Chair Espero, Vice Chair Kidani, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii strongly supports HB 468, which provides standards for the selection of County Ethics Commissioners to ensure their independence and impartiality. In this time of badly eroded public trust and confidence, we feel it's vital that every effort be made to address ethics requirements correctly and well.
County Ethics Commissions should be independent and nonpartisan. The members must have the will and the courage to fulfill their duties with impartiality and due diligence. The selection process is critical to ensuring their independence and impartiality.
We agree that the selection process for our State Ethics Commission is a sound reference model, and we heartily concur with requiring the counties to establish a selection process that ensures minimal involvement by those who are subject to an ethics commission's oversight.
The requirement that Commissioners be appointed from a list of nominees selected by an independent body and not be subject to confirmation by the county legislative body is a good one. This will help assure the public of consistency in standards that apply to both the state and local governments, and reflect the people's expectations for integrity.
We strongly urge you to pass HB 468. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in its support.