STAND. COM. REP. NO. 317
RE: S.B. No. 640
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary, to which was referred S.B. No. 640 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLICLY FUNDED ELECTIONS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to increase the following under the partial public funding program, for candidates seeking office in an election with no incumbent:
(1) The expenditure limit to one hundred forty percent of the median expenditures received by non-publicly financed candidates in the respective voting district in the last preceding general election;
(2) The maximum amount of public funds available to a participating candidate;
(3) The maximum amount of qualifying contributions; and
(4) The matching contribution amount from the State for qualifying contributions.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i and League of Women Voters. Your Committee received comments on this measure from the Campaign Spending Commission.
Your Committee finds that public campaign funding in elections facilitates competitive elections and allows for first-time candidates to become a part of the political discussion. Your Committee further finds that inflation of campaigning costs in addition to economic inflation makes it harder for publicly funded candidates to successfully compete in elections. Your Committee additionally finds that this measure addresses that issue by increasing the amounts that publicly funded candidates can receive and expend.
Your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Defining "incumbent" as "a person who holds an elected office that represents any part of a district at any level except membership on a neighborhood board";
(2) Doubling the expenditure limit in election races in which there is no incumbent; and
(3) 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 that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 640, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 640, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary,
KARL RHOADS, Chair