As part of its mandate to advocate for Native Hawaiians, each year OHA submits a package of proposed bills to the Hawaii State Legislature, and the agency’s Board of Trustees also votes to take positions on a wide variety of legislation impacting the Hawaiian community. The following are summaries of the bills approved by the OHA Board of Trustees and put forward as OHA’s 2017 state legislative package.
NOTE: The following is a summary of all OHA legislative priorities that are currently alive for the 2017 Regular Legislative Session. (Updated on March 23, 2017)
HB335: OHA is requesting $4.52 million in state general fund appropriations for each fiscal year for 2018 & 2019, to support OHA’s budget plans for the upcoming biennium. More than half of OHA’s request is for programmatic funding in the areas of education, social services, legal services, health, housing, and income. The remainder of OHA’s request, which is $1.5 more per fiscal year, is primarily to address OHA’s over $2.3 million annual increase in fringe expenses (an increase resulting from the state’s fringe benefit assessment rate increasing to 60%).
HB335 HD2 reduced OHA’s request to $2.49 million, and deleted programmatic funding for health, housing, and income improvement programs and services. The amended bill also eliminated most of OHA’s personnel request. OHA is currently advocating for the restoration of its original request amounts.
By passing OHA’s budget request, the state would reaffirm its commitment to address the needs of Native Hawaiians, by supporting programs and operations that will directly benefit OHA and its beneficiaries, and would assist OHA’s efforts to maintain existing levels of services.
Learn more about HB335. Review the infographics.
HCR81 would request that the Department of Budget and Finance conduct a study to determine whether the per-pupil funding system for public charter schools ensures equitable funding among all public schools, and whether the Board of Education’s weighted student formula or alternative weighted student formula approach may achieve greater funding parity for public charter schools and lead to their long-term operational sustainability. The study is requested to use information dating back to fiscal year 2012-2013, and to consider whether public charter schools have unique characteristics and needs that may be better addressed through a weighted student formula approach. The Department of Education, the State Public Charter School Commission, the Hawai‘i Public Charter School Network, the Hawai‘i Educational Policy Center, and other stakeholder agencies would be asked to assist the Department of Budget and Finance in its efforts.
Learn more about HCR81. Review the white paper.
HCR6/SCR7: This resolution seeks to support community-driven fishery management proposals, by drawing parallels between such proposals and the highly successful, traditional konohiki fishery system. The resolution highlights the historical success of the traditional, ahupua‘a-based konohiki fishing rights system, which relied upon communities’ intimate knowledge of and connection to their nearshore area to sustain abundant resources and a thriving human population prior to Western contact; chronicles the erosion and eventual abolishment of the konohiki fishing rights system and laws, as well as the resulting impacts to nearshore resources and associated cultural lifestyles, traditions, and values of ahupua‘a tenants; and urges the Department of Land and Natural Resources to support culturally-grounded and community-driven fisheries management proposals, to enable kīpuka communities to once again steward, restore, and perpetuate the nearshore resources their cultural traditions and values rely upon.
Learn more about HCR6/SCR7. Review the white paper.
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