House Leadership Version of Statehood Celebration Resolution -- A Toothless "Politically Correct" Attempted Compromise Which Never Even Got a Hearing

(c) Copyright 2002 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

For several weeks during the 2002 Legislature, it appeared that absolutely nothing happened with the Statehood Day Celebration resolution in either the House (HR11) or the Senate (SR22). There were no public statements by any Legislator, and no committee hearings were scheduled. But several sources privately confirmed that Hawaiian sovereignty activists were scurrying around the Legislature trying to get the Statehood Day resolution killed. At least one source privately indicated that some ethnic Hawaiian Legislators were angry or felt insulted by the resolution, especially as it related to 'Iolani Palace as a focal point for celebrating Statehood and flying the U.S. flag.

The last day for introducing substantive resolutions was March 13, 2002. And on that day the Speaker of the House, Calvin Say, and the Chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, Eric Hamakawa, jointly co-sponsored a new version of the resolution! They introduced it as both a concurrent resolution (when passed it would be eligible to go to the Senate to be considered for passage) and also as a straight House resolution. The text of both their resolutions, the concurrent HCR180 and the regular HR129, is identical except for technical language identifying the concurrent resolution as expressing the sentiment of both the House and the Senate.

Were Speaker Say and Chairman Hamakawa introducing their version of the resolution as a friendly move to help the basic concept of the resolution to get a hearing and pass the House, or were they sabotaging the resolution's purpose?

The full text of HCR180 appears below, followed by a political analysis of its difference from HR11, and why it was introduced. In the end, none of the four Statehood Day Celebration resolutions ever had a hearing before any committee of the House (HR11, HCR180, HR129) or the Senate (SR22). But also, neither of the Hawaiian ethnic nationalist independence resolutions ever had a hearing (HCR59, HR35). Perhaps those independence resolutions might have passed the House virtually unnoticed if it had not been for the presence of the pro-Statehood resolution.




H.C.R. NO.












WHEREAS, from 1849 to 1959, there were repeated attempts by the people of Hawaii -- both indigenous and foreign -- to achieve statehood; and

WHEREAS, in 1849, King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III, responding to pressures from Britain and France, prepared a provisional deed to cede the Kingdom of Hawaii to the United States; and

WHEREAS, in 1854, King Kauikeaouli Kamehameha III directed his Minister of Foreign Relations to ascertain the views of the United States regarding annexation of the Hawaiian islands and the terms and conditions under which the annexation could be obtained; and

WHEREAS, In 1897, the Republic of Hawaii ratified a Treaty of Annexation and offered it to the United States. The offer was accepted by a joint resolution of Congress and signed by President William McKinley in 1898; and

WHEREAS, in 1900, President William McKinley signed the Organic Act establishing the government of the Territory of Hawaii, including a provision that all persons who were citizens of the Republic of Hawaii on August 12, 1898, were now citizens of the Territory of Hawaii and of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Hawaii's first Territorial Delegate to Congress, Robert Wilcox, a former royalist, was elected on a pledge that "The first bill I shall introduce will be one to admit Hawaii to Statehood"; and

WHEREAS, in 1903, the elected Territorial Legislature, with more than seventy per cent of its members being native Hawaiian, unanimously passed a joint resolution asking Congress for an enabling act to convene a constitutional convention to create a constitution for a proposed State of Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, in 1919, Hawaii's elected Territorial Delegate to Congress Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana'ole, introduced into Congress the first bill for Hawaii statehood; and

WHEREAS, on November 5, 1940, the Hawaii general election ballot included the question "Do you favor Statehood for Hawaii?" The vote was 46,174 "Yes" and 22,438 "No" -- or sixty-seven per cent in the affirmative; and

WHEREAS, in 1949, a special election was held to elect delegates to a constitutional convention to draft a constitution for a proposed State of Hawaii. The draft constitution was then approved by a special session of the Territorial Legislature on July 15, 1950, and ratified in the general election of November 7, 1950, by a vote of 82,788 "Yes" and 27,109 "No" -- or seventy-five per cent in the affirmative; and

WHEREAS, U.S. Senate Report 886 of January 27, 1954, associated with a bill for statehood, indicated that thirty-three bills for statehood had been introduced by Hawaii's Territorial Delegates between 1919 and 1954; and

WHEREAS, in 1954, a petition seeking statehood was signed by approximately 120,000 citizens of Hawaii, and was given a celebratory sendoff, including hula, chants, music, kahili and torch bearers from the Hawaiian civic clubs, at the front entrance of the Territorial capitol building -- Iolani Palace; and

WHEREAS, during the 1950s, Republican Territorial Delegates Joseph Farrington and Elizabeth Farrington, and Democrat Territorial Delegate John Burns, Republican Governors Samuel Wilder King and William Quinn, and a large majority of Hawaii's citizens all strongly supported statehood; and

WHEREAS, in 1958, Democrat Territorial Delegate John Burns, working closely with Democrat Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson, Democrat Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, and Republican Governor William Quinn, successfully negotiated the two-step political compromise under which Alaska was admitted as the 49th state in 1958 and Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959; and

WHEREAS, on March 11, 1959, the United States Senate passed a Hawaii statehood bill by a vote of 76-15, the United States House of Representative passed the same bill on March 12, 1959, by a vote of 323-89, and President Eisenhower signed the bill into law on March 18, 1959, offering statehood to Hawaii pending ratification by Hawaii's people; and

WHEREAS, in the statehood plebiscite on June 27, 1959, 140,744 ballots were cast on Proposition 1, which asked: "Shall Hawaii immediately be admitted to the Union as a state?" The vote was 132,773 "Yes" to 7,971 "No", thereby confirming an overwhelming majority of ninety-four per cent in favor of statehood; and

WHEREAS, on August 21, 1959, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed that "the procedural requirements imposed by the Congress on the state of Hawaii to entitle that state to admission to the Union have been complied with in all respects and that the admission of the state of Hawaii into the Union on an equal footing with other states of the Union is now accomplished"; and

WHEREAS, on August 24, 1959, Republican Senator Hiram L. Fong, Democrat Senator Oren E. Long, and Democrat Representative Daniel K. Inouye, elected after the plebiscite of June 27, 1959, took their oaths of office in Washington, D.C. to represent the State of Hawaii in Congress, while Republican William Quinn became the State's first elected governor; and

WHEREAS, Hawaii's Admission Day holiday, now officially referred to as "Statehood Day", annually celebrates the political joining of America and Hawaii, giving the world a model of people celebrating great cultural diversity while unified in the Aloha Spirit, democracy, and equality under law; and

WHEREAS, there has been a great upsurge of American patriotism in Hawaii following the terrorist attacks on America of September 11, 2001, in which thousands of lives were lost, including some from Hawaii; and

WHEREAS, this upsurge of patriotism includes special respect for the heroism and sacrifices of police, firefighters, United States military personnel, and civic organizations, and prominent displaying of the United States flag; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, the Senate concurring, that the Legislature calls upon the Governor to:

(1) Organize celebratory events for the Statehood Day holiday weekend, August 16-18, 2002, and for each Statehood Day holiday in future years;

(2) Invite participation in these celebratory events by a broad spectrum of Hawaii civic organizations, police, firefighters, National Guard, and United States military units;

(3) Proudly fly the United States flag on all buildings used by the State of Hawaii for legislative, executive, or judicial purposes; and

(4) Encourage police, firefighters, National Guard, United States military units, and Hawaii civic organizations, each one carrying the United States flag, to take part in celebrations and ceremonies commemorating the Roll of Honor Statehood Petition of 1954 and the declaration of Statehood;


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States, the President pro tempore of the United States

Senate, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the Secretary General of the United Nations, and the Governor.






Report Title:

Statehood; Gov. to Organize Celebratory Events


This new version of the resolution was introduced in the House on March 13 jointly by Speaker of the House Calvin Say, and Chairman Hamakawa of the Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs. This new resolution HCR180 and HR129 was written by them, not by the authors of the original HR11. There was no effort by them to contact us regarding the writing of it or the introducing of it. It came as a complete surprise. It was both pleasing and horrifying to see it. It was pleasing because it seemed that two very powerful Representatives were trying to get the resolution passed. It was horrifying because the language of their new resolution contained historical errors and deletions in the whereas clauses, and represented a great watering-down of the resolution originally submitted. The process of making legislation involves many hands and considerable compromise; but as a scholar and former professor it felt to me like some student had taken a scholarly essay I had carefully written and then had done a poor job of plagiarizing it. Were Speaker Say and Chairman Hamakawa truly doing their best to shepherd a resolution whose concept they supported and give it compromise language in hopes it could be rescued from oblivion? Or were they simply protecting their colleagues from a strong resolution whose appeal to the general public would be great but whose political incorrectness might produce a storm of protest from the ethnic nationalist activists? We will never know. And that's why Speaker Say and Chairman Hamakawa are such successful politicians -- they are able to pursue a course of action whose ambiguity leaves everyone wondering, and gives nobody a clear reason to condemn what they did.

There are some political subtleties in offering this resolution on March 13. Since March 13 was the last day for introducing substantive resolutions, it would be impossible to ask any other representatives to introduce any stronger resolution. Also, offering it as a concurrent resolution meant that if it passed the House, this toothless version could then be sent to the Senate where it might be able to displace the much stronger SR22 which had a bipartisan group of four co-sponsors.

Here is a letter I sent to Speaker Say and Chairman Hamakawa as soon as I was aware they had introduced their new resolution:

Aloha Speaker Say and Chairman Hamakawa,

I note that you have jointly introduced HCR180 and HR129, new versions of HR11 previously filed by Representative Djou.

I am very pleased that you both support the basic concept that Hawai'i's people are proud to be Americans and proud that Hawai'i is the 50th State. And I am pleased that you have taken the trouble to introduce a resolution which you have authored and which will presumably have your strong support. This reaffirmation of our American patriotism is necessary in view of the pernicious attempt by Hawaiian ethnic nationalists to pass a resolution calling upon Congress and the United Nations to revisit the Statehood vote of 1959 (HCR59 and HR35) with a view toward holding an internationally supervised plebiscite offering independence to Hawai'i.

However, your new resolution lacks a very important provision calling explicitly for the American flag to be flown at the state-owned building, 'Iolani Palace, which served for 70 years as the capitol of the Territory and State of Hawai'i, where the U.S. flag flew every day, and where the transition from Territory to State took place. As you know, there was a great outcry from Hawai'i's people when the Director of 'Iolani Palace felt a need to apologize to sovereignty activists for daring to fly our national flag there. Governor Cayetano indicated he would like the U.S. flag to fly there every day. I am hoping HR11 might strengthen his resolve to do so; or at least give him the courage to fly the flag there on the occasion of the annual celebration of Statehood Day. The new resolution also is missing some important historical information from the whereas clauses of the original HR11. For example, the newly revised version of the first whereas clause makes it appear Kingdom residents were either indigenous or foreign, when in fact there were many naturalized and native-born subjects of the Kingdom who had no native blood, as well as officially recognized dual-citizenship denizens, who held leadership positions in the government and who favored Statehood.

If possible, I hope that the original HR11 can be scheduled for a hearing as the primary Statehood Day Celebration resolution. If members of JHA are unwilling to support the stronger content of HR11, then the new HCR180 and HR129 might be passed as a compromise. But I am uncomfortable compromising on so fundamental an issue as the Statehood of Hawai'i. Being unwilling to fly the U.S. flag on a public building in celebration of the Statehood that was achieved there seems a very high price to pay for "political correctness," and will only serve to embolden those who would like to rip the hard-won 50th star off our national flag.

Thank you for your efforts to have a hearing and to pass the strongest possible resolution reviewing our long struggle for Statehood and affirming our patriotic pride in being the 50th State.


Patriotic Americans and supporters of Hawai'i Statehood are grateful to Republican Representative Charles Djou for having the courage to sponsor our original resolution HR11 in the House. In addition several other Representatives indicated their support in oral and written messages after the resolution was introduced; however, the rules prevent additional co-sponsors from signing on after a resolution has been formally introduced. We are also grateful to four courageous members of the Senate who co-sponsored our original resolution SR22 in the Senate: Republican Senators Sam Slom (who got things organized), Fred Hemmings, and Bob Hogue; and Democrat Senator Brian Taniguchi.

Toward the end of the Legislative session, distinguished investigative reporter Malia Zimmerman published the following story on her internet newspaper The Hawai'i Reporter:


State legislators have to be smart enough to realize most people in Hawaii are citizens of the United States. Hopefully the voters are too - or they are supposed to be. That is why it is so odd that while people across Hawaii and the rest of America are proudly displaying American flags on homes, cars, clothes and public buildings, going into high gear after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the vast majority of Hawaii's lawmakers won't advocate patriotism in Hawaii.

Hawaii lawmakers, with few exceptions, are turning a blind eye refusing to show their patriotism in even the smallest way, by refusing to sign a resolution that calls for a celebration of patriotism and Hawaii's statehood. Legislators in both Houses refused to sign Senate Resolution 22 and House Resolution 11 calling upon the governor to organize celebratory events for Statehood Day holiday weekend, August 16 through 18, 2002. The resolutions also call for future Statehood Day holidays to be celebrated by proudly flying the U.S. flag on all buildings used by the state of Hawaii, with a parade of U.S. flags and celebrations, and with ceremonies on the grounds of the former Territorial and State Capitol.

These resolutions found few supporters as those legislators who are either part-Hawaiian or who have large Hawaiian constituencies stated they would not support the resolution they view as an affront to many native Hawaiians. But to many observers, including President George W. Bush, the debate is real clear -- those who do not stand with America, stand with the terrorists and against Americans.

GO BACK TO: HAWAI'I STATEHOOD -- The History of the Struggle to Achieve Statehood, and Current Challenges