(BIVN) – Governor Josh Green signed several “Good Government” bills into law on Friday, in the hopes to compel ethics in leadership by increasing transparency and accountability.
“The people of Hawaiʻi deserve a transparent and accountable government. I said it during my time as Lt. Governor, I said it during my campaign, and I have repeated it many times, including in my State of the State address, because I believe it is a critical part of effective government that delivers for our people,” said Gov. Green. “The bills I have signed into law today were crafted by many great and collaborative minds and will allow even more sunshine into the executive and legislative branches of government. They will increase our transparency and accountability to our residents.”
The seven bills were proposed by the State Campaign Spending Commission, the State Ethics Commission, and the State Office of Elections. The legislation was introduced by House Speaker Scott Saiki.
Speaking during the bill signing ceremony were Hawaiʻi island State Representative David Tarnas – who serves as the House Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee chair – and State Senator Karl Rhoads, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The State provided this summary of the bills:
Campaign Spending Commission
HB90, Relating to committee fundraisers – Amends the definition of “fundraiser” under Election Laws to include all functions held for the benefit of candidates, candidate committees, and noncandidate committees, regardless of the price or suggested contribution for attending the function. Furthers public transparency and improves public confidence in campaigns by requiring a notice of intent to hold a fundraiser for which any price is charged or any contribution is suggested for attendance.
HB93, Relating to organizational reports – Requires the Campaign Spending Commission to publish on its website the names of candidate and persons who qualify as noncandidate committees who fail to file an organizational report or a corrected organizational report with the Commission. Improves compliance with filing requirements and brings awareness of noncompliance to the public. Publishing the names of noncandidate committees who fail to file an organizational report will motivate these committees to do so.
HB99, Relating to limiting a campaign’s acceptance of cash contributions – Limits to $100 the total amount of cash a candidate, candidate committee, or noncandidate committee may accept from a single person during each election period. Imposes limitations similar to those placed on anonymous cash contributions, thereby making violations of campaign finance law easier to detect and prevent.
Office of Elections
HB130, HD1, Relating to validation of ballots – Shortens the deadline for the validation of ballots following an election. Aligns the deadline by which voters must cure any deficiency with the return envelope with the deadline for the county election divisions to validate ballots.
State Ethics Commission
HB137, HD1, Relating to lobbyists – Beginning 1/1/2025, requires the statement of expenditures filed by lobbyists and other persons who engage in lobbying activities to include certain information on the identity of the legislative or administrative action that was commented on, supported by, or opposed by the person filing the statement during the statement period. Provides greater transparency on lobbying activities by requiring specific information on the legislative or administrative action lobbied on, instead of a broad subject area.
HB140, Relating to record disposition – Provides the State Ethics Commission with the discretion to maintain or destroy records of financial disclosure statements beyond the current six-year statutory requirement. Applies retroactively to applicable disclosures that are in the Commission’s possession and control. Provides the State Ethics Commission with greater flexibility in determining when to destroy or maintain its records after the mandatory retentions period has lapsed.
HB142, Relating to gifts from lobbyists – Prohibits lobbyists from making gifts that are prohibited under state ethics law. Improves standards of conduct by prohibiting lobbyists from making certain gifts to legislators and state employees. Lessens the number of situations where a legislator or state employee must refuse a prohibited gift.