Legislatively Speaking

This year, House Bill 790 House Draft 3 (HB 790 HD3) is moving forward to help create a complete picture of the impact certain pesticides and insecticides have on Hawaii’s fragile environment, and the health risks they pose to the residents of the State of Hawaii.

The Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection found the State currently does not have an adequate regulatory structure in place to monitor the health impacts of pesticide drift near sensitive populations, particularly our keiki. HB 790 HD3 establishes disclosure and public notification requirements for outdoor applications of certain pesticides and insecticides.

The proponents of the proposed legislation want to make the current reporting guidelines of the voluntary Kauai Agricultural Good Neighbor Program mandatory for large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural operations across the state of Hawaii. They believe the current program improves good neighbor relations and understanding of farming by publishing the use of restricted use pesticides (RUP) on the Department of Agriculture website.

As your legislator, I believe it is important to bring this to your attention. I have received numerous emails and phone calls relating to this bill and the opponents of the bill believe it is not the large-scale commercial farms that pose a threat to the community, which this bill targets. The State Department of Agriculture, Pesticides Branch, has reported cases involving potential pesticide exposure to children or near schools were primarily due to pesticide use by homeowners and landscapers.

No matter the outcome of this legislation, I believe the State Department of Agriculture is responsible for protecting our residents and farm workers by providing education, information and inspections of pesticide use.

To view the “Hawaii Agricultural Good Neighbor Program RUP Use Reporting” filed with the State Department of Agriculture, go to https://data.hawaii.gov/ and click on “Health.”

To read more about HB 790 HD3 and follow its progress, go to www.capitol.hawaii.gov.

Yesterday, members of the House of Representatives voted to defer HB790 HD3, for the remainder for this session, due to its controversial nature.

You can also track and submit testimony for all bills moving forward. Please share your questions and concerns with me by calling my office at 586-8510 or by emailing me at repevans@capitol.hawaii.gov.

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