The Hawaiian Home Lands Commission would have until December 31, 2026 – more than five years – to determine if gambling is the best way to raise much-needed funds to meet the backlog of more than 28,000 Native Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiaries to eliminate The bill is due to decline Tuesday before the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee.
Senate officials “furiously” amended Senate Draft 1321 Thursday to incorporate the changes proposed by Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, according to Senator Maile Shimabukuro, chairman of the Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, who considered the changes Thursday.
The revised version of SB 1321 is expected to be released before the Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee revisits the bill on Tuesday.
Last week the House Economic Development Committee postponed the House version and nearly killed her in the House.
Dela Cruz’s amendments are intended to address various concerns, including in the house, he told the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Thursday.
Instead of lawmakers deciding whether to lift Hawaii’s ban on all forms of legal gambling, the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission would exercise “self-determination” on how to proceed and give commissioners ample time to ponder a decision, said Dela Cruz.
You wouldn’t be limited to allowing a single resort casino as originally envisaged and could move on to any form of gambling, including a casino, lottery, bingo, and even horse racing, Dela Cruz said.
In December, the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission voted 5: 4 to endorse the concept of a resort casino and introduce it before the legislature.
However, the new proposal would require a “majority” of Home Lands commissioners – or six votes, compared to a simple majority of five, said Dela Cruz.
Shimabukuro said the modified version of SB 1321 would also not offer a “green light” to play across the board in Hawaii.
And it would specifically forbid Native American tribes from setting up gambling operations on the islands, Shimabukuro said.
She called Dela Cruz’s amendments “brilliant”.
“It gives the Hawaiians the power to make their own decisions,” said Shimabukuro.
Tyler Gomes, Deputy Chairman of the Department for Hawaiian Homeland Countries, William Aila, told the Hawaiian Affairs Committee, “We appreciate the affirmation of self-determination.”
State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, vice chairman of the Senate’s Hawaiian Affairs Committee, told the star advertiser that there has not yet been an identified alternative source of millions of dollars in revenue to significantly reduce the backlog among DHHL beneficiaries.
“What are the real alternatives?” he said. “If nothing is done differently this year, 13,000 beneficiaries over 65 will only get older or we would lose them. It’s easy to criticize the department for every mistake you want to criticize … but we have 28,000 people on the waiting list and everyone in Hawaii knows how expensive a house is. “
Gomes said it would give Home Lands commissioners five years to look into the matter to “perform the department’s due diligence.”
The original version of SB 1321 was rejected by the Honolulu District Attorneys and Honolulu Police, along with a petition signed by 15,600 people, organized by Senator of the Hawaii Committee, Senator Kurt Fevella, the Republican minority leader and Senate minority leader .
Fevella opposed the amended bill, which he told the star advertiser, would allow gambling to “chase after the poor worker, the people who already have problems” who think, “Bring it home for dad, bring it home for mom. ” ”
“Playing, playing in Hawaii is going to change us forever,” said Fevella. “People come to Hawaii for our beautiful oceans, our beautiful landscapes.”
The Hawaiian Affairs Committee also examined two new bills on Thursday: SB 85, with which DHHL can operate “lottery and bingo companies”, and SB 86, with which DHHL can “operate medical cannabis pharmacies”.
Both bills are expected to be sent back to the Senate’s Hawaiian Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Shimabukuro said.