December, 1999 Home   Newsletters

January 2000

February 2000

League at Opening Day of the Legislature
President's Message
Education Committee Report (Mary Anne Raywid)
Welcome New Members
Videos
Honolulu LWV Budget for FY 2000-2001 (Arlene Ellis)
Galleria Threatens our Historic Downtown (Astrid Monson)
Clean Elections Legislation - Campaign Finance Reform (Laure Dillon)
New HEP Executive Director Appointed
Environmental Committee Report (Karen Ah Mai)
LWV Legislative Priorities 2000
Notice for LWV National Training Program

Clean Elections Legislation - Campaign Finance Reform

For this committee, the month of December became a battle to develop a feasibility study about a pilot project, mandated by the 1998 Legislature for public financing of campaigns. Those of us (considered stakeholders) were to work with the Campaign Spending Commission (CSC) to agree on suggested legislation. Sounds reasonable - no? Well, it wasn't. It turns out that the Campaign Spending Commission apparently doesn't believe public funding of campaigns is feasible or desirable and urged only some changes to the current law, which, in effect, is only incremental campaign reform. We already know this doesn't work. Then too there was the problem of funding and which elections would be covered. In the end after constant revisions and compromises to try to agree with CSC, we finally agreed to disagree.

Our version would fund the 2002 elections of the Honolulu Council races (which will contain no incumbents) and use the funds already in the Campaign Spending Trust Fund. It will also be a true pilot with most of the necessary parts to ensure Clean Elections. Missing will be the concept of adding "equalizing funds" to keep the amounts of money somewhat even between a participating and a non participating candidate.

We believe a pilot project must meet certain criteria to be true public financing, and anything less would be almost worthless. It must be voluntary, and it needs to lower the cost of campaigns, contain no private funding, limit spending, have enough money for a reasonable chance to win and be able to meet (within limits) excess spending by the opponent. This last makes the amount necessary rather uncertain and will be a contentious point with legislators. At any rate we had hoped the CSC would be with us on this, but even without it, we are prepared to fight to prevent any destruction of the basic elements.

So the battle is enjoined. We have encouragement from those legislators who are concerned about good government. But we will need the help of every Leaguer on the Alert list to phone their legislators when the call goes out. This session we will need volunteers to read testimony (not necessarily written by the reader) at hearings. The presence of additional people in the hearing room makes an impression. These two actions will he critical this session.

Mahalo.

Laure Dillon
Executive Director

December, 1999 Home   Newsletters February 2000