For the record, I am not against requiring federal labeling of food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO). As Chair of Senate Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee, I recognize that consumers want to know what their food contains and make their own decisions. I read labels myself, looking for sodium, calories, saturated fats and items that can cause allergic reactions.
However, the GMO labeling issue is complex, requiring scientific consensus of all applicable factors, as well as more study of overall effects and ramifications. So, while I agree in principle with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s GMO labeling bill, I feel this is a matter for the U.S. Congress and the Federal FDA not the State, to research and regulate.
There are some matters that require uniformity in the law so that smaller populations are not disadvantaged. GMO labeling is becoming an issue where government actions need to be standardized and clearly understood by all before impacting the community-at-large.
For the entire 12 years of my elementary, middle school, and high school years, I did not go to school with one black child, although there were plenty of black children in my town. They went to a separate school system – and it wasn’t equal.
I’ve seen up close and personal the ugly face of discrimination, and with every minority group, you simply don’t put their rights on the ballot for a popular vote, because like the decision to get rid of so called separate but equal doctrine in education, if we had put that on the ballot, do you think that those black schools would have gone out of existence in the state of Texas?
We wouldn’t have had any of the advancements in equal rights if they had been put up to a popular vote. Minorities don’t ever get their rights that way. That to me was one of the fundamental reasons we needed to move Senate Bill 1 forward. It is about equality of rights under the law. It’s about equal treatment and it’s about treating everyone with dignity and respect.
I firmly believe that equal rights delayed are equal rights denied. Perhaps the urgency was brought on by the Supreme Court’s action on the Defense of Marriage Act; but even if it hadn’t come from that, I still think allowing legal rights to same sex couples is an action we should have taken, and it’s appropriate to do it now.
One of our most significant accomplishments this 2014 session was passage of a bill to increase the minimum wage in Hawai’i. The bill gradually raises minimum wage from $7.75 to $10.10 by 2018. The bill marks the first time minimum wage has been raised since 2007. Meanwhile, our cost of living has risen steadily.
Hawai`i becomes only the third state in the nation to increase the minimum over ten dollars. In my mind, the best thing about the measure is that it will directly impact Hawai’i’s families — especially female wage earners.
Consider the fact that women in America essentially have to work three months longer than men in order to get the same pay and more women than men are in low-end jobs. Increasing the minimum wage to something more acceptable will help women close that gap. Currently, two in three minimum age workers are women and one in three are parents.
- First increase Jan 1, 2015 of $.50/hr brings the rate to $7.75/hr.
- Then minimum wage rates increase $.75/hr. annually with a $.85/hr increase on Jan 1, 2018 to bring it to $10.10