Akaka Bill passes US House - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Akaka Bill passes US House

WASHINGTON (HawaiiNewsNow) – By a vote of 254-164 the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, also known as the Akaka Bill, has passed the United States House of Representatives.

"The passage of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act is an important milestone for all the people of Hawaii," said U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, the bill's author.  "We have a moral obligation, unfulfilled since the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani, that we are closer to meeting today."

If the Senate passes the bill, it would gives Native Hawaiians the same opportunity provided to Alaska Natives and over 500 Native American tribes: the chance to govern their own affairs in partnership with their state and the federal government.

But the legislation goes beyond securing the right to self-governance for Native Hawaiians. The reconstituted government will eventually negotiate terms for acquiring land that's in a trust the state of Hawaii currently oversees. Those lands make up one-quarter of Hawaii's land area and are worth billions of dollars.

President Obama has indicated he will sign the bill into law when it reaches his desk.

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