Hawai'i Official Languages Act Resolution Text for Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs

RESOLUTION NO. __________

TITLE: HAWAI‘I OFFICIAL LANGUAGES ACT

REQUESTING AN ACT TO PROMOTE THE USE OF THE HAWAIIAN LANGUAGE FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES IN THE STATE; TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF BOTH OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF THE STATE IN LEGISLATIVE PROCEEDINGS, IN ACTS OF THE LEGISLATURE, IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, IN COMMUNICATING WITH OR PROVIDING SERVICES TO THE PUBLIC AND IN CARRYING OUT THE WORK OF PUBLIC BODIES; TO SET OUT THE DUTIES OF SUCH BODIES WITH RESPECT TO THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGES OF THE STATE; AND FOR THOSE PURPOSES, TO PROVIDE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER OF OFFICIAL LANGUAGES AND TO DEFINE ITS FUNCTIONS; TO PROVIDE FOR THE PUBLICATION BY THE COMMISSIONER OF CERTAIN INFORMATION RELEVANT TO THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT; AND TO PROVIDE FOR RELATED MATTERS.



WHEREAS, along with Hawai‘i, the list of officially multilingual countries and U.S. jurisdictions now numbers 36, including Abkhazia, American Samoa, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Belgium, Bolivia, Burundi, Canada, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Ecuador, Finland, Guam, both cities of Hialeah & Miami (Florida), Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyszstan, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Netherlands, Northern Mariana Islands, Philippines, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, and Switzerland; and

WHEREAS, several other countries provide bilingual services by right for indigenous minorities, including Australia, China, England (Wales), Mexico, Norway, and Sweden; and

WHEREAS, the U.S. Public Law 103-150 (1993 Apology Bill) resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives “recognizes and commends efforts of reconciliation initiated by the State of Hawai‘i….(and) supports reconciliation efforts between the United States and the Native Hawaiian people,” yet

WHEREAS, the state of Hawai‘i generally treats Hawaiian language education as if it were enrichment, foreign language education, and because of this perspective, Hawaiian speaking children are yet seen as having no right to education in Hawaiian; and

WHEREAS, fluency in Hawaiian is not a minimum qualification for employment in Kula Kaiapuni Hawai‘i, and testing of students in Kula Kaiapuni Hawai‘i through Hawaiian has not been provided in spite of federal government recognition that national standardized tests as used in Hawai‘i are biased against minority children even when such children are educated through English in that such tests do not have a distinct minority culture focus (http://www.ahapunanaleo.org/eng/resources/resources_nestmovement.html ); and

WHEREAS, there is presently no guarantee that Hawaiian speaking children may choose Hawaiian medium education and receive transportation to their schools; and

WHEREAS, some Hawaiian children are leaving Hawaiian immersion programs for fear of being inadequately prepared for getting accepted into the colleges and universities of their choice; and also

WHEREAS, 40 years after the adoption of their Official Languages Act, Canada has grown from a country where English predominates to a country proud of its two official languages, and support for bilingualism among Canadians is at an all time high (http://www.officiallanguages.gc.ca/html/index_e.php ); and

WHEREAS, the Hawai‘i Official Language Act will 1) establish the equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to the use of official languages in all institutions of the legislature and government of the state, 2) establish full, equal access and interpretation to the legislature and legislative proceedings, to the laws of the state and to courts established by governments in both official languages, 3) guarantees the right of any member of the public to communicate with, and to receive available services from, any institution of the legislature or government in either official language, 4) guarantees officers and employees of government institutions and public bodies equal opportunities to use the official language of their choice while working together in pursuing the goals of those institutions and public bodies, 5) guarantees English-speaking residents of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian-speaking residents of Hawai‘i, without regard to their ethnic origin or first language learned, equal opportunities to obtain employment in the institutions of government, 6) establishes the State Legislature is committed to achieving, with due regard to the principle of selection of personnel according to merit, full participation of English-speaking and Hawaiian-speaking residents of Hawai‘i in its institutions, 7) establishes the State Legislature is committed to enhancing the vitality and supporting the development of English and Hawaiian linguistic minority communities as part of the two official language communities of the State, and to fostering full recognition and use of Hawaiian and English in the Hawaiian Islands, 8) estalishes the State Legislature is committed to cooperating with County and Municipal governments and their institutions and public bodies to support the development of Hawaiian and English linguistic minority communities, to provide services in both Hawaiian and English languages, to respect the constitutional guarantees of minority language educational rights and to enhance opportunities for all to learn both Hawaiian and English languages, 9) establishes the State Legislature is committed to enhancing the bilingual character of the State Capital District and to encouraging the business community, labor orgnaizations and voluntary organizations in the State to foster the recognition and use of Hawaiian and English languages, and 10) establishes the State Legislature recognizes the importance of preserving and enhancing the use of languages other than Hawaiian and English while strengthing the status and use of the official languages; and

WHEREAS, Article 15 of the Hawai‘i State Constitution declares Hawaiian to be an official language “except that Hawaiian shall be required for public acts and transactions only as provided by law”; and

WHEREAS, nearly 2,000 residents of Hawai‘i (including 3 public office holders and candidates at State, Municipal and Office of Hawaiian Affairs judicatories) have joined Hawai‘i Bilingual, whose positions are 1) Hawai‘i citizens shal by right receive public services in the official language of their choice, as in Canada, 2) All public service communications shall be published in Hawaiian, in addition to English, and 3) the Hawai‘i State Board of Education and the University of Hawai‘i shall adopt universal Hawaiian language proficiency graduation standards (http://apps.facebook.com/causes/124832/13574130?m=387a50ea );

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs in Convention at Makena, Maui this 7th day of November 2009, that the State Legislature immediately adopt a Hawai‘i Official Languages Act similar to those adopted in Canada and Ireland.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Hawai‘i State Legislature 1) ensure respect for English and Hawaiian as the official languages of the State and ensure equality of status and equal rights and privileges as to their use in all governmental institutions, in particular with respect to their use in the Legislative proceedings, in legislative and other instruments, in the administration of justice, in communicating with or providing services to the public and in carrying out the work of State, County and municipal institutions, 2) support the development of Hawaiian and English linguistic minority communities and generally advance the equality of status and use of the Hawaiian and English languages within the Hawaiian Islands, 3) set out the powers, duties and functions of governmental institutions and publc bodies with respect to the official languages of the State, including the establishment of an Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (and to define its functions), as well as 4) provide for the publication by the Commissioner of Official Languages of certain information relevant to the purposes of this Act and related matters.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a certified copy of this resolution be transmitted to the Governor of Hawai‘i, State Senate President, State Speaker of the House, State Senate
Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, State House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Chair of the Board of Trustees, Mayor of Honolulu, and all County Mayors.



INTRODUCED BY: (Name of the sponsoring committee, council or club)
REFERRED TO: ________________________
ACTION: ______________________________

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