead, documents, symbols, and emblems of the State and counties and state highway signs that include Hawaiian names and words to include Hawaiian names, words, spelling, and punctuation consistent with certain references.
SECTION 2. Section 1-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
"§1-13 Official languages. English and Hawaiian are the official
languages of Hawaii. Whenever there is
found to exist any radical and irreconcilable difference between the English
and Hawaiian version of any of the laws of the State, the English version shall
be held binding. Hawaiian shall not be
required for public acts and transactions[
.]; provided that if
Hawaiian names or words are included in those documents, the names or words shall
be consistent with Hawaiian spelling and punctuation, including kahakō and
‘okina, as determined under section 1-13.5(b)."
SECTION 3. Section 1-13.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§1-13.5[ ]] Hawaiian language; spelling.
[ Macrons and glottal stops may be used in the spelling of words or terms
in the Hawaiian language in] (a) Effective
January 1, 2022, all documents and letterheads and, notwithstanding any law
to the contrary, state highway signs prepared by or for state or county agencies
or officials[ .], to the extent that the documents, letterheads, and state
highway signs contain Hawaiian language names or words, shall include consistent
Hawaiian names and words and consistent Hawaiian spelling and punctuation,
and ‘okina that
punctuate the name or word to which they relate; provided that any revision to
conform any document, letterhead, or state highway sign existing on or before January
1, 2022, to the requirements of this section may be implemented when the document,
letterhead, or state highway sign requires replacement or reprinting or
otherwise requires revision. Any rule, order, policy, or other act, official
or otherwise, that prohibits or discourages the use of [ these symbols] consistent
Hawaiian names and words, as required by this section, shall be void.
(b) For the purposes of consistency, Hawaiian names and words shall be printed in conformance with:
(1) "Hawaiian Dictionary: Hawaiian-English, English-Hawaiian", by Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert, University of Hawai‘i Press, copyright 1986;
(2) "Māmaka Kaiao: A Modern Hawaiian Vocabulary", developed by the Kōmike Hua‘ōlelo, the Hawaiian Lexicon Committee; or
(3) "Place Names of Hawaii", by Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel H. Elbert, and Esther T. Mookini, University of Hawai‘i Press, copyright 1974.
(c) Any Hawaiian names and words that are spelled or punctuated inconsistently with subsection (b) within a document or letterhead subject to this section shall not be deemed to invalidate the document or render it unenforceable. No cause of action shall arise against the State, any county, or any state or county agency, official, or employee for any Hawaiian names and words that are spelled or punctuated inconsistently with subsection (b)."
SECTION 4. Section 5-6.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
§5-6.5[ ]] State
language. (a) The
Hawaiian language is the native language of Hawaii and [ may], effective
January 1, 2022, shall be used on all emblems and symbols representative of
the State, its departments, agencies, and political subdivisions[ .]
and, notwithstanding any laws to the contrary, state highway signs; provided
that for emblems, symbols, and state highway signs existing prior to January 1,
2022, conformance with this section may be delayed until a replacement for the emblem,
symbol, or state highway sign is otherwise required.
(b) The governor, lieutenant governor, state legislators, and heads of the principal departments shall prominently display a Hawaiian translation of the name of their respective office or department at least once on the main page of their official website and in the letterhead of their stationery. The University of Hawai‘i Ka Haka ‘Ula o Ke‘elikōlani or Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language may consult with each office or department prior to implementing the translation on the appropriate use of the Hawaiian language and its spelling. The University of Hawaii shall consult with native speakers to determine the appropriate use of the Hawaiian language and its spelling in translations.
(c) The Hawaiian language as used on all emblems, symbols, and state highway signs shall conform to the requirements of section 1-13.5(b).
(d) This section shall not be construed to require that the full text of legislative bills and other official documents be written in Hawaiian.
(e) For the purpose of this section, "native speakers" are speakers of the Hawaiian language who come from an unbroken lineage of primary speakers of the Hawaiian language."
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2060.
Hawaiian Language; Official Websites; Letterhead; Translation; State Highway Signs; Symbols; Emblems
Requires the governor, lieutenant governor, state legislators, and heads of principal departments to prominently display a Hawaiian language translation of the name of their respective office or department at least once on the main page of their official website and in the letterhead of their stationery. Requires all letterheads, documents, state highway signs, symbols, and emblems of the State and other political subdivisions that include Hawaiian names or words to include consistent Hawaiian names, spelling, and punctuation, including the use of kahakō and ‘okina. Establishes references for consistent Hawaiian names and words, including consistent Hawaiian spelling and punctuation. Clarifies that the full text of bills and other official documents are not required to be written in Hawaiian and that inconsistently spelled or punctuated Hawaiian words and names shall not invalidate the documents or render them unenforceable and no cause of action shall arise accordingly. Effective 7/1/2060. (HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.