Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed six bills on Thursday aimed at protecting Hawaii’s land and agricultural resources.
Among other things, the measures set aside more money to combat invasive species like the coffee berry borer and change the composition of the Board of Land and Natural Resources to require at least one member has Native Hawaiian cultural expertise. One bill also increases the tax breaks given to landowners who designate their property as important agricultural land.
“Agriculture is a crucial component of our state’s sustainability, essential to keeping our dollars here in Hawaii and supporting thriving rural communities,” Abercrombie said in a press release. “These bills are important for the defense of our unique ecosystem, natural resources and economy. It is also our duty to care and protect the land beneath our feet, which gives us life and defines our culture.”
After signing the bills, the governor named June 16-22, 2014, “Pollinator Week in Hawaii,” to acknowledge the important pollinating work of bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and flies.
Below is the list of bills signed, which are now Acts 100 through 105:
House Bill 1931 (Relating to Agriculture) appropriates $360,000 to the Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, to research and develop methods for the prevention and treatment of macadamia felted coccid.
House Bill 2464 (Relating to Tax Credits) clarifies language relating to the important agricultural land qualified agricultural cost tax credit.
House Bill 1716 (Making an Appropriation for Invasive Species Prevention, Control, Outreach, Research, and Planning) appropriates $5 million to the Hawaii Invasive Species Council.
House Bill 737 (Relating to Special Purpose Revenue Bonds to Assist Agricultural Enterprises) allows the state to issue special purpose revenue bonds for all agricultural enterprises, instead of just those serving important agricultural lands, dependent on the ratification of a constitutional amendment.
House Bill 1618 (Relating to the Composition of the Board of Land and Natural Resources) requires at least one member of the board to have expertise in native Hawaiian traditional and customary practices, other than the member appointed for having a background in conservation and natural resources.
House Bill 1514 (Relating to Agriculture) combats the coffee berry borer by appropriating $500,000 to create a subsidy program for the purchase of pesticides containing Beauveria bassiana until June 30, 2019.
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