Chair Wooley, Vice-Chair Onishi, and Committee Members:
This is a “Gut and Replace” bill. The purpose of the bill that came over to the House from the Senate, SB2435 SD2, was “to give preference to moneys deposited into the agricultural development and food security special fund from the environmental response, energy, and food security tax for the acquisition of real property for agricultural production or processing activity.” We point out that there was no hearing held on the SD2 version of this bill.
The proposed HD1 would require genetically modified food sold in Hawaii to be labeled as such starting July 1, 2015, which has nothing to do with the original bill. For this reason, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii opposes SB 2435 SD2, proposed HD1.
“Gut and replace” actions undermine public confidence in government because it seems something sneaky is happening in the legislative process. In order for citizens to participate actively in the legislative process, they need to be sure the process is working in a fair and transparent way.
While the material that replaces the original wording may have merit, acting in a less than open manner undermines trust. Perhaps it is time for the legislature to develop rules that allow worthwhile bills to be introduced without such a sleight of hand.
Given the negative publicity that the “gut-and-replace” tactic has received, it is disheartening and discouraging that lawmakers who should know better continue to employ it.
Since this clearly is a “gut and replace,” HD1 should be rejected and any action should be on SB2435 SD2.
Thank you for the opportunity to present our testimony.