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:
- Councilmember Margaret Wille will not remove the Emergency Exemption from the bill
- Corn will not be sunset in order to protect from a potential challenge because the bill exempts only papaya.
- If there are many objections to the bill, Council Chairman Yoshimoto is likely to postpone the bill.
- 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.
- 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.
Mahalo for your support!
GMO-Free Hawaii Island