By BECKY BOHRER
HONOLULU (AP) - Retiring Hawaii Sen. Daniel Akaka is urging his colleagues to pass legislation that would federally recognize Native Hawaiians in honor of the late-Sen. Daniel Inouye.
For years, Akaka and Inouye worked to pass the bill, which would allow for Native Hawaiians to form a federally recognized government. Efforts to get the bill to the Senate floor for a vote have consistently been blocked. Akaka said critics have mischaracterized what the bill would do.
He says the measure is about simple justice, fairness and doing the right thing.
Akaka invoked Inouye's name Thursday in asking his colleagues to pass the bill. Inouye was in the midst of serving his ninth term in the Senate when he died Monday.
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski also spoke in favor of the bill's passage.