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Since 2003, funding to combat invasive species has declined. Whereas the Legislature had allotted $50 million, in recent years it averages only $4 million. While funding has declined the number of invasive species in Hawaii has only increased and become established.
In order to achieve stronger biosecurity the state needs to create, empower and fund a central agency to execute the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan. This will be achieved through legislation that elevates the Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) to the Hawaii Invasive Species Authority (HISA).
“Do we need to do more work on biosecurity? That is without question,”[HDOA Chair Scott] Enright said. “It’s why the Ige administration was promoting the Hawaii Invasive Species Authority and the state biosecurity plan. We haven’t been able to pass that for two legislative sessions. We will be back for a third session and see if we can get it passed.”
SB2399 — Restructures the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council as the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Authority, administratively attached to the Department of Agriculture, to coordinate implementation of the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan (HIBP) and to improve coordination of the State’s invasive species prevention, early detection, rapid response, control, enforcement, and outreach programs. Appropriates funds to implement the authority and relevant interagency invasive species projects.
Other important invasive species Bills for 2018 Legislative Session:
· SB2116 – Biosecurity Emergency Response Special Fund — Establishes the biosecurity emergency response special fund within the Department of Agriculture. Establishes procedures for emergency declarations and expenditures. Appropriates moneys into the special fund.
· SB2124 – Funding for Hawaii Ant Lab staff in W. Hawai’i — Appropriates funds to the Hawaii ant lab for personnel and equipment to support mitigation of the little fire ant.
HB2045 — Control and eradicate invasive species — Clarifies that state, county, and authorized agents’ authority to enter private property when there is a reasonable suspicion that invasive species are present on that property.
· HB2046 – Funding for LFA outreach in W. Hawai’i — Appropriates funds to the Department of Agriculture for outreach and education efforts in west Hawaii county regarding the detection and treatment of little fire ants.
Go here to testify on-line: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov
You can register here for hearing notifications: https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/login/register.aspx
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Get informed, stay engaged! Successful biosecurity belongs to all of us.