Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 1343

       S.D. 1




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.B. No. 1343 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose and intent of this measure is to:


     (1)  Remove acreage restrictions on leases of Hawaiian home lands for agricultural purposes;


     (2)  Provide that the availability of these leases be subject to the availability of suitable tracts of land; and


     (3)  Specify that the leases may be for for-profit or non-profit purposes.


     Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from one individual.  Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and one individual.


     Your Committee finds that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands' subsistence agricultural program is intended for those individuals who seek to be self-sufficient and grow enough to be self-sufficient.  As originally enacted by the United States Congress, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act authorized the Hawaiian Homes Commission to lease twenty to eighty acres of agricultural land.  In the present day, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act authorizes the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to lease no more than forty acres of agricultural land with at least twenty-six of those acres of continuous cultivation. 


     Your Committee finds that beneficiaries have voiced concerns of current agricultural lessees.  There are concerns that applicants on the agricultural lease waitlist have voiced concerns of agricultural lessees not farming their land.  Among agricultural applicants who are farming, fifty-five percent of farmers engage in subsistence farming, only growing enough crops to provide for the need of their household members.  An additional twenty percent are growing enough to provide for some of the needs of their household members.  Nearly six out of ten agricultural applicants seek to engage in subsistence farming.  Fifty-nine percent of applicants were willing to accept agricultural parcels of two acres or less and another twenty-three percent indicated that a lot size between three and five acres would be acceptable.


     Your Committee has heard the concerns from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands that removing acreage restrictions statewide would have an impact on over nineteen thousand applicants that are on the waitlist for an agricultural lease with 7,269 applicants on Hawaii Island; 4,666 applicants on Maui; 3,817 applicants on Oahu; 2,235 applicants on Kauai; and 1,097 applicants on Molokai.  If each of the current 19,084 applicants on the waitlist were provided with a forty-acre parcel, the Department would be required to provide 763,360 acres of land, which is more than triple the amount of lands currently available under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.  While removing the acreage restriction would potentially allow for expanded opportunities in certain areas for farming, these lands are not outfitted with the proper infrastructure and water for cultivation which would make these agricultural lands difficult to utilize.  In addition, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands would likely have to assist in providing technical assistance and financial support for beneficiaries to be successful.


     Your Committee has amended this measure by 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 is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1343, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1343, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs,