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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA 2021 Legislative Package

In the 2021 legislative session, our state legislators will have the immense kuleana of addressing the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the lessons that the post-COVID-19 world have taught us. OHA’s 2021 legislative package is accordingly tailored to focus on essential issues, highlighted by the ongoing pandemic, by:

  • Maintaining the decades-long partnership between OHA and the state to fund programs serving our Native Hawaiian beneficiaries who have been significantly impacted from this public health crisis;
  • Supporting Hawaiʻi’s critical sustainability and food security goals through the establishment of a diversified agriculture model on OHA’s Wahiawā lands;
  • Tackling Hawaiʻi’s continuing cycle of houselessness and the criminalization of people experiencing houselessness; and
  • Addressing data collection and governance practices that have impeded efforts to address COVID-19’s impacts on Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders.

Developed through internal and targeted outreach with key stakeholders, experts, and community leaders, an intensive vetting process and discussions with OHA leadership and the Board of Trustees, OHA’s Board-approved 2021 legislative package includes the following:

OHA-1: OHA Biennium Budget Bill FY22-23

Read the Bills: HB204 / SB389

OHA’s budget bill requests $3,037,879 in state general fund appropriations each fiscal year, to support OHA’s budget plans for the upcoming biennium.  This request reflects the same “base budget” in general funds that was appropriated to OHA in FY2017-2018 and FY2019-2020; in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this request is $940,000 per year less than what OHA most recently requested in FY2019.  Historical bill provisos continue to earmark over $1.5M/year in state general funds and the same amount in OHA trust funds for OHA to strategically invest in social services, education, and legal services for Native Hawaiians. This measure would reaffirm the longstanding partnership between the state and OHA and allow OHA to meet critical community needs to benefit OHA’s beneficiaries and Hawai‘i as a whole.

Learn more about OHA-1: review the infographics

OHA-2: Supporting Sustainable Diversified Agriculture, Cultural Protection in Wahiawā

Read the Bills: HB203 / SB390

This measure is a re-submittal of OHA’s 2020 capital improvement project request, to authorize the issuance of $3M in state general obligation bonds to support the construction of water storage and distribution infrastructure on OHA’s Wahiawā lands.  In addition to supporting local workers and businesses, this construction project will allow OHA to move forward with its plans for culturally and ecologically compatible diversified agriculture in Wahiawā, and thereby contribute to our islands’ food self-sufficiency and resiliency.

Note: OHA has already secured a 1M gallon/week commitment of water from the Agribusiness Development Corporation and has already committed its own funding towards the design, planning, and permitting of the water storage and distribution system.

Learn more about OHA-2: review the whitepaper

OHA-3: Clearing the Path Home for People Experiencing Houselessness

Read the Bills: HB202 / SB391

Criminal records resulting from the effective criminalization of houseless individuals inhibit their ability to secure critical documentation (such as drivers’ licenses), services, employment, and housing, thereby exacerbating our islands’ houselessness challenges.  With a disproportionate amount of OHA beneficiaries suffering from houselessness, this measure seeks to mitigate these impacts by allowing for the expungement of arrest and conviction records for certain state laws (i.e. obstruction of sidewalks, trespass on state lands) that are typically, if not exclusively, enforced against those experiencing houselessness, and for any other other non-violent offenses shown to have arisen from an individual’s houseless status.

Learn more about OHA-3: review the whitepaper

OHA-4: 21st Century Data Governance for Fact-Based Policymaking

Read the Bills: HCR3 / SCR5

Existing data and other indicators suggest that COVID-19 may be impacting Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities in significant and unique ways.  Addressing these impacts will require tailored responses to ensure the recovery and continued resiliency of these communities.  Unfortunately, data collection and reporting challenges encountered during the pandemic have stymied efforts to develop targeted policies and interventions to address COVID-19’s impacts on Native Hawaiians and on other Pacific Islander communities, and have highlighted longstanding concerns about the need to enhance and improve data governance practices by state and county agencies generally. This resolution urges the sharing of disaggregated Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander data by certain critical government agencies, and requests that further steps be taken to improve government agencies’ data governance practices going forward.

Learn more about OHA-4: review the whitepaper


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New census data confirms more Native Hawaiians reside on the continent than in Hawaiʻi

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OHA Trustees commit $5 million in disaster relief funds to aid beneficiaries affected by Maui wildfires

warehouse press conf

Coordinated Donation Management Center for Maui fire victims opens in Hakuone

Wiwoʻole Maui

Wiwoʻole Maui Benefit Concert

Wai Ola Hall fire

OHA Board Chair Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey statement on Maui wildfires 

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