HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TWENTY-NINTH LEGISLATURE, 2017
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO ETHICS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the current maximum penalty that the state ethics commission may impose for a violation of the ethics code is $500 per violation. This penalty has not been adjusted since being set by the legislature in 1992. Adjusted for inflation, an equivalent penalty would be approximately $857 in 2016 dollars. The legislature believes that the current statutory penalty should be increased to $1,000. Similarly, the maximum penalty for violating chapter 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes, regulating lobbyists has remained at $500 since 1995. The legislature believes that this fine should also be increased to $1,000 to account for inflation.
The legislature further finds that the failure to file a report required by chapter 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is no longer a criminal offense. Thus, the legislature believes that the mens rea requirement to prove a violation of chapter 97, Hawaii Revised Statutes, should be removed.
The purpose of this Act is to:
(1) Increase the maximum penalties that the state ethics commission may impose to account for inflation;
(2) Clarify the ethics code's language regarding the assessment of fines in the context of a settlement agreement;
(3) Remove statutory remnants from when violations of the lobbyist law were criminal offenses; and
(4) Increase the maximum penalties for violating the lobbyist law.
SECTION 2. Section 84-39, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:
Administrative fines. (a) Where an administrative fine has not been
established for a violation of a provision of this chapter, any person,
including a legislator or employee, who violates a provision of this chapter
shall be subject to an administrative fine imposed by the ethics commission
that shall not exceed [ $500] $1,000 for each violation. All fines
collected under this section shall be deposited in the general fund.
(b) No fine shall be assessed under this section unless:
(1) The commission convenes a hearing in accordance
with section 84-31(c) and chapter 91[
(2) A] a decision has been
rendered by the commission[ .]; or
(2) The commission and respondent agree to resolve any charge of an alleged violation prior to completion of the contested case process and the resolution includes payment of an administrative fine or restitution, or both."
SECTION 3. Section 97-7, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) Any person who:
Wilfully fails] Fails to file any
statement or report required by this chapter;
Wilfully files] Files a statement
or report containing false information or material omission of any fact;
(3) Engages in activities prohibited by section 97-5; or
(4) Fails to provide information required by section 97-2 or 97-3;
shall be subject to an administrative fine imposed
by the commission that shall not exceed [
$500] $1,000 for each
violation of this chapter. All fines collected under this section shall be
deposited into the general fund."
SECTION 4. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
Government; Ethics; Lobbyists
Increases administrative fines for ethics violations and for violations of the lobbyist law. Clarifies the assessment of fines in the context of a settlement agreement. Removes the intent of the respondent as an element of civil violations for chapter 97, HRS. (HB508 HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.