Update: The #OxybenzoneFreeMaui bill has passed first reading!
On Friday, December 1st, 2017, the Maui County Council listened to testimony for about 10 hours on multiple issues, including the oxybenzone bill, the sand mining bill (both up for 1st reading), and a new legislative item introduced by Council Chair Mike White regarding giving council members the ability to fire another council member’s executive assistant with a simple majority vote. The meeting was scheduled to reconvene on Monday so Council could begin to discuss and vote on the lengthy amount of items on the agenda.
On Monday, December 4th, the Maui County Council discussed the sunscreen bill for almost 2 hours. Some council members voiced that they would not vote for the bill unless the County’s corporation counsel (county lawyers) approved of the bill. Currently, Corp. Counsel refuses to sign off on the legality of the bill, but from watching the proceedings it is still not clear why.
The council members finally agreed that they would pass the bill on 1st reading but that before 2nd reading happens, they will hold a special meeting on the science and legality of the bill and allow both sides of the oxybenzone argument (likely, non-profit scientists and the cosmetics industry) explain their arguments for or against the bill. The rationale behind this is that this special meeting may make Corp. Council more comfortable approving of the bill. The Council then voted 9-0 in support of the bill’s first reading.
Every bill must be passed by a majority of council 2 times before it becomes law – 2nd reading will likely happen by March 2018, but hopefully much sooner. We’re on the way to success – 1 more vote and we could be the first in the world to prohibit the sale and use of oxybenzone!
Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months on how you can support this landmark legislation.