LIHUE, KAUAI - More than 800 residents from around the state who are opposed to Act 55 - the measure that created the Public Land Development Corp. (PLDC) - flooded Hawaii State Association of Counties (HSAC) President Mel Rapozo's inbox with e-mails over a three-day period seeking the association's support to repeal the act.
Citing concerns surrounding the PLDC's mission to create revenue from public lands and its broad authority to do so, residents that wrote want HSAC to include in its 2013 Legislative Package a repeal of Act 55.
"The amount of e-mails received in just 72 hours was astounding," said Rapozo. "As a result, at our monthly meeting on Friday (Oct. 12, 2012), HSAC members voted to approve a resolution that mirrors the Kauai County Council's resolution requesting a repeal of Act 55, which had passed unanimously earlier this month, be submitted to each of Hawaii's four County Councils for approval."
“The councils of Kauai, Big Island and Maui County have heard our communities’ concerns, and once the Honolulu City Council has an opportunity to place it on their agenda and review it to their satisfaction, we will know if a repeal will become part of our Legislative Package for the upcoming session,” Hawaii State Association of Counties President Mel Rapozo commented.
HSAC consists of representatives from each County Council.
Approval by all four councils will mean that HSAC will include the proposal in its 2013 Legislative Package - its own unified effort toward a repeal of Act 55.
The Kauai, Hawaii and Maui County Council are expected to approve the HSAC proposal, since both the Kauai and Hawaii panels have already unanimously passed resolutions seeking a repeal of Act 55 by the State Legislature.
The Maui County Council has a similar resolution making its way through its Policy Committee. The Honolulu City Council has not yet placed the issue on a meeting agenda.
The 2013 Legislative Session begins on Jan. 16, 2013.
The Public Land Development Corporation is a state entity created by the legislature in 2011 to develop state lands and generate revenues for the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
Through public-private partnerships, the corporation aims to attract private companies as joint partners in development opportunities.
The corporation was formed after the legislature passed Senate Bill 1555, which was signed into law as Act 55 by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
The corporation is governed by a five-member board of directors. Three state agencies are represented on the board either by its director or their designee. The agencies include the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism; the Department of Budget and Finance; and the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
One member is appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, and one member is appointed by the Senate president.
More information on the PLDC is available at www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/pldc.