S.B. NO.














relating to the state ethics code.





SECTION 1. The purpose of this Act is to improve the administration of the state ethics code by clarifying provisions on gifts disclosure statements, retention of financial disclosure statements, investigations, and training.

SECTION 2. Section 84-11.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]84-11.5[]] Reporting of gifts. (a) Every legislator and employee shall file a gifts disclosure statement with the state ethics commission [on] no later than June 30 of each year if all the following conditions are met:

(1) The legislator or employee, or spouse or dependent child of a legislator or employee, received directly or indirectly from one source any gift or gifts valued singly or in the aggregate in excess of $200, whether the gift is in the form of money, service, goods, or in any other form;

(2) The source of the gift or gifts have interests that may be affected by official action or lack of action by the legislator or employee; and

(3) The gift is not exempted by subsection (d) from reporting requirements under this subsection.

(b) The report shall cover the period from June 1 of the preceding calendar year through [June 1] May 31 of the year of the report.

(c) The gifts disclosure statement shall contain the following information:

(1) A description of the gift;

(2) A good faith estimate of the value of the gift;

(3) The date the gift was received; and

(4) The name of the person, business entity, or organization from whom, or on behalf of whom, the gift was received.

(d) Excluded from the reporting requirements of this section are the following:

(1) Gifts received by will or intestate succession;

(2) Gifts received by way of distribution of any inter vivos or testamentary trust established by a spouse or ancestor;

(3) Gifts from a spouse, fiance, fiancee, any relative within four degrees of consanguinity or the spouse, fiance, or fiancee of such a relative. A gift from any such person is a reportable gift if the person is acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not covered by this paragraph;

(4) Political campaign contributions that comply with state law;

(5) Anything available to or distributed to the public generally without regard to the official status of the recipient;

(6) Gifts that, within thirty days after receipt, are returned to the giver or delivered to a public body or to a bona fide educational or charitable organization without the donation being claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes; and

(7) Exchanges of approximately equal value on holidays, birthday, or special occasions.

(e) Failure of a legislator or employee to file a gifts disclosure statement as required by this section shall be a violation of this chapter.

(f) This section shall not affect the applicability of section 84-11.

(g) For purposes of this section, "legislator or employee" includes any individual who was a legislator or employee for any portion of the period from June 1 of the preceding calendar year through May 31 of the year of the report."

SECTION 3. Section 84-17.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:

"(a) All financial disclosure statements filed by a legislator, employee, or delegate to a constitutional convention shall be maintained by the state ethics commission [during the term of office of the legislator, employee, or delegate and] for a period of six years thereafter. Upon the expiration of the six-year period, the financial disclosure statement and all copies thereof shall be destroyed."

SECTION 4. Section 84-31, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

"(b) Charges concerning the violation of this chapter shall be in writing, signed by the person making the charge under oath, except that any charge initiated by the commission shall be signed by three or more members of the commission. The commission shall notify in writing every person against whom a charge is received and afford the person an opportunity to explain the conduct alleged to be in violation of the chapter. The commission may investigate[,] the charges after compliance with this section[, such charges] and render an informal advisory opinion to the alleged violator. The commission shall investigate all alleged violations and charges on a confidential basis, having available all the powers herein provided, and proceedings at this stage shall not be public[.]; provided that the commission may refer any matter to another governmental law enforcement agency. If the informal advisory opinion indicates a probable violation, the person charged shall request a formal opinion or within a reasonable time comply with the informal advisory opinion. If the person charged fails to comply with [such] the informal advisory opinion or if a majority of the members of the commission determine that there is probable cause for belief that a violation of this chapter might have occurred, a copy of the charge and a further statement of the alleged violation shall be personally served upon the alleged violator. Service shall be made by personal service upon the alleged violator wherever found or by registered or certified mail with request for a return receipt and marked deliver to addressee only. If after due diligence service cannot be effected successfully in accordance with the above, service may be made by publication if so ordered by the circuit court of the circuit wherein the alleged violator last resided. The state ethics commission shall submit to the circuit court for its consideration in issuing its order to allow service by publication an affidavit setting forth facts based upon the personal knowledge of the affiant concerning the methods, means, and attempts made to locate and effect service by personal service or by registered or certified mail in accordance with the above. Service by publication when ordered by the court shall be made by publication once a week for four successive weeks of a notice in a newspaper of general circulation in the circuit of the alleged violator's last known state address. The alleged violator shall have twenty days after service thereof to respond in writing to the charge and statement."

SECTION 5. Section 84-43, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]84-43[]] Ethics training course. (a) The state ethics commission shall establish, design, supervise, and conduct ethics training [designed specifically] for the officers and employees to whom this part applies.

(b) The ethics training course shall include:

(1) Explanations and discussions of the ethics laws, administrative rules, and relevant internal policies;

(2) Specific technical and legal requirements;

(3) The underlying purposes and principles of ethics laws;

(4) Examples of practical application of the laws and principles; and

(5) A question-and-answer participatory segment regarding common problems and situations.

The [state ethics] commission shall develop the methods and prepare any materials necessary to implement the course.

(c) The [state ethics] commission shall:

(1) Administer the ethics training course;

(2) Designate those of its legal staff who are to conduct the ethics training course; and

(3) Notify each officer or employee enumerated in section 84-41 that their attendance in this course is mandatory.

[(d) The ethics training course shall be held in January of each year for those who have not attended the course previously. The course shall last at least two hours in length.

(e)] (d) The [state ethics] commission may repeat the course as necessary to accommodate all persons who are required to attend.

[(f)] (e) Each state agency shall provide to the [state ethics] commission the names of those required to take the course in a timely manner and assist the commission by providing adequate meeting facilities for the ethics training course."

SECTION 6. If any provision of this Act, or the application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

SECTION 7. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 8. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 9. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.





By Request



Report Title:

State Ethics Commission Package; State Ethics Code; Gift Disclosure Statements; Financial Disclosures; Investigations; Training



Clarifies State Ethics Code provisions on gifts disclosure statements, retention of financial disclosure statements, investigations, and training.




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