June 22, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission Approves Administrative Rules on Lobbying, Gifts

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii Ethics Commission approved a package of proposals on June 18. These proposals amend and adopt portions of the Hawaii Administrative Rules related to lobbying and gifts. The amendments in chapters one through six address the Commission’s operations and […]

The Hawaii Ethics Commission approved a package of proposals on June 18. These proposals amend and adopt portions of the Hawaii Administrative Rules related to lobbying and gifts.

The amendments in chapters one through six address the Commission’s operations and procedures. Additionally, chapters seven through 10 now include sections on “Lobbying” and “Gifts and Fair Treatment”.

The proposed rules do not purport to amend any statutes. Rather, they are designed to interpret and execute the statutes enacted by the Legislature.

Section 21-10-5

Section 21-10-5, statement of contributions and expenditures, addresses the statutory requirement that statements of contributions and expenditures must be filed by up to three different entities. This could be the client, the employing organization, and the lobbyist. Or, in the case of lobbyists employed in-house by the client, the client or employing organization and the lobbyist.
This rule creates a single, client-based report rather than requiring separate reports from the client, the employing organization, and the lobbyist. This single, client-based reporting method avoids double or sometimes triple reporting. Additionally, it eliminates the practice, when clients or employing organizations cover expenditures, of having lobbyists submit reports listing “zero” expenditures.

Section 21-10-1

Section 21-10-1 contains definitions of “direct lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying” to demonstrate that lobbying can be both direct and indirect, consistent with the definition of lobbying in Section 97-1 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Under Rule 21-10-1, direct lobbying is defined as any oral or written communication with a legislator, an employee, intern, or volunteer of the legislature or an agency that would appear to a reasonable person to be an attempt to influence legislation or rule-making.
Additionally, grassroots lobbying is defined as any oral or written communication directed at any member of the public that expresses an opinion about existing or potential legislation, administrative rule, or ballot issue and includes an explicit or implied call to action.

Section 21-7-6

Section 21-7-6, valuation of gifts, defines the value of a gift as the cost that a member of the public would reasonably expect to incur to purchase it. For example, If the face value of a ticket to an event is $100, but the event is sold out and tickets on the secondary market are $500 at the time the ticket is offered as a gift, the value of the ticket is $500.

The rules must now be approved by the Department of the Attorney General, and then by the governor. Once approved by both offices, they will be posted with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for 10 days before becoming effective.

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June 11, 2020 •

Hawaii Legislature Expects to Reconvene June 22

The Hawaii Legislature will resume its session on June 22 to address budget issues, COVID-19, and police discipline measures. The Legislature previously recessed on May 22 after passing legislation storing more than $1 billion in the general fund. Now lawmakers […]

The Hawaii Legislature will resume its session on June 22 to address budget issues, COVID-19, and police discipline measures.

The Legislature previously recessed on May 22 after passing legislation storing more than $1 billion in the general fund.

Now lawmakers will need to pass a balanced budget of approximately $413 million for the fiscal year.

In terms of law enforcement reform, lawmakers will consider a proposal to require police to intervene when they see their fellow officers involved in potentially unlawful situations.

The legislative session is expected to adjourn sine die on July 10.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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May 26, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission to Consider New Testimony for Proposed Lobbying, Gift Rules

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21. The hearing is specifically concerning proposed amendments to the state lobbying and gift rules. In order to consider the new testimony, the […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission voted to accept new testimony prior to its public hearing on May 21.

The hearing is specifically concerning proposed amendments to the state lobbying and gift rules.

In order to consider the new testimony, the Commission deferred the matter to its next meeting scheduled for mid-June.

The proposals include:

  • Clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying
  • Exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements
  • A requirement that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis.

Additionally, the proposals would amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements.

Once the Commission approves the rules, the rules are subject to approval by the Department of the Attorney General and the governor. Afterward, they will be posted with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor for a period of 10 days before becoming effective.

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April 24, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission Further Extends Deadline for Lobbyist Reports

Hawaii Capitol Building

On April 24, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission further extended the deadline for lobbyist and employer activity reports to June 1 in response to COVID-19. Originally, reports for the January 1 to February 29 period were due on March 31. […]

On April 24, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission further extended the deadline for lobbyist and employer activity reports to June 1 in response to COVID-19.

Originally, reports for the January 1 to February 29 period were due on March 31.

The stay-at-home orders prompted the commission to extend the deadline to April 30.

Now the deadline has been further extended to June 1.

This does not affect lobbyist and employer activity reports due June 1 for the reporting period of March 1 to April 30.

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April 2, 2020 •

Hawaii Postpones Presidential Primary Election

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Democratic Party of Hawaii announced the Democrat presidential primary election will take place on May 22 via mail-in ballots. The election had originally been scheduled for April 4, but in-person voting was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. To accommodate […]

The Democratic Party of Hawaii announced the Democrat presidential primary election will take place on May 22 via mail-in ballots.

The election had originally been scheduled for April 4, but in-person voting was cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns.

To accommodate those who planned to vote in person, the party won’t count the ballots until late May to allow time for the extra round of ballots to be mailed, filled out, and returned.

Voters have until April 4 to register with the party and request a ballot.

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March 31, 2020 •

Hawaii Proposed Administrative Rule Hearing Rescheduled

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has rescheduled its public hearing on proposed administrative rules concerning amendments to state lobbying and gift laws for May 7. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the original date of March 19 was postponed. The proposals include: […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission has rescheduled its public hearing on proposed administrative rules concerning amendments to state lobbying and gift laws for May 7.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the original date of March 19 was postponed.

The proposals include:

  • Clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying
  • Exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements
  • A requirement that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis

Additionally, the proposals would amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements.

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March 20, 2020 •

Hawaii State Ethics Commission To Consider Lobbyist Filing Extension

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission will hold a special meeting on Friday, March 27, in response to COVID-19. Currently, lobbyist and employer activity reports are due on Tuesday, March 31, for the period of January 1 to February 29. Additionally, […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission will hold a special meeting on Friday, March 27, in response to COVID-19.

Currently, lobbyist and employer activity reports are due on Tuesday, March 31, for the period of January 1 to February 29.

Additionally, Commission members will consider issuing an order to extend the deadline to April 30.

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March 20, 2020 •

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Closes to the Public

Despite previous reports on March 17 that the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission will remain open, it is now closed to the public as of March 20. Commission staff are available remotely at (808) 586-0285 during regular business hours for assistance. […]

Despite previous reports on March 17 that the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission will remain open, it is now closed to the public as of March 20.

Commission staff are available remotely at (808) 586-0285 during regular business hours for assistance.

This does not affect noncandidate committee filing deadlines.

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March 18, 2020 •

Hawaii Ethics Commission Postpones March 19 Administrative Rule Hearing

Honolulu Skyline - Chris Dickey

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission has postponed its public hearing on proposed administrative rules concerning amendments to state lobbying and gift laws scheduled for March 19. While a new date has not been established, the ethics […]

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission has postponed its public hearing on proposed administrative rules concerning amendments to state lobbying and gift laws scheduled for March 19.

While a new date has not been established, the ethics commission indicated the public hearing will likely take place in early May.

The proposals include:

    • Clarifications as to what activities constitute lobbying
    • Exclusions from lobbyist registration requirements
    • Requirements that expenditures be reported on an accrual rather than cash basis

Additionally, the proposals amend prohibitions on certain kinds of gifts, valuation of gifts, and gift disclosure statements.

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March 17, 2020 •

Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission Operating, Taking Precautions Against COVID-19

Honolulu Skyline - Chris Dickey

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission is fully operational and has implemented preventative measures in line with COVID-19 precautions. Staff are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hawaii State Department of Health on the […]

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission is fully operational and has implemented preventative measures in line with COVID-19 precautions.

Staff are following the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Hawaii State Department of Health on the importance of hygiene etiquette.

The Campaign Spending Commission remains committed to maintaining the integrity and transparency of campaign finance in the 2020 election.

As such, noncandidate committee reports will still need to be timely filed.

Additionally, contact information should be up to date in each organizational report.

To check the status of an organizational report, log in to the noncandidate Filing System.

After logging in, click on “Edit Organizational Report” under the Administration tab.

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March 17, 2020 •

Hawaii Lawmakers Recess Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Hawaii Capitol Building

The House and Senate leadership announced on March 16 that the 60-day legislative session is going into an immediate recess expected to last eight weeks. Legislators are following the recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The […]

The House and Senate leadership announced on March 16 that the 60-day legislative session is going into an immediate recess expected to last eight weeks.

Legislators are following the recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The guidelines urge the public to refrain from gathering in groups of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The session will resume where it left off subject to the call of Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki.

This does not affect lobbyist reporting.

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March 6, 2020 •

Hawaii Proposes Lobbying, Gift Law Changes

Hawaii Capitol Building

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission will hold a public hearing on its proposed administrative rules on March 19. These proposals will include amendments to the state lobbying and gift laws. The committee will also review changes to Title 21, addressing […]

The Hawaii State Ethics Commission will hold a public hearing on its proposed administrative rules on March 19.

These proposals will include amendments to the state lobbying and gift laws.

The committee will also review changes to Title 21, addressing procedures such as issuing advisory opinions.

Decisions on the proposed rules will either take place at the conclusion of the public hearing or at a properly noticed meeting of the ethics commission.

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March 2, 2020 •

Hawaii State Office Tower Strengthens Security

The Campaign Spending Commission released a statement indicating that the State Office Tower will have a security guard stationed in the lobby. This will begin March 2 due to heightened security measures. All visitors to the building must sign in […]

The Campaign Spending Commission released a statement indicating that the State Office Tower will have a security guard stationed in the lobby.

This will begin March 2 due to heightened security measures.

All visitors to the building must sign in and out with the security guard and will be asked to provide a photo ID.

Additionally, all visitors will be issued a visitor pass at check-in, which must be returned to the security guard at check-out.

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February 11, 2020 •

Honolulu Voters Will Decide On Two-Term Limit for Prosecutor

Honolulu Hale City Hall

Voters in the November 3 election will decide whether the Honolulu prosecuting attorney should be limited to two consecutive four-year terms. Honolulu City Council members voted unanimously on January 29 to add the measure to the 2020 election ballot. Voters […]

Voters in the November 3 election will decide whether the Honolulu prosecuting attorney should be limited to two consecutive four-year terms.

Honolulu City Council members voted unanimously on January 29 to add the measure to the 2020 election ballot.

Voters last addressed a potential term limit on the prosecutor in 2016.

That year, citizens voted down a measure that would have established a three-year term limit for the prosecuting attorney, the mayor and council members.

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