STAND. COM. REP. NO. 254
RE: S.B. No. 1552
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 S.B. No. 1552 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO INVASIVE SPECIES,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to appropriate funds to support the Hawaii Ant Lab in mitigating the effects of little fire ants in the State.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Department of Agriculture, Hawaii Pest Control Association, Hawai‘i Farm Bureau, Environmental Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, and six individuals.
Your Committee finds that the little fire ant is designated as one the world's top one hundred worst invasive species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, due to the difficulty of preventing their spread. They continue to spread throughout the islands and there has been an increase in little fire ant infestations across the State over the last year, especially on Maui, Oahu, and Kauai. The bite from little fire ants are painful and can cause a variety of ailments, from welts that burn or itch for days to blindness in cats. Your Committee additionally finds that the Hawaii Ant Lab is a program of the University of Hawai‘i Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit and has a statewide mission to prevent, reduce, and manage the spread of little fire ants and other invasive ants in Hawaii. Your committee further finds that the Department of Land and Natural Resources administers the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council that provides policy level direction, coordination, and planning among state departments and private organizations for the prevention, control, and eradication of harmful invasive species throughout the State. Thus, this measure should appropriate funds through the Department of Land and Natural Resources to support the Hawai‘i Ant Lab in mitigating and managing the spread of little fire ants in the State.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by changing the expending agency of the appropriation from the University of Hawai‘i to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
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 S.B. No. 1552, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1552, 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