“Minority members glad they're excluded from Conference Committee for the most unethical bill of the Session" (SB 2609)
News Release from House Republican Caucus
HONOLULU, HAWAIʻI (April 23, 2018) – Why are no members of the Minority Caucus assigned as conferees to Senate Bill 2609, relating to financial disclosure statements? All Minority Members voted against this measure because of its outright violation of our constitution. SB 2609 will allow the redaction of all financial interest amounts on public financial disclosure statements of volunteer members of certain state boards, commissions, and agencies.
SB 2609 received the most "no" votes this session. In total, 19 Representatives and Senators voted "no" on the measure on third reading on April 6th.
Representative Andria Tupola (District 43 – Ewa Villages, Kalaeloa, Honokai Hale, Nanakai Gardens, Ko Olina, Kahe Point, Nanakuli, Lualualei, Maili) noted, "The reason this body is putting forth this measure is to try to encourage more participation on voluntary boards." Tupola continued, "However, none of us have seen any research studies showing us that there is a direct nexus between us not disclosing dollar amounts and suddenly people signing up to be on boards and commissions."
Article 14 of our constitution requires all board and commission members who wield 'significant discretionary or fiscal powers' to file financial disclosure statements to promote transparency and accountability.
Representative Gene Ward (District 17 – Hawaii Kai, Kalama Valley) stated on the floor, "Redacting should not be allowed for the sake of openness in government and transparency, of which all of us preach. Let us not be hypocritical." Rep. Ward concluded, "This bill reeks of cronyism and is a step backwards for transparency in government in Hawaii."
The bill would apply to volunteer members of 14 State boards, commissions, and agencies, including the State Ethics Commission, the Board of Agriculture, the Public Utilities Commission, the Hawaii Community Development Authority (HCDA), and the Hawaiian Homes Commission. SB 2609 is headed to conference committee.
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SB2609: Text, Status