Lingle pressed on ceded-lands suit


POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

State lawmakers continue calling on Gov. Linda Lingle to rescind her administration's appeal of the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling against the sale or transfer of 1.2 million acres of ceded lands held in trust by the state until Hawaiian claims to those lands are resolved.

The state House gave final approval yesterday to a nonbinding resolution that asks the governor to withdraw the appeal. The Senate approved the same measure last week.

No action is required of the governor on the measure.

Democrats, who control both the House and Senate, have fast-tracked a bill making it difficult to sell or transfer the lands. They want to send a message to the governor of their stance on the matter.

The passage of the resolution comes as the ceded-lands case is set to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow. Attorney General Mark Bennett has been in Washington, D.C., since last week preparing his arguments.

“;Members of the Legislature are now in step with community leadership statewide calling for withdrawal of the Supreme Court appeal,”; Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said in a statement e-mailed from Washington, D.C.

“;Correctly, the members of the state Senate and House of Representatives have taken the position that pursuit of the U.S. Supreme Court appeal by the state administration is detrimental to the interests of all of the people of Hawaii and to the ongoing reconciliation process between the state and the native Hawaiian people.”;

The full House passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 40 without referring it to committee for a public hearing. Republican Reps. Lynn Finnegan (R, Mapunapuna-Foster Village) and Kymberly Pine (R, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point) cast the only “;no”; votes on the resolution.

“;There's definitely strong feelings on both sides,”; Pine said in calling for the resolution to be heard in committee. “;I would've preferred that there had been a hearing of some sort so I would first be able to forward this information to my constituents.”;

House Majority Leader Blake Oshiro noted that the issue has been debated previously in committee and on the House floor.

Oshiro (D, Aiea-Halawa) said, “;The issues are very similar, and therefore I think the House is informed enough, at this point, to take a position without having to go through committee.”;