Kauai County Council Override Frees Way For GMO Bill

Nov 16, 2013 | Updated Nov 17, 2013
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After a cunning political maneuver, the Kauai County Council has overridden Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s veto of Bill 2491, freeing the way for the GMO-related bill.

Bill 2491, which passed a County Council vote on Oct. 16, will force agricultural companies to disclose when and where they spray pesticides, restrict spraying to a certain distance away from public areas, and disclose what genetically engineered crops they grow on Kauai.

Mayor Carvalho vetoed the bill two weeks after its passage, citing concerns over its legal standing. In a press release he said, “I have always said I agree with the intent of this bill to provide for pesticide use disclosure, create meaningful buffer zones and conduct a study on the health and environmental issues relating to pesticide use on Kauai. However, I believe strongly that this bill is legally flawed. That being the case, I had no choice but to veto.”

Supporters of the bill and many members of the County Council were outraged. When Carvalho appeared before the public, jeers and calls for his resignation emanated from the crowd.

The County Council could override the veto with five votes, but when it came time for the vote this Thursday, it was not clear they would have a fifth supporter. The Council elected to delay the vote so they could appoint a seventh council member. Yesterday the Council appointed Mason Chock to replace Nadine Nakamura, who had left the Council, ironically, to become Mayor Carvalho’s managing director.

Today the Council voted to override the veto by a count of 5-2. Mayor Carvalho left before the vote took place.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Mayor Carvalho sat through the vote.

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