Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023 |
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A controversial bill that would reshape the management of Maunakea will face its final committee hearing Tuesday.
House Bill 2024 is a proposal to create a new agency to manage the mountain.
Previous drafts of the bill would create a wholly new state entity, removing the University of Hawaii from its current stewardship role, but after a Senate committee hearing last month, the latest draft proposes that the agency remain within UH-Hilo “for administrative purposes.”
Other amendments to the bill reduce the scope of the new agency — called the Mauna Kea Stewardship and Oversight Authority — to only Maunakea lands above the 9,200-foot level, make alterations to the makeup of the Authority’s 11-member board, and require an audit seven years after the agency is created that could revert management of the mountain back to UH.
The bill also stipulates that, during a three-year transition period beginning July 1, 2023, operations of the Authority will be managed by the executive director of UH’s Center for Mauna Kea Stewardship.
This amended draft will be discussed at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Tuesday. This is the final committee the bill must face in the Legislature.
Should it pass, it will face final reading in the Senate and will likely go to conference committees, where legislators from both chambers will discuss the revisions made to the bill.
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