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Kakaako land-transfer bill poised for final approval

Two House committees today advanced a proposal to transfer about 25 acres of land in Kakaako to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to settle ceded lands claims dating back to 1978.

The Hawaiian Affairs and Water, Land and Ocean Resources committees approved the measure unanimously, after taking action to undo an amendment they had made to the bill earlier in the week.

The committees had made only cosmetic changes to the bill without altering its content, but the amendment could have prompted the Senate to take the bill to conference — where additional changes could be made.

Removing the amendment clears the way for the House to pass the bill and send it to Gov. Neil Abercrombie. It still must pass the House Judiciary and Finance committees.

The settlement is intended to resolve a dispute over OHA’s share of revenue from former crown lands since 1978. Abercrombie and OHA reached a tentative agreement in November to convey state-controlled land in Kakaako to OHA to satisfy the debt, but the deal is subject to approval of the Legislature.

House leadership had held their version of the bill to wait for the Senate, which passed the governor’s proposal unamended.

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