State lawmakers are being torn in competing directions by anti-GMO activists who want to restrict the biotechnology industry and seed development and farming interests that want to experiment with crops.
The debates have been tense. But on Thursday morning before the House Agriculture Committee, there was a moment of levity.
Rep. Isaac Choy wondered about an apparent conflict at the University of Hawaii over a food security bill. UH-Manoa's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources was against the bill, while a UH-West Oahu associate professor of political science was for the bill. The UH-West Oahu professor said in written testimony that she had taught classes in the "Politics of Food."
"What's food politics?" Choy asked.
"I think that might be what you are all doing right now," said J. Kenneth Grace, the interim associate dean and associate director for research at CTAHR, drawing laughter.
The committee amended the bill to reflect CTARH's concerns.