Chair Espero, Vice Chair Kidani, and PGM Committee members,
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii is cautiously hopeful that HB 468, HD1 maintains the intent and provides the appropriate means for selection of County Ethics Commissioners to ensure 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 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. That is why we strongly supported the HB 468 requirement that Commissioners be appointed from a list of nominees selected by an independent body and not subject to confirmation by the county legislative body.
HD1 changes the proposed process to the judicial council nominating at least three persons for each vacant seat on a county ethics commission; the respective county mayor appointing new members from among the nominees selected by the judicial council; and a nominee appointed by the mayor not being subject to county council confirmation. This appears to be sound.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on HB 468, HD1.