OHA wants ban on ceded-land sales


POSTED: Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is hoping to get support from the state Legislature to stop the state from selling or exchanging ceded lands until native Hawaiian land claims have been settled.

The state will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court next month that the state should be able to sell or transfer land that it controls, even if it is ceded land that formerly belonged to the Hawaiian kingdom.

OHA trustees said yesterday that they would ask for legislation that would support a state Supreme Court ruling forbidding the state from selling any of the state's 1.2 million acres of ceded lands.

“;We continue to believe that the justices of the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled correctly, and this bill is the legislative vehicle to implement the decision,”; OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona said.

Sen. Clayton Hee, chairman of the Hawaiian Affairs Committee, said he is also considering similar legislation and expects support from other legislative leaders.

“;The Senate president (Colleen Hanabusa) is also going to have a proposal; we will hold a hearing and then, if there is support, consolidate the ideas into one bill,”; Hee said.

The proposal, Apoliona said, would prevent the sale of the ceded lands, but it would not stop the state from transferring ceded lands between state agencies or stop the state from leasing ceded lands.