2022 Legislative Wrap-Up -- Citing Common Cause Hawaii’s Accomplishments Affecting Hawaii’s 2022 Legislative Session, Through Early May 2022
Message to supporters from Common Cause Hawaii, May, 2022
Our 2022 legislative session came to an end on May 5th! Common Cause Hawaii thanks you for your unwavering support of good government measures during this legislative session, past sessions, and future sessions to come. A vibrant democracy depends on people like you who are engaged and willing to hold our elected officials and government leaders accountable every day!
During the 2022 legislative session, Common Cause Hawaii passed most of our 2022 legislative priorities, so THANK YOU for testifying, reaching out to your networks to spread the word about the need for good government reform, and supporting the work of Common Cause Hawaii. We could not have done this without you!
Together we passed the following 3 Common Cause Hawaii priority bills which will be enrolled to the Governor for his signature. The Governor has until July 12, 2022 (the 45th day after session adjournment) to sign the bills into law. If the Governor neither signs nor vetoes the bill by July 12, 2022, the bill becomes law without the Governor’s signature. If the Governor intends to veto the bill, the Governor must inform the Legislature by June 27, 2022 and deliver the veto by July 12, 2022. If the bill is vetoed, it will not become law unless the Legislature successfully overrides the veto in special session by a 2/3 vote in each chamber. The Legislature must convene in special session at or before noon on July 12, 2022 to override the Governor’s veto. The following 3 Common Cause Hawaii priority bills which will be enrolled to the Governor are:
- Ranked Choice Voting in Hawaii SB2162. This is a narrow bill establishing RCV for special federal elections and special vacant county council seats. This is a start and we will look for ways to expand RCV in Hawaii.
- Requires the exterior of the envelope containing the ballot package for elections by mail to include instructions on how to obtain language translation services in Hawaiian and 5 other non-English languages HB1883. This will apply to all elections beginning with the 2024 primary election. Currently only Oahu is required to provide language services in Chinese and Tagalog and Maui is required to provide notice of language services in Tagalog under federal law. With HB1883, we are ensuring that all voters on all islands receive notice of language translation services.
- Requires boards to provide board packets 48 hours prior to meetings and permit the public to testify after every agenda item HB2026. Currently, written testimony for board and commission meetings are often due before board packets are provided. This renders public testimony less than helpful. Also, coupled with only having the public testifying at the beginning of the agenda right when the board packets are released puts the public at a severe disadvantage in providing meaningful, responsive testimony. HB2026 hopefully will give the public the opportunity to fully engage with boards and commissions.
Our priority campaign finance reform bill SB3164/HB1881 unfortunately did not survive session. These bills (companion bills) would require certain persons to maintain relevant records and file reports with the campaign spending commission regarding large contributions received and disclose the sources and trace back to the original source of the contribution.
Common Cause Hawaii and good government advocates also supported many bills / resolutions during this 2022 legislative session that passed and hopefully will be signed into law. The below is a list of some of the measures we supported (not an exhaustive list) which will be enrolled to Governor:
- SB555—Prohibits elected state and county officials from holding any fundraiser event to raise contributions for which any price is charged or any contribution is suggested for attendance during a regular session or special session of the state legislature. While this bill could be stronger by preventing all statewide elected officials and those seeking statewide elected office from depositing funds during session or using deposited funds during session, this bill is a start.
- SB3172 – Requires that any electronic audio or video recording of a board meeting be maintained as a public record, regardless of whether the written minutes of the board meeting have been posted. Repeals the option for boards to provide recorded minutes accompanied by written summaries as an alternative to written minutes of board meetings. Effective 10/1/2022.
- SB3252 – Beginning 7/1/2023, imposes a cap on the costs charged for the reproduction of certain government records; waives the cost of duplication of government records provided to requestors in an electronic format; imposes a cap on costs charged for searching for, reviewing, and segregating records; and provides for a waiver of fees when the public interest is served by a record’s disclosure. Appropriates funds for positions in the Office of Information Practices.
- SB3329 – Repeals the Citizen Participation in Government Act. Enacts the Uniform Public Expression Protection Act to provide more protections against strategic litigations against public participation.
- HB1475 – Requires state legislators and employees to complete mandatory live or online ethics training courses every four years, subject to certain requirements. Effective 1/1/2023. While this bill could be stronger by requiring training every year and having some consequences for those who do not attend trainings, this bill is a good start.
- SB3089 – Clarifies that public records generated during or containing information from the time of the Governor’s emergency declaration shall be subject to disclosure requests made after the suspension has terminated.
- HB1567 – Cash Bail Reform — eliminates the use of monetary bail and requires defendants to be released on their own recognizance for certain nonviolent offenses, subject to certain exclusions. While this bill could be better, this bill is a start.
- SB2076 – Broadband Service and Equity – Common Cause understands that equitable broadband access is necessary to participate in our democracy!
- SB665 – Makes intentionally providing false information concerning the name or address of a person paying for a campaign advertisement a class C felony. Originally this bill did not require any intent for providing false information and we were able to amend this bill to require intent.
- SB2479 – Requires each public housing project and state low-income housing project that is built or reconstructed after 1/1/2023 to include all broadband infrastructure necessary for tenants to have access to broadband service. Common Cause understands that equitable broadband access is necessary to participate in our democracy!
- SCR192 – Deliberative Process Privilege Task Force (adopted 4/26/2022) – Common Cause Hawaii will hopefully be a member of the Task Force.
With good government advocates’ participation, Common Cause Hawaii also was able to kill some bad bills introduced during the 2022 legislative session, such as:
- Eliminating Election Day as State Holiday – HB2475
- Allowing legislators to accept gifts, meals, and tickets to events which creates a quid pro quo / conflict of interest situation – HB1871/SB2714
- Increasing amount that candidate may donate from their candidate committees to local charities, schools, and nonprofits which creates a quid pro quo / conflict of interest issues — SB2417/HB2376/HB1951
- Redacting disclosures of for high-profile boards which will lead to less transparency and accountability for boards and commissions with immense authority, such as the Land Use Commission, Board of Regents, and Board of Land and Natural Resources – HB1849/SB2123
I hope the above list shows you what The People can do when mobilized and engaged! The government is truly by the people and for the people. Thank you for showing up and speaking out and asking for legislation that supports our democracy.