Panel could vote on Akaka bill tomorrow
The Senate Indian Affairs Committee may vote tomorrow on the Akaka bill, which would provide self-governance rights for native Hawaiians.
The committee held a hearing on the bill last week. The Bush administration said it opposes the measure because it could divide the country along racial and ancestral lines.
The native Hawaiian recognition bill, sponsored by Sen. 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.
The Senate committee also may vote on another proposal to reauthorize Hawaiian federal housing programs.
The housing bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in March.
It would ensure that the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands continues to receive $8 million to $9 million annually for housing projects dedicated for people of Hawaiian ancestry.