STAND. COM. REP. NO. 716
RE: S.B. No. 150
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Twenty-Ninth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2017
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary and Labor, to which was referred S.B. No. 150 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO ELECTIONS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to require candidates for United States President and Vice President to submit a copy of their most recent income tax return with the sworn application in order to be included on the general election state ballot.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Americans for Democratic Action Hawai‘i, Common Cause Hawaii, League of Women Voters of Hawaii, and three individuals. Your Committee received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Libertarian Party of Hawaii and one individual. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Department of the Attorney General and Tax Foundation of Hawaii.
Your Committee finds that a majority of United States presidential and vice presidential candidates have made their income tax returns publicly available for the last forty years. This measure codifies this longstanding practice to increase transparency as well as the public's trust in their national leaders.
Your Committee notes the comments raised in written testimony submitted by the Department of the Attorney General that this measure may pose constitutional problems, especially with regard to whether a state may impose requirements in addition to the residency and age requirements under the United States Constitution for a presidential or vice presidential candidate. However, the Department of the Attorney General noted that states are given plenary authority over selection of electors.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Adopting the language suggested by the Department of the Attorney General that:
(A) Adds a preamble section regarding the importance of candidates for the office of United States President and Vice President making their most recent income tax returns available to the public;
(B) Requires candidates for President and Vice President of the United States to post their most recent income tax return on the Internet at least sixty days prior to and continuing through the date of the general election for free access by the public, rather than submit a copy of each candidate's income tax return with their sworn application, in order to be included on the state ballot, subject to certain conditions; and
(C) Prohibits electors from voting for a candidate for President or Vice President of the United States unless both candidates have posted their most recent income tax return on the Internet at least sixty days prior to and continuing through the date of the general election for free access by the public, subject to certain conditions;
(2) Adding a severability clause;
(3) Inserting an effective date of January 7, 2059, to encourage further discussion; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.
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. 150, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 150, S.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Labor,
GILBERT S.C. KEITH-AGARAN, Chair