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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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)
HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES:
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
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
JUDICIARY & CIVIL RIGHTS:
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
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.
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.