Legislature Approves $200M OHA Settlement
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by Big Island Now Staff
The state House of Representatives voted today to approve a $200 million settlement between the state and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs over past payments for ceded lands.
Senate Bill 2783, which received near-unanimous approval from the Senate on March 6, will transfer title to OHA of state lands in Kaka‘ako Makai to settle a long-standing dispute over the revenues from ceded lands which once belonged to Hawaii’s monarchy and are now in the public trust.
The property consists of 10 parcels of land, most of which are located on the waterfront in the Kaka‘ako area of Honolulu and includes Fisherman’s Wharf.
According to testimony by OHA to the House Judiciary Committee, the bill “will finally right a decades-old wrong” created by the state’s failure to pay OHA its proper share of public land trust revenues between 1978 and 2012.
“This is an historic day for the State of Hawaii, as many have waited decades for a resolution to this issue regarding ceded lands,” Senate President Shan Tsutsui said Friday in a statement from the Legislature. “I commend all parties involved for their hard work and commitment to shepherding the passage of this bill.”
The bill, which resolves all outstanding claims between OHA and the state, still needs the signature of Gov. Neil Abercrombie to become official. The governor told the Associated Press that he expects to sign the measure at Washington Place, the former home of Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch.