Press Releases



Tuesday, October 17, 2018
Press Office: x (808) 768-5001


Honolulu City Councilmember Kymberly Marcos Pine will be holding a Makakilo-Kapolei Town Hall meeting, in collaboration with Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard on Thursday, October 18 at Island Pacific Academy's Multi-purpose room in Kapolei starting at 6:30pm.
The public is invited to the get together for informative community and legislative updates, participate in a question and answer session for both Pine and Gabbard. There will also be special presentations by Shirley Swinney of HCDA and by Steve Kelly of James Campbell Company who will be giving updates to their community projects.

There will be light refreshments available starting at 6pm. Island Pacific Academy is located at 909 Haumea St. in Kapolei.
For more information, email Councilmember Pine at

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West Oahu Energy and Electric Vehicle Fair

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
October 12, 2018

Senate Contact: Sen. Jon Yoshimura 808-586-6360
Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Sen. Glenn Wakai 808-586-8585

Senate Media Contact: Michele Moore 808-586-7148


Learn about new options for residential solar, energy conservation, Hawaiian Electric Company’s West Loch Solar One Project, and popular Electric Vehicles


Saturday, October 13, 2018
10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.
ʻEwa Makai Middle School
91-6291 Kapolei Parkway
ʻEwa Beach, Hawaiʻi 96706

On October 13, Senator Jon Yoshimura, Senator Mike Gabbard and Senator Glenn Wakai, will hold a West O'ahu Energy and EV Fair at 'Ewa Makai Middle School from 10:00am – 1:00pm. The event will feature an update on new Public Utilities Commission rules for residential solar, an opportunity to learn about ways to generate your own clean energy and how to conserve it, and electric vehicle displays from BMW, Nissan, and Tesla.

The state has a goal of producing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2045. This informative session will shed light on policies that will help to achieve those goals, while giving residents the opportunity to learn about ways in which they can be part of this clean energy future.

"As an advocate of a clean energy future, I am working with community and industry stakeholders to develop more clean energy alternatives that will reduce our dependence on imported oil. Hawai'i's economy, environment, and quality of life is intricately tied to our ability to produce clean and affordable energy," said Sen. Yoshimura.

The event is free and the public is highly encouraged to attend.



July 6, 2018

HONOLULU – The Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) has issued the first licenses to growers under the State’s Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. During the month of June 2018, three industrial hemp licenses were issued to:

Name County # of Acres
Gail Baber Hawaii 10
Raymond Maki Kauai 10
Thomas Pace Hawaii 10

Each license is valid for two years, as long as the licensee complies with the program rules, including submission of annual fees of $250, plus a $2 per acre assessment. The time from planting to harvest is estimated to be anywhere from three to six months.

“Hawai‘i’s first licensed hemp growers will help to demonstrate the real potential of the industrial hemp industry,” said Gov. David Ige. “We look forward to the entrepreneurial spirit that will help to invigorate and strengthen agriculture across the state.”

“With this new agricultural crop, the program aims to monitor and assess the best methods of cultivation in Hawaii’s growing conditions,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture. “The program will also follow the crop from seed to the development, manufacturing and marketing of hemp products.”

“June 2018 will be remembered as a historic month for Hawai`i’s farmers. In the coming years, it’s likely we’ll see our state become a leader in industrial hemp production and witness a cottage industry being developed around this incredible crop. Mahalo to the Governor and HDOA for helping get us to this point,” said State Senator Mike Gabbard.

A total of 10 applications have been received by HDOA’s Quality Assurance Branch since the program began in April 2018. HDOA will continue to process applications and issue licenses to qualified applicants on a quarterly basis.

Growers will be required to submit extensive reports on planting, harvesting and movement of their industrial hemp crop. In addition, the research nature of the pilot program requires that licensees track items such as production costs including pest management, water usage, security measures, labor, marketing and other cost factors. Routine sampling, testing (for THC and pesticides) and inspections of crops will also be mandatory during this program.

In granting licenses, HDOA considers the following factors:

Completeness of applications
Licensed to do business in Hawaii
Agriculturally zoned land
Legitimate Research Plan
Best management plan for growing of hemp
A laboratory provisionally certified or certified by the Hawaii Department of Health to test cannabis and is willing to collect samples from the growing location.
Application Fee ($500 non-refundable)
The 11-page application for the program is available on the HDOA website at:


In July 2016, Gov. Ige signed Act 228 and in July 2017 signed Act 199 (amendment), which established the Industrial Hemp Pilot Program. HDOA then established the rules for the program which were approved by the Hawai`i Board of Agriculture in September 2017, and signed by Gov. Ige in September 2017.

Industrial hemp and marijuana are both members of the same plant species, Cannabis sativa L. However, industrial hemp refers to cannabis plants with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration at or below 0.3 percent, which is about 33 percent lower than the least potent marijuana. Although industrial hemp and marijuana may look the same, it is not possible to get a chemical high from industrial hemp.

Some of the challenges that HDOA in establishing the program included the importation of hemp seed which is considered by the federal government as a Schedule 1 Drug, which is highly regulated especially when transporting within and into the U.S. HDOA worked with federal and state drug enforcement agencies to successfully import the hemp seed varietal, Yuma, from China which will be used by the licensed growers. Based upon its own research and tests in Malawi and Australia, HDOA believes that the Yuma varietal is suitable to grow in Hawaii’s climate.

There are about 38 states that allow or are proposing to allow industrial hemp cultivation.

Questions about the program may be sent to: or call (808) 832-0676.


Honolulu, HI (July 3, 2018) – A bill that takes steps to protect the island’s precious marine environment and ecosystems against chemicals found in many sunscreens was signed into law today, making Hawai‘i the first state in the nation to ban the sale of all sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. It's also a first-in-the-world law.

Senate Bill 2571, now Act 104, bans the sale of oxybenzone and octinoxate starting January 1, 2021. This excludes certain prescription sunscreen products intended for use as a cosmetic for the face. The delayed effective date allows for reformulation of sunscreens that are free of oxybenzone or octinoxate, but are also effective in preventing skin cancer.

Calling the new law “a gold standard for the world to follow,” Senator Mike Gabbard (Dist. 20 - Kapolei, Makakilo, portions of ‘Ewa, Kalaeloa, and Waipahu), said “this is a historic bill for our oceans. By taking the lead on banning these dangerous chemicals in sunscreens, we’ve started a tidal wave which will help bring our coral reefs back to life. I hope we can look back 20 years from now and see this as a moment we turned the corner on pollution and witnessed this law being replicated globally.” Sen. Gabbard, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment, introduced the bill.

Scientific studies have shown that oxybenzone and octinoxate induce coral bleaching, harm and kill coral larvae by creating gross deformities, and act as an endocrine disrupter. The chemicals have also been linked to negatively impacting the reproductive health in both men and women.

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.



MEDIA ADVISORY – For immediate release  
January 22, 2018
Senate Contact: Sen. Mike Gabbard 808-586-6830
Media Contact:  Jill Kuramoto 808-586-6261
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:

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

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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


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.
# # #


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


WHO: Sen. Mike Gabbard

• 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):

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


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