February 20, 2017 •
Hawaii Lawmakers Considering New Lobbyist Registration Threshold
Hawaii legislators are currently considering legislation aimed at closing an existing loophole in lobbyist registration and reporting rules. Currently, a lobbyist is one who spends more than five hours in a month or $750 in a reporting period attempting to influence a ballot issue or legislative or administrative action.
The law is not clear, however, with regards to the activities and time to be included when determining if an individual meets the lobbyist threshold. As a result, it has been utilized as a way to avoid public disclosure.
House Bill 290 would close the loophole by amending the registration threshold. A lobbyist would include anyone paid or who expects to be paid more than $1,000 in a year for lobbying, anyone who spends five hours in one month or 10 hours in a calendar year on lobbying, or anyone who lobbies on three or more measures during a legislative session.
The bill is just one part of a legislative package supported by the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. The Commission is also supporting bills to increase fines for ethics and lobbying violations, to amend various definitions related to lobbying, to amend special session lobbyist reporting requirements, and to allow lobbyist employers to file notices of termination.
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