The Current Version of The Hawaiian Recognition Bill

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Senator Akaka announced on Friday September 16, 2005 that he has reached agreement with the Department of Justice and State of Hawai'i officials -- agreement on substantial changes to the content of the Akaka bill to overcome objections previously published by DOJ. Senator Akaka placed on his official website the complete bill that incorporates the changes. Download it from

That (allegedly revised) version was created as an encrypted pdf which some computers were unable to open. Nobody was able to copy any portions of the bill and paste those portions into e-mails or other documents for the purpose of making comments or comparisons. It appeared that Senator Akaka was deliberately suppressing analysis and commentary of his (allegedly) proposed new bill. A friend of Ken Conklin was able to remove the encryption. The unencrypted version, capable of being copied and pasted, is available for download from here: Unprotected s147 Substitute 9-2 PDF

HOWEVER, as of November 4, 2005 that new version has not yet been officially introduced in the Senate. It might never actually be introduced. The DOJ has not confirmed that the new version actually satisfies its objections. Indeed, DOJ subsequently issued a public statement that the bill still has unresolved problems regarding whether it is constitutional. OHA initially seemed unsure whether to support the (allegedly) amended bill. It might be merely a trial balloon. That's politics!

In the meantime, here is the current version officially active in the Senate. This is the version that had numerous holds placed against it, with a prospect of a cloture vote to overcome them (the cloture vote was canceled because of Hurricane Katrina).

The Akaka bill in the House is dormant, awaiting Senate action. The version in the House is the one originally introduced in both House and Senate on January 25, 2005, before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs amended it and sent it to the floor. See below for the House version.

From summer 2000 until now, there have been many different versions of the "Native Hawaiian Recognition" bill, also known informally as the "Akaka bill" and more recently re-named the "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization" bill. The fact that this chameleon of a bill has had so many versions with such widely different content, shows that the bill's supporters are confused about the bill's purpose and legal rationale.

The complete history of the Akaka bill from year 2000 to the present moment, including all versions of the bill together with testimony, contemporaneous news reports and analysis, is provided at:

On January 25, 2005 the latest version of the "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization" bill was introduced in both the Senate and the House. Its bill numbers are S.147 and H.R.309. Both the Senate and the House bills had identical content.

However, on March 9, 2005, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a business meeting at which the committee adopted a slightly amended version of the bill. This amended version should now be considered the active version of the bill. See:

A lengthy "report" was also sent to the Senate floor on May 16, 2005 to accompany the bill. The complete text of that report can be seen at:

The unamended version remains the "active version" (but dormant) in the House, where it lies in the House Committee on Resources and will probably remain unamended and without a hearing until the Senate has completed action. So, technically, the original version is still the "active version" (although dormant) in the House. Full text of that (original) version is at:

Although the Akaka bill in the House has not even had a hearing in the Committee on Resources to which it was referred, the House Committee on Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, did a very unusual thing by holding its own hearing on the bill on July 19, 2005 even though it has no jurisdiction over the bill. The subcommittee did that because they believe the bill is unconstitutional. For substantial information about that hearing, including testimony, see: