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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Three Ethics Bills Heading to Governor's Desk
By News Release @ 12:46 AM :: 1712 Views :: Ethics

BILLS ON CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS, LOBBYING, AND GIFTS PASS BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE

News Release from House Democratic Caucus, March 20, 2023

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – Ethics reform measures relating to campaign contributions, lobbying, and gifts have passed both the House and Senate and now head to the governor's desk for signature.

HB99, HB137, and HB142 were introduced by Speaker Scott K. Saiki by request based on recommendations made by the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, which was established by the House of Representatives in 2022.

"We appreciate our Senate colleagues in their swift passage of these bills which demonstrates our unwavering commitment to increasing transparency and accountability in the legislative process," said House Speaker Scott K. Saiki. "We anticipate that these bills will be signed into law."

House Bill 99 limits the total amount of cash a candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee may accept from a single person during each election period. The bill's intent is to make cash contributions easier to trace, and to put an end to campaign law violations with cash. The legislation is part of the Campaign Spending Commission bill package.

"This bill would make certain campaign finance law violations easier to detect and thus prevent," said Campaign Spending Commission Executive Director Kirstin Izumi-Nitao on March 7, 2023, in testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

House Bill 137 HD1 sets a requirement that beginning January 1, 2025, lobbyists who file a statement of expenditures report must also include certain information on the identity of the legislature or administrative action that was commented on, supported by, or opposed by the individual during the statement period. The measure is part of the State Ethics Commission bill package.

"By requiring lobbyists to identify the matters they lobbied on, this measure increases transparency and accountability in the lobbying process by providing more detailed information about the interests being represented and the issues being influenced," said the State Ethics Commission on March 9, 2023, in testimony to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.

House Bill 142 prevents lobbyists from making gifts that are prohibited under state ethics law to legislators.

"The measure implements a recommendation made by the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct," said Speaker Saiki. "It doesn't alter Hawaiʻi's existing gift law but by imposing a gifting restriction on lobbyists, we fully support furthering transparency in the legislative process."

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