STAND. COM. REP. NO. 112
RE: S.B. No. 1014
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 1014 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO INDEPENDENT LEGAL COUNSEL,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to allow the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to retain independent legal counsel and to retain the services of the Attorney General on an as-needed basis.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations, Keaukaha Pana‘ewa Farmers Association, and one individual. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Department of the Attorney General. Your Committee received comments on this measure from one individual.
Your Committee finds that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands is unique in its genesis through the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920, as amended. Further, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has a fiduciary duty to its beneficiaries in the fulfillment of its trust obligation. Given this unique and significant history, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and other state agencies will, at times, have different strategic objectives and policies on issues that are culturally sensitive to the Native Hawaiian people. Therefore, this measure allows the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to retain independent legal counsel and to retain the services of the Attorney General on an as-needed basis.
Your Committee has heard testimony from the Department of the Attorney General, which provided assurances that safeguards were already in place to ensure zealous representation and to avoid conflicts of interest. Your Committee has also heard testimony from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands emphasizing that certain issues, such as those involving Mauna Kea, necessarily require counsel to view issues through a Native Hawaiian lens. In acknowledgment of these discussions, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Limiting the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands' ability to retain independent counsel to situations where the opposing party to the reasonably anticipated litigation is the State or another state agency; and
(2) Amending section 1 to reflect its amended purpose.
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. 1014, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1014, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs,
MAILE S.L. SHIMABUKURO, Chair