HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

764

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to burial sites.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that traditional Hawaiian burials play a critical role in Hawaiian culture. A recognized traditional Hawaiian practice for treatment of human remains involves reducing the remains to its skeletal remains, known as iwi, and interring the iwi in a kapa or lauhala container. The cultural significance of iwi is deeply rooted in Native Hawaiian oral traditions, language, and culture. Native Hawaiian burial traditions acknowledge the natural cycles of life and death. Iwi are vital to the perpetuation of living Native Hawaiians, as they are the lasting embodiment of ancestors and a continuous genealogical link from past, present, and future generations.

The legislature further finds that coastal erosion is an increasing threat to Hawaiian burial sites. The effects of climate change pose a significant threat to iwi exposed or likely to be exposed by coastal erosion caused by rising sea levels. Recent extreme weather events such as torrential rains and king tides have catalyzed coastal erosion in low-lying areas, which increase the likelihood of landslides and high surface runoff. Unidentified iwi in coastal areas are at severe risk of being exposed and compromised by coastal erosion that may impact burial sites as early as 2030.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to create a department of land and natural resources inter-division program between the state historic preservation division, land division, office of conservation and coastal lands, and island burial councils, in partnership with the office of Hawaiian affairs to address the location of Hawaiian burial sites and safe movement and restoration of iwi that are exposed or likely to be exposed due to coastal erosion.

SECTION 2. (a) The state historic preservation division of the department of land and natural resources shall establish an inter-division program to address the location, movement, relocation, and restoration of Hawaiian burial sites that are exposed or likely to be exposed by coastal erosion due to climate change. The state historic preservation division shall collaborate with the land division, office of conservation and coastal lands, island burial councils, and office of Hawaiian affairs in the development of the program.

(b) The inter-division program shall:

(1) Examine the fiscal impacts of the movement and relocation of iwi affected by coastal erosion to locations inland that maintain lineal genealogical or cultural connections;

(2) Take appropriate steps to move and relocate iwi from impacted burial sites to areas further inland within the same moku;

(3) Provide guidance and technical assistance to communities, organizations, and other stakeholders with lineal genealogical or cultural connections to the impacted iwi; and

(4) Develop policies and procedures to protect impacted iwi and burial sites that have not been relocated or those that have been relocated.

(c) The state historic preservation division may adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to carry out the purposes of this section.

(d) The inter-division program shall collaborate with interested stakeholders, including appropriate Hawaiian organizations, property owners, community organizations, and other state and county government agencies and private organizations concerned with the location and movement of iwi from areas impacted by coastal erosion caused by climate change.

(e) The state historic preservation division shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2024.

SECTION 3. For iwi found, the office of Hawaiian affairs shall cover costs related to the movement and relocation of iwi impacted by coastal erosion. For non-Hawaiian human remains, the department of land and natural resources shall utilize funds expended in this Act to move and relocate remains in areas impacted by coastal erosion.

SECTION 4. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2023-2024 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2024-2025 for the development of policies and procedures to advance the purposes of this Act and for the movement and restoration of non-Hawaiian burial sites impacted by coastal erosion or likely to be impacted by coastal erosion.

The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2023.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Burial Sites; Coastal Erosion; State Historic Preservation Division; Office of Hawaiian Affairs; Appropriation

 

Description:

Establishes an inter-division program between the State Historic Preservation Division, Land Division, Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands, Island Burial Councils, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs that addresses the location, movement, and restoration of Hawaiian burial sites, or iwi, exposed or likely to be exposed to coastal erosion. Appropriates funds.

 

 

 

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