House panel approves Native Hawaiian recognition
After considerable debate, the House Natural Resources Committee approved H.R.2314, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2009.

The bill extends the policy of self-determination to Native Hawaiians. It creates a process by which a Native Hawaiian governing entity would be created and approved by the Interior Department.

Republicans, led by Rep. Doc Hastings ( (R-Washington), the ranking member on the committee, tried to block consideration of the bill yesterday through a series of procedural maneuvers. They say the legislation will create a "race-based" government and will violate the U.S. Constitution.

Democrats on the committee defended the bill from the procedural motions and rejected a number of Republican amendments in a markup session that lasted all afternoon. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), the lead sponsor, also agreed to withdraw some proposed changes that drew objections from Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R), who otherwise supports Native Hawaiian recognition.

The bill finally passed by a vote of 26-13 as Abercrombie bid farewell to the House. He is resigning in the coming weeks to campaign full time for governor of Hawaii.

President Barack Obama, who was born in Hawaii, supports the bill as so many Democrats. The Alaska Congressional delegation, who see parallels between the treatment of Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives, also back the legislation.

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee is due to consider the bill at a business meeting this afternoon.

Get the Story:
Native Hawaiian bill moves ahead without revision that upset state (The Honolulu Advertiser 12/17)
Committee passes Native Hawaiian legislation (AP 12/16)

Committee Notice
Full Committee Markup (December 16, 2009)

Related Stories:
Audio: House Resources Committee opens markup (12/16)
House panel to consider Indian arts, Hawaiian bill (12/15)
Editorial: 'Racist' Native Hawaiian recognition (09/10)
Editorial: Native Hawaiians and Westerners (08/10)
Obama supports Native Hawaiian recognition (08/07)
Indian Affairs Committee meeting and hearing (8/6)
Witness list for hearing on Native Hawaiian bill (8/5)
House hearing on Native Hawaiian recognition (06/11)
Witness list for hearing on Hawaiian recognition (6/9)
House hearing on Native Hawaiian recognition (6/8)
Shingle Springs Band eyes Hawaiian recognition (5/13)
Opinion: Native Hawaiian tribe a boost for Democrats (2/23)
Obama promises push for Native Hawaiian bill (2/16)
Editorial: Restore Native Hawaiian sovereignty (2/9)
Native Hawaiian recognition bill revived in Congress (2/5)