Press Releases

Senator Mike Gabbard's Floor Remarks on SB 2571 SD2 HD2 CD1 (Oxybenzone/Octinoxate Sunscreen Ban)

May 1, 2018 - Mr. President, I rise in strong support of SB 2571 SD2 HD2 CD1. Colleagues, this legislation is a big step forward for the protection of our coral reefs, marine life, and human health.

When it goes into effect on January 1, 2021, it will be the first law passed not only in this country, but in the entire world, to ban sunscreens that contain the dangerous chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate. For the record, Mexico has taken administrative action to ban the use of sunscreens with these chemicals in their nature preserves.

But this measure, will be the first law. Scientific evidence indicates that these chemicals induce coral bleaching, harm and kill coral larvae by creating gross deformities, and act as an endocrine disrupter.

As it relates to human health, these chemicals are linked to causing breast cancer to become more aggressive, polluting breast milk, causing Hirschsprung Deformity in newborns, are associated with women's uterine diseases, threaten male sexual health, and can damage DNA.

There's evidence that oxybenzone is even showing up in our aquifers and drinking water. Worldwide, 50% of our coral reefs were lost in 2014 and 2015 because of coral bleaching. The main factor that has contributed to the decline of our coral reefs is localized pollution, such as sewage, pesticide runoff, and chemical sunscreens.

How much sunscreen are we talking about? According to US National Park Service, more than 6 thousand tons of sunscreen end up in Hawaiian waters every year. The Department of Land and Natural Resources has reported that 55 gallons. That's right, 55 gallons, of sunscreen are going into our nearshore waters each day on Maui. So, with this volume of chemical sunscreens pouring into our oceans in areas like Kapalua and Hanauma Bays, of course our reefs are going to have next to no chance of recovery.

The fact is: SB 2571 was inspired by the science! And my hat is off to Dr. Robert Richmond of UH, Dr. Ruth Gates of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, and Dr. Craig Downs of the Haereticus Environmental Lab for providing us the facts to help us make an informed and educated decision.

It's encouraging to know that our tourist industry is stepping up, with companies such as Hawaiian Airlines, Aqua-Aston, Sheraton, Outrigger, Kaanapali Resort, and Napili Resorts are all doing their part to provide reef friendly sunscreens to their guests.

For the record, reef-friendly sunscreens refer to those that have been scientifically proven to be safe in our environment and contain active ingredients such as non-nano size titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

As I mentioned, Dr. Craig Downs, a forensic eco-toxicologist has been one of our principal scientific experts in crafting this legislation. He informed us that he'll be excited to now allow his 6-year-old daughter, Evelyn, to swim in Kapalua and Hanauma Bays and outdoor swimming pools in our state once this ban takes effect.

Think about that for a moment...the scientist who has shown us the high concentration of oxybenzone in Hanauma Bay, thinks it's too dangerous for his daughter to get in the water there! Much has been said about whether there will be enough alternatives to sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. However, even the mainstream names of sunscreens already offer alternatives.

Not to mention eco-friendly ones, like Raw Elements, All Good, Babo Botanicals, Badger, Goddess Garden, Happy As Larry, Hawaii Medicinals, Kuleana Sun Production, Little Hands Hawaii, Mama Kuleana, Manda Naturals, Raw Love, and Sole Kine Maui that are on store shelves. And Little Hands Hawai‘i is actually making their sunscreen here!

SB 2571 is a good first step in keeping oxybenzone or octinoxate out of our water and away from our bodies. And is definitely the right thing to do! Please join me in supporting this important bill.

Mahalo.

MEDIA ADIVSORY - UPDATE ON HAWAI‘I'S INTERAGENCY BIOSECURITY PLAN PRESENTED TO LEGISLATORS

MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release  
January 22, 2018
 
Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact:  Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261
 
UPDATE ON HAWAI‘I'S INTERAGENCY BIOSECURITY PLAN
PRESENTED TO LEGISLATORS
 
WHO:             Sen. Mike Gabbard, Sen. Karl Rhoads, Rep. Chris Lee, Rep. Richard Creagan, and Rep. Ryan Yamane
 
WHAT:          Informational Briefing on Hawai‘i's Interagency Biosecurity Plan
 
WHEN:          Wednesday, January 24, 2018
                        10:00 a.m.
 
WHERE:       Conference Room 325
                        Hawai‘i State Capitol
 
State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, will be leading a joint informational briefing on the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan on Wednesday, January 24, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol, Conference Room 325.

The meeting is open to the public. The Department of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch will bring live invasive species specimens to the informational briefing.

The State of Hawai‘i released the Hawai‘i Interagency Biosecurity Plan for 2017-2027 on January 10, 2017. This Plan is the state's first interagency, coordinated comprehensive plan to tackle the threats and harms from invasive species.

Senator Gabbard said, "As Agriculture and Environment Committee Chair, I'm introducing several pieces of legislation this session that support recommendations of the Plan, including bills to develop the Invasive Species Authority, fund plans for a biocontrol containment facility, establish an agriculture import substitution grant program and local agriculture marketing campaign, create a biosecurity emergency response fund, and expand Hawai‘i Island Little Fire Ant control."

Presentations will be made by:

·         Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council
·         Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Plant Quarantine Branch
·         Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture, Plant Pest Control Branch
·         Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife
·         Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources
·         Department of Health, Vector Control Branch
·         University of Hawai‘i, Invasive Species Committees
·         University of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Ant Lab
 
More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice:

https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2018/hearingnotices/HEARING_AEN-WT...

For questions about the informational briefing, contact the Office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 808-586-6830.

# # # 

TOWN HALL MEETING ON DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release
November 1, 2017

Senate Contact: Sen. Will Espero 808-586-6360
Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Senate Media Contact: Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261

TOWN HALL MEETING ON DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

WHO: Senators Will Espero, Mike Gabbard

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting

WHERE: Kapolei High School Cafeteria
91-5007 Kapolei Pkwy

WHEN: Monday, November 13, 2017
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

In light of recent concerns regarding North Korean nuclear and missile tests, Senators Will Espero (Dist. 19 - ‘Ewa Beach, Ocean Pointe, ‘Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point, portion of ‘Ewa Villages) and Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu) will be hosting a Town Hall Meeting on contingencies and planned responses to potential military threats to the state on Monday, November 13, 2017 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Kapolei High School Cafeteria.

At the Town Hall Meeting, representatives from the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) will discuss what the agency is doing to prepare our state for the nuclear threat, what efforts are being conducted among the counties and what steps it is taking to educate the public and our community.
The Town Hall Meeting is free and open to the public.
# # #

SENATOR MIKE GABBARD ANNOUNCES “NO MORE PAC DONATIONS”

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
July 6, 2017

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Senator Mike Gabbard, State Senator for District 20 (West O`ahu) and Chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee, announced today that his campaign committee, Mike Gabbard – State Senate, will no longer accept donations from political action committees (PACs), corporations, and unions. His campaign will now only accept donations from individuals.

Senator Gabbard’s decision was inspired by his daughter, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who made the same decision on May 19, 2017. Congresswoman Gabbard at that time stated, “…We need to get corporate money and lobbyists out of politics and elevate the voices of the people of our country” and Senator Gabbard wholeheartedly agrees.

“When Tulsi got elected to the State House in 2002, and I got elected that same year to the Honolulu City Council, as her dad, I thought I’d teach her a few things about politics”, said Senator Gabbard. “Turns out I’m learning much more from her, than she is from me. This is a good example.”

Gabbard continued, “It’s obvious something needs to be done. I’m hopeful my decision today will in a small way address the problem of special interests influencing the political process.”

For more information, please contact Mike Gabbard – State Senate at 682-0676 or visit the website at mikegabbard.com.

HEMP FOCUSED DAY AT THE CAPITOL

WHO: Sen. Mike Gabbard

WHAT:
• State Senate Floor Presentation for Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of the Industrial Hemp Research Project
• Joint Informational Briefing on the state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program

WHEN: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
11:30 a.m. (Floor Presentation)
1:15 p.m. (Informational Briefing)

WHERE: State Senate Chambers and Conference Room 224
Hawai‘i State Capitol

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – State Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, will lead a day focused on the production and uses of industrial hemp at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 29th.

"Hemp is an incredible crop that has big potential in our islands", said Senator Gabbard. "This is an opportunity to bring some attention to what kind of exciting opportunities are just around the corner as our state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program is rolled out. I'm confident hemp will be a niche crop for our farmers that will make good use of the Hawai‘i brand."

The day begins in the State Senate Chambers at 11:30 a.m. as Senator Gabbard honors Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of the Industrial Hemp Research Project, and his team for their efforts in proving industrial hemp can grow well in Hawai‘i. In December 2015, the University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources released a report on a successful, two-year industrial hemp remediation and biofuel crop research project that was conducted in Waimanalo in compliance with Act 56 (2014): https://www.hawaii.edu/offices/eaur/govrel/reports/2016/act56-slh2014_20...

The Senate floor presentation will be followed by a joint Informational Briefing at 1:15 p.m. in Conference Room 224 to provide an update about industrial hemp research, the current status of the state Industrial Hemp Pilot Program, and the future of hemp development in Hawai‘i.

The informational briefing will include presentations by the following:
• Dr. Harry Ako, Principal Investigator of Industrial Hemp Research Project
• Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture
• Maui Hemp Institute for Research & Innovation

The hearing notice can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_AEN-AGR...
For questions about the informational briefing, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.

INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING ON SUSTAINABLE HAWAI‘I INITIATIVE

WHO: Sen. Mike Gabbard, Rep. Chris Lee, Sen. Karl Rhoads, Rep. Ryan Yamane, Sen. Lorraine Inouye, and Rep. Richard Creagan

WHAT: Informational briefing on the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative, its components in the proposed state budget, and related 2017 legislative proposals

WHEN: Thursday, January 26, 2017
10:00 a.m.

WHERE: State Capitol, Conference Room 325

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – State Senator Mike Gabbard (Agriculture and Environment Committee Chair) and Rep. Chris Lee (Energy & Environmental Protection Committee Chair) will be leading an informational briefing on the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative on Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 10 a.m. at the State Capitol, Conference Room 325. The meeting is open to the public.

Governor David Ige announced the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative during his remarks at the Opening Ceremony at the World Conservation Conference in Honolulu on September 1, 2016. The Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative has these important goals: 100% increase in local agricultural production by 2020; stronger invasive species policy, infrastructure, and capacity by 2027; 30% of priority watersheds protected by 2030; 30% of nearshore marine areas effectively managed by 2030; and complete transfer to clean, renewable energy by 2045.

“This informational briefing will give us a good opportunity to hear from the Governor’s Administration on his plans to help us reach the goals laid out in his Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative plan,” said Senator Gabbard. “The timing is perfect because as we kick off the 2017 legislative session, I want to make sure that sustainability is a key priority.”

The informational briefing will include presentations from the following speakers:
• Scott Glenn – Director, Office of Environmental Quality Control
• Suzanne Case – Chairperson, Board of Land and Natural Resources
• Scott Enright – Chairman, Board of Agriculture
• Luis Salaveria – Director, Department of Business Economic Development, and Tourism

The hearing notice can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2017/hearingnotices/HEARING_AEN-EEP...
For questions about the informational briefing, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.

INFORMATIONAL MEETING ON STATUS OF PUEO IN EWA/KAPOLEI REGION

MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release
August 11, 2016

Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact: Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261

INFORMATIONAL MEETING ON STATUS OF PUEO IN EWA/KAPOLEI REGION

WHO: Sen. Mike Gabbard, Rep. Ty Cullen, representatives from Department of Land and Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

WHAT: Informational meeting on the status of the Pueo and the possible impact of development on its natural habitat

WHEN: Thursday, August 18, 2016
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

WHERE: UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room
91-1001 Farrington Hwy.

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – State Senator Mike Gabbard (S Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, and portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu) will be co-hosting an informational meeting with State Representative Ty Cullen (H Dist. 39 - Royal Kunia, Village Park, Waipahu, Makakilo, West Loch), the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss the status of the Pueo (Asio flammeus sandwichensis), the native short-eared owl, in the Ewa/Kapolei region on Thursday, August 18, 2016 from 6pm to 8pm at the UH West O‘ahu Multi-Purpose Room. The meeting is open to the public.

On O‘ahu, the Pueo is listed by the State as an endangered species based upon loss of open grassland habitat.

"Over the last several months, members of the community have expressed concern about this endemic species,” said Sen. Gabbard. “The purpose of this meeting is to bring together some experts and community members to discuss the situation and possible future action."

The meeting will feature the following panelists who will give short presentations and then field questions from those in attendance.

• Michael Kumukauoha Lee - recognized Native Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner and Cultural Descendant
• Dr. Loyal Mehrhoff - Endangered Species Recovery Director for the Center for Biological Diversity
• Jenny Hoskins – Hawai`i Bird Lead for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Birds and Habitat Programs
• Jason Misaki - O‘ahu District Wildlife Manager, DLNR

Free parking will be available in the non-permit lot, located to the right upon arrival on the UH West O‘ahu campus. A greeter will be on site to direct meeting participants to the room.

For questions about the event, contact the office of Senator Mike Gabbard at 586-6830.

SENATE HOLDS INFORMATIONAL BRIEFING ON REVOCABLE PERMIT PROGRAM

MEDIA ADVISORY – for immediate release
July 6, 2016

Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact: Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261

WHO: Senate Water, Land and Agriculture (WLA) Committee, Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)

WHAT: Informational Briefing

WHEN: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Conference Room 224
State Capitol

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – The Senate Water, Land and Agriculture Committee (WLA), will hold an informational briefing on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 10:30 a.m., in Conference Room 224 to get an update on the Report and Recommendations of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Revocable Permits Task Force.
“It's important for legislators and the public to learn more about the changes being implemented to improve the DLNR's revocable permit program,” said Senator Gabbard, chair of the Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee. “The use of public land should be handled in a fair and transparent way.”

In February of this year, media outlets, such as the Honolulu Star Advertiser, shined a light on the fact that the DLNR's revocable permit program was fraught with inconsistencies and lacked clear, logical protocols and criteria.

In response, DLNR convened a Task Force to improve its revocable permit in February 2016. On May 27, 2016, the Task Force issued its report and recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the Board of Land and Natural Resources on June 24th. The Task Force report, their recommendations, and DLNR's plans for implementation will be addressed at this informational briefing.

Presentations will be made by:
• Department of Land and Natural Resources Revocable Permits Task Force
• Department of Land and Natural Resources

More information on the briefing can be found on the hearing notice: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2016/hearingnotices/HEARING_WLA_07-...

LAWMAKERS PASS RESOLUTION TO PRESERVE KAPUA LANDS

NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
May 4, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Members of the Senate Committee on Water, Land and Agriculture today voted to pass Senate Resolution 46.

SR46 requests the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to engage in negotiations with the current land owners of the makai lands of Kapua to acquire the lands on behalf of the state or to lease those lands in perpetuity on behalf of the state.

“Our late colleague, Senator Gil Kahele, had the dream of the state purchasing the Kapua makai lands. This resolution will make it possible to see this dream become reality,” said Sen. Mike Gabbard, chair of the Water, Land and Agriculture committee, in recommending the resolution be passed.

As one of his last actions as a state legislator, the late Senator Gilbert Kahele signed SB3071 for its introduction during the 2016 session, which would have required the DLNR to engage in negotiations to acquire the Kapua makai lands. Kaiali‘i Kahele was appointed to the seat vacated by his father, following his death in January. SR46 was drafted by Sen. Kahele who was determined to ensure the process to preserve the lands would continue, despite the SB3071 being stalled in conference.

“This is not just for my dad, but for generations of keiki,” said Sen. Kahele. “This area has significant archeological and culturally historical value and must be preserved.”
SR46 is the final resolution to be heard this legislative session and will be voted on the floor on Thursday, May 5, 2016.

SEN. GABBARD APPLAUDS PASSAGE OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP BILL

NEWS RELEASE – for immediate release
May 3, 2016

HONOLULU, Hawai‘i – Senator Mike Gabbard, chair of the Senate Water, Land, and Agriculture Committee, applauded the passage of SB 2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 today. The bill received unanimous support in both the House and Senate.

This historic bill, authored by Sen. Gabbard, would establish a five-year industrial hemp pilot program under the Department of Agriculture to allow the cultivation of industrial hemp for agricultural and academic research, which would include the commercial sale of hemp as marketing and industry development. The provisions of this bill are consistent with the federal Farm Bill.

"We already know from a recent UH hemp study that this incredible crop will grow well in our islands," said Sen. Gabbard. “My vision is to see farmers in Hawai‘i growing hemp and the Hawai‘i branding that comes with that."

The hemp plant is part of the cannabis family, which includes marijuana, but it contains less than 1% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) so it is unable to provide any physical or psychological effects. It is currently used in over 25,000 products. Hemp seed is used to make bread, granola, protein powder, medicine, fuel, lubricants, ink, paint, and cosmetics. Hemp stalks are used in clothing, construction materials, such as hempcrete, paper, and biofuel.

"The Hemp Industries Association estimated last year that the retail value of all hemp products sold in the U.S. was $620 million," said Sen. Gabbard. "Incredibly, all that hemp is being imported from countries like China and Canada. This makes no sense, given that we could be growing this wonderful crop here."

In 2014, Sen. Gabbard also authored SB 2175 which was signed into law as Act 56. This law authorized UH's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to establish a two-year hemp study. The study was an overwhelming success with the hemp growing from seed to 10 feet tall in just 16 weeks with no fertilizers or pesticide.

With this bill, Hawai‘i joins eight other states, including Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont, in growing industrial hemp.

The text of SB 2659 SD2 HD1 CD1 can be accessed at this link: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=...

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