DHHL NEWS RELEASE: Statement on Senate Committee Deferral of SB 1321

Posted on Feb 18, 2021 in Latest News, Newsroom

(Kapolei, Oʻahu) – Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Ailā, Jr. issued the following statement following the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs’ deferral of SB 1321.

“Last week we saw a glimmer of hope with the proposed amendments made by the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs that would have allowed the Hawaiian Homes Commission and our beneficiaries the authority to create a gaming operation in order to create a consistent source of infrastructure funding. Today, that flicker died. Funding is the barrier between DHHL’s raw landholdings becoming developed lots suitable for homesteading.

“Delegates to the constitutional convention amended the constitution in 1978 in hopes of ensuring sufficient funding for the Department. The courts ruled in favor of beneficiaries in the Kalima lawsuit and while Judge Castagnetti ruled in favor of DHHL funding in the Nelson lawsuit, the state appealed that decision. We have heard that gaming is a proposal much of our community does not welcome, but a consistent funding source for infrastructure to develop homestead lots is still a puzzle that needs to be solved. I commend the Department staff for their innovative thinking and attempt to address our greatest shortfall – funding.”

For more information on the Department’s legislative initiatives, visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/government-relations.

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About the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands:
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands carries out Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole’s vision of rehabilitating native Hawaiians by returning them to the land. Established by U.S. Congress in 1921, with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Hawaiian homesteading program run by DHHL includes management of over 200,000 acres of land statewide with the specific purpose of developing and delivering homesteading.

Media Contact:
Cedric Duarte
Information and Community Relations Officer
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
(808) 620-9591
(808) 342-0873
[email protected]