Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bill 113 - Final Hearing Recessed Com #393.166

Bill 113 for GMO prohibition on Hawaii island was recessed at 6:30pm and will continue in 2 weeks, on Tuesday, November 19th, at 9 am in Kona & all satellite centers. Public testimony will continue for those who signed up and did not have time today. This is a continuation, so those who already spoke will not be able to testify again.

COM #393.166 was distributed to councilmembers upon, Chair J Yoshimoto's arrival at 5:16pm, and can be viewed online:

The proposed amendments where not on today's agenda, and the public did not have the opportunity to review the communication prior to today's session. When the Council begins their discussion, councilmember Yoshimoto will have an opportunity to introduce his amendment to the council. If the council accepts his amendment the public will have another opportunity to testify (on draft 4) -- prolonging the hearing.

We will provide a more in-depth summary shortly.
Mahalo for standing with us.

Website: http://www.gmofreehawaiiisland.org
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GMOFreeHawaiiIsland
Email: gmofreehawaiiisland@gmail.com

Hawai`i County Council Contact Information:
County Council Contact Information:

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Everyday GMO activism

Moving forward after months of hard work on GMO prohibition Bills 79 and 113, everyday work on the GMO issue in our community is needed more than ever.  Bill 113 will prevent open air cultivation of new crops, but leaves us with two GMO crops, papaya and corn. 

GMO papaya has contaminated the environment on all the islands of Hawaii, and had to be exempted because it is impossible to clean up.  GMO herbicide resistant corn being grown in the towns of Pepeekeo, Honomu and Ookala on the Hamakua coast by Big Island Dairy, although restricted by Bill 113 to expand its current acreage (350+), will act as a deterrent to those wanting to grow corn for the local produce market, and if market corn is grown in that region, how will the public know if it is safe to eat or has been contaminated by the GMO crop.

Consumer campaigns can raise a powerful tide to wash away those things we do not want, clearing the way for what we do want instead.  Each person concerned about the safety of the food available in our markets can take action every day to work for change.  We are a small community, and if the companies that provide us our food supplies are informed about what we want, they will take what we say into consideration.

Everyday GMO activism takes many forms.

Speak to your market manager if you don't find a non-GMO alternative food product and ask them to bring it in, or you will have to do all of your shopping at the natural food store.

Speak to the produce manager and ask if the papayas are GMO, and if so, why aren't they labeling it.  Point out that Hawaii County has passed Bill 113, and there are many people who don't want to eat GMO food.  Ask them to bring in non-GMO papaya and to label it as such.

Tell the market manager that our community has passed a GMO prohibition law and there are many consumers here that will not buy GMO food products.  Ask that they begin a campaign of support for GMO labeling as a member of their trade group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

When ordering at a restaurant ask if the food is made from scratch or pre-packaged, ask if the salmon is farm-raised or wild caught, ask if the beef is local grass-fed beef.  Create the kind of place at which you would like to dine.

Get to know the growers at the farmers' markets and talk about GMO papaya and your concerns.
The Department of Agriculture offers $3 GUS gene tests to determine if their trees are GMO.

At the next talk story with your legislators, bring up the subject of GMO labeling.

Boycott the corporate brands that have bought up our best organic food companies and are using the millions earned from them to defeat labeling campaigns state by state.

Stacy's, Mother's and Near East
Kraft/Mondelez also owns Boca Burgers and Back to Nature
Safeway private label -  “O” Organics
Coca-Cola also owns Honest Tea, Odwalla
General Mills also owns  Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar
Con-Agra owns Orville Redenbacher’s Organic, Hunt’s Organic, Lightlife, Alexia
Kellogg’s also owns Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger
Smucker’s also owns R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic
Dean Foods also own Horizon, Silk, White Wave

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bill 113 - Final Reading! Com #393.70

Aloha e kakou,

The final hearing of Bill 113 is scheduled in Hilo on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. GMO-Free Hawaii Island is supporting the immediate passage of Bill 113 even though it is not exactly the ordinance that we worked hard to achieve. This difficult decision was made based on the following:

  1. Councilmember Margaret Wille will not remove the Emergency Exemption from the bill
  2. Corn will not be sunset in order to protect from a potential challenge because the bill exempts only papaya.
  3. If there are many objections to the bill, Council Chairman Yoshimoto is likely to postpone the bill.
  4. The danger with postponement is that the bill will not be passed by December 31st, and the County risks being overridden by State legislation aimed at pre-empting the Counties’ right to pass GMO ordinances.
  5. If the bill is not passed, this topic cannot be brought before the Council for two years.

Kauai Councilman, Gary Hooser’s Bill 2491 to regulate biotech chemical spraying was gutted to remove all references to GMO regulation, and he advises us to take the small steps forward. The previous Hawaii Council vote was 6-2 with Councilman Kern absent. The final vote could be better. State Senator Russell Ruderman describes Bill 113 as a big step forward because it will prevent biotech field testing, and other positive aspects are that it will stop new GMO crop plantings, current GMO growers are required to register to disclose their operations and with the exception of papaya, are limited to specific locations cultivated prior to the effective date of the ordinance, and an emergency exemption application is a long process requiring at least four appearances before the Council.

For those who haven’t seen the current Bill 113 in its entirety, here is the link:

Moving forward there are other ways to tackle the GMO problem. The Ad Hoc Committee could tighten up the language of the bill, new bills can be introduced, and there is the option of amending the County Charter by ballot initiative.

When the bill passes, the challenge will be to encourage Mayor Kenoi to sign it into law. If the mayor vetos the bill, it is very possible that the yearend goal to avoid state pre-emption would be missed.

AGENDA: http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/DocView.aspx?id=798430

Mahalo for your support!
GMO-Free Hawaii Island

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bill 113 - TAKE ACTION

Aloha e kakou,
The vote after the first reading of Bill 113 at the full Council hearing on Oct. 16, was 6-2 with Zendo Kern absent, Onishi and Ilagan voting NO.  Council Chair J. Yoshimoto changed his previous NO vote to YES.  Mahalos are in order for his support of the bill.  Councilmember Onishi's amendments to gut the bill were not brought up for discussion.
The second and final reading of the bill and vote could be scheduled for the next full Council meeting which is Nov. 6, and we will confirm the date when it is set.

The vote was taken on an amended bill that most citizens did not have an opportunity to see,

  1. which now includes an emergency exemption enabling a grower to apply to Council to use a GMO remedy for a crop experiencing "substantial harm" by a plant pestilence and where there is no alternative solution.  The exemption would be granted for 5 years with possibility of renewal. Councilmember Wille explained that she wrote it to dispel the fears of interested parties.  
  2. The registration section was also amended to withhold the exact location of GMO cultivation to public access, to address the fears of GMO growers that they would be targets of vandalism. 
TAKE ACTION:  The Emergency Exemption (see page 5 of the bill) is dangerous and has to be removed from the bill before it becomes law.  PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ALL COUNCIL MEMBERS TO DEMAND ITS REMOVAL.  PLEASE CALL COUNCIL CHAIR J. YOSHIMOTO TO LET HIM KNOW THAT YOU DID NOT SEE THE NEW EMERGENCY EXEMPTION BEFORE YOU WROTE YOUR TESTIMONY, and testimony must be allowed on it because it changes the bill.  

Any of the points below would be important to discuss when you contact them.
  1. As we have experienced with papaya, the growers are fighting a losing battle to keep their shrinking markets.  Using GMO as a remedy did not save the industry. 
  2. This exemption actually guts the purpose of the bill.
  3. This is a loophole allowing exemptions to unlimited GMO crops or other GMO materials.  
  4. Contamination from an emergency exempted crop cannot be tracked without expert resources and can occur far from the growing site. 
  5. This exemption could allow for GMO crops with new unsafe traits for which the County does not have the resources to evaluate.
  6. A "GMO remedy" can mean newly developed materials applied to crops or soil, not just a GMO crop to replace the affected crop.  
  7. Organic farmers cannot use this option if they are losing a crop.
  8. The emergency exemption limits what neighboring non-GMO farmers can grow.
  9. The export market will not support GMO crops, so why allow them to use up precious island resources.
  10. GMO crops destroy life and should not be allowed to replace one on Hawaii Island that is dying out. 
  11. It is impossible to verify that there are no alternative sources for a plant pestilence.
  12. If Bill 113 does not provide for enforcement, how will any exempted GMO crop be enforced for contamination or any other "potential" adverse effects?
  13. Sunset the contaminating GMO corn in Hamakua. 
SEND THIS MESSAGE OUT TO YOUR NETWORKS.  A very large response is needed.
Mahalo for your QUICK ACTION to get this exemption removed from the bill.

GMO-Free Hawaii Island    gmofreehawaiiisland.org

Hawai`i County Council Contact Information

Bill 113 - Critical Amendment Com #393.68

Aloha e kakou:

The first hearing of Bill 113, Draft 2, at full Council ended at 10:30pm, Tuesday Oct. 15, and has been recessed to 1:00 pm Oct. 16.  Testimony was concluded and discussion on the bill and several amendments will now take place.

On Oct. 15, Councilmember Wille introduced an amendment to Draft 2.  Communication 393.68 has added in the Findings section that “Council finds that policies relating to ag practices are most appropriate to be determined by each county…”

Comm 393.68 also adds an Emergency Exemption that would allow growers to apply to Council to use a GMO remedy if their crop or plants are being harmed by a plant pestilence.  The exemption would be for 5 years with possibility of renewal.

GMO corn continues to be exempted in these new versions.

The bill is essentially being gutted by Comm 393.68, and being turned into a “GMO permission bill.” This is a loophole and the Emergency Exemption could be applied by Councils with differing political agendas and views on agricultural practices on the Big Island.  You can't have healthy soil, food, communities and people by continuing to use crops that destroy life. 

Please email Councilmember Wille to remove this dangerous Emergency Exemption.  After this first round of voting by the full Council takes place, a final round will be scheduled.  Please act now.
P.S.  Kauai County Council has passed Bill 2491 to control biotech pesticides, 6-1 !!

Mahalo for your continued support.
GMO-Free Hawaii Island    gmofreehawaiiisland.org

Hawai`i County Council Contact Information

Thursday, October 10, 2013

SPECIAL MEETING for GMO Bill 113 on October 15, 2013 at 4 pm

SPECIAL MEETING: 4 PM - October 15, 2013
Council Hearing for GMO BILL #113

Bill 113 was passed by the PSMTC on October 1, 2013 it is now before the COUNCIL for the first of two readings, on October 15, 2013.

Bill 113 GMO Prohibition (Comm 393.62) is on the Council agenda Tuesday, October 15, at 4:00 p.m. in Kona. Testimony is allowed on this second draft of Bill 113. There is a possibility that testimony could continue on Wednesday, but that is not known at this time. Don’t wait on that possibility….send your written testimony now.
In conjunction with the bill is Comm 394 formation of Ad Hoc Committee Relating to GE Crops and Plants, and testimony can be given on this.
Submit Testimony:
This is the last step to PASS the BILL!

Councilmember Wille is interested in passing the bill and forming an ad hoc committee as quickly as possible. One reason is the looming threat from the next Hawaii Legislature to pre-empt home rule. There is a problem with the bill….it allows Big Island Dairy’s GMO corn to continue to grow.

The bill grandfathers in GMO corn in Pepeekeo, Honomu and Ookala (approx. 350 acres) spread along the Hamakua coastline, allowing it to continue to grow, but not to expand acreage. This exemption is out of sync with GMO prohibition of “open air” cultivation. If GMO corn is not prohibited, non-GMO corn growers in Hamakua and elsewhere on Hawaii Island would be hard put to bring in a clean crop.

It is the intention of Councilmember Wille to have the ad hoc committee remove the GMO corn exemption AFTER the bill is passed. This “good intention” doesn’t assure removal, and could get derailed, leaving Hawaii Island with a second open air contaminating crop alive and well in the field.

Call your councilmember requesting an amendment be written to sunset GMO corn and presented at the Oct. 15 hearing. The Council contact list is attached. Testimony to sunset this corn within 24 months would be a good follow up to a call requesting an amendment. MANY VOICES MUST BE HEARD TO GET GMO CORN OUT OF THE BILL BEFORE IT PASSES.

Councilmember Onishi has drafted three amendments to gut the bill. Please also testify that you do not support these amendments along with their “Comm” numbers.
  1. Comm 393.052 Amendment to Bill 113 to exempt GMO research & cultivation by universities and government agencies, flower/horticulture industry, and allow cultivation of approved GMO crops/plants.
  2. Comm 393.053 Amendment to Bill 113 to exempt GMO papaya from registration.
  3. Comm 393.054 This amendment repeats papaya and university/government GMO statements in both amendments above.

Mahalo for your continued support and action on this important issue.
GMO-Free Hawaii Island gmofreehawaiiisland.org
FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GMOFreeHawaiiIsland
Email: gmofreehawaiiisland@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Bill 113 Passed - What's Next?

Aloha e kakou,

Thanks to all of the activists and supporters who worked on this: GMO prohibition Bill 113 passed out of the Public Safety and Mass Transit Committee on Oct. 1, with a vote of 6 – 2 and a positive recommendation to the Hawaii County Council. Councilman Onishi was not present and amendments he submitted to the bill previously will be discussed in the full council when it convenes to take up this bill.
The YES votes were from Councilmembers Wille, Poindexter, Ford, Eoff, Kanuha and Kern. The NO votes were Yoshimoto and Ilagan, Onishi was absent. Although Kanuha and Kern did vote for the bill, they can easily waiver as we can be sure that opponents of the bill will be campaigning hard. In order to prevent a veto by the mayor, 6 votes are needed when the full council votes on it. We have work yet to do to insure the bill’s safe passage.

Council contacts listed below.
An unresolved issue is that the bill “grandfathered in” the GMO corn grown by Big Island Dairy in Pepeekeo, Honomu and Ookala (approx. 350 acres). Councilmember Wille was anxious to pass the bill to defend home rule, that the state Legislature may attack next session and that is why she called for the vote now. She believes that the contaminating corn can be handled later via an ad hoc committee. In reality, non-GMO corn growers would be hard put to safely grow corn on the Hamakua coast by allowing this particular “open air cultivation of GMO.”
A coordinated effort is necessary to urge councilmembers to write an amendment to this discriminating exemption, to have a true “no open air cultivation” law, and a first mention could be made when you send your thanks them.

The formation of an Ad Hoc Committee to study GMO issues and make recommendations or amendments to this bill has been postponed until the bill passes, on advice of corporation council that concurrent work on the bill and in any ad hoc committee is not legal.
The date and time the full council schedules this bill will be sent as-soon-as it is known. There will be opportunity for public testimony after which the Council will vote on it, and that process may take two sessions.

District 1 - Valerie Poindexter 
(808) 961-8018
Fax: (808) 961-8912
Email: vpoindexter@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 2 - J Yoshimoto 
(808) 961-8272 
Fax: (808) 961-8912 
Email: jyoshimoto@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 3 - Dennis “Fresh” Onishi 
(808) 961-8396 
Fax: (808) 961-8912 
Email: donishi@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 4 - Greggor Ilagan 
 (808) 965-2712 
Fax: (808) 965-2707 
Email: gilagan@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 5 - Zendo Kern 
(808) 961-8263
Fax: (808) 961-8912 
Email: zkern@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 6 Brenda Ford 
(808) 323-4277 
Fax: (808) 329-4786 
Email: bford@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 7 - Dru Mamo Kanuha 
(808) 323-4267
Fax: (808) 329-4786 
Email: dkanuha@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 8 - Karen Eoff 
(808) 323-4280 
Fax: (808) 329-4786 
Email: keoff@co.hawaii.hi.us

District 9 - Margaret Wille 
(808) 887-2069
Fax: (808) 887-2072 
Email: mwille@co.hawaii.hi.us

Mahalo for your continued support and action on this important bill.

GMO-Free Hawaii Island GMOFreeHawaiiIsland.org 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Newsletter: Hawaii County Council Summary for Bill #113

Aloha e kakou,
GMO prohibition Bill #113 was discussed Sept. 23, 2013, by Hawaii County Councilmembers who had an opportunity to ask questions of various experts representing different fields that relate to the bill. The Committee was recessed until Oct. 1 at 1:00 p.m. in Hilo, where Council discussion with experts may continue or amendments to the bill will be discussed, but no testimony will be allowed.  After deliberating the bill, the Council will vote on it.  All satellite offices will be open except Pahoa which is being moved.

An amended Bill 113 was presented by Councilmember Wille expanding the open air cultivation prohibition to include propagation, development or testing: 

Councilmember Onishi offered several amendments to Bill 113 to remove the registration requirement for GMO papaya, exempt universities and government agencies, exempt all approved GMO crops:
  1. http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/0/doc/796106/Page1.aspx
  2. http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/0/doc/796107/Page1.aspx
  3. http://records.co.hawaii.hi.us/Weblink8/0/doc/796108/Page1.aspx

GMO prohibition Bill 109 written by Brenda Ford was revived and Council voted to move it to the Environmental Management Committee of the Environmental Management Department where there is a 45-day waiting period for public comments which would influence the status of this bill.

To view today’s discussions with experts see video coverage provided by Occupy Hilo at our Facebook page.  Experts begin speaking in part one at about  1 hour and 4 minutes into the video:  https://www.facebook.com/GMOFreeHawaiiIsland

Jeffrey Smith addressing Hawaii County Council 9/23/13:

Mahalo for your continued support!
GMO Free Hawaii Island Team

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Governor's Announcement Raises Concern, Suspicion by Kaua'i Residents

Governor's Announcement Raises Concern, Suspicion by Kaua'i Residents "Voluntary Disclosure" of Pesticide Use Called "Weak," - "Not A Substitute" for Strong County Mandates of Bill 2491

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 24, 2013

LIHUE, HI -- Kaua'i r
esidents reacted strongly to Governor Neil Abercrombie's announcement of September 23, which requests agricultural entities to voluntarily disclose their "aggregated usage" of Restricted Use Pesticides until such time as rules and legislation are developed in the future. The Governor also stated that he would generally work with the State Legislature to seek funding for state agencies to address pesticide use compliance, without any further specific commitment.

This announcement comes days before the Kaua'i County Council is set to deliberate on Bill 2491, which provides for mandatory disclosure of Restricted Use Pesticides by Kaua'i's heaviest agricultural users, along with specific protections for Kaua'i children and families against the risks of pesticide exposure. These protections include buffer zones, a health and environmental study on the specific impacts of seed/agrochemical industry practices on Kaua'i, temporary moratoria on expansion, and other provisions.

Entities regulated under Bill 2491 are the agrochemical companies Dow Agrosciences, Syngenta, BASF and Pioneer (DuPont), along with one food-producing entity, Kaua'i Coffee.

"It seems that the Governor has started to realize the seriousness of the pesticide issues on Kauai," said Gary Hooser, Kaua'i County Council Member and co-sponsor of Kaua'i County Bill 2491. "But the measures announced by the Governor are woefully inadequate to properly protect the people of Kaua'i. The Governor's unspecific promises are certainly not a replacement for the strong set of mandates and protections that would be guaranteed under Bill 2491."

While the Governor's announcement states that his office collaborated with a "Kauai Legislative Delegation" and "farmers," to date, none of the many leaders active in promoting Bill 2491 were consulted or solicited for feedback on the Governor's proposed "steps to address the concerns of the community." Council Member Hooser expressed surprise and disappointment that neither he nor Bill 2491 co-sponsor, Council Member Tim Bynum were consulted by the Governor's office regarding the September 23 announcement.

"There was no transparency by the Governor here," said Fern Rosensteil of Ohana O Kauai. "There has been a continual lack of responsiveness from the state until now, when the people of Kaua'i are finally taking matters into their own hands. We can only conclude that the Governor's announcement is a purposeful attempt to undermine the momentum of our people."

"The people of Kaua'i cannot wait for the State's wheels to turn on weak, undefined promises," said Andrea Brower, an advocate and researcher on sustainability and food security issues on Kaua'i. "There have been serious health and environmental concerns in regards to the pesticide-seed industry for years. When the County is finally making progress on beginning to address the issue, the sudden move by the Governor for 'voluntary action' is weak at best, and a derailment at worst."

From 2010-2012, Dow, Syngenta, BASF and Pioneer have collectively applied over 98% of the total RUP's used in the agricultural sector. Since the launch of Bill 2491, doctors and medical professionals have testified about elevated incidents of birth defects, respiratory and endocrine abnormalities and elevated rates of cancer, particularly in areas of heaviest RUP use in west Kaua'i. Citizen testing of waters near west Kaua'i agricultural fields have revealed levels of Atrazine in excess of regulatory limits.

The time for state gesturing and political maneuvering is over," said activist Dustin Barca, a leader in the efforts to educate communities on pesticide use on Kaua'i, "Real, firm mandates on pesticide disclosure are close at hand. We will press on for County Council approval for Bill 2491 because our children and the aina (land) cannot and will not wait."





1. Write AGAIN to Council Members Mel Rapozo, Ross Kagawa, Nadine Nakamura, JoAnn Yukimura and Jay Furfaro at CouncilTestimony@Kauai.gov.
Urge them to press on with Bill 2491 and show us what they are made of -- Urge Council Members not to bow their heads, wipe their hands of direct responsibility, or collaborate with weak attempts by the Governor to derail the biggest, most effective people's movement in Kaua'i's recent history.

Tell Council Members that the Governor's announcement for "voluntary disclosure" is NOT A REPLACEMENT for the real provisions of Bill 2491.

Tell Council Members not to shortchange our keiki and the future of our island with weak excuses for inaction.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

GMO Hearings for Bills 109 & 113

Aloha e kakou,

Hawaii County Council discussion began on both GMO prohibition bills today(Sept 6), with Bill #109 being voted down and discussion proceeded on Bill #113. There will be another opportunity for Bill #109 when it is on the agenda at a full Council meeting. The next Council meeting scheduled to continue the discussion of Margaret Wille’s Bill #113 will be on Monday, Sept. 23, at 9 a.m. in Hilo.

The Council will be calling upon expert witnesses to answer their remaining questions, and any witnesses appearing in Kona will speak via video conferencing. If you are able to help put expert witnesses on these issues in touch with respective councilmembers, please kokua.
  1. At the start of the meeting, Councilmember Onishi attempted to table both bills, but the motion failed as being out of order. He also offered an amendment to take papaya completely out of the bill (no exemption) and have them covered only under the bill’s main prohibition, but after discussion it was not accepted because it would have limited what current papaya growers could do in the future. 
  2. Councilmember Yoshimoto’s position is that there should be no GMOs allowed that are resistant to poisons, such as Round Up Ready crops, however, he is uncertain that crops like papaya that are virus resistant are as dangerous, and would like to hear from experts on this matter
  3. Councilmember Eoff does not want Hawaii Island to turn into Kauai, wants a bill that would protect air, land and water, but is unsure of the wording and would like more expert testimony on some issues. 
  4. Councilmember Kern wants to keep out predatory farming and open air cultivation, and would like clarification on pollination between crops/species by experts. He also wants to hear from experts if GMO virus resistant crops are as risky as poison resistant crops
  5. Councilmember Kanuha does not want open air testing/crops, but doesn’t believe all GMO is bad and the bill may hurt small farmers so he wants to understand how this bill would affect local food security
  6. Councilmember Ilagan would like to know what other current GMO crops are in the ground that could cross pollinate
  7. Corporation Council, Lincoln Ashida commented that bills need enforcement provisions or they would be hollow, and recommends Environmental Management Department as being equipped to address violations. 

Mahalo for your continued support.

GMO-Free Hawaii Island: gmofreehawaiiisland.org
Visit our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GMOFreeHawaiiIsland
Email: gmofreehawaiiisland@gmail.com

Monday, September 2, 2013

GMO Bills 109 & 113 Comparison

Two GMO prohibition bills will be introduced on September 4, 2013, 1:30 pm, in the Public Safety & Mass Transit Committee in Hilo: 
  • Bill  113 by Margaret Wille which replaces Bill 79, and 
  • Bill 109 by Brenda Ford.   
  • In addition, Margaret Wille has submitted Communication #394 Discussion and Formation of an Ad Hoc Committee Relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants. 
You can read both bills, and the Ad Hoc resolution by downloading the files at the bottom of this page.

Public Testimony on the bills and the Ad Hoc Committee proposal will be heard at the beginning of the meeting, however, testimony is limited to 2 minutes whether speaking on one or all of the agenda items. You can testify at the satellite office locations in Kau, Kona, and Wiamea. The Pahoa satellite office is currently closed, so people in that area will need to go to Hilo.

Keeping the focus of testimony on the points of the bill will assist the Council in discussing what the community deems to be important.

Take Action:

Contact your Council member before Sept. 4 to let them know what kind of bill you support.  Taking this action will provide them with input prior to the committee’s discussion.  A Council contact list is attached.

If oral testimony is given, it is recommended that more detailed written testimony also be submitted via email due to the 2-minute time restriction.

  1. Bill 109 - Introduced by Brenda Ford
  2. Bill 113 - Introduced by Margaret Wille
  3. COM 394 Ad Hoc Committee
  4. COM 404 Hawaii Island GMO Summit
  5. UPDATED AGENDA - The PAHOA office will be CLOSED; no testimony in Pahoa, you have to come to Hilo

Bill 113 Margaret Wille

“Protect Hawaii Island’s Agricultural Heritage and Its Ecosystems from Harm from Genetically Engineered Organisms.”

Prohibition:  No open air cultivation, propagation or development of genetically engineered crops or plants.

Exemptions: crops or plants being cultivated, propagated or developed prior to the effective date of this article are exempted provided locations or facilities are registered within 90 days.  

GMO papaya in current and future locations is exempt provided commercial locations or facilities are registered.

Administration:  Department of Research & Development, Agriculture Division.

Registration:  $100 annual registration fee beginning within 90 days of the effective date of article.

Penalties:  Violators fined $1000 per day, per location and responsible for costs of investigation, court and legal costs, and for damage to non-GE crops, plants, neighboring properties or water sources.
Bill 109 Brenda Ford

“Genetically Modified or Engineered Organisms Prohibited.”

Prohibition:  Unlawful to cultivate, develop or use any GMOs or to genetically modify any specific or non-specific parts of an organism’s genome.

Exemptions:  state/federal licensed medical or agricultural research institutions are exempt if contained in a biosafety level 3 facility.

Sunset Date:  cultivation, development or use of GMOs may continue for a period not to exceed 30 months.

Administration:  Department of Environmental Management.

Registration:  $100 annual registration fee beginning within 60 days of the effective date of this article.

Administrative Enforcement:  Violators fined $1000, and $1000 per day of violation.

Penal Enforcement
Violators who fail to comply are arrested for petty misdemeanor, fined $1000 or 30 days in jail.  Responsible for costs of testing, removal, destruction of GMOs, and remediation of property.

Ad Hoc Committee Com #394 
 We recommend that if an Ad Hoc Committee is utilized that is form after a Bill is passed so that it does not hinder legislation, and that the focus of the bill emphasizes transitioning away from GMOs.
  1. It is important to stress to the Council that the Ad Hoc Committee is not about co-existence, but about transitioning away from GMOs.   
  2. That the committee be formed after a bill is passed and focus its work on supporting farmers to transition to non-GMO crops rather than the topics outlined in the Ad Hoc Committee proposal: co-existence, pesticides, pros/cons of indigenous/ecologically friendly farming.
 Report: "Exploring Coexistence of Diverse Farming Practices Alternative Report" 

Join our Facebook Event Page for September 4, 2013

Hawai`i Island County Council Representatives
The Hawai‘i County Council is comprised of nine members, each elected from one of Hawai‘i County’s nine council districts, and serving two-year terms. The Council’s powers and functions are governed by Article 3, Section 3-1, Hawai‘i County Charter, which states that the legislative powers of the county shall be vested in the County Council. Its primary function shall be legislation and public policy formulation. The Council is responsible for passing the laws that govern this county, as enacted by ordinance, and written in the Hawai‘i County Code.

Detail Information about each elected council member can be located on the County's website at:

How to Testify for a County Bill

Get involved in the process to create legislation and public policy that is appropriate for your County by participating in the public hearings for proposed Bills and amendments. The County Council meets in the Hilo & Kona Chambers alternately, and has satellite centers around the island for your convenience.
  1. Locate and Read the Bill 
  2. Visit with the County Council Representative(s)
  3. Testify for the Bill (and in some cases Rally - Sign Waving or Marching)
You can visit the County Council Bulletin Board to see the meeting agenda's or sign up to have the agenda's sent to you via email. Once an agenda item has been recorded you can review or download an electronic copy from the County Laserfiche Website at:

You can testify in person, on the day of the public hearing or by submitting a written or video testimony by noon on the workday prior to the public hearing. 

Important information to include with your testimony

  1. DATE of the hearing which is 9/4/13
  2. Communication (COM) or Bill number
  3. Committee's name i.e. "Public Safety and Mass Transit" (PSMT)
  4. Your name and where you live
  5. Your position -- whether you SUPPORT or oppose
 Testimony Formats
See Complete Instructions
  1. Testify in Person (Oral and/or Written)
  2. Written Testimony
  3. Video Testimony
You can testify in a group, meaning before you read your testimony say that you are also representing the following people, and then list their names. The time you spend reading the names will NOT be counted against your time. Make sure you say your name, where you live, and who you are (i.e. mother, organic farmer, business owner, etc) Bring 15 copies of your testimony with you that day and give 14 to the clerk; keep one for yourself to read from, then give it to a press person.

WRITTEN TESTIMONY You can send in your written testimony via regular mail, email mail or fax machine. You can include research studies, factual data, books, or videos along with your personal written statement. Items that can not be duplicated should be sent in multiples of 14 so that they can be distributed to all of the County Council representatives. 

Those submitting video testimony may email a complete web address (url) to videotestimony@hawaiicounty.gov before 12:00 noon, on the workday prior to the public hearing.

The email should include the following:
  1. Date
  2. the Committee, 
  3. agenda item, 
  4. and number of testifiers on the video submittal. 
  5. Send SEPARATE VIDEOS for each agenda item. 
  6. Video submittals may contain up to three (3) individual testifiers and shall each be up to three (3) minutes in length. 
  7. Video testimony will not be played during the meeting; however, it will be distributed to Council Members prior to the meeting. If submitted after the deadline, Council Members will receive the video testimony after the meeting. The Office of the County Clerk reserves the right to refuse testimony containing inappropriate content or that is not in compliance with Council Rule 13 (Public Statements and Testimony) .
Allowable video formats are to be internet-based, downloadable, and accessible to this office and the general public; e.g. YouTube being the most commonly known but any, of similar functionality and format we can access and review, is acceptable.

 If you miss the deadline for written public testimony, the Office of the County Clerk will accept your written public testimony at the Committee meeting. When submitting written public testimony at a Committee meeting, please see a Committee Services staff person stationed at the front entrance of the Council room and provide them with your written public testimony. The Office of the County Clerk advises that you bring fourteen (14) copies of the written public testimony to expedite distribution to the Council members during the meeting.

Hawai`i Island County Council Representatives
The Hawai‘i County Council is comprised of nine members, each elected from one of Hawai‘i County’s nine council districts, and serving two-year terms. The Council’s powers and functions are governed by Article 3, Section 3-1, Hawai‘i County Charter, which states that the legislative powers of the county shall be vested in the County Council. Its primary function shall be legislation and public policy formulation. The Council is responsible for passing the laws that govern this county, as enacted by ordinance, and written in the Hawai‘i County Code.

Detail Information about each elected council member can be located on the County's website at: