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President's Message (Jean Aoki)
State Council / Board Actions May 15-16 1998
Honolulu's Loss - Seattle's Gain (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Guidelines for Maintaining League Nonpartisan Policy
League Local News - Hawaii County (Susan Dursin, Helene Hale & Marian Wilkins)
League Local News - Honolulu (Grace Furukawa)
League Local News - Kauai League (Susan Wilson)
Elections and Campaign Finance Reform Bills
Making Democracy Work - Campaign Finance Reform HICLEAN (Toni Worst)
Hawaii's Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP)
Voter Services
Education Committee Projects 1998-99
Action on Motor Voter!
Important Dates
Web Page
Rhoda Miller Peace Memorial
On National Issues...
Small Schools and Schools-Within-Schools (insert)

Elections and Campaign Finance Reform Bills

Quite a few bills related to elections and/or the elections process were considered in the 1998 legislative session. Two of the bills enacted were:

H.B. 2524 which extends up to 120 days the period in which to call a general, special general or special election. Presently it is 60 days, and in the recent case of the Con Con question, the Elections Office found it impossible to set up the infrastructure to conduct an election within the 60 days.

S.B. 2399 which authorizes the study of the feasibility of implementing a pilot clean elections program in the year 2002 and 2004 by the Campaign Spending Commission with cooperation from the League of Women Voters, Common Cause Hawaii, the Hawaii Clean Elections coalition, and other stakeholders.

Most of the other bills clarified the election laws. More interesting are the bills that did not make it.

H.B. 2529 proposed an amendment to Article 111, Section 6 of the Hawaii Constitution to change the eligibility to serve as a member of the Senate or House of Representatives. It would have required that a candidate for a state legislative office be a qualified voter in the district which the candidate seeks to represent prior to filing nomination papers for the primary election - At present, candidates have until the day of the general election to qualify for office from a particu lar district.

League testified for its passage on the grounds that the concept of single member districts for our electoral system was selected to ensure equal representation from all areas of the state. If we continue to allow the area-hopping for the convenience and benefit of politicians, the affected districts will not necessarily be represented by true residents with stakes in the well-being of those districts or in tune with the interests, desires and concerns of the residents of those districts.

To emphasize the ridiculousness of the situation, Larry Meacham, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii, took out nominations papers (but did not file) for every legislative office in the state, and his name appears for every one of those offices in the Elections offices list of Applicants for Nomination Papers.

H.B 1160. We had high hopes for this bill, not in its original form, but as it went through several amendments. Originally, it reduced the amounts individuals could contribute to political parties from $50,000 to $6,000 in any two-year election period. It limited the amounts national parties could contribute to affiliated local parties to $50,000 in Any two-year election period. The purpose was to reduce the impact of soft money in elections. The objectionable part was that the limits would be effective prior to the 1998 primary and general election cycle. In other words, the rules would be changing in the midst of an election cycle.

In the amended version, these provisions would have been effective January 1, 1999. This bill would have provided for timely disclosures of large contributions, last minute contributions and independent expenditures. Independent expenditures are made by individuals and groups advocating or opposing the election or defeat of a candidate, but without coordinating these efforts with the candidate or the candidate's campaign committee.

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