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Thursday, April 20, 2023
Conference Committee: Fraud, fictitious claims, and campaign funds
By News Release @ 10:25 PM :: 2261 Views :: Ethics, Hawaii State Government

JUDICIARY MEASURES DELIBERATED IN CONFERENCE COMMITTEE

News Release from House Democratic Caucus, April 20, 2023

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – House and Senate conferees began negotiations today on judiciary measures relating to fraud, fictitious claims, and campaign funds.

SB228 SD1 HD1 is part of the Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Package and would establish the offense of fraud as a class B felony, the offense of a false claim against the State or county as a class C felony, and use of false statements in matters within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the State as a class C felony. After conferees came to an agreement on the bill's effective date, SB228 SD1 HD1 became the first measure to pass out of conference.

"I want to acknowledge the work done by the City and County of Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney. This is a measure that takes into account the efforts we have made this year, to improve government and accountability," said Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs Chair David A. Tarnas (D-8 Hawi, Hala‘ula, Waimea, Makahalau, Waiki‘i, Waikoloa, Kawaihae, and Māhukona).

Measures relating to ethics reform were deliberated next, originally introduced by Speaker Scott K. Saiki on behalf of recommendations made in the Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct (CISC) Final Report.

HB707 HD1 SD1, relating to false claims, and HB711 HD1 SD1, relating to fraud were both deferred. Chair Tarnas explained that the content in these two measures were effectively covered in SB228, so the Legislature did not need to take further action on these bills.

The third measure HB727 HD1 SD1, relating to campaign funds was held over for further deliberation. The measure sets rules on campaign surplus funds and the purchase of fundraiser tickets. The latest Senate draft allows for contributions by a candidate committee to another candidate or candidate committee, up to $2,000 per election cycle.

Senate Judiciary Chair Karl Rhoads explained the rationale for the Senate changes to the House bill. Chair Tarnas asked some follow-up questions to better understand the Senate portion.

"After I have the opportunity to discuss the Senate amendment with my House colleagues, we will determine if there is support for the Senate position or I will propose an alternative Conference Draft for your consideration," said Chair Tarnas.

Tomorrow, the same Senate and House Conference Committee will meet to consider several other government reform measures including SB203 SD1 HD1, SB1493 SD1 HD1, and HB986 HD1 SD1.

The public can monitor daily updates by visiting the Legislature's website www.capitol.hawaii.gov and selecting the "Conference Committee" tab on the "Reports and Lists" page. This webpage features conference notices, summary reports, and updates on measures.

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