Akaka Bill Passed Indian Affairs Committee

Gov. Linda Lingle | Sen. Daniel Akaka | Sen. Daniel Inouye
Gov. Linda Lingle | Sen. Daniel Akaka | Sen. Daniel Inouye

WASHINGTON (KHNL) - The Senate Indian Affairs Committee today approved the Akaka bill, which would provide self-governance rights for Native Hawaiians.

The next step for the bill would be to go before the full Senate. But Hawaii Senator Daniel Inouye says he doesn't expect that to happen until after May.

The Native Hawaiian recognition bill, sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka would create a process for a Native Hawaiian governing entity to be formed and recognized by the federal government.

The Native Hawaiian government would then be able to negotiate with the United States and Hawaii over the disposition of Native Hawaiian land, assets and resources.

"I am ecstatic that these bills passed the Committee today.  This is an important step," Senator Akaka said following the vote.  "These bills will help address the conditions of Hawaii's indigenous people, Native Hawaiians, and will continue to enhance the quality of life for all the people of Hawaii.  Today's strong Committee bipartisan support for S. 310, sends a clear message that Hawaii's Congressional Delegation is joined by a coalition of colleagues from all parts of the country, that the United States must fulfill its commitment to Native Hawaiians."

The Senate committee also may passed on another proposal to reauthorize Hawaiian federal housing programs.

The housing bill passed the US House of Representatives in March. The Akaka bill was first introduced in 2000.