For immediate release: March 11, 2015
Press release by:
Don S. Guzman, Chair
Committee of the Whole
Friday GMO case update canceled, federal judge delays hearing
WAILUKU, Hawaii – The GMO litigation update set for Friday, March 13 in the Council Chamber is canceled, Committee of the Whole Chair Don S. Guzman announced today.
Guzman intended for the committee to receive a status update on two cases relating to the ordinance proposed by initiative petition and passed by the voters at the last general election. Recent developments made Friday’s meeting impractical, Guzman said.
“Both the public and the council have unanswered questions on the council’s role in the litigation and have been patiently waiting to hear from the Department of the Corporation Counsel,” Guzman said. “It’s unfortunate the process has been delayed.”
The litigants were scheduled to argue the merits of motions filed in federal court in Honolulu yesterday, but Judge Susan Oki Mollway issued an order postponing the hearing to March 31 in light of two state bills – House Bill 849 and Senate Bill 986 – restricting counties’ ability to enact legislation to employ agricultural practices allowed by federal or state law.
In the order, the judge invited the parties to agree to delay the ordinance’s effective date or to seek a temporary restraining order until it is clear the state legislature will take no action on the two bills.
The state legislative session is scheduled to adjourn May 7.
“A status report from the Corporation Counsel will be more meaningful following the March 31 hearing,” Guzman said. “I also received news about the unavailability of key county attorneys, so I decided to cancel the meeting.”
For those who still want to submit written testimony, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing COW-1(1).
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