The Hawaii County Council passed a bill on Tuesday that bans biotech companies from taking up root on the Big Island and prohibits the expansion of genetically altered crops. (The papaya industry is exempt from the bill.)

The bill passed 6 to 3.

Mayor Billy Kenoi hasn’t taken a public position on the bill, but he could potentially veto it, sending it back to the county council. The council can override a veto with a vote of six members.

Passage of Bill 113, which has sparked vigorous opposition from the farming industry, comes three days after Kauai pushed forward legislation that increases regulations of biotech.


Photo: Anti-GMO signs outside the Hawaii County Council hearing room in September. (Civil Beat)

Sophie Cocke