Thursday, February 8, 2018


Lawmakers take tough stand against harmful pesticide
 The House committees on Agriculture and Energy & Environmental Protection today passed a complete ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos during a hearing at the State Capitol.
HB 1756  bans the import, use, manufacture, sale, and storage of chlorpyrifos in the state. The bill also seeks to protect workers who mix and apply the chemical and are exposed to unsafe levels of the pesticide.
"The profits of the chemical companies are going up and the IQs of our babies, of our keiki, are going down," said Agriculture Committee Chair Rep. Richard P. Creagan (Naʻalehu, Ocean View, Capt. Cook, Kealakehua, Kailua-Kona). "We have an epidemic of autism and neurodevelopmental disorders in children and chlorpyrifos is one of the contributing factors."
Energy & Environmental Protection Chair Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo) said there are passionate opinions on both sides of the pesticide debate.
"What we need to do is have respect for each other, find out the facts, and do what is best for the people of Hawaiʻi," Rep. Lee said. "Farmers want to protect their livelihoods, but families have a right to live free from the harmful effects of pesticides."
Hawaiʻi Island Rep. Creagan said some farmers don't support this ban because they want to continue using a pesticide they have become accustomed to, but he said this chemical is proven to be dangerous.
"The EPA banned chlorpyrifos for indoor use over a decade ago," Creagan said. "The EPA in our country had thousands of pages of damning evidence and were ready to ban chlorpyrifos for all food uses when Scott Pruitt was appointed (EPA Administrator) by President Trump and scrapped that plan. Enough is enough! We cannot wait for a compromised EPA to act. It is time to ban this close cousin of the nerve agent Sarin. We are treating our babies like the Syrian dictator Assad is treating his own civilians. It is time we stop bowing to the dictates of the chemical companies. We need to draw our own line in the sand that surrounds our islands."
The bill now moves to the Consumer Protections & Commerce, and Finance committees.


Rep. Holt introduces 10 bills for the 2018 Legislative Session

State Representative Daniel Holt (Kalihi, Pālama, Iwilei, Chinatown) has introduced 10 bills for the 2018 Legislative Session, including measures on automatic voter registration and low-income tax credit, and a resolution seeking an increased police presence in the Chinatown area to fight crime.

HB 2552 establishes an automatic voter registration system in Hawaiʻi by allowing all applicants for a driver's license, provisional license, instruction permit, or civil identification card to either decline to register to vote or fill out the voter affidavit on their application at the time their application is processed.

"Democracy is founded on participation by citizens," Holt said. "Making it easier for residents to register will increase the number of people who actually vote in our elections and therefore strengthen our democracy. Many other states have adopted an automatic voter registration system and it is time for Hawaiʻi to take this step."

HB 2672 expands the low income-household renters' income tax credit based on adjusted gross income and filing status.

"Helping the people who need it most is a central responsibility of government. Providing a tax credit for qualified low-income working families and the elderly is simply the right thing to do," Holt said.

HCR 20/HR 16 requests the Honolulu Police Department to increase the visible presence of uniformed police officers in the Chinatown area to improve public safety by deterring criminal activity and providing more immediate assistance to crime victims.

"It is important to maintain the safety of business owners, workers and customers in the historic Chinatown area," said Holt. "Following a recent increase in criminal activity including drug dealing, illegal gambling, robbery and purse snatchings, I am asking that HPD step up its visibility and enforcement."

To see the complete list of Representative Holt’s bills, go to


Vehicles pose a real safety and environmental hazard to communities

Rep. Cedric Asuega Gates (Waiʻanae, Mākaha, Mākua, Māʻili) believes abandoned vehicles are not only an eye sore in our communities because they litter our beautiful ʻaina, but more significantly, they pose a real safety and environmental hazard. The city and counties have taken steps to address this issue, but due to limited resources and lack of a mandate, many cars remain on public roads and in parks, endangering the public. Therefore, Rep. Gates has introduced HB 2442 to require the counties dispose of all abandoned vehicles within 10 business days of being reported.
"The law now states that the counties 'may' dispose of abandoned vehicles. In my bill we change this to 'shall' dispose of abandoned vehicles within 10 days," Gates said. "This legal change will require the counties to deal with these safety and environmental hazards in a timely manner."
Another bill that Rep. Gates cosponsored, HB 2267, provides funds to the state and counties to develop a partnership to deal with abandoned vehicles.
"I believe these measures are important as more funding and space is needed for storage, but a requirement of having to remove the vehicles must be included in any bill that is passed to see real change," said Gates. "In the future I would also like to see a state sponsored junk yard where people can deliver their unwanted vehicles and receive money for the scrap value of any material exchanged."