Lawmakers Attempt End Run Around Public to Pass Akaka Bill

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BY MALIA HILL – As the last days of the 2011 Legislature come to a close, it is important that citizens be ever vigilant of what our lawmakers are doing with the bills, which are now being heard in conference committee

Case in point: House Bill 1405, which started out in the beginning of this session as a bill “relating to planning” that called for the requirement of the Office of Planning “to establish a statewide system of greenways and trails.”


HB1405 made it through the House committees in its original form all the way to the first crossover vote, but after being heard in two Senate committees, it was changed into a state version of what could be called the first steps of the Akaka Bill – that is, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act. The revised state measure now calls for the establishment of a 9-member Native Hawaiian roll commission, which will appoint an interim council of 9 members to “commence the organization of a convention of qualified Native Hawaiians.”

The Senate committees on Water, Land, and Housing and Ways and Means decided to delete HB1405’s contents and replace them with the contents of S.B. No. 1, S.D. 2, which died in an earlier committee and never made it to the floor of the House for a vote for second crossover.

The last public testimony received was on March 31, 2011, when HB1405 was still in its original form, at least when testimony was submitted. Not one piece of testimony regarding the new version of HB1405 is shown on the state Web site. With the new version of the bill now in conference committee, no public testimony is even allowed.

It will be interesting to see what the members of the conference committee do with this totally gut-and-pasted bill, as they are charged with coming up with a version of the bill that will have to pass in the exact form in both chambers. The conference committee is scheduled to meet at 1:05 p.m. today in conference room 224 for decision making.

See the status of the HB1405 at:

The public may still send comments to the conference committee chairs via emails to – Sen. Malama Solomon at and Reps. Jerry Chang at and Sharon Har at

To send an email to all legislators, go to:

Or find your individual Senator or Representative at:

To contact the governor, go to:

Start a discussion at or on HawaiiVotes Facebook.


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