House Committee Approves Bill to Increase OHA Funding
The House Committee on Water, Land & Hawaiian Affairs passed out House Bill 402 on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, which substantially increases funding for Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. This measure would establish $35 million as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ pro rata share of the public land trust and transfers a lump sum of $139 million to OHA for underpayment of the public land trust funds.
As prescribed in section 5(f) of the Admissions Act, 20% of ceded land revenues are to be transferred to OHA for the betterment of Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. It has been over a decade since a settlement was reached in 2006 to set an “interim amount” at $15.1 million.
“It is our kuleana as a legislature to bring equity to decades long discussions and debates, and I am glad we are moving forward towards a solution,” said Rep. Daniel Holt (Kalihi, Pālama, Iwilei, Chinatown), co-chair of the Hawaiian Caucus.
The bill now moves to the Finance Committee.