STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1232
RE: H.B. No. 1561
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred H.B. No. 1561, H.D. 1, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to:
(1) Appropriate or authorize funds for programs of the Department of Agriculture;
(2) Require the Auditor to conduct a performance audit of the Agribusiness Development Corporation and authorize the Auditor to conduct a financial audit of the Corporation if sufficient funds are available; and
(3) Require the Agribusiness Development Corporation to include certain information in its annual report to the Governor and Legislature and post the information on its website.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture, Hawai‘i Center for Food Safety, Hawai‘i Farm Bureau, Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Action, and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Agribusiness Development Corporation and the Office of the Auditor.
Your Committee finds that this measure expresses programs or positions, maximum sums appropriated or authorized, or means of financing indicated for programs of the Agribusiness Development Corporation to be incorporated into the General Appropriations Act of 2019, or other appropriate legislative vehicle, or to be adopted separately. As such, your Committee requests that if your Committee on Ways and Means passes this measure that it consider incorporating the items in this measure into the appropriate legislative vehicle or amend this measure to include any provisions necessary to effectuate its purpose and intent.
Your Committee further finds that the Agribusiness Development Corporation coordinates and administers programs to assist agricultural enterprises with the transition from plantation operations to other agricultural enterprises. This task requires the Agribusiness Development Corporation to acquire agricultural lands, develop and restore critical infrastructure, including irrigation and water sourcing, and develop diversified agricultural facilities, among other responsibilities. As a public corporation, it is in the best interests of the State to audit and require the inclusion of certain information relating to the Corporation's lands and projects in its annual report for public transparency and oversight.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Inserting an appropriation of $125,000 for fiscal year 2019-2020 for the Auditor to contract with an accounting firm to conduct an audit of the Agribusiness Development Corporation;
(2) Reinserting the appropriation amounts from the original version of this measure;
(3) Inserting an effective date of July 1, 2019; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
Your Committee notes that there is some ambiguity as to the scope of the audit and requests that your Committee on Ways and Means consider the Auditor's testimony requesting the Legislature to identify specific programs or activities that the Auditor should examine in the course of the audit of the Agribusiness Development Corporation.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Agriculture and Environment that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1561, H.D. 1, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1561, H.D. 1, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Agriculture and Environment,
MIKE GABBARD, Chair