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Press release by Council Member Don Guzman: Friday, March 13 at 9 a.m.  Committee Update on The Legal Proceedings and County’s Response to Date.

Press release by:  Council Vice-Chair Guzman, Chair, Committee of the Whole
Committee to receive an update on GMO litigation
WAILUKU, Hawaii – A status update on two cases relating to the ordinance proposed by initiative petition and passed by the voters at the last general election will be considered by the Committee of the Whole on Friday, March 13 at 9 a.m. <http://mauicounty.us/meeting/150313cow/> , Committee Chair Don S. Guzman announced today.

Photo by Wendy Osher

Photo by Wendy Osher

The terms of the ordinance require a temporary moratorium on the cultivation of genetically engineered organisms, or GMOs, in Maui County. Plaintiffs Robert Ito Farm, Inc., et al., and Defendant County of Maui stipulated to an injunction against any action to effect the ordinance until March 31.

At the federal court, GMO proponents, Robert Ito Farm, Inc., Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation, Maui County, Molokai Chamber of Commerce and Agrigenetics, Inc., are seeking a judicial declaration that the initiative petition ordinance is invalid. In the state court, GMO opponents, Alika Atay, Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Bonnie Marsh, Lei`ohu Ryder and the Shaka Movement are seeking a judicial declaration that it should be enforced and implemented. Alika Atay, et al., have also intervened in the federal action.

A Motion for Summary Judgment, filed by Robert Ito Farm, Inc., et al., is set for a hearing on March 31 at the federal courthouse in Honolulu.

Guzman said the committee will receive a summary of the legal proceedings to date and a clarification of questions regarding the county’s representation in the cases.

Friday’s agenda  <http://mauicounty.us/meeting/150313cow/> and related documents are available at MauiCounty.us/cow <http://mauicounty.us/cow> .

Testimony may be emailed to cow.committee@mauicounty.us <mailto:cow.committee@mauicounty.us> , referencing COW-1(1).

Agenda: http://mauicounty.us/meeting/150313cow/ <http://mauicounty.us/meeting/150313cow/>
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STATUS:      The Committee may discuss the status of the case.  The Committee may also consider other related action.
NOTE:      With reference to this agenda item, one or more executive meetings are anticipated pursuant to Section 92‑5(a)(4), Hawaii Revised Statutes, to consult with legal counsel on questions and issues pertaining to the powers, duties, privileges, immunities, and liabilities of the County, the Council, and the Committee.

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