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Bill That Would Repeal PLDC Moves to Senate

Posted February 14, 2013, 05:33 PM HST Updated February 14, 2013, 06:03 PM HST
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie, center, signing Senate Bill 1555, which established the Public Land Development Corp., on May 20, 2011. With him are, from left, bill sponsor Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, Sen. Malama Solomon, Rep. Sharon Har and former Rep. Jerry Chang. Har was one of several House members absent for votes on House Bill 1133 Wednesday and today, and the only one missing for both. Courtesy photo.

The state House of Representatives today approved a bill that would dissolve the Public Land Development Corporation.

House Bill 1133 underwent a second reading Wednesday and a third vote today.

There were no “no” votes either day, although several House members were absent for each roll call.

Two House committees, Finance and Water and Land, held a joint meeting on the measure on Monday.

According to the committees’ report, members believed that Act 55, the state law approved in 2011 establishing the PLDC, was “overly broad and grants excessive powers to the corporation without sufficient safeguards.”

The bill now moves to the state Senate.

Rep Cindy Evans (D-N. Kona, Kohala), chairwoman of the Committee on Water and Land, today declined to predict how the bill will fare there.

However, she said the PLDC was one of the hottest topics leading up to last year’s election.

“On the campaign trail, I was always asked if I supported it,” she said.

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In October the Sierra Club established a website called Grand Theft ‘Aina targeting lawmakers who supported the agency.

Senate Bill 1, another measure that would dissolve the PLDC, apparently is dead in the Senate.

Sen. Malama Solomon (D-Hilo, Hamakua, Kohala), chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Water and Land and one of the architects of the 2011 bill establishing the PLDC, last month scheduled a hearing on Senate Bill 1 and then cancelled it the following day.

However, another measure, Senate Bill 707, which originally called for public infrastructure to meet certain criteria, earlier this week was gutted and replaced with wording that would repeal the PLDC.

That action occurred Tuesday during a joint meeting of Solomon’s committee and the Committee on Economic Development, Government Operations and Housing, which is chaired by Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who introduced the bill establishing the PLDC two years ago.

The new version, now known as Senate Bill 707, Senate Draft 1, is scheduled for a hearing Friday by the Committee on Ways and Means.

Much of the opposition to the agency is based on its authority to bypass some state land-use laws and also county zoning and subdivision requirements.

Those opposed include the county councils of Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. The Hawaii County Council actually passed two resolutions seeking repeal of the PLDC, one approved last year and another earlier this month.

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