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From Marti:

This is just a quick run down on the status of some of the local legislation we are watching this session.  Tomorrow is second lateral – the day when surviving bills have to be delivered to their final committee.  The next major deadline is April 9th.

GOOD BILLS

SB 1088 – Seeks to improve enforcement of beach access for the public.  It successfully passed the House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee on Monday (Mahalo to Rep. Ito (D-Kaneohe) and Rep. Har (D-Kapolei)).  It is now on it’s way to the House Judiciary Committee (Rep. Karamatsu, D-Waipahu).  It needs a hearing by the first week of April.  Click here to demonstrate your support this important bill.

HB 1663/SB 709 – Both bills to protect taro from genetic modification are moving along nicely since cross over.  Tho, we are cautious to ensure that they are not amended to contradict the interests of taro farmers and consumers.  Click here to submit testimony in support of meaningful protections for our beloved Haloa. And, you can click here to read about the poundin’ good time had by all at the Taro Festival this year.

HRC 231 – This House Concurrent Resolution to uphold and enforce the laws that protect Mauna Kea was recently introduced by Rep. Hanohano (D-Puna).  This resolution outlines all that the State Land Board needs to do to fulfill its constitutional and statutory mandates to protect the conservation district of Mauna Kea.  Click here to add your support for this awesome reso.

BAD BILLS

HB 1174 – This bill seeks to give UH (the developer) management control over the conservation district of Mauna Kea. The Senate Committees on Higher Education and Water, Land passed this bill in a joint hearing, despite considerable solid testimony in opposition and only conditional testimony in support.  This bill now must be heard by the Ways and Means Committee.  Click here to take action and defend Mauna Kea.

HB 1741 – The bill to raid the Natural Area Reserve Fund has finally died!! Though we are concerned that this important fund to prevent invasive species could be raided through the budget bill.  So, stay close to hear the call to action on that front.

HB 1226 – Not only has the preemption bill died at the Capitol, it has also raised the ire of the counties who don’t appreciate some state representatives offering to just give away county authority to regulate GMO-agriculture.  Click here to read about the resolution Maui passed 9-0 against the preemption bill.

SB 1318 – This bill flipped to the good side.  The House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee deleted all the language about abolishing our coastal zone management protections and replaced with it with good language from Rep. Thielen’s pilot proposal to protect shorelines in Kailua from sea level rise with greater setbacks.

SB 1712 – The Right to Fish Bill is back in a slight muted form this session.  Unfortunately, this bill is starting to gain momentum. Stay tuned for updates on how to take action against efforts to undermine management of our fisheries and coastal areas.

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Rob Parsons of the Maui Times “Rob Report” has an excellent piece with a few easy tips on how to keep up with what’s going down at the Hawaii State Legislature, and a nice rundown of some bills you ought to be following.

http://www.mauitime.com/Articles-i-2009-03-12-69021.113117_Call_to_Action.html

Mahalo to Bonnie for the tip!

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hawaii041

Today is Cross-Over Day at the State Capitol, the half-way point in the legislative process… and the day the overwhelming majority of bills are declared officially dead (until they can be resurrected next session).  Here is a run-down of the bills KAHEA is following that are still alive this session.  Click on the bill numbers to get the latest update on their status.

GOOD BILLS
SB 1088 – Improves enforcement of the public’s right to beach and mauka access by creating a citizen suit provision.  Call Rep. Sharon Har at 808-586-8500 to ask that it be heard before the House Water, Land, and Ocean Committee.

HB 1663/SB 709 – Bans the genetic modification of taro in Hawaii. (Watch these ones closely. Like last year, amendments could turn them against the interests of Haloa, taro farmers, and taro consumers).

SB 701 – Establishes a moratorium on the siting of landfills along the Leeward Coast.  This is an important bill to help protect the public health of Waianae Coast residents, unfortunately it has a lot of hearings to get through. Call Rep. Rita Cabanilla at 808-586-6080 to express your support.

SB 86 – Establishes the Makua Valley Reserve Commission to allow for community involvement in the management of Makua Valley.  This bill also has a lot of hoops to get through.  Call Rep. Ito at 808-586-8470 to advocate for its first hearing.

SB 1199 – Designates certain state waters surrounding the island of Molokai as the Molokai Community-Based Subsistence Fishing Area.  Protecting the health of the shoreline is critical to Molokai’s economy welfare, unfortunately commercial fishers and aquarium collectors want to continue to take from these coffers.  Call Rep. Calvin Say at 808-586-6100 to ensure this bill gets referred to the Water, Land, and Ocean Committee.

BAD BILLS
HB 1174 – Transfers management of the sacred summit of Mauna Kea to the lease-holder/developer, the University of Hawaii.   Public opposition successfully defeated three similar bills earlier this session.  Call Sen. Jill Tokuda at 808-587-7215 to urge this bill not be heard.  Check out our previous posts to learn way this bill is the best way to undermine protections for Mauna Kea.

HB 1226 – Allows federal preemption of all state and local regulations on genetic modification (except taro).  Labelled the Worst Idea of 2009… hopefully it won’t go any farther.

SB 1108 – Extends the effective date of the Aha Kiole Advisory Committee.  Having a community-based system for managing our fragile resources is exactly what Hawaii needs, but without adding any additional safeguards to this existing system means it could be misused again the way WESPAC did last year.

HB 640 – Exempts certain developments affecting public rights-of-way (like trails) from completing an environmental impact statement.  This totally undermines one of the few opportunities for public oversight of construction in Hawaii.  Call Sen. Mike Gabbard at 808-586-6830 to ask it not be heard in the Environment Committee.

SB 1311 – Exempts the University’s Institute of Marine Biology from all permitting requirements for all activities in Kaneohe Bay.  Our nearshore waters are our most valuable resource and the research being conducted in them should meet the highest standards of the precautionary principle to ensure that no harm comes to them.  Help stop this bill by calling Rep. Calvin Say at 808-586-6100 to ask that it not be heard in the House.

HB 1741 – Raids the Natural Area Reserve System fund to make up for part of the budget shortfall.  While the money in this fund is crucial to protecting Hawaii from invasive species, there isn’t nearly enough to make a dent in the budget shortfall.  Instead, the state should make the foreign telescope owners on Mauna Kea pay rent for use of state lands… like the law requires.

HB 1712 – This is the same “Right to Fish” bill from years passed that paralyzes the DLNR from taking any management actions to protect Hawaii’s marine resources.  If we are really interested in protecting our environment, then the goal should be to give DLNR more tools, not less, to do the job and be held accountable.

Mark your calendars: the next major deadline for these bills is April 9th.

If you want to stay involved, you can sign up for KAHEA’s action alert network by clicking here.  You can also get hearing notices on any bill you are concerned about by clicking here.  On Oahu, some hearings are aired live on “Capitol TV,” Olelo channel 53.

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