February 10, 2014 •
Hawaii State Ethics Commission Concerned About SB 2423
On February 7, the Senate Committee on Education reviewed testimony from the Hawaii State Ethics Commission regarding its concerns about SB 2423. Introduced in January, the bill authorizes the Department of Education to accept gifts or donations based on criteria established by the Board of Education. The commission maintains all state agencies and departments should be held to the same standards and codes of conduct; furthermore, it would be unnecessary and imprudent to allow the department to accept gifts contrary to the state ethics code.
SB 2423 also permits schools to participate in charitable fundraising activities in conjunction with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Though perhaps well-intended, the bill is extremely broad and raises numerous concerns in terms of application and oversight.
During its testimony, the commission urged the committee to defer the bill until after the Commission has an opportunity to thoroughly consider the issues involved.
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