For those that are interested: Here is my analysis of that portion of SB2777 that results in the preemption of the County authority to regulate agriculture.
Hearing is scheduled for Thursday Feb. 27. Please submit testimony in opposition to YOUR SENATOR first and then to the committee (all info is on hearing notice that can be found here: http://capitol.hawaii.gov/measure_indiv.aspx?billtype=SB&billnumber=2777&year=2014 )
How to read SB2777: Below is the key paragraph that impacts the County authority to regulate agriculture and would nullify the Kauai and Hawaii County pesticide/gmo ordinances. In bold are the changes to existing law that are proposed in SB2777 to be ADDED or DELETED. All other text represents existing law. ( ) means deletion and underline means addition of language.
SECTION 2. Section 205-5,Hawaii Revised Statutes,is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:”(b) Within agricultural districts,uses (compatible to the activities DELETED)described in section 205-2 (as determined by the commission DELETED)shall be permitted without further limitations or restrictions ADDED;provided that accessory agricultural uses and services as(described DELETED)identified ADDED in sections 205-2 and 205-4.5 may be further defined by each county by zoning ordinance.
Section 205-5 is the section of State law being amended. This section deals with County Authority with regards to zoning and land use
The changes if approved would result in the law saying this “(b) Within agricultural districts, uses described in section 205-2 shall be permitted without further limitations or restrictions ;provided that accessory agricultural uses and services as identified in sections 205-2 and 205-4.5 may be further defined by each county by zoning ordinance.
SB2777 in effect says all agricultural uses of agricultural land described within 205-2 shall be allowed without any restrictions from County government (or anyone).
Laws by definition are “restrictions and limitations”. The legal impact of SB2777 is that the County may not limit any agricultural use defined in 205-2 which means the passage of SB2777 would nullify both the Kauai and the Hawaii County ordinances regulating pesticide and GMO use.
Existing law also says that the County may by zoning ordinance further define accessory agricultural uses and services as identified.
This provision in the law that already exists at first glance offers some comfort, however is contradictory to the provision being added that specifies “without further limitations or restrictions”.
It is important to note that “zoning ordinances” are much more difficult to pass than a standard ordinance. In Kauai County, zoning ordinances must pass through the planning commission before the Council can pass them into law.
To say that the County may not limit or restrict agriculture but then say the County may “further define accessory agricultural uses and services as identified” is vague and ambiguous. It appears that these uses and services can be further defined but only in a manner that does not limit or restrict their activity. In addition, it seems that there no definition or use of the words “accessory agricultural uses and services” within the existing 205-2 and 205-4.5 law.
“sections 205-2” are here:
“sections 205-4.5” are here: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/hrscurrent/Vol04_Ch0201-0257/HRS0205/HRS_0205-0004_0005.htm
Another Bad Bill – Please oppose