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Lawmakers advance measure to settle long-standing public land trust revenue issues with OHA

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs would receive additional funding under a measure that is moving through the Legislature.

House lawmakers have advanced legislation that aims to settle long-standing issues over exactly how much public land trust, or PLT, revenue the state must direct toward Native Hawaiians.

State law specifies 20% of that revenue should go to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, but the definition of “revenue” has been a sticking point between OHA and the state for years.

Senate Bill 2021 would have set the interim amount for OHA’s annual share of PLT revenues at $15.1 million or 20% of net receipts from those lands – whichever is greater.

The House Finance Committee amended the measure Tuesday to increase the interim amount to $21.5 million or 20% of gross receipts from those lands – whichever is greater.

SB 2021 would also create a six-member working group responsible for determining OHA’s annual share of PLT revenues.

The group would also determine payments owed by the state for PLT revenues that were either misallocated, underreported or underpaid in the last 10 fiscal years.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at khiraishi@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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