Hawaii County Council Bill 113 to ban GMOs on the Big Island passed out of committee on October 1st. Margaret Wille, the author of the bill, amended it to make it more palatable to those in opposition. These include an exemption for GMO papaya from registration and an exemption for GMO research and cultivation by universities and the flower/horticulture industry. With that it passed 6-2-1. At least our local government is negotiating these days and making things happen. My councilwoman Valerie Poindexter actually called me with the news and followed up with an email.
Now it goes to the full council for further deliberation. There are many things I don’t understand about Hawai‘i and here’s another example: the entire council sits on these committees, then sends bills to the council where they all sit again. That doesn’t seem efficient to me, but I must be missing something.
Now the council takes up Bill 113 on Tuesday, October 15 at 4 pm. This means we, the people, have another chance to be heard. The council is taking written testimony through Monday at noon. So send your thoughts to email@example.com. This is democracy in action – let the council know your views, whatever they are. But do it by noon Monday. Here’s where to find the bill:
Margaret sent this message in her October 11th newsletter: “So the question is do you want this island to become one more GMO dominated island with increasing domination by multinational chemical corporations, or do we take advantage of the opportunity to be a model of non-GMO crops and seed production with an emphasis on eco-friendly ag practices and policies? Let us hear from you.”
We can also testify in person or at one of the satellite locations on Tuesday starting at 4 pm. This time the council meets in Kona. I’ll be in Waimea at the satellite there, ready to have my say. It’s my kuleana, my right and responsibility. What issues are brewing in your backyard for which you have a passion? Claim your kuleana.
(For background on the Big Island’s anti-GMO legislation, see these other posts on this blog: The bounty of the Big Island, endangered; The will of the people; Responsibility for the ‘āina is personal; Does all GMO = predatory farming?; and WOO-HOO…I think.)
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