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Approach And Methodology


The Native Hawaiians Study Commission was established by an Act signed into law on December 22, 1980 (Public Law 96-565, Title III). This Act defined the duties of the Commission as follows:

Sec. 303(a) The Commission shall conduct a study of the culture, needs and concerns of the Native Hawaiians.
(b) The Commission shall conduct such hearings as it considers appropriate and shall provide notice of such hearings to the public, including information concerning the date, location and topic of each hearing. The Commission shall take such other actions as it considers necessary to obtain full public participation in the study undertaken by the Commission.

The Congress provided in the Act that a Commission of nine members be appointed by the President. Further, it provided that "not more than three of such members shall be residents of the State of Hawaii." President Reagan appointed to the Commission three persons from Hawaii and six government officials. */

Since the Congress had not appropriated funds for the Commission, it was immediately faced with a decision as to whether to (1) delay all work until a supplemental appropriation could be obtained (possibly not until late Spring of 1982), or (2) seek funds from the President's unanticipated needs appropriation. (Other funding options were blocked by the Anti-Deficiency Act.) To avoid delay, the Commission chose to seek funds from the unanticipated needs appropriation. Since funds in that account are limited, the Commission developed a work plan that would permit holding Commission funding to a minimum and permit heavy reliance on assistance from other agencies, pursuant to the authority of Section 303(j) of P.L. 96-565.

Upon approval of funds by the President, the Commission established a staff, with two persons in Washington and two in Honolulu. As part of the Commission's budget submission to Congress in March, 1982, it stated that its resource requirements had been reduced to a minimum and that "to the greatest extent possible, the Commission will rely on other agencies for the support needed in its information-gathering activities." (Request for Supplemental Appropriation, March, 1982.) Thus, the full Commission had decided, and the Congress was fully informed, that material for the Report would be developed, researched, and prepared by government officials. In fact, the Commission has relied extensively on the substantial expertise of employees of appropriate agencies. At every stage the full Commission was aware of the scope of the project and who would develop information for and write particular portions of the Report.

Also, as provided for in the Act establishing it, the Commission has

*/ Appointment of government officials to the Commission was specifically contemplated by Congress, since the enabling Act provided that "members of the Commission who are fulltime officers or employees of the United States shall receive no additional pay on account of their services on the Commission" (Section 302(g)).