BY REPRESENTATIVE CLIFT TSUJI – Governor Lingle today signed into law a bill that will help to fight invasive species by strengthening Hawaii’s agricultural inspection and biosecurity laws. SB2523, now Act 173, does the following:
- Exempts aggregate bulk freight, cement bulk freight, coal bulk freight and liquid bulk freight from the pest inspection, quarantine and eradication service fee. Imposes fines for failure to pay, bill or remit in a timely manner the same fee.
- Expands the purposes for expenditure from the pest inspection, quarantine and eradiation fund.
- Requires the deposit of fees and fines relating to agricultural inspections into the fund.
- Repeals the permit revolving fund and microorganism import certification revolving fund and transfers moneys into the pest inspection, quarantine and eradiation fund.
SB2523 was one of the most important bills for the agriculture industry in the 2010 legislative session. This new law gives the Department of Agriculture greater resources to focus on agriculture inspection and biosecurity. The legislature is greatly concerned about the impact of invasive species on agriculture and our natural environment.
The other critical piece of legislation for agriculture and invasive species is HB1684, signed into law as Act 128 in May. That bill established fines and penalties for the intentional spreading or introducing of invasive species.
Invasive species harms not only our environment, but our economy, our health and the lifestyle of Hawaii’s people. We felt greater fines and penalties are warranted given the serious impact to the state.
Rep. Clift Tsuji is Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture.