STAND. COM. REP. NO. 113
RE: S.B. No. 200
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirty-Second State Legislature
Regular Session of 2023
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred S.B. No. 200 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PARTIAL PUBLIC FINANCING OF ELECTIONS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to increase the amount of partial public financing available to all candidates.
Specifically, this measure:
(1) Increases the maximum amount of public funds available for all offices by fifty percent;
(2) Increases the maximum amount of public funds available for a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from $1,500 to ten percent of the expenditure limit for each election;
(3) Increases the amounts of qualifying contributions for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from more than $1,500 to more than $5,000 in the aggregate;
(4) Provides a downward adjustment of the amounts of qualifying contributions for the Office of Prosecuting Attorney for the City and County of Honolulu, County of Hawaii, and County of Kauai and for the Office of County Council for the County of Maui;
(5) Appropriates unspecified sums for the increase in the partial public financing program; and
(6) Appropriates $200,000 for the Campaign Spending Commission to hire two additional staff members.
Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Campaign Spending Commission and Commission to Improve Standards of Conduct.
Your Committee finds that using public funds to finance election campaigns is in the public interest because it mitigates the outsized influence of large private donors. In Hawaii, a partial public financing program is operated by the Campaign Spending Commission and provides dollar for dollar matching funds up to a maximum amount on the qualifying contributions raised by a candidate who has first collected the minimum amount of these contributions for the prescribed office.
Your Committee further finds, however, that the amounts of funds available to candidates through the partial public financing program were last amended in 1995. Naturally, the real value of a dollar has decreased over time due to inflation. Therefore, this measure increases the matching fund payments available to candidates participating in the partial public financing program and appropriates funds to allow the Campaign Financing Commission to hire additional staff.
Your Committee has amended this measure by 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 Hawaiian Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 200, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 200, S.D. 1, and be referred to your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Hawaiian Affairs,
MAILE S.L. SHIMABUKURO, Chair