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Senate reverses stance, will hold hearing on GMO labeling

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 01:12 a.m. HST, Mar 20, 2013

State senators reversed themselves Tuesday and announced they will hold a hearing on a bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified produce imported to Hawaii.

Senators had previously indicated they would not hear House Bill 174, which state Attorney General David Louie has said that if passed by the Legislature would likely be struck down by the federal courts as unconstitutional. The federal government has jurisdiction over food labeling.

Sen. Clarence Nishihara, the chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said senators are responding to public pressure from environmental and anti-GMO activists who have demanded a hearing. After a lengthy private caucus among senators today, Nishihara said he believed the consensus among senators was to schedule a hearing.

The Senate agreed to waive its internal 72-hour public notice requirement to hold a hearing on the bill at 9 a.m. Thursday.

Senators agreed to make Nishihara's committee the lead on the bill in conjunction with the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee and the Senate Health Committee. The Senate Health Committee had previously been the lead committee. If the bill clears the three committees on Thursday, it would go before the Senate Ways and Means Committee before the full Senate. Previously, the bill would have gone to the Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee. Sen. Clayton Hee, the Judiciary committee's chairman, had waived off jurisdiction Monday in the hopes of keeping the bill alive.

House lawmakers who approved the bill earlier this month acknowledged that it was flawed but hope the legislation can be perfected before the session ends in May.

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allie wrote:
AG has spoken on this. Hold your hearing but no bill will be upheld. Labelling is a federal issue
on March 19,2013 | 02:56PM
1local wrote:
lawmakers are a waste of Hawaii Taxpayer time and money...Taxation without representation would be better...
on March 19,2013 | 04:43PM
shee26 wrote:
only certain ones that push this kind of law... like mike gabbard, russell ruderman, and jessica wooley.
on March 19,2013 | 09:10PM
hi96822 wrote:
what about the "mainland" egg label?? that looks to be a local labeling issue, not federal.
on March 19,2013 | 06:21PM
matthewy wrote:
I'm surprised our state AG isn't supporting our state law over a federal law that's not really definite (i.e. the fed didn't say we can require labeling, but they didn't say we can't either). Anyway, that's for the court to decide after the law passes, not the AG. Besides that, the bill isn't final yet, and the concerns raised by the AG are minor parts of the bill which are easily fixed with revisions. Hopefully the senate can get it together and pass this.
on March 19,2013 | 06:33PM
false wrote:
So should we disband the city and the states environmental divisions because we have the EPA?
on March 19,2013 | 07:37PM
eleu808 wrote:
When rich companies with politically-connected lobbyists and seats on government-appointed bodies bend policies for their own ends, we are in serious trouble. It is then that our democratic institutions become hijacked and our choices, freedoms and rights are destroyed. Corporate interests have too often used their dubious ‘science’, lobbyists, political connections and presence within the heart of governments, in conjunction with their public relations machines, to subvert democratic machinery for their own benefit. Once their power has been established, anyone who questions them or who stands in their way can expect a very bumpy ride.
on March 19,2013 | 04:16PM
aloha12 wrote:
the voice of people is clear and must be heard....what the hell happened to DEMOCRACY!! VOICE OF THE PEOPLE....where the hell does big corporations with genetically altered foods think they know what is best. That is a load of crap. If Hawaii representatives really are the voice of the people then do your job and stand for the people!! Don't hide from corporations....more importantly the genocide to the people that GMOs are committing by introducing this to our food supply. Where is the vatican on this and the churches?? Sterile seeds by GMOs is genocide of the future of people. Where are the Christian Churches??!! Why aren't ehy speaking up with the people?? really sad case of humanity.....kinda like this is it when it comes to the end of the world with humanity and worlds supply of food. Corporations owning and controlling food supplies with their sterile GMO seeds. ABSOLUTELY NO HAWAIIAN VALUES!! GMOs are the armageddon of humanity. nuff said...
on March 19,2013 | 04:28PM
noforget wrote:
Aloha12 no forget in Germany during the Nazi's reign they pushed hard to support their own form of green revolution which included consuming only organic food. The Nazis fanatism and quest to establish a pure Aryan race resulted in geneocide. Your rant reminds me of the propaganda, hysteria and fear the Nazis used to intimidate people. ABSOLUTELY NO HAWAIIAN VALUES!!
on March 19,2013 | 08:58PM
jomama wrote:
put your money where your mouth is. try not buy GMO anything and let me know what your grocery bill is. About time somebody starts thinking about the impact on the consumer.
on March 19,2013 | 09:00PM
Slow wrote:
You can buy whatever you wish. Just let me do the same. No biggie.
on March 19,2013 | 09:58PM
st1d wrote:
if they are serious about knowing what's been gm'd, be sure to inlcude a label for girls who used to be boys and vice versa.
on March 19,2013 | 06:32PM
false wrote:
I still think people should vote Sen. Roz Baker out of office.
on March 19,2013 | 07:36PM
shee26 wrote:
yes, we should pass a law that Greenpeace supports. real legitimate group with no agenda.
on March 19,2013 | 09:06PM
Anonymous wrote:

So only NOW they change their stance and RESPECT the Constitution particularly the 10th Amendment yet our own Attorney General does now uphold the U.S. Constitution. Auwe. Shameful.

on March 20,2013 | 09:17AM
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