Bill Mandates Native Hawaiian Expertise on Land Board
The Legislature has passed a bill mandating that at least one member of a key state board charged with ruling on land-use issues have a strong background in native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices.
The changes to the makeup of the Board of Land and Natural Resources is contained in Senate Bill 2874, which was proposed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie’s administration.
The bill was approved Monday and sent to the governor’s office for his signature.
A 2005 state law already requires that the Board of Land and Natural Resources have at least one member with a background in conservation and natural resources.
The criteria for both of those members include possession of a college degree and significant work experience in their respective fields.
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs endorsed SB2874, saying that ensuring that a land board member with such expertise would help provide a native Hawaiian perspective to the administration of the state’s lands and resources.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources also supported the legislation, saying that nearly all of the other boards and commissions under the agency already require a member with a expertise in native Hawaiian practices.