The League of Women Voters supports the intent of H.B. 909 to amend Section 84-14 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes by adding specific clarifying guidance on what constitutes conflict of interest with regard to official actions.
We agree with changing "he" to "the employee" and "the person"; and "himself" to "the department head's self" for correctness and clarity. We also agree with expanding the conflict of interests section by stating "A business or undertaking in which the employee knows or has reason to know that a brother, a sister, a parent, or an emancipated child of the employee has a substantial financial interest;" but find the last part of that statement confusing. As it reads, "provided that the financial interests of the individual shall not include the interests of a spouse or child", it is unclear how that relates. Since this is a statement restricting any official action, we recommend it be more clearly stated.
We applaud all positive efforts to help public employees to better understand and avoid actions, whether inadvertent or conscious, that would be conflicts of interest. Every step forward in protecting against corruption helps improve public confidence in government.
We urge passage of H.B. 909, amended for clarity, as I've noted. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on it.