Maunakea management measures likely to end up in conference

The state Senate passed two bills affecting management of Maunakea on Thursday.

Both measures — House bills 1585 and 1985 — likely will end up in conference committees since the House is expected to reject changes the Senate made through a process known as “gut and replace.”

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HB 1585 would prohibit new construction on the mountain until the University of Hawaii receives a new master lease for the Maunakea Science Reserve, completes administrative rules and comprehensive management plan action items, and conducts multiple audits.

Thirty Meter Telescope supporters say it would kill the $1.4 billion project by adding to delays but Sen. Kai Kahele, who is promoting the measure, said it would keep UH accountable.

Kahele, D-Hilo, voted yes; Sen. Josh Green, D-Kona, Ka‘u, voted yes with reservations.

Voting no from the Big Island were Sens. Lorraine Inouye and Russell Ruderman.

Inouye’s district includes Hamakua, North Hawaii, Waikoloa and parts of Hilo. Ruderman represents Puna and parts of Ka‘u. Both are Democrats.

HB 1985 would create a new management authority for the mountain.

Kahele voted yes; Green and Ruderman voted yes with reservations. Inouye voted no.

Both measures didn’t originally pertain to Maunakea. Senate committees rewrote them by deleting the original contents.

Notice of the rewrite was provided a few days in advance for HB 1985, but not HB 1585. The latter has been criticized for not being given a public hearing, which could violate Senate rules.

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Some critics of the bill also question whether the move was legal under state law.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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