The following written testimony was submitted by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii for consideration on Feb. 11, 2022, by the Senate Committee on Health and the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Development.
To: Senate Committee on Health
Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, Chair
Senator Rosalyn H. Baker, Vice Chair
To: Senate Committee on Agriculture and Environment
Senator Mike Gabbard, Chair
Senator Clarence K. Nishihara, Vice Chair
From: Grassroot Institute of Hawaii
Joe Kent, Executive Vice President
RE: SB2888 — RELATING TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Dear Chair and Committee Members:
The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii would like to offer its comments on SB2888, which would establish the Access to Local Food Act, thereby empowering Hawaii’s cottage food operations to sell locally produced cottage food.
We commend the Legislature for examining ways in which to reduce unnecessary regulation and provide new opportunities for local businesses.
In the institute’s “Road map to prosperity,” our report on strategies to rebuild the state’s economy following the COVID-19 emergency and lockdowns, we emphasized the importance of implementing regulatory reforms that would help local businesses innovate, explore different products and services and reach new customers.
One of the recommendations offered was that the Legislature “remove county zoning and licensing restrictions on home-based businesses and state restrictions on cottage foods.
“The simplest approach,” the report said, “would be to enact statewide legislation that protects home-based businesses that are compatible with residential use, secondary to residential use, and do not adversely impact the community.”
The reforms envisioned in this bill are exactly the kind of reforms that we recommended in that report.
So, yes, it is possible to promote the growth of a cottage food industry in Hawaii without risk to public health or safety, which is what this bill would ensure, by requiring a permit from the state Department of Health.
In short, SB2888 would be a good step toward encouraging economic growth and helping small businesses.
Thank you for the opportunity to submit our comments.
Executive Vice President
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii