2020 Hawai‘i State Legislature

Seventy Kakaupapa residents, family members and friends gather in Kalaupapa in August, 2003, to organize Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa.

Photo: ©Wayne Levin

Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa has two bills being heard in the current session of the Hawai`i State Legislature. One bill (SB 2796) requests $5 million to fund the construction of The Kalaupapa Memorial and the second bill (SB 2370) requests that January be designated as Kalaupapa Month annually in Hawai`i Nei.


Both bills were introduced on behalf of Ka ‘Ohana by Senator J. Kalani English whose district includes Kalaupapa. Senator English has been a longtime supporter of Kalaupapa and has had many friends there over the years. In 2008, Senator English introduced a resolution on behalf of Ka ‘Ohana that thanked the people of Kalaupapa and their families for the sacrifices they made and apologized for the pain of the separation. 


Both bills passed second reading before the Senate’s Labor, Culture and The Arts Committee chaired by Senator Brian Taniguchi. It was a great day for Kalaupapa. Four residents attended: Boogie and Ivy Kalihilihiwa, Gloria Marks and Pauline Chow. 


Senator English hosted a reception for Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa in his office prior to the hearing so other Legislators and/or staffers could stop by and talk story. We all enjoyed seeing old friends, such as Senators Roz Baker and Donovan Dela Cruz and Representative Lynn DeCoite, and meeting new ones such as Senators Kai Kahele and Jarrett Kehokalole.

Senator Donovan Dela Cruz with Gloria Marks (left) and Pauline Chow, both on the Board of Directors of Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa; Senator Roz Baker talks story with Gloria and Pauline. Photo: Michiko Moore, Deputy Director, State Senate Communications

The bills continued to move through the Legislature -- passing the Senate's Ways and Means Committee and both crossing over to the House of Representatives. The Kalaupapa Month bill passed the Water, Land and Hawaiian Affairs Committee and was referred to the Finance Committee. The Kalaupapa Memorial funding bill was referred to a joint House hearing of the Tourism & International Affairs and Labor & Public Employment Committees. That joint hearing was scheduled to take place March 17 -- but due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Legislature went into recess that very morning. 


Ka 'Ohana O Kalaupapa wants to thank all the Senators and Representatives who have been so supportive of our efforts -- and helpful when we have asked for advice and assistance. We send best wishes to all the Legislators -- and everyone in Hawai`i --  for good health during this uncertain time and Godspeed to all of us on getting through this crisis with aloha.