House Bill 895 Seeks OHA Appointed membership on Commissions
By Wendy Osher
A bill that seeks an OHA appointed membership to certain state commissions passed out of the House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs. House Bill 895 calls for an Office of Hawaiian Affairs member on commissions whose decisions have profound impacts on Hawaiian people. This includes representation on the commissions on Water Resource Management, the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and the Land Use Commission.
Rep. Mele Carroll of Maui who introduced the bill said, “By having an additional member with the interests of the Hawaiian people at the forefront, commission decisions can be made with greater insight to the cultural and traditional implications involved. It is more important than ever for the people of Hawaiian descent to have a greater role in the decision making process.”
The bill further seeks to ensure that Native Hawaiians have greater influence on the manner in which natural and cultural resources – as well as the traditional Native Hawaiian practices that are intrinsically connected to those resources – are protected.
The bill will now advance to the Committee on Water, Land and Ocean Resources for their consideration.