By Wendy Osher
A petition calling for a moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms in Maui County has received the required number of signatures to advance for potential placement on the upcoming election ballot, county officials announced today.
Under guidelines set forth in the Maui County Charter, the council will have 60 days to act on the proposed ordinance.
County officials say that if the council does not adopt the ordinance within the allotted timeline, it will be placed on the 2014 general election ballot for consideration by voters.
County Clerk Danny Mateo today announced that he has certified that the SHAKA Movement has collected the required amount of additional valid signatures needed to advance.
“The SHAKA Movement submitted a supplemental petition on May 27  that contained 9,626 signatures,” Mateo said in a press release statement. “Our office has reviewed the submission and determined that 4,342 registered voters in the County of Maui have signed the petition, while 5,284 signatures have been deemed invalid.”
“With a prior certification from the County Clerk last month , the SHAKA Movement has now collected a total of 9,062 valid signatures,” Mateo said.
That’s more than the 8,465 registered voters needed to have the petition advance to the council.
The Maui County Farm Bureau and the Molokaʻi Farm Bureau issued a statement today in response to the news saying they, “strongly oppose this initiative.”
The statement went on to say, “It’s an anti-agriculture measure that jeopardizes hundreds of good ag jobs on Maui and Molokaʻi, as well as the livelihoods of many others who do business with the Hawaiʻi seed companies or benefit from their presence in Maui County. Should this initiative pass, the consequences for local families and Maui County’s economy would be devastating.”