Maui News

Committee Advances PLDC Repeal with Amendments

March 20, 2013, 8:51 AM HST
* Updated March 20, 10:00 AM
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PLDC hearing on O'ahu.  There was also an overflow area set up outside the room with a TV screen for those that were unable to fit in the public hearing room.  Photo courtesy Mahina Martin.

File photo of a PLDC hearing on O’ahu.  File photo courtesy Mahina Martin.

By Wendy Osher

The Senate Committee on Water and Land recommended the passage of a measure that seeks a repeal of the Public Land Development Corporation and the transfer of certain assets to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The committee, chaired by Senator Malama Solomon, took the vote following a public hearing on House Bill 1133 yesterday afternoon.

Maui resident, Mahina Martin, who is the founder of PLDC Watch, was among those who attended the hearing in support of a repeal.  She said the amendments involve retaining existing PLDC staff in another division of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

“For the past two months, thousands of testimonies related to a repeal of the PLDC have gone to state legislators,” said Martin.

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“At this stage with several more weeks to go, and the potential of a repeal bill entering the critical point of Conference Committees – where no public testimony is accepted and negotiations between both chambers occur, I’m still hopeful a repeal bill that truly reflects the sentiments of the public will reach the governor’s desk for his signature,” she said.

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Senators voted in support of the measure with amendments before passing the proposed legislation onto the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

A total of six senators voted in support of the amended bill including: Solomon, Dela Cruz, Ihara, and Slom. Two other senators, Ruderman, and L. Thielen, voted yes with reservations; and one senator was excused from the committee hearing.

The Public Land Development Corporation is a state entity that was created by the Legislature in 2011 to develop state lands through public-private partnerships.  The corporation was formed after being signed into law as Act 55, creating a way to generate revenues for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

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Opponents and supporters alike have expressed heated sentiment over the establishment of the agency and its impact on the people of Hawai’i.

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