Honolulu, Hawaii

                , 2015


RE:   H.B. No. 509

      H.D. 1





Honorable Joseph M. Souki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Twenty-Eighth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2015

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Agriculture, to which was referred H.B. No. 509 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose of this measure is to improve protection for wetland taro lands (loi kalo) and ancient wetland agricultural structures on undeveloped state-owned or –acquired conservation lands for Hawaii's long-term future food security and well-being by defining and classifying taro lands as a fourth class of public lands.


     The Taro Security and Purity Task Force, a member of the Kauai County Council, a member of the Maui County Council, a member of the Hawaii County Council, Hawaii Farmers Union United, Hawaii Land Restoration Institute, Three Roads Farm, Waihuena Farm, Regenerations International Botanical Garden, and numerous concerned individuals supported this measure.  The Department of Agriculture supported the intent of this measure.  The Department of Land and Natural Resources provided comments.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by:


(1)  Amending the definition of "taro lands" to mean any undeveloped public lands in the land use conservation district in wetland taro cultivation before statehood or that were traditional taro lands in the land use conservation district retaining historic structural evidence of loi kalo; and


(2)  Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for clarity, consistency, and style.


     Your Committee suggests to the Committee on Water & Land and the Committee on Finance, should they deliberate on this bill, that an apparent inconsistency in the bill should be addressed.  Section 5 appropriates funds to the Board of Land and Natural Resources for the purpose of identifying lands classified as fourth class taro lands.  However, section 4 does not require the Board to create an inventory identifying fourth class taro lands.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 509, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 509, H.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Water & Land.


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