Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Yesterday the Public Land Trust (PLT) bill cleared both the House and Senate floor votes unanimously and now moves on to Governor Ige for his signature and final approval. The Public Land Trust bill would raise annual revenue payments to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from $15.1 million to $21.5 million, provide an additional sum of $64 million, and form a working group to continue discussion of this long-debated issue. It has been extremely gratifying to observe this year’s legislative session and know that not only were concerns for the Native Hawaiian people listened to and heard, but attended to as well. We have always, and will continue to, advocate for what is just, fair and pono for our people.
We would like to thank our legislators for addressing the state’s constitutional obligation to Native Hawaiians and agreeing to continue to work toward a resolution of this issue. We mahalo House Finance Chair Sylvia Luke and Representatives. Mark Nakashima, Stacelynn Eli, Daniel Holt and Gene Ward as well as Senate Ways and Means Chair Donovan Dela Cruz, Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, and Senators. Maile Shimabukuro, Jarrett Keohokalole and Kurt Fevella for their leadership and support on behalf of Native Hawaiians.
The decision of where to prudently deploy these additional funds will be decided by our Board of Trustees in fulfillment of their fiduciary duties considering our investment and spending policies and in alignment with our Mana i Mauli Ola Strategic Plan. We remain committed to our record $30.2 million fiscal biennium budget for beneficiary and community investments as we have just released community grant solicitations with awards expected to be announced this summer. Together, with the support from our state Legislature, we will continue our work to better the lives of the Native Hawaiian people and create a thriving lāhui.
About the Office of Hawaiian Affairs:
Established by the state Constitutional Convention in 1978, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a semi-autonomous state agency mandated to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians. Guided by a board of nine publicly elected trustees, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs fulfills its mandate through advocacy, research, community engagement, land management and the funding of community programs. Learn more at www.oha.org.