Deadline looms for Bill 2491 decision

LIHUE — Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. will likely wait until the eleventh hour to make a decision about whether to sign or veto Bill 2491.

In an email Monday, county spokeswoman Beth Tokioka said the mayor will make his official announcement in the form of a press release, which should be issued on Wednesday or Thursday, the deadline. “The mayor won’t be doing any interviews prior to his decision,” she notified The Garden Island. “He has primarily been meeting and talking with the county attorney and staff to understand any legal issues associated with the bill and the various options that are in front of him.”

Bill 2491 passed the Kauai County Council 6-1 in the early morning hours of Oct. 16.

The controversial bill made its way to Carvalho’s desk the following day.

He has until Halloween to sign, not sign or veto the bill.

Over the last two weeks, Carvalho has received a “large number of emails,” which are being logged for his review, according to Tokioka.

In an effort to persuade the mayor, bill proponents have reportedly sent him pens with the words, “Please, sign 2491.”

While Tokioka confirmed the mayor received a few pens, she did not have an official count.

Bill 2491, which affects Kauai’s five heaviest users of restricted-use pesticides, would go into effect nine months after it becomes law.

If Carvalho vetoes the bill, the County Council could override his decision via a vote.

Since the bill’s introduction in June, the council convened for nearly 100 hours on the proposal.

More than 4,000 pieces of testimony were received.

Bill 2491 requires Kauai’s largest agricultural companies to disclose their use of pesticides and genetically modified crops.

It also establishes buffer zones around schools, hospitals, roads and other sensitive areas, and requires the county to complete an environmental and health fact-finding study on the industry’s impacts.

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