STAND. COM. REP. NO. 816
RE: H.B. No. 717
Honorable Scott K. Saiki
Speaker, House of Representatives
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred H.B. No. 717 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO NEPOTISM,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to prohibit legislators and public employees from taking or participating in certain actions related to the public employment of, or award of contracts to, relatives or household members.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawai‘i State Ethics Commission, Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct, League of Women Voters of Hawaii, Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Legislative Committee of the Democratic Party of Hawai‘i, Pono Hawaii Initiative, and eight individuals.
Your Committee finds that although legislators and state employees are already prohibited from providing unwarranted benefits or preferential treatment to their relatives under the State Code of Ethics, this can be difficult to prove. This measure would establish a bright-line prohibition on nepotism in state government, thereby bolstering the public's confidence in state government.
Your Committee further finds that the restrictions on legislators are better addressed through the rules of each chamber of the Legislature.
Accordingly, your Committee has amended this measure by:
(1) Deleting the preamble;
(2) Limiting the measure's application to only state employees;
(3) Expanding the measure's application to include persons of hanai relationships within the definition of "relative"; and
(4) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 717, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 717, H.D. 1, and be placed on the calendar for Third Reading.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary & Hawaiian Affairs,
DAVID A. TARNAS, Chair