REPORT TITLE: 
Conflict of interest
DESCRIPTION:
Prohibits legislators from working as lobbyists, or
representatives of special interests.

 
HB HMIA 99-190-2
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.1259       
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
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                     A BILL FOR AN ACT

RELATING TO CONFLICTS OF INTERESTS OF LEGISLATORS.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:


 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that public office is a
 
 2 public trust.  This trust may be subject to abuse and violation.
 
 3 Despite the prohibition against conflicts of interest, there is
 
 4 some confusion in the legislature about what constitutes a
 
 5 conflict.
 
 6      Although the Rules of the House of Representatives do not
 
 7 specifically address conflicts of interest, Rule 52.5 does excuse
 
 8 a member who has a monetary interest in the question, or whose
 
 9 right to a seat in the House will be affected by the question, or
 
10 whose official conduct is involved in the question.  Rule 52.5
 
11 further states,"If a member thinks he or she may have such a
 
12 personal interest in the question, the member shall rise and
 
13 disclose the interest to the Speaker.  The Speaker then shall
 
14 rule whether the member has such a personal interest in the
 
15 question to be excused from voting."
 
16      This rule has allowed legislators to work and vote for
 
17 measures even when there is a declared conflict.
 
18      Generally, conflict of interest is the use of one's official
 
19 position to influence governmental decisions in which he or she
 

 
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 1 knows or has reason to know that he or she has a financial
 
 2 interest.  For example, under California law, any vote in
 
 3 committee or any roll call vote on the Senate or Assembly floor
 
 4 on an item which the Member knows is nongeneral legislation, that
 
 5 is, legislation that will have a direct and significant financial
 
 6 impact on one or more identifiable persons or one or more
 
 7 identifiable pieces of real property, and will not have a similar
 
 8 impact on the public generally or on a significant segment of the
 
 9 public, is prohibited as a conflict of interest.
 
10      Unfortunately in Hawaii, legislators are able to work for
 
11 companies, trade associations, or union governmental affairs,
 
12 political action committees, or lobbying committees and vote on
 
13 legislation that directly benefit their employers.  Such
 
14 arrangements breach the public trust of public office by allowing
 
15 such legislators to place personal and financial interest before
 
16 the public good.   Even the appearance of impropriety cannot be
 
17 tolerated.
 
18      The purpose of this Act is to clarify the conflict of
 
19 interest law and prohibit legislators from working as lobbyists,
 
20 governmental affairs representatives, or political action
 
21 committee representatives while serving as state legislators.
 
22      SECTION 2.  Section 84-14, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is
 
23 amended to read as follows:
 

 
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 1      "84-14  Conflicts of interests.(a)  No legislator or
 
 2 employee shall take any official action directly affecting:
 
 3      (1)  A business or other undertaking in which he has a
 
 4           substantial financial interest; or
 
 5      (2)  A private undertaking in which he is engaged as legal
 
 6           counsel, advisor, consultant, representative, or other
 
 7           agency capacity.
 
 8      A department head who is unable to disqualify himself on any
 
 9 matter described in items (1) and (2) above will not be in
 
10 violation of this subsection if he has complied with the
 
11 disclosure requirements of section 84-17; and
 
12      A person whose position on a board, commission, or committee
 
13 is mandated by statute, resolution, or executive order to have
 
14 particular qualifications shall only be prohibited from taking
 
15 official action that directly and specifically affects a business
 
16 or undertaking in which he has a substantial financial interest;
 
17 provided that the substantial financial interest is related to
 
18 the member's particular qualifications.
 
19      (b)  No legislator or employee shall acquire financial
 
20 interests in any business or other undertaking which he has
 
21 reason to believe may be directly involved in official action to
 
22 be taken by him.
 
23      (c)  No legislator or employee shall assist any person or
 

 
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 1 business or act in a representative capacity before any State or
 
 2 county agency for a contingent compensation in any transaction
 
 3 involving the State.
 
 4      (d)  No legislator or employee shall assist any person or
 
 5 business or act in a representative capacity for a fee or other
 
 6 compensation to secure passage of a bill or to obtain a contract,
 
 7 claim, or other transaction or proposal in which he has
 
 8 participated or will participate as a legislator or employee, nor
 
 9 shall he assist any person or business or act in a representative
 
10 capacity for a fee or other compensation on such bill, contract,
 
11 claim, or other transaction or proposal before the legislature or
 
12 agency of which he is an employee or legislator.
 
13      (e)  No legislator or employee shall assist any person or
 
14 business or act in a representative capacity before a state or
 
15 county agency for a fee or other consideration on any bill,
 
16 contract, claim, or other transaction or proposal involving
 
17 official action by the agency if he has official authority over
 
18 that state or county agency unless he has complied with the
 
19 disclosure requirements of section 84-17. 
 
20      (f)  No legislator shall assist any person or business or
 
21 act in a representative capacity for a company, trade
 
22 association, union governmental affairs organization, political
 
23 action committee, or lobbying committee, group or organization on
 

 
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 1 any issue, matter, or concern directly affecting said entity at
 
 2 any time during the legislator's term of office; provided that
 
 3 where no conflict of interest is found to exist, nothing herein
 
 4 shall be construed to prohibit a legislator from introducing
 
 5 bills and resolutions, serving on committees, or from making
 
 6 statements or taking action in the exercise of the legislator's
 
 7 legislative functions.  Every legislator shall file a full and
 
 8 complete public disclosure of the nature and extent of the
 
 9 interest or transaction which the legislator believes may be
 
10 affected by legislative action."
 
11      SECTION 2.  New statutory material is underscored.
 
12      SECTION 3.  This Act shall take effect upon approval.
 
13 
 
14                         INTRODUCED BY:___________________________
 

 
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