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LWV-Hawaii Legislative Testimony

SB 1957

Relating to
Code of Ethics (financial disclosure)

Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor (JDL) - chair: Hee, vice chair: Kokubun,

Tuesday, February 6, 2007, Conference Room 229

Testifier: Jean Aoki, Legislative Liason, LWV

Click here to view SB1957

The League of Women Voters has some misgivings about SB 1957.

There is no question that members of certain boards and commissions should be required to file public disclosure of financial interests — the members of authorities who are given powers to make weighty decisions, the members of the Board of Regents and the Land Use Commission to name a few. But then, there are boards and task forces that are merely advisory with no real powers, made up of ordinary citizens.

To require all of these citizens to file public disclosures of their financial interests may well result in squelching any desire or feeling of civic responsibility to serve on any such boards. If you weigh the benefits of public disclosure of financial interest against the benefits of encouraging civic engagement on boards that carry very little or no opportunity for personal financial gain, we think the latter would win hands down.

State law now lists the boards and commissions whose members are required to file public financial disclosures. The list can be adjusted when necessary. Rather than limiting the pool of citizens willing to spend time and effort serving on these boards which really offer little in the way of benefits except for the satisfaction of having contributed something to the community and having learned much in the process, or even any recognition, we should be finding ways of encouraging civic engagement.

We urge you to hold SB 1957. Thank you for this opportunity to testify on this bill.


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