(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi State Senate has released the video recording of Thursday’s vote on third reading of two controversial bills relating to the management of Mauna Kea.
HB1585 HD1 SD3 is an audit bill, however the proposed law could put an end to new astronomy development on Mauna Kea until the University of Hawaiʻi meets a number of conditions. The language could spell the end of the planned Thirty Meter Telescope, which has already faced substantial legal delays. The description of the bill reads:
Requires the Auditor to conduct a financial, performance, and management audit of the University of Hawaii’s activities related to Mauna Kea. Requires the University of Hawaii Board of Regents to adopt rules to regulate public and commercial activities on Mauna Kea lands. Requires the University of Hawaii Office of Maunakea Management to complete the management actions established by the various comprehensive management plans, complete an environmental impact statement for land authorizations regarding long-term continuation of astronomy within the Mauna Kea science reserve area, and secure a new master lease regarding Mauna Kea. Prohibits all new construction at Mauna Kea until the requirements of this measure are met. Takes effect on 12/31/2033. (SD3)
HB1985 HD1 SD2 is a resurrection of the stalled Mauna Kea Management Authority bill, which proposes to strip the University of Hawaiʻi of its control of the mountain. The description reads:
Establishes the Mauna Kea Management Authority and membership of the Authority. Establishes and specifies duties of the Mauna Kea candidate advisory council. Limits the number of telescopes that may be authorized on Mauna Kea. Authorizes the renegotiation of leases, subleases, easements, permits, and licenses pertaining to Mauna Kea. Requires that revenue derived from activities on Mauna Kea be shared with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, as well as used for educational and other community purposes. Excludes Mauna Kea lands from the definition of “public lands”. Provides for free access to Mauna Kea for traditional cultural purposes. Establishes police powers and provides for enforcement of laws on land under the jurisdiction of the Mauna Kea Management Authority. Appropriates funds. Takes effect on 12/31/2033. (SD2)
The bills were both “gut and replace” maneuvers, which completely altered the previous House Bills that had nothing to do with the contentious Mauna Kea issue. Predictably, the House disagreed with the Senate amendments on the day the bills were passed. It remains to be seen how the fate of the bills will play out as the legislature enters the conference committee stage of the 2018 session.
The audit bill passed third reading with 15 ayes and 8 noes. Voting “no” were Senators Espero, Inouye, Kim, Riviere, Ruderman, Taniguchi, Thielen, and Tokuda.
The Mauna Kea Manegement Authority Bill passed by a wider margin: 21 ayes, and 2 noes. Senators Inouye and Tokuda were the no votes.