Legislature Provides $78 Million for Native Hawaiian Caucus Priorities

The Hawaiʻi State Legislature appropriated over $78 million in funding to projects and initiatives that were prioritized by the Legislative Native Hawaiian Affairs Caucus. The funding was appropriated after the legislative session that adjourned on April 29.

Co-Chaired by Senator Jarrett Keohokalole (Senate District 24 – Kāne‘ohe, MCBH, Kailua, He‘eia and ‘Āhuimanu) and Representative Daniel Holt (House District 29 – Kalihi, Pālama, ʻIwilei and Chinatown), the caucus’ top priorities were funding for the Department of Hawaiian Homelands and the decommissioning of the Hōkū Keʻa Telescope on Mauna Kea.

“The $78 million allocated to DHHL in the biennium budget is the largest CIP appropriation in the history of the department,” said Senator Keohokalole. “Our caucus prioritized the importance of providing monies to help get Native Hawaiians off of the waitlist and into homes and I am pleased that our colleagues in the Legislature recognized the importance of these efforts.”

The UH Hilo 24″ Educational Telescope, Hōkū Keʻa (foreground) PC: UH

“The decommissioning of the Hōkū Keʻa Telescope is a much needed first step to repairing the relationship between the State and the Hawaiian community,” noted Representative Holt. “This shows the State’s commitment to the Hawaiian community and I look forward to building on this momentum and producing more tangible results in the future.”

Funding that was included in the biennium budget includes:

Department of Hawaiian Homelands:

  • $50 million – Plans, design and construction for the development of infrastructure to provide new homestead leases on Hawaiian Home Lands, statewide.
  • $17 million – Plans, design, construction, land acquisition and equipment for infrastructure for Pūlehunui.
  • $10 million –Plans, design and construction for repair and maintenance to existing infrastructure on various Hawaiian Home Lands, statewide.
  • $1 million – Plans and land acquisition for lands on Oʻahu.

University of Hawaiʻi

  • $900,000 – Plans, design, construction and equipment for the removal of the Hōkū Keʻa Telescope Observatory structure.

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