Maui Senator Saddened by Veto of Hawaiian Language Bill
By Wendy Osher
Governor Neil Abercrombie yesterday vetoed House Bill 1984, requiring the use of the Hawaiian language in official documents, symbols and letterheads for the state.
The measure would have ensured accurate and appropriate spelling, and punctuations of Hawaiian names and language.
Senator J. Kalani English of Maui, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs said he was saddened by the governor’s decision to veto the measure; but vowed to continue work in further evaluating how the Hawaiian language can be appropriately incorporated into state government.
“While I am saddened that House Bill 1984 was not signed into law, I am proud of the great strides that have been made by the Legislature and the people of Hawaii to bring about a renaissance of Hawaiian language,” said Sen. English.
“Since 1978 the Hawaii Constitution has recognized the Hawaiian Language as one of the official languages of the State. The enactment of this measure would have further codified the Hawaiian language,” said Sen. English.
In an explanation of why he vetoed the bill, the governor said other statutory changes were necessary for the measure to be passed. He said it was his intent to make efforts at identifying how best to make the language transition by bringing together a working group.
In addition, he will declare February as ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Month, fulfilling another aspect of the bill.