Malama Haloa! Protect Natural Taro from Genetic Modification

From a Kahea email:

There are new comprehensive state bills (HB1663 & SB709) currently before the legislature. These bills support ethical science for taro farming and will ban unsafe genetic modification of all taro in Hawaii. Na Kahu o Haloa and KAHEA need your help to make these protections law.

malama1 If you are a taro consumer or farmer, please support the ‘taro-roots’ effort
to stand up for only the best, safest science for taro in Hawaii! NOW is the time to submit your testimony of support!

NEXT HEARING IS THIS Wednesday, February 18, 2009!
Hearing for HB1663- Ban on GMO-taro
Wednesday 2/18/09- House of Representatives Hawaiian Affairs Committee (HAW)
State Capitol, 9:10 AM, Room 329

Click here to easily submit your testimony and learn more!

Be a voice for Haloa by submitting written testimony on this important issue!

It is crucial that the community’s mana’o, your mana’o, be included in decision-making! Help your family and friends get involved too! Your letters will be included in the growing movement to stop GMO-taro and protect taro farming in Hawaii.
Did you submit testimony in the past? Sorry, but can do it again please! We have to gather new public testimony to support these new bills for a full ban on GMO-taro, please take a moment and share your concerns!

Click here for information about the CURRENT STATUS OF THE BILLS and to submit your testimony.


NO GMO-Taro Bills: Support Now!
The two bills are on their way through various hearings to becoming official law, but they need your help to do it. Please submit your testimony now and recruit your family & friends to support these bills! Its easy to do, and you only have to do it once!
Online testimony form:

HB1663 is getting its 1st hearing this Wednesday, February 18, 2009, in the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Mele Carroll (D-Molokai/Lanai/Maui). This bill was drafted by taro farmers and introduced by the Hawaiian Caucus. It provides protections for all varieties of taro grown in Hawaii.
NEXT for HB1663, if this bill passes its 1st hearing,
then more or less: 1) it must be heard by the House Agriculture Committee, if it passes then it will- 2) cross-over to the Senate to be heard in committees and voted on, then- 3) heard by the Senate and its committees, if it passes the vote then- 4) to Governor for approval, then- 5) become an official law.

SB709 Good news! SB709- a bill to protect taro from genetic modification, on PASSED its 1st hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and the Environment last week! Six of the seven senators on the committee voted in favor of banning on GMO-Taro. Mahalo piha to the Senators who listened to the community concerns and did their own research: Senator Mike Gabbard, Senator J. Kalani English, Senator Russell S. Kokubun, Senator Josh Green, Senator Gary L. Hooser, and Senator Les Ihara. Only 1 voted against the ban, Senator Fred Hemmings.
The committee also agreed to amend the original language of the bill, upon the recommendation of taro farmers, with language that will protect all varieties of taro, not just Hawaiian varieties. These good amendments also present other important points brought up in HB1663.  This bill should be getting its 2nd hearing in the next couple weeks.
NEXT for SB709,
more or less: 1) it will be reviewed by the Committee on Water, Land, Agriculture and Hawaiian Affairs, which is chaired by Sen. Clayton Hee (D-Kahuku/Laie/Kaneohe). If it passes the vote, then it will- 2) be heard by the entire Senate, if it passes the vote then it will- 3) cross-over to the House to be heard in committees and voted on, then- 4) heard by entire House of Reps, if it passes the vote then- 5) to Governor for approval, then- 6) become an official law.

What happened to the GMO-taro bills last year?
Did you know that if the 2008 bill (SB958) to ban GMO-taro had been heard by the entire House of Representatives it would have passed with a majority of votes? Its true! Not only did the bill have the support of the majority of the House but it also had already passed all the way through the Senate. What happened at the end was that a small group of legislators, led by Reps. Calvin Say & Clift Tsuji, ‘poisoned’ the bill to represent only the interests of the biotech industry, despite the public’s overwhelming concerns and support of a ban on GMO-taro. Our challenge, this year, is not to be discouraged by the unfair actions of those few but to continue to gather the majority of support and make our public voice ever stronger– e Onipa’a, to protect our right to eat and farm healthy, safe, natural taro. This historic and crucial effort takes commitment and time- but after 1,200+ years of natural kalo farming we got plenty of both, plus pure Aloha!

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