REPORT FROM THE SENATE MAJORITY – HONOLULU, HAWAII – Senate Bill 2783, relating to public trust lands, is expected to go before the full Senate for a vote Tuesday, March 6, 2012. If passed, the legislation will move to the House for consideration.  The Senate Committees on Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means passed the measure out of committee without amendments last Friday.

“It was a landmark decision for the committees to pass the bill,” said Senator J. Kalani English, a member of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means.  “This has been a long time coming and it is the first step in the right direction.”

Senate Bill 2783 would convey Kaka‘ako Makai lands to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA).  The State and OHA agree that a $200 million approximate settlement amount represents a reasonable compromise of the disputed claims.  To satisfy that $200 million amount, the State is conveying contiguous and adjacent parcels in Kaka‘ako Makai.   The parcels are near Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park, including Fisherman’s Warf.

If the measure is ultimately approved by the Governor, all disputes and controversies relating to OHA’s portion of income and proceeds from the public trust lands will be extinguished and discharged as well as bar all claims, suits, and actions for the period November 7, 1978 through June 30, 2012.

“I am satisfied we are moving forward with this bill to better the conditions of native Hawaiians and we at a certain point must trust the work of OHA and the administration in reaching this settlement,” added Sen. English, who represents District 6, encompassing Hana, East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.   “I thank Governor Abercrombie, OHA Chairperson Colette Machado and Attorney General David Louie for their efforts in reaching an agreement that Senators could consider.”

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