Maui Taro Bill Passes First Reading!

Posted by Miwa at Sep 24, 2009 04:30 PM |
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From friends on Maui:

Today (September 18) was an exciting day at the County Council hearing.  The GMO taro ban bill passed First Reading 9-0!!!!

Big mahalo to Council members Bill Medeiros who introduced the bill and Jo Anne Johnson and Sol Kaho’ohalahala who also championed the bill, along with Wayne Nishiki.  We also got a full yes from Mike Victorino, and Danny Mateo.  Gladys Baisa voted yes, with reservations.  Mike Molina voted yes without reservations, but suggested the bill have an effective date of 2011 “to give the state time to decide” (we know where that is headed).  Pontanilla followed Molina with a yes vote and voiced concerns with costs to the county.

The best quote of the day:  “We have a duty to protect Hawaiians and that starts right here, right now“  – Chair Danny Matteo, right before the vote call.

Mahalo to everyone for the powerful and articulate testimony (extra mahalos to those who came from far!), to those who came to show force and for the voices of the kupuna that reverberated in the chamber today.  It was chicken skin!   The message is sent.

To those who were with us in spirit from every island and the mainland, mahalo for your support.  All of your positive intentions for protecting Hāloa from so many avenues have been realized.

From us at KAHEA, here’s what’s next up:

Final Reading! We expect Molina will lead the way in trying to modify the bill since he has come out on the side of the biotech industry and its staunch supporter the Hawaii Farm Bureau in committee hearings.  Yet, he stated in the full council hearing that he respects Hawaiians, as did Council member Baisa.  As one testifier said, “Half a cup of respect, is half a cup of disrespect.”   You either respect Hawaiians or you don’t.  Negotiating anything less than a 100% ban on all kalo varieties is disrespectful.

As soon as we know the schedule for Second Hearing we’ll send the kāhea.
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