(BIVN) – The Clift Tsuji Act became law on Tuesday with a stroke of Governor David Ige’s pen, ending an emotional journey for Ryan Tsuji, who helped shepherd the biosecurity-related bill through the legislature in fulfillment of his father’s dying wish.
“This was something that my dad was very passionate about”, Ryan Tsuji said in an emotional moment before the bill was signed.
Rep. Clift Tsuji had just been re-elected to the State House when he passed away on November 15, 2016. The longtime Hilo representative was 75. Tsuji was first elected to the House in 2004 and served as chairman of the Agriculture Committee.
“I felt his hand grab my hand,” Ryan remembered, after Clift came out of his final surgery at Queen’s Medical Center. “One of the last things that I told him was I was going to take care of (the bill). That I knew this bill as important to him. I was going to do everything I could to make sure that it passed. And I told him that if he had to go, he could go. And he could stop fighting. He didn’t have to fight anymore. As soon as I said that, he left us.”
State Rep. Kyle Yamashita also spoke during the bill signing, relaying a story about how, years ago, the coqui frog became an early priority for freshman representative Tsuji. “He was relentless,” Yamashita remembered. “He knew it would be more difficult to eradicate it, so dealing with it up front was always a priority.”
HB1325 requires the Department of Agriculture to establish and report to the Legislature on parameters and construction requirements for biosecurity facilities that provide for and ensure the safety of agricultural and food commodities. The bill also makes appropriations for the biosecurity program, including projects for import replacements of high risk crops.
Read the full text of the Clift Tsuji Act here.