Bill 2491 vote explanation

SOURCE: Blake Drolson: (
SUBHEAD: The perspective of JoAnn Yukimura on strategy to amend and pass Kauai pesticide/GMO bill.

[Note from "source" Blake Drolson: Today I am writing everyone to share a explanation statement from JoaAnn Yukimura about what happened at 3am Wednesday morning in the Kauai Council Chambers, about her testimony regarding the question of deferral of Bill 2491. This has come about because I got into a conversation with her husband after he replied to the recap of the days events in passing the bill.  We got to talking a little bit, and I offered up the chance to offer a clarifying statement about what had happened, if JoAnn wanted to put one out, which she has done]

By JoAnn Yukimura on 21 October 2013 in Island Breath -

Image above: Still from video below of JoAnn Yukimura speaking at Mana March in September.

I have always supported the intent of Bill 2491: protection of health and environment.  From the beginning I expressed concerns about certain portions of the bill, and as I did my due diligence, learning about pesticides and genetically engineered crops and the existing processes for regulating them; hearing testimony from many about the impacts of pesticides in particular; and grappling with the legal issues, I began to see how to amend the bill to make it workable, easily enforceable and legally defensible.

Vice Chair Nakamura was moving in the same direction, so it made sense to work together.   Our goal was protection while avoiding unintended consequences and not harming jobs unnecessarily.  To do this required careful crafting.

 I would not have spent so much time and effort on the bill if I had wanted to kill the bill.

I was particularly troubled by how the county would enforce the bill with so little expertise and staffing.  If the DOA was handicapped by limited staffing, how would the county enforce with no staff, no expertise and no enforcement infrastructure? That’s why I tried to get an enforcement commitment from the DOA.  As I stated in my guest editorial in the Garden Island last Tuesday, I also thought working with the DOA might help to deflect a pre-emption challenge in court.

In the last several weeks, we were all thrown for a loop when the Governor and his Departments of Agriculture and Health weighed in with vague proposals for addressing the issue.  Then the mayor requested a deferral, and Council Vice Chair Nakamura was appointed Managing Director as of December 1.

 In a guest editorial printed on the morning the committee meeting opened, I sized up the situation: it would be worth trying to get DOA’s cooperation, only if we could be assured that the amended bill would ultimately pass.  I pursued this possibility by trying to get the mayor to promise that he wouldn’t veto the bill at the end of the deferral period.  Then we would only need 4 votes.  But as the committee meeting progressed, it became clear that trying to get DOA’s cooperation was too risky; with Nadine gone and Jay not wanting a deferral, there was the possibility that Bill 2491 would die at the end of the deferral period.  This was not an option for me.

 I was trying to explain my reasoning in my exhausted 3:30 am speech. In retrospect, I should have started with my conclusion to vote against deferral, but instead, I led to my conclusion by first outlining my thought process.  In retrospect, this was not very smart.

I voted against deferral because I did not want to do anything to jeopardize final passage of the bill.  Thank you for recognizing that all my efforts have been directed at passing a workable, effective and legally defensible version of Bill 2491.  Congratulations to you and all Bill 2491 supporters on your extraordinary efforts and success.

Video above: JoAnn Yukimura addresses the 4,000 attending the Mana March supporting Bill 2491 in front of historic Kauai County Building. From (


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