Over the last week we’ve contacted you a couple of times about two bills introduced in Hawaii that would have stripped local control over agriculture and replaced it with a bad “one size fits all” policy dictated by the state.
Your calls and emails did the trick! Yesterday, we scored a big victory when SB 110, a bill that would have circumvented the legislative process for the so-called “Right to Farm” Act, was defeated in committee.
After a major victory on Kauai to protect citizens from the pesticides applied to genetically engineered crops, powerful interests turned to the State to preempt the right of local communities to enact laws to protect their citizens. Several Senators, including Senate Agriculture Chair Clarence Nishihara introduced an amendment to the so-called “Right to Farm” Act that would have taken away the rights of Hawaii counties to regulate their local agriculture (SB 3058). The bill was referred to three separate committees, but as a procedural deadline approached, a hearing for SB 3058 had yet to be scheduled.
In order to skirt the legislative process, Senator Clarence Nishihara took the language from his “Right to Farm” Act, and inserted it into a “short form” bill, SB 110, in an attempt to circumvent the committees tasked with protecting the health and safety of the Hawaiian people. The Agriculture committee announced it would vote on SB 110, without opportunity for public testimony, with less than 24 hours’ notice.
Within hours of receiving notification, community groups across the state were mobilizing their constituencies. By the early morning the people turned out. Senate offices were inundated with calls and the procedural hearing was packed with community members. Together we mustered a show of force.
The result? The committee was deadlocked 3-3 and the maneuver was not adopted. After the hearing, Senator Nishihara is reported to have declared both SB 110 and the original SB 3058 “dead” in this legislative session.
This is a big defeat for the chemical corporations, and shows the power of an informed community, ready to organize at a moment’s notice to protect our rights to safe food and a healthy environment. While we need to remain vigilant and keep an eye out for this kind of bill language moving forward, this is a victory that could not have happened without you!
Thanks for everything you do,
Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety
660 Pennsylvania Ave, SE, #302
Washington DC 20003
phone (202) 547-9359 | fax (202) 547-9429
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