East Hawaii News

Two House Panels Vote to Dismantle PLDC

February 11, 2013, 4:57 PM HST
* Updated February 14, 4:38 PM
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Two state House committees today unanimously approved a bill that would repeal the controversial Public Land Development Corp.

House Bill 1133 was one of six House measures introduced this year that would amend or repeal Act 55, which was approved by the Legislature in 2011. The other five have reportedly been held in committee.

The law establishing the PLDC has created a firestorm of protest from both the public and lawmakers.

House Bill 1133 was introduced by 22 members of the House including three from the Big Island, Reps. Cindy Evans, Denny Coffman and Faye Hanohano.

Support for the bill came today during meetings of the committees on Water and Land, which is chaired by Evans, and Finance. The two committees also held public hearings on the PLDC bills on Saturday.

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The bill still requires two more readings on the House floor before being moved to the Senate for consideration.

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Testimony in opposition to the bill was submitted by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, one of the agencies for which the PLDC was designed to generate revenues through the establishment of public-private partnerships involving state lands.

The DLNR, the Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii and Indigenous Consultants LLC said they would prefer the PLDC be modified – as Gov. Neil Abercrombie has proposed – rather than abolished.

Abercrombie previously said he would veto any bill that dismantled the PLDC.

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Testimony in support of the legislation came from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaii County Planning Department, League of Women Voters, Hawaii’s Thousand Friends, Local 5 Hawaii, Imua Alliance and a variety of other organizations as well as several hundred members of the public.

Most of those opposing the agency cite the PLDC’s authority to bypass some state land-use laws and also county zoning and subdivision requirements.

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