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Hawaii Senate Kills GMO Labeling Bill

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   March 21st, 2013 · 10 Disqus Comments ·
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· Featured, Maui News

By Nate Gaddis

GMO protestors march along Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo the weekend prior to the bill's hearing in the Senate on 3/21/2013. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

GMO protestors march along Kamehameha Avenue in Hilo the weekend prior to the bill’s hearing in the Senate on 3/21/2013. Photo by Nate Gaddis.

After a packed joint hearing between multiple Senate committees, members voted to kill House Bill 174 in a session today at the state Capitol.

HB 174 would have required labeling for genetically engineered imported foods.

The senators, who were swayed in part by an opinion from the state attorney general calling the bill “unconstitutional” have indicated they will push for a concurrent resolution to study the matter.

Big Island Sen. Josh Green offered a statement of dissent.

Despite passing the House with only one “no” vote, the Senate had previously refused to hear the measure in committee.

Sen. Clarence Nishihara

Sen. Clarence Nishihara

Two committee chairpersons have been under fire for accepting donations from the much-maligned Monsanto Corporation, including Senate Agricultural Committee Chairman Clarence Nishihara, and Maui’s Senator Roz Baker, chairwoman of the Committee on Commerce and Consumer Protection.

Baker apparently received $2,500 from Monsanto in 2012, while Nishihara received $1,500.

Monsanto has been criticized for running what activists claim are thousands of Hawaii-based field experiments to test GMO crops.

Sen. Josh Green. Courtesy photo.

Sen. Josh Green. Courtesy photo.

Big Island Sen. Josh Green, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, had repeatedly stated interest in hearing HB 174. Fellow Big Island Sen. Russell Ruderman had also voiced his support for it.

Nishihara had previously declined to hear the measure, telling Honolulu Civil Beat his opposition to it was rooted in science, claiming “studies have not shown any ill effects.”

In a Honolulu Star Advertiser report yesterday, Nishihara was instead quoted as explaining his concerns were legal in nature, pointing to an opinion from the state attorney general that the bill could be found unconstitutional.

Attorney General David Loule had warned lawmakers that the federal government has the final say in food labeling matters, and that the bill could infringe on interstate commerce rules and the First Amendment.

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Editor's Note:Maui Now is an open forum and we welcome any views. However, please apply your sense of aloha when posting comments - remarks that are unnecessarily offensive will be blocked.

 
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  • http://www.facebook.com/shantelle.rodrigues.9 Shantelle Rodrigues

    Greedy personal interest senate and political members sacraficing peoples health and concerns for $$$
    GMO’s are banned in Europe and Russia but in 75% of the processed foods that are here in the United States….Whats so wrong in giving people a choice to know what is in their foods!WOW…Maui Now this is the second time I had to comment,,,there was also many other good comments from fans of yours that were deleted including mine….WHY????Hmmmmmmmmmm

    • http://mauinow.com David Kvasnicka

      Shantelle, as the notice above says, we’re an open forum and welcome any views. We will delete abusive posts but never an earnest point or opinion.

      No comment has been deleted in this thread so far, in fact your other comment (3/21/2013 @ 3:25 p.m.) is still visible below in the Facebook comments section.

    • eoe

      Probably you understand the science of GMOs the as well as you understand that there are two comment sections. Also GMOs are not banned in Europe. EU allows GMO crops but allows member states to opt out, and there are indeed a few countries that ban certain crops but they are not all banned.

      • Maui Woodie

        You’re a fool. There are many studies where GMO is linked to Cancer and the like. GMO reduces the nutrients of the fruit or vegi… maybe look beyond Mother Jones, Media Matters and MSNBC… next you’ll be telling us that Aspertane is OK too….. Jerk!

  • CHag

    Since the industries leader has set up shop on the island and cotributes heavily to politicians and the police. I guess they can do what they want including not tell anyone what is NOT in the GMO food.. Do you now how much corn will soon be growing in paradise? At this enough to change the weather. Not kidding.

  • Maui Woodie

    MONSANTO is the biggest GMO manufacturer forbids any GMO based foods in their corporate cafeteria… what does that tell you? And if GMO was safe, why do they need to pass a law hiding it… again corporations win, people die.

    • eoe

      This is debunked BS from 1999. Do you think repeating it over and over makes it true?

  • jon

    Looks like three ways to look at this,#1Vote them senators out,#2Dont eat GMO,#3Let the people vote on this issue!

  • http://twitter.com/Dianekkdi Diane Klekotka

    unconstitutional?! Buyer beware is a constitutional right of corporations? How so? What a ridiculous argument.

  • GG

    looks like the greedy has once again bought out our low unconscious senators on GMO labeling. Impeach!!!!!


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