Seal of Hawaii Daniel Kahikina Akaka, Hawaii's
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LEGISLATIVE ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Senator Akaka has been successful in writing and enacting a number of important legislative proposals to improve the quality of our lives and make a better society for everyone.

ENERGY:

    Authored legislation to conduct research in the promising field of methane hydrates. (Public Law 106-193)

    Authored the Emergency Petroleum Supply Act which guarantees Hawaii a supply of oil during an energy emergency.

    Authored legislation to promote electric vehicle research and development.

    Worked to make solar water heaters eligible under the low-income weatherization program.

    Encouraged ocean exploration and research to further our nation's competitive edge in marine technology, which can create new business ventures and employment opportunities.

    Sponsored the Hydrogen Future Act of 1995, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, that increases research on the development of hydrogen as a new energy source.

ENVIRONMENT:
    Worked to enact legislation giving the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and U.S. Park Service the authority to establish regulatory controls over air tour operations at national parks. Title VII of the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 includes the Air Transportation Improvement Act, which requires that the FAA, in cooperation with the National Park Service and with public input from stakeholders, including the air tour and environmental communities, develop an air tour management plan (ATMP) for parks currently or potentially affected by air tour flights. Senator Akaka worked with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to develop the regulatory framework in the bill for air tour operations at national parks, including Hawaii Volcanoes and Haleakala National Parks. (Public Law 106-181)

    Authored the Hawaii Water Reclamation Act (S. 1694) to address the needs of Hawaii's farmers for drought relief as well as a secure long-term water supply. S. 1694 directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to survey irrigation and water delivery systems in Hawaii, identify the cost of rehabilitating the systems, and evaluate demand for future use. In the short term, the Act authorizes temporary drought measures, including wells for irrigation, to minimize damage and losses on farms and ranches. (Passed Senate)

    Sponsored legislation (S. 700) to designate the Ala Kahakai (“Trail by the Sea”) on the island of Hawaii a National Historic Trail, incorporating it into the U.S. National Trails System. (Passed Senate)

    Authored legislation (S. 938) to allow Hawaii Volcanoes National Park the opportunity to use their appropriated funds to buy nearby lands that contain natural or cultural resources of national significance. This means the Park Service will never again have to seek piecemeal authorization from Congress to acquire nationally significant properties for the Big Island park. (Passed Senate)

    Introduced a bill (S. 939) to change the statutory names of National Parks in Hawaii to reflect their Native Hawaiian derivation. The following new spellings would be made: Hawaii Volcanoes to Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park; Haleakala to Haleakala National Park; Kaloko-Honokohau to Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park; Puuhonua o Honaunau to Pu`uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park; and, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site to Pu`ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. (Passed Senate)

    Along with California Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, secured funding for the National Park Service to evaluate the feasibility of establishing a Pacific Coast Immigration Museum to be located in San Francisco's Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

    Authored a comprehensive Hawaiian tropical forest recovery program.

    Worked for stricter safeguards against the introduction of destructive alien species into the State's delicate ecology.

    Worked to protect Hawaii from the brown tree snake, which decimated Guam's bird population and is a threat to Hawaii's economy and ecology.

    Sponsored reestablishment of the Friends of Kaloko-Honokohau Advisory Commission, whose mission is to advise the Director of the National Park Service on cultural, historical, and interpretive programs for Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park.

GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS:
    Successfully led the Senate to enact the Organ Donor Leave Act (Public Law 106-56).

    Won Senate passage for legislation to correct erroneous retirement benefits for Federal employees. (coauthored bill)

    Cosponsored and participated in extensive hearings for the Deceptive Mail Prevention and Enforcement Act (Public Law 106-168) offering protection to American consumers from fraudulent sweepstakes.

    Cosponsor of bipartisan effort that resulted in laws requiring performance reviews of Federal agencies, the creation of chief financial officers for Federal departments, and the Paperwork Reduction Act (Public Law 104-13)–all of which have made a more accountable, efficient, and effective government.

HAWAIIAN AFFAIRS:
    Serves as Chairman of the Task Force on Native Hawaiian Issues which coordinates the efforts of Hawaii's Congressional delegation to address issues of concern to Native Hawaiians, including clarification of the political relationship between Native Hawaiians and the Federal government.

    Requested the appointment of Federal officials to begin consultations with the Native Hawaiian community regarding reconciliation efforts as called for in Public Law 103-150.

    Authored landmark legislation acknowledging U.S. participation in the illegal overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii and officially apologizing to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States. (Public Law 103-150)

    Authored compensation legislation to restore Hawaiian home lands that were wrongfully taken by the Federal Government during Hawaii's territorial period. As a result of this legislation, the Federal Government will transfer land valued at $90 million to the Hawaiian Homelands Commission.

    Introduced legislation establishing the Kahoolawe Island Conveyance Commission whose work has been completed. Kahoolawe has been returned to the people of Hawaii and is currently undergoing environmental cleanup and restoration.

    Authored legislation supporting international standards on the rights of indigenous peoples, including Native Hawaiians.

    Led successful effort to reclassify Native Hawaiians in separate category under Federal guidelines governing civil rights compliance and data collection based on racial and ethnic classification.

VETERANS AFFAIRS:
    Authored legislation directing the Army and Navy to review the service records of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II to determine whether the award should be upgraded to the Medal of Honor–the Nation's highest award for valor. (Section 524 of Public Law 104-106). As a result of this review, President Clinton approved the Army's nomination of 21 Asian Pacific American World War II veterans to receive the Medal of Honor.

    Authored legislation to enable military intelligence, Asian American, and Native American Pacific Islander veterans to receive military awards for which they may have been overlooked. (Sections 523 and 526 of Public Law 104-106)

    Sponsored legislation to award civilian participants who defended Pearl Harbor and other military installations in Hawaii against the attack on December 7, 1941, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal.

    Worked to create the Pacific Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a comprehensive research, education, and treatment center located in Hawaii for Pacific area veterans suffering from PTSD and the Center for Minority Veterans (in the office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs) to evaluate and improve benefits and services for minority veterans. Secured funding of ongoing study of PTSD in Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Native American veterans to determine incidence and prevalence of PTSD in these underserved populations.

    Established innovative Native American Direct Home Loan Program for veterans living on reservations or trust lands.

    Authored legislation to provide VA home loan benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserves.

    Co-authored legislation to improve benefits for survivors of veterans who die of service-related conditions.

    Co-authored legislation to provide benefits for victims of Agent Orange and Atomic Testing.

    Co-authored legislation to provide VA services for women veterans who were sexually assaulted while on active duty.

    Authored legislation allowing the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to refinance direct loans issued to veterans under VA's new direct home loan program for Native Americans, permitting them to take advantage of lower interest rates.

    Brought about improvements to the Center for Minority and Women Veterans ranging from defining minority veterans groups to requiring the Center for Minority Veterans to examine the effectiveness of VA efforts in including minority groups in clinical research.

    Sponsored the Veterans Readjustment Service Amendments of 1996, including improvements in the services offered by veterans centers in counseling for post traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse and sexual trauma, and authorizing services on a resource-available basis to World War II and Korean War combat veterans (currently, only Vietnam era and post-Vietnam combat veterans are eligible for readjustment services.)

    Facilitated agreements with the visitor industry to alleviate traffic congestion at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific; resulting in improvements and upgrades to cemetery maintenance and infrastructure.

    Played a crucial role in ensuring the swift completion of the Spark M. Matsunaga VA Medical Center in Hawaii, and continues working to maintain the viability of the neighbor island primary care clinics and vet centers.

EDUCATION:
    Sponsored legislation (S. 2353/H.R. 3629) to end a two-year “wait out” period for grant eligibility that unfairly penalizes Tribal Colleges and Universities and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions, which are among this country's most underfunded institutions of higher education. President Clinton signed the measure into law on May 26, 2000. (Public Law 106-211)

    Introduced legislation (S. 1487) to boost economic education and literacy nationwide, for which he was awarded the Adam Smith Medal of Distinction from the National Council on Economic Education.

HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES:
    Sponsored legislation to increase the Medicare reimbursement rate for Pap smear laboratory tests to ensure that the test remains available and reasonably priced for all women. (Public Law 106-103)

    Amended the Welfare-to-Work program to increase the number of welfare recipients and non custodial parents eligible for job training, search, creation and retention services to foster self-sufficiency.

JUDICIARY & CIVIL RIGHTS:
    Authored legislation requiring the appointment of judges to the Circuit Courts of Appeals from all states in a Circuit. This measure ensures Hawaii representation on the Ninth Circuit.

    Sponsored legislation to end immigration abuses in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

HAWAII ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
    Negotiated a partnership between the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association, City Bank, Matson Navigation Company, Dependable Hawaiian Express, Industry Network Corporation and the Department of Agriculture to conduct a demonstration project on the sale of Hawaii-made food products in four of DeCA's largest west coast commissaries in the states of Washington and California. This project is intended to gauge consumer acceptance of Hawaii products and test a cooperative marketing and product storage and distribution system for small business food manufacturers.

    Encouraged the Defense Commissary Agency to develop an outreach program to increase its procurement of Hawaii-made products and grown in Hawaii produce in all Defense commissary Agency commissaries in Hawaii.