New Version of Akaka Bill Proposed

New version introduced to specifically ban gaming, already illegal per Hawaii law

March 25, 2009

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senators Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye and U.S. Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie K. Hirono today introduced a slightly modified version of the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act that clarifies that gambling will not be permitted, in accordance with Hawaii state law.

The entire Hawaii Delegation made the following statement:  “As an indigenous people that exercised governance until the U.S. overthrow, Native Hawaiians deserve the same opportunity to preserve their culture, language and traditions as indigenous people on the mainland.  This change in the legislation should make the bill’s intent clear and remove any distractions from its thoughtful consideration.”

The Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act would provide a process for federal recognition of Native Hawaiians, similar to the government-to-government relationship provided to American Indians and Alaska Natives.  All forms of gambling are illegal in Hawaii and the Native Hawaiian Government will be subject to all state and federal laws.  The delegation reintroduced the bill with specific language prohibiting gaming in an effort to clarify that the intent of the bill is not to legalize gambling.  The gaming prohibition language was derived from legislation introduced in the 110th Congress (S. 310/H.R. 505).  Other than this one provision, the bill is identical to the version introduced on February 4, 2009.

For more information on the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, click here.

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