The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) is proposing the following bills to the 2012 Hawaiʻi State Legislature.
- Public Land Trust Past Due Revenues Settlement: Under state law, OHA is supposed to receive a portion of the income and proceeds from the Public Land Trust to better the conditions of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. Since 1978, OHA has made claims for amounts owed to OHA that were never received. In an attempt to settle OHA’s unresolved claims for these past due revenues from 1978 to 2012, the State is now proposing to transfer to OHA land in Kakaʻako Makai, Oʻahu that is valued at about $200 million. The settlement must be approved by the state legislature before it can go into effect.
- Public Land Development Corporation: Act 55 established a Public Land Development Corporation to administer an appropriate and culturally sensitive public land development program. However, the Act is unclear about how certain interests of OHA and our Native Hawaiian beneficiaries will be protected. Our bill would require the corporation to (1) examine the impacts its projects will have on Native Hawaiian rights; (2) receive legislative approval to sell, gift or exchange its lands; and (3) provide to OHA a portion of any revenues the corporation generates on the Public Land Trust.
- Federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Outreach Initiative: The federal EITC is a way for families in certain income tax categories to reduce federal tax on their income, sometimes to below zero. About 105,000 low-income families in Hawaiÿi claim the federal EITC, but 19,000 more families might be able to claim the credit if they knew about it. Our proposed bill would establish an initiative to maximize the number of eligible families that receive the federal EITC.
- Public Benefit Program Asset Limit: Asset limitations for public benefit programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Medicaid, and food stamps, encourage low-income families to get rid of assets instead of accumulating them, which makes it difficult for those families to escape poverty and become self-sufficient. Our proposed bill would increase the asset limit qualification for certain public assistance programs from $5,000 to $15,000 to allow families to accumulate assets and improve their financial conditions.
- Financial Literacy Course: Without a knowledge and understanding of financial and economic matters, many individuals, particularly our youth, have difficulty managing their personal finances and making sound decisions regarding saving, investing, and loans. Our proposed resolution requests that public high schools include a one-semester financial literacy course.
- Act 178 Compliance: Act 178 requires state agencies to provide a full accounting of all revenues they generate from the public land trust. Currently, the agencies are not providing full reports. Our proposed resolution requests the state’s full compliance with the public land trust revenue reporting requirements of Act 178, Session Laws of Hawaii 2006.
- Hawaiian Language Assessments: The Hawaiian language community has voiced strong concerns about the translated Hawaii State Assessment used for Hawaiian language immersion students because of the numerous problems relating to translated tests, including cultural and translation bias, translation inaccuracies, and terminology inconsistencies. Our proposed bill requires assessments for third and fourth grade students in the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program to be developed originally in the Hawaiian language.
- Innocence Redress: Under current law, innocent people who are wrongfully imprisoned must sue in order to receive compensation for the wrongful deprivation of their freedom. Our proposed bill establishes a way for wrongfully convicted individuals to receive monetary compensation as well as immediate services upon their release from prison.
- ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Month: While February has long been considered Hawaiian Language Month, this designation has never been made official by a statute. Our proposed bill designates February as ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Month to celebrate and encourage the use of Hawaiian language.
- Data Disaggregation: Not all state agencies currently separate their data about Native Hawaiians from their data about other ethnic groups, which prevents the state, OHA and the general public from fully understanding the depth of Native Hawaiian health, socio-economic, housing, employment and other issues. Our proposed bill requires state agencies, boards, and commissions to separate data according to Census Bureau collection categories, including one specifically for Native Hawaiians. This proposed bill goes further than the minimum requirements under OMB Directive No. 15, the federal guideline governing racial and ethnic data collection.
- Cemeteries: The disinterment of human burials for purposes of removing the dedication of a cemetery is not currently governed by a firm set of rules. Our proposed bill requires the Department of Health to adopt rules for disinterring human remains for the purposes of decertifying a cemetery.
- Charter Schools: Short Form Bill
- Act 195 Amendments: Short Form Bill
Please direct comments or questions to: email@example.com or 808.594.1756