STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1239
RE: H.B. No. 609
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Agriculture and Environment, to which was referred H.B. No. 609, H.D. 2, entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO AGRICULTURE,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds to the Department of Agriculture for its meat inspection program, including the establishment of three full-time equivalent (3.0 FTE) inspectors to perform meat inspection services.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture; Office of the Mayor of the County of Maui; Maui County Farm Bureau; Ponoholo Ranch Limited; Hawai‘i Farmers Union United; Hawai‘i Farm Bureau; Hawaii Cattlemen's Council, Inc.; and nine individuals.
Your Committee finds that food safety is a priority for a healthy community. Inspection of livestock prior to slaughter is a critical step to ensuring the safety of the State's food supply. Hawaii formerly had its own meat inspection capacity, in addition to those meat inspectors provided by the federal government. However, due to economic conditions, the State eliminated these positions, wholly relying on federal inspection capacity. This measure restores the State's meat inspection program thus enabling an increase in local meat production while maintaining food safety standards.
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. 609, H.D. 2, and recommends that it pass Second Reading 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