don't label banMayor Billy Kenoi signed Bill 113 on December 5, 2013. Below is the message he sent to the Hawai’i County Council:

Aloha, Chair Yoshimoto and Members:

On Nov. 19, 2013 the Hawai‘i County Council adopted Bill 113 Draft 3 adding a new article relating to Genetically Engineered Crops and Plants, and on Nov. 21, 2013 delivered the bill to me for my consideration. After careful deliberation and discussions with members of my administration and the public, I am signing Bill 113.

Our community has a deep connection and respect for our land, and we all understand we must protect our island and preserve our precious natural resources. We are determined to do what is right for the land because this place is unlike any other in the world. With this new ordinance we are conveying that instead of global agribusiness corporations, we want to encourage and support community-based farming and ranching.

The debate over this bill has at times been divisive and hurtful, and some of our hard-working farmers who produce food for our community have been treated disrespectfully. We are determined to protect every farmer and rancher. Agriculture on Hawai‘i Island will continue to grow with county assistance, investment and support. That commitment includes initiatives such as the public-private partnership to improve and expand the Pa‘auilo Slaughterhouse to support our grass-fed beef industry, and the launch of the Kapulena Agricultural Park, the largest agricultural park in the state on 1,739 acres of county-owned land. It also includes support for innovative training programs to grow the farmers of the future, and to train veterans to engage in agriculture on Hawaiian Home Lands, and the introduction and advancement of Korean Natural Farming as a sustainable method of producing healthier crops and livestock. It includes completion of the first-in-the-state Food Self-Sufficiency Baseline Study of Hawai‘i Island to measure the island’s progress toward food self-sufficiency.

We are determined to reunite our farming community to create a stronger and more vibrant agricultural sector. It is time to end the angry rhetoric and reach out to our neighbors. Our farmers are essential to creating a wholesome and sustainable food supply on this island, and they deserve to be treated with respect and aloha. We must turn now to a meaningful, factual dialogue with one another.

With my approval of this bill, our administration will launch a year of research and data collection to investigate factual claims and to seek out new directions that farming in our community should take. This work will include an expanded database detailing the locations of both organic and conventional farms, the crops that are grown, more accurate estimates of the revenue earned from these enterprises, and the challenges our farmers face in meeting food safety and organic certification requirements. We will work with our farmers and our ranchers to carefully monitor the impacts of this bill over the next year to separate speculation and guesswork from the facts.

Today our communities expect that government will be as cautious as possible in protecting our food and water supplies. We all want to minimize impacts to the environment while also producing abundant, affordable food for local consumption. This ordinance expresses the desires and demands of our community for a safe, sustainable agricultural sector that can help feed our people while keeping our precious island productive and healthy.


William P. Kenoi

Summary of Bill

Prohibition:  No open air cultivation, propagation or development of genetically engineered crops or plants.

Exemptions: crops or plants being cultivated, propagated or developed prior to the effective date of this article are exempted provided locations or facilities are registered within 90 days.

GMO papaya in current and future locations is exempt provided commercial locations or facilities are registered.

Administration:  Department of Research & Development, Agriculture Division.

Registration:  $100 annual registration fee beginning within 90 days of the effective date of article.

Penalties:  Violators fined $1000 per day, per location and responsible for costs of investigation, court and legal costs, and for damage to non-GE crops, plants, neighboring properties or water sources.

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20 Responses to “Mayor Kenoi Signs Bill 113 – Hawaii Bans GMOs!”

  1. Andrea Fabry says:

    Great news. Thank you for reporting on this!

  2. Joan Russow says:

    GM Papaya from Hawaii is exported everywhere including here in Canada It should be banned and the government should institute a fair and just program for farmers and communities affected by the ban

  3. Yeah. They call it the right to grow anything you want. I wonder if they would get away with the same strategy if people were putting arsenic in pop and calling it the right to drink anything you want?

  4. oh yes, Biotech is “working with lawmakers” to create “pre-emptive” laws that overrule municipal level laws. This came about after Medocino County banned GMO’s…

    In the name of democracy, biotech is taking away our right to self-determination.

  5. Here is how to ban GMO’s

    #1 empower yourself. Take a deep breath and say “we will do this.” Even if you are shy, don’t understand GMO’s, or whatever, you can do it!

    Form a GMO FREE “state or county” group–post fliers at
    store, post on craigs list…
    Educate yourselves
    Create educational materials that address
    Substantial Equivalence–very important to get it right
    Compilation of GMO studies that show harm
    GMO Contamination stats–how much, how often, what crops,
    lost revenues
    Biotech’s Campaign of obfuscation ~100 million spent to
    fight labelling. Very misleading adverts…
    Biotech weaknesses where you live
    tax breaks, biotech politicians, biotech problems
    Develop your goals, strategies, and tactics
    start small and build up. be diverse in action.
    Organize outreach campaign to educate and empower people
    to work with you.
    Do the social media thing–website, facebook–open and closed
    Use Consensus Decision making process/facilitation for group
    Talk with politicians, whoever…run for office if necessary
    Find key players who are credible allies…doctors…
    Be creative in your “spectacles”–how you draw attention to the
    Get good at working with the media–soundbytes, press releases,

    Be ready to act when an opportunity appears.
    Remember any news is good news.
    Roseanne Barr said she would help GMO papaya farmers to burn their crops and grow something decent. It made headlines. Keeps the issue on the radar.

    Really work on developing solutions (agroforestry/permaculture offer much, but not all).

    Try to work for win/win solutions. GMO leaders are going to fight GMO bans…perhaps we can win them over with ho’oponopono, the traditional Hawaiian conflict resolution process.

    Got it? Now get to work! Slow and steady, don’t meet to often and burn yourselves out. Try e-organizing (closed facebook page can be used by a steering committee).

    Check out for some of the latest info on GMO’s and all kine strategies/tactics for sustainable and productive food systems.

  6. Mary Richter says:

    Wow, where did this guy come from? We could use a lot more like him.

  7. WHO says:

    Get the GMO papaya out. Help the farmers $$$ to convert. Take the money that is subsidizing mass industrial ag to grow GMO crops, and help the farmers that need it to not grow them.
    It’s a cop out to not include the papaya’s.

  8. WHO says:

    Great start. Next step would be to BAN the products entirely. Meaning nothing sold that contains GMO sugar, corn, soy, etc. etc. etc. That really is the only way to get GMOs out. They are not necessary. It’s all a big fat lie as to even their necessity. Labeling laws even, while a nice cause, don’t do much. We have to be more like other parts of the world and just get the seeds out of our fields and food. That will be a long-term and difficult if not impossible battle, unless Americans start to care about what they are putting in their mouth (instead of just how cheap the food is they can buy). Cheap is relative.
    Peace out.

  9. Karin says:


    There Is No GMO Debate When the Masters of the Universe Leave Truth on the Cutting Floor
    Here is Article

  10. Howard T. Lewis III says:

    Mayor Billy Kenoi, showing some sense and hanging out with the bugs, deer, and other creatures of the planet that chose anything but GMOs. Even the mongoose, a high speed scavenger with less ability to cross roads safely than chickens, does not eat GMs if something else is there.

  11. J says:

    For those of you wondering about papaya- most of the papaya on the island of Hawaii is grown by family farmers (i don’t think there are any plots operated by large agribusiness). And there is already abour 90% contamination through cross-pollination, so the effect of banning GMO papaya would unfortunately hurt families for whom it is their primary income, and would do little to eliminate GMO hybrids.

  12. mick vines says:

    IT is great when you read something like this you know that their is still people in high positions who have common sence

  13. Joan Russow says:

    Great news!

    Great news!
    Since 1997, I have been calling for the banning of Genetically engineered food and crops. In the fall of this year, along with Nigerian Nnimmo Bassey, I launched a Global Petition urging the United Nations General Assembly to draft a Declaration supporting a global ban of genetically engineered food and crops.
    I always argued that Labeling addresses the right to know issue but not the equity issue- not everyone everywhere can afford to buy organic or Non GE food and crops, or the environmental issue- genetic drift/contamination

    We are now lobbying the UN Missions in New York

  14. Its a good start, I will congratulate them on that much … but its still not a full ban

    ” GMO papaya in current and future locations is exempt provided commercial locations or facilities are registered. “

  15. B. Talbert says:

    What wonderful news! Have been praying for a break soon as the fight was becoming more than people could handle. Hawaii was in unique position to start the ball rolling. So glad Mayor Billy Kenoi saw fit to do this and his message is one that all our states should subscribe to. Food self-sufficiency for each and every state in the union should be the goal, not national food sufficiency.

  16. Abe says:

    Well This is a turn in the right direction. I see they have there exemptions, but also have there penalties. One flaw they seemed to pass up was genetic cross contamination. Will this work they opposite way that it has in the pass?? Does this give the little guy the right and with the laws backing to go after Monsatan or whoever is responsible for the genetic contamination?? Could this really be a “Napalm in the morning” moment??

  17. Bill says:

    Awesome!!!! Finally a politician who puts his people before his wallet.. Can someone set up a petition or something where we can all publicly thank Mayor Kenoi?

  18. Jan says:

    This is SO GREAT! This is the way it MUST be done, no “labeling” this poison, BAN IT!!

    Get it OUT of the environment before it contaminates everything!!


  19. pm says:

    I hope this gives you pessimists something to think about.

  20. Patricia Behr says:

    This is wonderful. More than wonderful. Now the rest of the world must follow suit.