Honolulu, Hawaii



RE:    S.B. No. 945




Honorable Colleen Hanabusa

President of the Senate

Twenty-Fourth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2007

State of Hawaii




     Your Committee on Judiciary and Labor, to which was referred S.B. No. 945 entitled:




begs leave to report as follows:


     The purpose of this measure is to require state justices and judges to file public financial interest disclosure statements with the Hawaii State Ethics Commission.


     Currently, state justices and judges are required to file annual financial disclosure statements on a form approved by the Hawaii Supreme Court.  Rule 15 of the Rules of the Supreme Court establishes financial disclosure requirements nearly identical to those established for enumerated state officials under HRS Chapter 84.  Presently, public access is gained by going to the Supreme Court Clerk's office.  This bill does not change that practice but merely require that financial disclosures be filed with the State Ethics Commission where the information is more accessible to the public.  Simply filing a copy of the same documents at another agency will not unduly burden the justices and judges.  This will ensure that the State Ethics Commission is the central repository for all state financial disclosures.


     Your Committee heard testimony for Daniel Mollway of the State Ethics Commission in support of the bill.  Your Committee also heard testimony from Susan Pang-Gochros, representing the Judiciary, in opposition to the bill.  Your Committee finds that this bill does not violate any constitutional separation of powers since Article 14 of the Hawaii State Constitution provides that the Legislature shall adopt a code of ethics which shall apply to appointed officers and employees of the State which, by definition, includes the justices and judges.  It should also be pointed out that Congress enacted a very detailed financial disclosure law for federal judges.


     As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary and Labor that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 945 and recommends that it pass Second Reading and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.


Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor,