Chair Rhoads and Vice-Chair Har, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports the intent of SB848, SD1, HD1.
The League does not believe it is necessary to include employees in this measure because we think they are already bound by the State’s conflict of interest statute.
Our understanding is that currently legislators are not required to disclose compensation from a lobbyist or lobbing organization that pays the legislator’s company (and not the legislator directly) for work undertaken by the legislator. Any such compensation would surely be seen by members of the public as important in determining if the legislator has a conflict of interest when considering related measures.
In previous testimony the State Ethics Commission suggested an amendment with a $1,000 compensation threshold for payments to a legislator. This would be ideal, but the League would reluctantly support having a $25 thousand threshold for such income, if this will advance the bill. Having some disclosure of this potential source of conflict is better than having none.
The bill is a step to enhance ethics in government, and it is better to have some disclosure of such indirect income from lobbyists rather than having none. For government to work properly people must have faith in the integrity of its officials.
We ask you to amend this bill again to lower the reporting threshold to $25,000. Thank you for the opportunity to testify.