DHHL Prepares Proposals for 2023 Legislative Session

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As the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) works to evaluate the 2022 legislative session and implement successful bills, movement for the upcoming 32nd Legislature in 2023 is already in progress.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) approved 10 legislative proposals at its September meeting to be recommended for inclusion in the governor’s 2023 legislative package.

The Department solicited legislative proposals from the public in July, 30 proposals were received and after DHHL consideration, 10 were selected. DHHL requested that the proposals be good public policy for the Department and that they address operations, programs, regulations, processes, budget, and/or resources and create a benefit or an advantage for DHHL, the trust, or trust beneficiaries, or otherwise correct a deficiency.

Proposals not included in the package range from items that already have governing legislation, items where legislation is not required, and suggestions already implemented or that are in the process of being implemented or reviewed by the Department.

Here is summary of the 10 proposals.

Proposal HHL-01(23) – To allow the Department to retain independent legal counsel to be paid by the state and use the services of the attorney general as needed.

Proposal HHL-02(23) – To add the chairman of the HHC or the chairman’s designee to the Commission on Water Resource Management.

Proposal HHL-03(23) – To exempt any development of homestead lots or housing for DHHL from general excise taxes.

Proposal HHL-04(23) – To allow DHHL to assume review of the effect of any proposed project on historic properties or burial sites for lands under its jurisdiction.

Proposal HHL-05(23) – To create a new section of the HRS that allows DHHL, after consultation with beneficiaries and organizations representing beneficiaries, to issue interim rules which shall be exempt from the public notice, public hearing, and gubernatorial approval requirements of Chapter 91 as long as the interim rules shall be effective for not more than eighteen months.

Proposal HHL-06(23) – To establish a compliance and enforcement program within the Department to investigate complaints, conduct investigations, and cooperate with enforcement authorities to ensure compliance with the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended and rules adopted thereunder as well as all other state laws and rules, and county ordinances on Hawaiian Home Lands.

Proposal HHL-07(23) – To allow an adopted individual to benefit both by relationship through a natural parent and through an adoptive parent in a disposition or other designation provided for in accordance with the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended or administrative rules while also allowing the adopted individual and individual’s natural family to continue to have the same familial relationship.

Proposal HHL-08(23) – To make the affordable housing credit program permanent.

Proposal HHL-09(23) – To make permanent the exclusion of housing developed by DHHL from school impact fees.

Proposal HHL-10(23) – To allow for the expenditure of funds appropriated in Act 279 until June 30, 2025.

Beneficiaries are encouraged to review full drafts of the bills and justification, as well as track DHHL movement through the 2023 legislative session on the DHHL website: dhhl.hawaii.gov/government-relations.