Governor Neil Abercrombie today signed a number of measures into law including two bills that are aimed to benefit local farmers who want to sell their products and/or establish agricultural-based commercial operations.
Senate Bill 2375 authorizes agricultural-based commercial operations in agricultural districts which will increase our farmers'ability to sell their products and promote food sustainability for the islands. Senate Bill 2646 is intended to promote and support diversified agriculture by exempting certain nonresidential agricultural buildings that are on commercial farms from county building permit requirements.
"To truly support our local farmers we must empower them,"said Governor Abercrombie. "These measures not only provide for that to take place but it also promotes diversified agriculture. I want to thank the Legislature for recognizing the importance of helping our farmers."
Senator Donovan Dela Cruz who introduced SB 2375 stated, "Farmers are being forced to diversify their products in order to make ends meet while continuing to provide local food for the community. This bill allows for additional opportunities for them to create revenue."
SB 2375 immediately goes into effect; SB 2646 is effective July 1, 2012.
Governor Abercrombie today also signed into law the following measures:
House Bill 1524 - Makes theft of agricultural commodities an offense of theft in the second degree and requires restitution to the victim.
House Bill 1942 - Appropriates $200,000 for the Electronic Importer Manifest Program to support our agricultural inspectors in the prevention of invasive species.
House Bill 1943 - Appropriates $162,540 to reinstate the plant quarantine detector-dog program to help prevent the introduction of invasive species.
House Bill 2244 - Authorizes the State Department of Agriculture to establish compliance agreements with the federal government and other states regarding inspections for the import and export of plant commodities.
House Bill 2296 - Prohibits the purchase, sale, transportation, and delivery of any item containing bear gallbladders or bile.
House Bill 2429 - Allows ex-officio members of the Board of Agriculture to designate a representative to attend Board meetings.
Senate Bill 2695 - Appropriates $250,000 for a livestock feed feasibility project and another $250,000 to reimburse livestock producers for feed costs.
House Bill 1764 - Allows for the waiver of residency requirements for state or county department heads and deputies or assistants to a department head, when the appointed officer is required to have highly specialized or scientific knowledge or training and a qualified applicant who meets the residency requirement is not available to fill the position.
House Bill 2476 - Makes appropriations for claims against the State or its officers or employees.
House Bill 2848 - Requires the Department of Public Safety to plan for a model wellness center that employs native Hawaiian cultural practices on state land.
Senate Bill 2228 - Establishes an electronic tracking system for the sale of products containing pseudoephedrine.
Senate Bill 2508 - Amends filing deadlines for preliminary disclosure reports to the Campaign Spending Commission.
Senate Bill 2632 - Requires all fee time share interests to be recorded in the regular system rather than in the land court.
Senate Bill 2797 - Makes permanent previous changes to the psychotropic medication statute that ensure access to medically necessary psychotropic medications while allowing cost-effective strategies.
Today's bill enactments bring the number of measures signed into law by Governor Abercrombie to 128. He has until June 25th to notify the Legislature of his intent to veto. July 10th is the Governor's deadline to enact measures with his signature. For a list of measures enacted by the Governor, please visit: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/report.aspx?type=acts.
HALEIWA FARMERS MARKET UPDATE
Governor Abercrombie also provided an update regarding the Haleiwa Farmers Market which ended its run at an illegal site on June 10, 2012. Since June 2011, various State agencies have worked on finding a solution for the Sunday Market, which occupied a strip of highway that is deemed illegal.
For the past three years, the Market has operated at a triangular area at the junction of Kamehameha Highway and Joseph P. Leong Highway, known as the Haleiwa bypass road. The triangular area is part of a parcel of land which includes the entire highway, and is right next to the existing traffic on the bypass road. Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 264-101 states "Vending from highways prohibited"and notes that "highway"means "the entire width, including the berm or shoulder of a public highway."
Over the last few months, several locations have been suggested for the Market by the State and various community members. These options have included the Waialua Sugar Mill, city parks, and local schools. These suggestions were not accepted.
"We exhausted every possibility to find a new location and I want to extend my appreciation to the landowners who came forward to help the State offer a solution for a new location. Unfortunately the locations offered were unsatisfactory for the organizers of the Haleiwa Farmers Market. We provided three extensions to the organizers in hopes of finding a compromise and are disappointed that the optional locations were not accepted."
To prevent future activity from taking place at that the prohibited location, the State has erected "No Trespassing"signs.
Fortunately, there are two farmers markets that take place on Saturdays in the community at Waialua and Sunset on Saturdays. Both events support the sale and promotion of locally grown food.
High-resolution images available for view and download at:http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilabercrombie/sets/72157630137954182/with/7376593876/