Chair Luke, Vice Chairs Nishimoto and Johanson, and Committee Members:
The League of Women Voters of Hawaii supports transparency and the timely disclosure of money spent to influence legislation; therefore, we stand in support of SB2629 SD1 HD1 which would amend Chapter 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes, relating to the filing of lobbyist expenditure reports for special sessions as well as amending the definition of “lobbyist.”
We supported the original bill and earlier amendments proposed in SD1. We continue to support the minor amendment proposed in HD1 to make the effective date “upon approval.”
The need for amendment of Chapter 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes, became apparent during last fall’s special session on marriage equality which drew over 20,000 individual testifiers and scores of organizations including religious groups, labor unions, and professional and civic groups. Many persons and groups that had never considered themselves lobbyists and had never spent money to influence legislation before -- did so for the first time preceding and during that special session. Thus it became necessary to spell out what constitutes a lobbyist as well as requiring timely submission of statements of expenditures 30 days after the end of the special session.
We believe these amendments contribute to transparency and enhance our law relating to lobbyists. We urge you to PASS SB2629 SD1 HD1.
Thank you for this opportunity to submit testimony.