Report Title:

Ethics Code; University of Hawaii


Specifies the application of the state ethics code to the University of Hawaii.


H.B. NO.









relating to ethics.



SECTION 1. The legislature finds that as national and local economies struggle to achieve stable growth, it is necessary to find ways to stimulate financial improvement throughout the State. While many "quick-fix" ideas exist for improving the State's fiscal standing, longer-term strategies that focus on creating an improved local workforce are the only way to truly effect lasting growth.

The University of Hawaii, besides being the primary institution of higher learning in the State, is also one of the most important entities in bringing about greater prosperity in Hawaii. Not only can the university help to provide a better-trained pool of workers, but it can also help establish many enterprises that generate significant revenues for the State, while creating a environment that attracts and feeds many other businesses.

The legislature further finds that article XIV of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii requires the State and each political subdivision of the State to have a code of ethics administered by an ethics commission. Article X, section 6 of the State Constitution assigns exclusive jurisdiction over the internal structure, management, and operation of the University of Hawaii to the University of Hawaii board of regents, consistent with laws of statewide concern.

In pursuit of worthy enterprising efforts, numerous unusual, innovative, and complex fiscal or supervisory arrangements may be established between university personnel and private or other entities. In many cases it is appropriate for personnel of the university to be engaged in or found private enterprises to which they may contribute expertise, although such arrangements would often not be ethical for employees of other state agencies. Time is often in short supply in the formation of companies to commercialize or otherwise utilize university technologies. Unfortunately, the application of rules of ethics to the University of Hawaii is often unclear or not completely resolved, and this can retard the progress of useful economic development by the university.

Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to provide certain additional provisions to the state ethics code to guide the university and its personnel more clearly in ethical matters.

SECTION 2. Chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to part II to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"84- Application to University of Hawaii. (a) As applied to the University of Hawaii or its employees, other provisions of this part shall be construed in conformance with the following principles:

(1) The participation of the university or its employees in for-profit enterprises, ventures, or collaborations that attempt to commercialize specialized or technical knowledge is presumptively ethical, and is presumptively in discharge of a legitimate university function, an employee's full-time employment at the university notwithstanding;

(2) The University of Hawaii, in exercise of its inherent authority, or through collective bargaining where bargainable matters are implicated, may establish rules to balance employees' academic duties against opportunities for profit;

(3) Where an employee of the university has accurately, and in conformance with any applicable university rules, declared to the university that the employee intends to participate in an enterprise, venture, or collaboration to commercialize specialized or technical knowledge, such participation shall be presumptively ethical unless and until the employee is notified to the contrary by the university or the ethics commission;

(4) Where an employee of the university, in the absence of applicable university rules, conforms or reasonably attempts to conform to rules established by the federal government, the employee's behavior is, to that extent, presumptively ethical; and

(5) An employee's incidental, occasional, or non-interruptive use of state time, equipment, or facilities to advance an enterprise, venture, or collaboration to commercialize specialized or technical knowledge with which the employee is associated, is presumptively ethical; provided that it is declared to the university accurately and in conformance with any applicable university rules.

(b) Presumptions established in this section may be rebutted by a clear and convincing showing of fact, resulting in a necessary inference that provisions of this chapter have been or are being violated.

(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to regulate the allocation of intellectual property developed at the university."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.