STAND. COM. REP. NO. 303
RE: S.B. No. 1501
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land, to which was referred S.B. No. 1501 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO THE PROTECTION OF TARO LANDS,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to prohibit the Board of Land and Natural Resources from disturbing or acquiring for development certain wetland taro‑growing lands.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from Ku-A-Kanaka, LLC; Malama Makua; Hawaiian Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i; Hawai‘i Farmers Union United; and seven individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Your Committees find that taro, or kalo, is a traditional Hawaiian vegetable root crop and food that has sustained Hawaii's people and culture for centuries and that the preservation and protection of taro and taro farming is a significant piece of the State's cultural identity and food security initiative. This measure improves protections for wetland taro lands and ancient agricultural structures on state owned or acquired lands.
Your Committees have amended this measure by incorporating the recommendations raised in testimony by the Department of Land and Natural Resources to adopt language used in a similar measure, S.B. No. 1498, Regular Session of 2023, which specifies that the Board of Land and Natural Resources shall not disturb certain taro lands and systems on undeveloped lands used for wetland taro cultivation before statehood and currently in use for wetland taro cultivation.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1501, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1501, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Judiciary.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Agriculture and Environment and Water and Land,
LORRAINE R. INOUYE, Chair
MIKE GABBARD, Chair