Today Hawaii did what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under Scott Pruitt had failed to do: it banned the neurotoxin chlorpyrifos that can trace its genealogy to nerve agents used in World War 1. It took several years of grassroots activism, ongoing court battles, and a high profile advocacy campaign by a determined coalition, as well as leadership from key legislative champions like Senator Russell Ruderman, Rep. Richard Creagan, Rep.Dee Morikawa, Senator Mike Gabbard, and Representative Chris Lee.
- Hawaii did what Pruitt’s EPA wouldn’t.Hawaii Reporter - May 1, 2018
- Hawaii Chad Blair: The Most Progressive Legislative Session In A Long Time From approving medical aid in dying to banning certain sunscreens and pesticide chemicals, legislators passed bills they only thought about in years past.Honolulu Civil Beat - May 2, 2018
Doing his best Bob Dylan, a state senator literally sang the praises of the Hawaii Legislature on Tuesday.
Strumming a guitar and blowing a harmonica, Mike Gabbard opened the Senate floor session by singing about bills banning pesticides and setting up protective buffer zones around schools, restricting coral-damaging chemicals in sunscreens, expanding medical marijuana use for qualified patients, building legal homeless camps and asking voters to give the Legislature the authority to raise taxes in order to pay teachers more money.
- Studies show that chemicals in popular sunscreen brands are extremely harmful to coral reef.Huffington Post - May 2, 2018
Hawaii may soon be the first state in the U.S. to ban sunscreens with chemicals that harm nature.
State lawmakers on Tuesday passed a bill that bans the sale of sunscreens that have chemicals believed to damage coral reefs. The ban is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2021, once it is signed by Gov. David Ige (D).
The bill specifically prohibits the sale and distribution of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. The ban will not affect medically-prescribed sunscreens containing those chemicals.
- Big Island Now - May 1, 2018
Presentation on rat lungworm disease will be held by Dr. Richard Malik will be held on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 3 p.m. at the Hawai‘i State Capitol in room 325.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - May 1, 2018
Hawaii is poised to become the first state in the nation to pass a law banning the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals believed to harm coral reefs, if legislators vote to pass a bill today.
- Activists have been fighting for years for a comprehensive pesticide regulation bill. Now one is heading to a final floor vote after passing through conference committee.Hawaii Independent - April 27, 2018
A bill that would put in place several different regulations on industrial agricultural restricted pesticide use has passed it’s biggest hurdle on the way to becoming a groundbreaking law. Earlier today, the bill passed through conference committee with unanimous support from both house and senate conferees, including Maui Senator Roz Baker, who has been a staunch industry ally in the past, leveraging her power to kill previous years’ iterations.
- Measures on medical marijuana and all-mail voting are moving forward before the session wraps up next week.Honolulu Civil Beat - April 27, 2018
One of the most controversial measures of the Hawaii legislative session cleared a major hurdle Friday.
Senate Bill 3095 calls for mandatory disclosure of pesticide use, a reporting and regulation program and the creation of buffer zones around schools when restricted-use pesticides are sprayed.
It also would ban the use of pesticides containing chlorpyrifos starting in 2019, though there’s some debate about the chemical’s impact on human health. The bill allows the state Department of Agriculture to grant permits allowing its use through 2022.
- The Garden Isle - April 28, 2018
HONOLULU — The House and Senate Conference Committee approved a pesticide regulation bill Friday, two hours before their deadline and after rescheduling the hearing twice.
The vote was unanimous.
“We all know for many years people across the state have been demanding the state take action on pesticide use and environmental health ramifications and we have been slow to act, and I apologize for that,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Environment Committee.
- West Hawaii Today - April 24, 2018
KAILUA-KONA — The state is sending reinforcements to West Hawaii to help aid in the fight against little fire ants (LFA), an invasive species that’s grown steadily more prevalent in the region over the last decade.
Lawmakers included $200,000 in the state budget to support education and outreach in West Hawaii and establish a full-time position to direct efforts on the leeward side through the Hawaii Ant Lab of the Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit of the University of Hawaii.
- Hawaii Public Radio - April 23, 2018
A bill to create restricted pesticide-free buffer zones around Hawai’i schools is currently stalled at the legislature. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
Senate Bill 3095 is currently in conference committee. But, the Senate has not assigned any of its members to work on the measure and it could die if there’s no agreement by the April 27th deadline. Senator Russell Ruderman introduced the bill.
- Honolulu Star Advertiser - April 19, 2018
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve attracts nearly 1 million visitors a year from around the world, and supporters of a bill making its way through the state Legislature say the preserve’s coral reefs need protection from harmful chemicals found in popular sunscreens.
- Honolulu Civil Beat - April 18, 2018
Environmental groups and lawmakers gathered Wednesday at the Capitol in support of a bill to ban coral-damaging sunscreens.
Senate Bill 2571 would prohibit the sale of sunscreen with oxybenzone and octinoxate without a prescription. Although coral bleaching is mainly caused by the warming of ocean temperatures and increased ocean acidification, research shows the chemicals can also bleach corals and inhibit the growth of sea life.
- Big Island Now - April 18, 2018
The State of Hawai‘i’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program will begin accepting applications for licenses to grow the crop beginning Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The objective of the pilot program is to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp in Hawai‘i for the purposes of agricultural and academic research. The Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) will open the program incrementally beginning with the June 2018 licensing period and will issue licenses on a quarterly basis. There is an application fee of $500 and it is non-refundable.
- The Kind Life - March 19, 2018
New York, Hawaii, and California are already arguably three of the most popular states in the nation and now there may be even more reason to love them as each have proposed legislation that would end the sale of animal tested cosmetics within their boundaries.
- West Hawaii Today -March 12, 2018
KAILUA-KONA — A smile stretched across Edward “Eki” Robert Yandall’s face as friends and family stood and clapped for him while he descended steps into the pavilion at Kona Vista Recreation Center Sunday afternoon.
Yandall, dressed in his army uniform, thought he was there to speak to a community group for veterans about his 20 years in the military service. He soon learned the gathering was a ceremony to award him the Purple Heart, 50 years after an injury he suffered while serving in Vietnam.
- West Hawaii Today - March 8, 2018
KAILUA-KONA — A bill that would protect sharks and expand protections to all rays within state waters is cruising through the state Legislature.
Senate Bill 2079, co-introduced by Sens. Mike Gabbard, D-Oahu, and Russell Ruderman, D-Puna, and four co-sponsors, seeks to protect all sharks and rays for ecological purposes and their value to Native Hawaiian cultural practices and the ocean recreation industry.
- West Hawaii Today - February 26, 2018
KAILUA-KONA — Agricultural thieves and vandals created enough disruption on Hawaii Island last year to grab the county’s attention. Now, they’ve caught the eye of the state Legislature.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture in 2017 entered into a contract with the Hawaii County Prosecutor’s Office developing a pilot program to target agricultural theft and vandalism across the island. Two bills moving through the state Legislature this session would expand and extend that program for two more years.
- Hawaii Tribune-Herald - February 8, 2018
Lawmakers are considering a bill that would appropriate $750,000 in fiscal year 2018-19 to help combat little fire ants.
Senate Bill 2124 seeks $650,000 for six full-time positions at the Hilo-based Hawaii Ant Lab to maintain ongoing statewide mitigation activities.
The funds also would be used for vehicle and operating costs for public outreach and treatment, ant baits, field equipment, computers and printers, according to the bill. It seeks an additional $100,000 for one Hawaii Ant Lab position focused on West Hawaii-based mitigation efforts.
- After another gun-related massacre on an American campus, lawmakers consider requiring interior door locks and intercom systems.Honolulu Civil Beat - February 22, 2018
In the wake of another mass shooting at an American school, Hawaii educators are re-examining their safety procedures
“When you go and research what other states have done, we are so far behind, just as far as having a comprehensive safety plan that addresses many different issues,” said Christina Russo, a science teacher at Campbell High School.
- As the 50th anniversary of the historic building nears, it’s high time to fix the murky reflecting pools.Honolulu Civil Beat - February 15, 2018
The phrase “drain the swamp” is usually applied to Washington, D.C.
But Hawaii has its own little swamp at the state Capitol in the form of the two reflecting pools that nearly surround the building.
The murky accumulation of algae, scum and slime has been a problem for decades. Legislators have been frustrated by the state’s seeming inability to resolve the mess.
To that end, a bill to spend $100,000 to study how to rehabilitate and renovate the pool was heard in a Senate committee Tuesday.