Senator Akaka Re-Introduces Bill In Congress

Sen. Daniel Akaka
Sen. Daniel Akaka

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii Senator Daniel Akaka reintroduced his bill today to grant federal recognition to Native Hawaiians.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Akaka told lawmakers that, "a lack of action will only fuel us down a path of divided Hawaii."

Akaka says it will have a better chance of passage with a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.

The effort comes seven months after the bill failed to get a final vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

All votes against considering it were case by Republicans.

The Akaka bill is part of a seven-year push for legislation to recognize Native Hawaiians as indigenous inhabitants of the 50th state.

Their legal status would be similar to that of American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

The bill provides a process to set up a Native Hawaiian government and then start negotiations to transfer power and property from state and federal authorities to Hawaiians.