Hawaii GMO label bill progress

SUBHEAD: Action alert so that you can keep B2521 moving on through our legislature.

By Michael Shooltz on 13 February 2014 in Island Breath -

Image above: Cheetos Flamin' Hot cheese flavored GMO corn snack from the Soylent Yellow Corporation. Mashup by Juan Wilson. Click to embiggen.

And the dance continues. Our best chance at a labeling bill passed another hurdle today as SB 2521 was passed out of the Health Committee by a vote of two to one with two excused absences. This bill's journey is illustrated below in the excerpt from the Legislative website. 

SB2521 SD1 (click to testify)   

Report Title: Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods; Private Civil Enforcement
Description: Requires labeling of foods, including raw agricultural commodities, processed food, and seed or seed stock, that have been genetically engineered or deems them misbranded. Provides a penalty for violations and authorizes private civil enforcement of the Act. (SD1)
Current Referral: HTH/JDL, CPN/WAM
Introducer(s):CHUN OAKLAND

Sort by DateStatus Text
1/21/2014SPassed First Reading.
1/21/2014SReferred to HTH/JDL, CPN.
1/27/2014SRe-Referred to HTH/JDL, CPN/WAM.
2/7/2014SThe committee(s) on HTH/JDL has scheduled a public hearing on 02-10-14 1:45PM in conference room 229.
2/10/2014SThe committee(s) on JDL recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in JDL were as follows: 4 Aye(s): Senator(s) Hee, Gabbard, Galuteria, Ihara; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 1 No(es): Senator(s) Slom; and 2 Excused: Senator(s) Shimabukuro, Solomon.
2/11/2014SThe committee(s) on HTH deferred the measure until 02-12-14 1:30PM in conference room 229.
2/12/2014SThe committee(s) on HTH deferred the measure until 02-13-14 1:00PM in conference room 229.
2/12/2014SThe committee on HTH has rescheduled its decision making to 02-13-14 1:00PM in conference room 224.
2/13/2014SThe committee(s) on HTH recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in HTH were as follows: 2 Aye(s): Senator(s) Green, Chun Oakland; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 1 No(es): Senator(s) Slom; and 2 Excused: Senator(s) Baker, Nishihara.
2/14/2014SReported from CPN/WAM (Stand. Com. Rep. No. 2430) with recommendation of passage on Second Reading, as amended (SD 1) and referral to CPN/WAM.

Next step is that Labeling Bill SB 2521 now moves on to CPN and WAM committees for further hearings. Nomi Carmano, of Babes against Biotech, is doing a super job of being present daily at the State Legislature and following the many bills currently being heard. In her words:
The measure moves on to CPN/WAM, Consumer Protection and Ways and Means. This would take a miracle to get Senator Rosalyn Baker ($20k+ GMO money) and Senator David Ige to hear and pass GMO labeling out of committee so let's start politely but firmly pushing both of them to hear SB2521 for GMO labeling. 
Ige is running for Governor, do you want a Governor who doesn't support GMO labeling?! Maui, do you want a Senator and Consumer Protection Chair that doesn't support GMO labeling?!

Call and email Ige and Baker and ask them to hear SB2521 ASAP ............... The majority of residents want labeling, Hawaii Democrats support labeling and as elected Democrats they should too. Be nice, let's ask for a miracle and call and email them!
You can contact them at the following phone numbers and email addresses. This Bill has been moving well through committees and this may be the most important time for you to let your voices be heard. Both a phone call and an email would be great!! And it would be helpful if you addressed your emails to Sens. Baker and Ige, and also copied all of the Reps and Sens on your email just to let them know you are paying attention to all that is happening in our Legislature.

An example of testimony on the GMO Label Bill SB2521 from Brad Parsons:

Aloha Senator Baker:

Please support SB2521 for GMO labeling and pass it out of the Health Committee. Regardless of whether or not you yourself support or decline GMOs, the public deserves to know what they are eating. GMO labeling is justified at the state level for the following reasons:

✦ Consumers have a judicially recognized right to know.

✦ The patentability of GE Foods demonstrates they are materially different.

✦ The lack of any independent testing or review by FDA supports requiring state labeling.

✦ The demonstrated adverse environmental impacts of GE pesticides supports requiring labeling.

✦ Public lack of trust for federal action on GMO labeling due to lack of independent or regulatory agency testing of GMO foods, the blatant financial relationships between the chemical industry producing GMOs and the campaign funds of elected officials at the Federal level and key decision makers with financial ties to the chemical/GMO industry in Federal agencies such as the FDA, USDA and EPA.

✦ For example, the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food and Veterinary Medicine, is a former Vice President of Policy and lobbyist for Monsanto Company. Public lack of confidence in Federal regulation or labeling is demonstrated in one of many cases here.

✦ Years of inaction at the Federal level supports providing transparency and action at State level.

✦ The majority of GMO foods either contain pesticides engineered into the plant itself or pesticides absorbed by the plant through ground water in pesticide resistant crops which are heavily sprayed.

✦ One engineered trait, Bt toxin which the GMO industry claims breaks down in the body and the Federal government approved, has been found in the blood of 93% of pregnant women and 80% of their babies’ umbilical blood.

✦ Labeling of GMO foods would provide medical traceability regarding consumption.

✦ 62 countries require GMO labeling and though our President campaigned on the premise of labeling GMOs in 2008 and once in office appointed Monsanto executive Michael Taylor to head the FDA food division. Seven years later GMOs are still not labeled which justifies state action.

✦ Sensitive, vulnerable, vegan and vegetarian populations need to know if GMOs are in food products to avoid potential allergenic properties and the potential use of animal DNA in produce through genetic engineering.

✦ As GMO Ground Zero worldwide with the most open air GMO tests and constant exposure to GMO related pesticide spraying in Hawaii, we deserve more than anywhere to decide whether or not we want to support this industry with our purchases.

Mahalo and Aloha,

To get your emails to all of our Reps and Sens use the following email addresses:


Senator Rosalyn Baker, Senator Maui
Senator David Ige, Senator Maui

On other matters, sending more congratulations to you all as well!!  Updates on your other efforts include SB 2058 and HB 2506. We had requested that you submit your opposition to both of these bills which were designed to strip the counties of their rights to pass laws supporting the health and well being of the county. So far it appears that your opposition to both of these bills have been very effective.

Neither of the bills have been scheduled for any committee hearings which is a good sign that there may no longer be the political will to try to pass them this session. Although we will continue to watch them. Stopping them, as well as the defeat of SB 110 are wonderful examples of the power of you shining the Light on the dark!!

The other "bad labeling" bill we requested you oppose, SB 111, did pass out of committee. It was passed on with amendments to three committees so it still has a long way to go and requires watching. As an interesting aside I received a call from Senator Kouchi yesterday who shared with me why he supported the passing out of committee of SB 111.

While we had different opinions on SB 111, he was a key vote in the defeat of SB 110 which was much appreciated. He said he was calling because he had recognized that Kauai Rising was generating the large volume of correspondence  he has been receiving. So, please know that your combined voices are being heard, recognized and are making a difference. Thank you!!!

As always, Mahalo to each one of you who has recognized that we are involved in a marathon and not a sprint. Your willingness to stay involved and stay engaged in each step of the process is so critically important.

The Chemical Companies and their lobbyists are at work 24/7 and never take a day off. They are in attendance at each one of these legislative hearings making their presence and their viewpoints known and heard.

Your combined presence is brighter and stronger. When Truth is spoken is has a power and resonance of it's own. Together your voices will ultimately lead to victory for the health and well being of life on our islands.

Shine on Kauai!!

See also:
Island Breath: Down with King Corn 2/28/08


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