#1 Question: The Council voted 6 to 1 in support, can the Mayor still veto Bill 2491?
Answer: To be clear, the Mayor has the authority to veto regardless of how many votes the Council members cast in support. The Mayor has the authority to veto and the Council has the authority to over-ride that veto with a minimum of 5 votes needed to do so. The Mayor has three choices: Sign, veto or do nothing. Doing nothing means the Bill automatically passes into law without his signature after 10 days (clock started on Friday).
#2 Question: Should I be contacting the Mayor and asking for his support?
Answer: Absolutely! Please send a personal message to firstname.lastname@example.org
Question: Some people are saying the Bill is “watered down”. Is it still a good Bill? Is it legally sound?
#3 Answer: The Bill is solid, well written and will provide important health and environmental protections to our community. Yes, major sections were removed from the Bill during the amendment process however it retains its core provisions: Disclosure, buffer zones and a comprehensive study that will analyze health and environmental impacts. Bill 2491 has a solid legal foundation: Read the below comments by 9 different prominent attorneys attesting to the legal soundness of Bill 2491.
Bill 2491 is legally sound: http://hawaii.news.blogs.civilbeat.com/post/63018006156/local-attorneys-lend-support-to-kauai-gmo-and
Civil Beat says “After a marathon hearing, the Kauai County Council passed a hotly debated bill on Wednesday that could lead to prison time or fines for employees of agricultural companies if they don’t divulge specifics about pesticide use, abide by strict setback rules for spraying chemicals or disclose when they grow genetically engineered crops.” http://www.civilbeat.com/articles/2013/10/16/20164-kauai-county-crosses-the-rubicon-council-passes-pesticide-and-gmo-bill/
According to the Grist “Kauai matters because it’s the first place in the U.S. to pass a tough GM regulation that could actually affect the industry. Other places have cracked down harder on GM plants — Mendocino County, Calif., banned them, for instance — but they don’t matter to biotech the way Kauai does.”
More on legal implications: http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/attorneys-to-mayor-sign-bill/article_51454254-394b-11e3-bd49-0019bb2963f4.html
The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/16/kauai-gmo-hearing_n_4108914.html
The New York Times says: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/business/fight-over-genetically-altered-crops-flares-in-hawaii.html?_r=1&
PBS gives a decent 8 minute over view of the base issues: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/july-dec13/hawaiigmo_10-20.html
It’s being reported around the internet that Mexico has outlawed GMO corn by a judge’s order a few days ago. I don’t know if that’s fact or a spoof yet, but if it is fact it further supports efforts that GMO corn (which Kauai is seeding) is being found to be dangerous by other courageous countries.
Bless you for the work you’ve done to navigate this bill as best you can. In watching how each of your other colleagues on the council behaved (except Tim and Jay), I truly commend your integrity on bringing the bill through. I lost a lot of respect for the others, but their behavior was old school politics, and “politics make strange bedfellows” they say. A lot of “affairs” going on behind the scenes there.
Mahalo for all your work, Gary. The key now is enforcement and repercussions if they don’t follow the law. The next step is phasing out GMO’s on the island and finding something to replace this industry with healthier real farming. Aloha.
mahalo nui loa again to you gary and the council members who voted yes. a big mahalo to jay furfaro too who to my surprise was one of my heros that day of passing the bill~!
my big question once this bill is passed into law is how we know if what is disclosed by the chem companies is true? how do we safeguard that they do not lie or falsify their reports on what they are spraying? will there be some kind of tamper proof monitoring system that we can feel we can trust because if they have refused to disclose any info to the public for all these years (and vow to fight us in court against having to do so) how can we trust they will tell us the truth now? this is a grave concern and any insights would be appreciated~
Thank you Elsa for your question. This will be addressed in the “rule making” process but at the end of the day…the answer is yes. There will be some type of verification process. It could be via 3rd party independent verification services, it could be done through random cross checking of the data provided to the County with data provided to other government agencies or it could be done in other ways. Passing the law is the first step. Next will come implementation and then enforcement. Because of the stiff penalties both criminal and civil, the companies have a lot at risk should they decide not to comply or otherwise not be totally forthcoming in the information they provide. Aloha, gh
Mahalo Ke Akua Gary~ that’s reassuring~ IMUA~! ❤ ❤ ❤
Any idea on why was the permitting section removed? It seemed the best way to fund the expenses associated with implementing the bill. Other than seed companies not wanting to pay them, what was the rationale behind removing that section?
Gary, First, MAHALO!
Second: if we have concerns that the seed companies are not being fully honest with their disclosures, could we take soil samples and ground water samples ourselves?
Your comments above indicate that the data will be cross-checked (That’s great!) with other agencies, but what if it seems like agencies such as the DOH are not getting reliable data either?
Can we do it ourselves? Do we have access on public lands adjacent to the seed companies?
It’s very expensive, and it’s also time consumning, yes.
That said: Kauai businesses have to have potentially toxic soil analyzed before it can be dumped in the landfill, so there should be information available in the countly records as to labs where the soil could be checked. Records of wind speeds and directions are also kept at the landfill. Water from the landfill is also tracked, so although it’s in different areas, the methods and the laboratories used etc.should be recorded within the county.
P.S. Please forgive me if you already know that and are having to put up with yet another repeat of stuff you already know.
God Bless you all for putting up with us repeating ourselves!
Hello Mary and thank you for all of your support in helping to get this Bill passed. Thank you also for your question. It is my understanding that people are already doing some independent testing of public lands and public waters. One of the challenges is obtaining results that are credible and hold up under scrutiny as testing methods vary and I believe the time, place, weather conditions etc…all could have an impact on the results. Once the health and environmental impact phase of the County effort begins, some of these issues will be addressed and it is my hope that the study that results will definitely include a testing component that yields results that are clear and definitive. Until then, we still have much work to do as most understand the Bill 2491 is only the first step. Disclosure is most important, but yes verification of that information is the natural follow up step and proper enforcement to ensure compliance will require this. gh
Mahalo Gary ..you are da man
John & Corki spferry