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Kahele Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Long-Term Tenancy to Beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and their Successors

July 13, 2021

Kahele Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Ensure Long-Term Tenancy to Beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and their Successors

The Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Protecting Family Legacies Act Honors the Original Intent of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele announced today the introduction of the Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Protecting Family Legacies Act, bipartisan legislation that ensures long-term tenancy to beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commissions Act (HHCA) and their successors. H.J.Res. 55, reduces the successorship qualification of a lessee’s spouse, children, grandchildren and brothers or sisters from one quarter to one thirty-second Hawaiian.

“I want to do everything I can to help ensure future generations of Native Hawaiians benefit from the original intent of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act -- that is, to return native Hawaiians to their lands with prompt and efficient placement in order to support self-sufficiency and self-determination. The Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Protecting Family Legacies Act accomplishes this by ensuring long-term tenancy to beneficiaries and their successors,” said Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02). “My legislation advances the original draft, vision and intent of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole who championed the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, legislation he fought to pass in Congress as a non-voting delegate.”

The Hawaiʻi State Legislature passed this amendment in 2017 and it was signed by the Governor of Hawaiʻi as Act 80 that same year. This action was deliberated on by HHCA beneficiaries and homestead associations for many years and deemed necessary because many descendants of HHCA beneficiaries currently face displacement and the loss of their ancestral homes.

The Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Protecting Family Legacies Act is cosponsored by: Representatives Don Young (R-AK), Ed Case (D-HI), Sharice L. Davids (D-KS), Tom Cole (R-OK), Teresa Leger-Fernandez (D-NM), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), David P. Joyce (R-OH), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Aumua Almata Coleman Radewagen (R-AS), Gregoria Sablan (D-MP), and Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-GU).

About the Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Protecting Family Legacies Act

  • In order for the State of Hawaiʻi to make substantive amendments to the HHCA, consent of the United States of America is required.

  • Several similar resolutions have been passed by Congress – all with unanimous or nearly unanimous support: 

  • The HHCA defines native Hawaiians as individuals who are at least one half Hawaiian. This requirement was in place for both initial lessees and their successors until 1986 when an amendment was enacted by the Hawaiʻi State Legislature and approved by Congress that reduced the successorship qualification to one quarter Hawaiian for spouses and children of a lessee.

About Act 80

  • In 2017, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature enacted Act 80 which amends the HHCA by reducing the successorship qualification of a lessee’s spouse, children, grandchildren and brothers or sisters from one quarter to one thirty-second Hawaiian.

  • The legislature acknowledged that the current blood quantum requirement for successors creates undue hardship for beneficiaries and interferes with families’ abilities to maintain the equity of their homes.

  • The amendment ensures cultural continuity and economic security by removing uncertainty and instability, perpetuating the intent of the HHCA by assuring long-term tenancy to the beneficiaries of this Act and their successors.

  • This bill will maintain stability for homestead lessees and ensure that families are not displaced from their ancestral homes.

About the HHCA

  • The HHCA was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Warren G. Harding on July 9th, 1921.

  • The HHCA established a federal land trust of approximately 200,000 acres to create a permanent homeland for native Hawaiians, to build homes, farms, ranches and otherwise engage in commercial, industrial or economic mercantile activities.

 

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