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Governor Enacts Bill To Further Self Determination For Native Hawaiians

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 6, 2011

Honolulu –Governor Neil Abercrombie signed into law a measure that recognizes Native Hawaiians as the indigenous people of Hawai'i.  Act 195 gives the Governor the power to appoint a five-member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission that will build the foundation for self-determination. 

“This is an important step for the future of Native Hawaiian self-determination and the ability for Native Hawaiians to decide their own future,” stated Governor Abercrombie.  “This Commission will put together the roll of qualified and interested Native Hawaiians who want to help determine the course of Hawai'i’s indigenous people.”

Act 195 starts the process that will eventually lead to Native Hawaiian Recognition. While in the U.S. House of Representatives, then-Congressman Abercrombie worked closely with U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka on moving the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, which was first introduced in 1999. In 2000 and 2007, then-Congressman Abercrombie successfully shepherded the legislation through the U.S. House of Representatives committees and won approval by the full House.

U.S. Senator Akaka, who is in Washington D.C., praised the bill signing stating: “The enactment of this bill is yet another example of Hawai'i’s ongoing desire to recognize the unique contributions and traditions of the Native people in our state.  Native Hawaiian values shape our sense of identity, our sense of aloha for one another, and our sense of what is pono, what is just.  This new law complements our efforts in Congress and demonstrates that the people of Hawai'i strongly support the right of Native Hawaiians to reorganize and perpetuate their culture and way of life.”

More than 150 people attended today’s bill signing ceremony at Washington Place this afternoon, including groups representing the ali'i societies and trusts; OHA trustees, Native Hawaiian civic clubs, and state lawmakers.

Governor Abercrombie has 180 days to appoint the five-member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission.  The Commission will be responsible for preparing and maintaining a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians as defined by the Act. The roll is to be used as the basis for participation in the organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.  The Commission is composed of five members, one from each county and one at-large seat.  Once its work is completed, the Governor will dissolve the Commission.

“We recognize the special relationship to Native Hawaiians that is part of our public conscience, enshrined in our laws, and entrusted to our leaders,” Governor Abercrombie said.  “With the signing of this bill, the State of Hawai'i is closer to the reorganization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. As Native Hawaiians rise, all of Hawai'i rises.”

The Office of the Governor will announce the application process for consideration to be named to the Commission later this week.

Yesterday, Governor Abercrombie signed into law the following measures:

Senate Bill 1073 increases the amount of a surcharge paid when filing a complaint or an appeal.  The increased amounts are to be phased in over time and will be used to increase funding for the Indigent Legal Assistance Fund. 

Senate Bill 283 incorporates the definitions and guiding principles of the Hawai'i 2050 sustainability plan into the Hawai'i state planning act. This will add sustainability as a priority guideline for the state.

Senate Bill 285 requires the Department of Human Services (DHS) to implement a mobile medical van telehealth pilot program operated by a qualified provider.  It also requires the DHS to assess the implementation of the program at least six months but no later than 12 months after it begins operations.

Senate Bill 1342 requires disabled parking placards to be hung from the front windshield mirror of a vehicle when the placard is in use.  It also allows the placard to be displayed on the vehicle’s dashboard if the design of the vehicle’s rearview mirror precludes secure hanging of the placard.

Senate Bill 1153 makes it easier for farmers to get loans and on favorable terms.  This will help further agriculture in Hawai'i and make farming easier in Hawaii Reduces, the new farmer program loan interest rate.

Senate Bill 281 authorizes the use or rental of division of animal industry property or facilities for commercial purposes; establishes the animal industry special fund; and allows the Department of Agriculture to lease out the quarantine facility at Halawa now that it is not needed and obtain critically needed revenue to fund its activities.

Senate Bill 1025 establishes a new offense of unauthorized entry in a dwelling in the first degree as a class B felony.  This bill also repeals the reckless state of mind required for the attendant circumstance that another person was lawfully present in the dwelling at the time of entry; and amends the offense of unauthorized entry in a dwelling by designating it as an unauthorized entry in a dwelling in the second degree.

Senate Bill 742
allows the state fire council to hire a full-time administrator and administrative assistant.

House Bill 605 establishes a reduced ignition propensity cigarette program special fund for the state fire council to administer.

House Bill 227 makes entering or remaining unlawfully on unimproved or unused agricultural lands without permission an offense of criminal trespass in the second degree if the lands are fenced, enclosed, or secured, or a sign is displayed.

Governor Abercrombie continues to review legislative bills that he must either veto or sign into law by July 12, 2011. 


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