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Posted: Thursday, March 21st, 2013 9:16 AM HST

Hawaii lawmakers advance new development agency

By Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) A Hawaii Senate bill to establish a Public-Private Partnership Authority is making leaps through the state House.

The committees on economic development and water and land approved the bill Wednesday.

Lawmakers expanded the number of pilot projects that the agency can start from three to seven.

The projects include a film production facility, a project in Wahiawa and four county-initiated projects.

The proposal is strongly opposed by critics of the state's existing Public Land Development Corporation.

Many see the land agency as an overreach of the state's power because it is exempt from county zoning and permitting rules.

Both chambers voted earlier this session to repeal it.

Supporters of the new organization emphasize that it requires all projects to abide by existing development rules..

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