New Hanohano controversy - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State lawmaker accused again of racism and abusive behavior

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A state lawmaker is facing new charges of racists and abusive behavior.

Last year, Rep. Faye Hanohano was forced to apologize for using racial slurs during a rant on art work. Now, the head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources is accusing her of being abusive to his staff.

"One of my staff was accused of genocide and that's a very serious charge. We don't think the actions the department takes comes anywhere near genocide," said William Aila, DLNR's chairperson.

"(It was) very uncomfortable."

Hanohano -- chair of the House Oceans, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs Committee -- often addresses fellow lawmakers in Hawaiian.

But Aila said she often spoke down to non-Hawaiian speaking staffers in Hawaiian and berated two Caucasian employees as "malihinis," or newcomers.

The Big Island lawmaker's conduct was already under review by a legislative committee after making abusive remarks toward a college student who testified at her committee.

She was forced to apologize last year after using the racial slurs haole, Jap and Pake when she criticized art work that was being installed in her office.

We reached out to Hanohano, who declined to address the controversy.

"I don't want to talk to you because you guys have already aired the dirty laundry," she said.

Lawmakers didn't want to go on the record but many admit privately that they're embarrassed by her behavior.

Those same lawmakers are considering a number of actions, including another apology, censure or even stripping Hanohano of her committee chairmanship.

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