THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

874

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to genetic engineering.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the economic health of Hawaii's agricultural sector is critical to the overall health of Hawaii's economy, and that this depends in major part on the good reputation of Hawaii's farmers and their agricultural products.

Growth in genetically engineered agricultural production has been swift and pervasive throughout the nation. The quick acceptance of the new technology by American farmers may, however, pose serious consequences for conventional agriculture -- consequences that scientists do not yet fully understand. Those consequences have created doubt within the farming community and Congress about the wisdom of growing genetically engineered agricultural products.

The greatest potential harm of genetically engineered crops is that the use of genetically engineered seeds and plants by a farmer could unintentionally alter the crops being produced by a neighboring farmer or alter other plants or animals, including insects and microorganisms that interact with domestic crops, as well as plants and animals within the natural environment.

No practical way of safeguarding against this risk is available, other than abstaining from use of genetically engineered material. The effect on the United States economy is significant. China recently rejected 545,000 tons of imported U.S. corn found to contain an unapproved genetically modified strain, according to a December 20, 2013, Associated Press article. In Hawaii, the counties of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui recently adopted ordinances to restrict the growing of genetically modified organisms. However, the Hawaii and Kauai ordinances were later deemed invalid by a federal judge, who found that state law preempts the regulation of pesticide use and genetically modified organisms proposed in the ordinance.

The purpose of this Act is to prohibit the planting of genetically engineered seeds or plant parts in open fields.

SECTION 2. Chapter 145, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"145-   Genetically engineered seeds and plant parts; environmental risks. (a) No person shall plant in an open field in this State a genetically engineered seed or plant part, the genetically engineered properties of which are capable of release to an offspring. The chairperson of the board of agriculture may grant an exception to this requirement upon the demonstration that use of such a genetically engineered seed or plant part would be within a controlled environment such that no other plant could inadvertently be affected.

(b) For purposes of this section:

"Genetically engineered plant" means a plant that contains a genetically modified organism or was produced with a genetically modified organism. A plant shall be considered to contain a genetically modified organism if the plant has been injected or otherwise treated with a genetically modified organism, except that the use of manure as a fertilizer for the plant shall not be construed to mean that the plant is produced with a genetically modified organism.

"Genetically engineered seed" means a seed that contains a genetically modified organism or was produced with a genetically modified organism. A seed shall be considered to contain a genetically modified organism or to have been produced with a genetically modified organism if the seed or the plant from which the seed is derived has been injected or otherwise treated with a genetically modified organism, except that the use of manure as a fertilizer for the plant shall not be construed to mean that any resulting seeds are produced with a genetically modified organism.

"Open field" means a field that is not located within a building.

(c) The chairperson of the board of agriculture may bring an action to recover a civil penalty against any person who violates this section, or who has knowingly violated a rule or order made pursuant to this section. A civil penalty of not more than $100,000 may be assessed for each violation. Any penalty assessed under this section is in addition to any civil or criminal actions otherwise available against the same conduct."

SECTION 3. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 4. New statutory material is underscored.


SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Genetically Engineered Seeds and Plant Parts; Prohibition; Open Field

 

Description:

Prohibits the planting of a genetically engineered seed or plant part in an open field. Allows the chairperson of the board of agriculture to grant an exception where such planting is done in a controlled environment.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.