HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023
STATE OF HAWAII
amending the rules of the house of representatives of the thirty-second legislature of the state of hawaii.
BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2023, that the Rules of the House of Representatives be amended by adding a new House Rule to read as follows:
(1) No member, on any account, shall refrain from voting unless excused by the presiding officer (the Speaker or a committee chair, as the case may be).
(2) The presiding officer shall excuse a member who has a conflict of interest in the question, or whose right to a seat in the House will be affected by the question, or whose official conduct is involved in the question. If a member thinks there may be a personal interest in the question, then prior to voting, the member shall rise and disclose the interest to the presiding officer. Alternatively, any member may state their reasonable belief that another member may have such an interest and provide information supporting this belief. The presiding officer then shall rule whether the member has a conflict of interest. If so, the member shall be excused from voting.
(3) If the presiding officer finds no conflict of interest, or it is uncertain whether a member has a conflict of interest in the question, there shall be a determination in accordance with Rule 62.6.
(4) If quorum required for any vote is not achieved due to members recusing themselves based on a conflict of interest, each such recused member shall nonetheless be required to vote. Prior to, or within one week of, the vote, the member shall present to the voting body a detailed written explanation of the specific facts describing the member's conflict of interest, which shall be recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives and posed on the House website until the next legislative biennium.
For the purposes of this rule, a "conflict of interest" has the same meaning as defined in Rule 62.5."; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rules of the House of Representatives be amended by amending House Rule 29 Disclosures and Punishment of Members to read as follows:
"Rule 29. Disclosures and Punishment of Members
29.1 Each member shall file with the Ethics
Commission of the State of Hawaii a disclosure of his or her private financial
interests, as prescribed by law. Each
member shall file with the Ethics Commission any change in [
his or her] such
29.2 If a legislative matter which affects a
member's interests arises before the member has made a disclosure to the Ethics
Commission, the member shall [
orally] disclose [ his or her] orally
such interest to the House [ before] prior to voting[ .]
and recuse themselves from voting, with the option to request a ruling in
accordance with Rule 62.6. The
member then shall immediately make the written disclosure required by law and
Any member who has filed a disclosure as required by this Rule shall not need to make a further oral disclosure on the House floor of any interest so filed, unless the disclosed financial interest presents a conflict as defined in Rule 62.5
29.3 In accordance with Rule [
the Speaker shall appoint a Select Committee on Standards of Conduct to receive
complaints and investigate any member for misconduct, disorderly conduct,
neglect of duty, violation of chapter 84, Hawaii Revised Statutes, or violation
of these Rules. The House may punish any
member found guilty by such a committee by censure, suspension, or expulsion. Censure shall require the approval of a
majority of the members to which the House is entitled. Suspension or expulsion shall require the
approval of two-thirds of the members to which the House is entitled.";
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rules of the House of Representatives be amended by amending House Rule 62.5 to read as follows:
If the member has a conflict of interest in
legislation, the member shall disclose to the presiding officer (the committee
chair or the Speaker, depending on where the vote is taking place) the conflict
of interest prior to voting on that legislation. For the purposes of this rule, a
"conflict of interest" means that the legislation affects the
member's direct personal, familial, or financial interest except if the member,
or the member's relative, is part of a class of people affected by the
legislation.] No member shall
vote on, support, or oppose, make recommendations on, discuss or debate, or
take other official action on any question or legislation if the member has a
conflict of interest in the question or legislation.
"Conflict of interest" is defined broadly to encompass a variety of situations in which any private interest of a member, or of the member's business associate or immediate family member, is or could reasonably be in direct conflict with the member's duty to act in the public interest, including the following:
(A) Any situation in which a familial, business, property, or financial interest would be affected by the member's official legislative action, excluding incidental or nominal gain or detriment;
(B) Any situation involving personal, political, legal, reputational, or other issues that would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of relevant facts to question either the member's impartiality in the matter or the member's ability to exercise official legislative action in a fair, unbiased, and objective manner;
(C) Any situation in which a member's official legislative action would affect a lobbying organization or lobbyist with which the member was employed or received any personal compensation from during the previous five years;
(D) Any situation in which a member's official legislative action would affect a business or undertaking in which the member holds or held an interest during the previous three years, including a private undertaking in which the member is or was engaged as legal counsel, advisor, consultant, representative, or other agency capacity;
(E) Any situation in which a member's official legislative action would affect a person or agency that has investigated any issue relating to the member in the prior two years, if the investigation found improper conduct on the part of the member, unless the member's actions would be favorable to the investigating person or agency;
(F) Any situation in which a member's business associate or immediate family member accepts a significant gift from any person or entity whose financial interest would be affected by pending legislative action or inaction, and the member knows or reasonably should know that the person or entity's intent in making the gift is to influence the member in the performance of the member's official legislative duties or is intended as a reward for any action or inaction taken by the member; and
(G) Any situation in which public confidence in government would be substantially eroded by the member's official legislative action affecting a personal interest, including action designed to intimidate or retaliate.
For the purposes of this rule:
"Business associate" means an owner, employee, contractor, or other agent of a professional firm, partnership, or other business from which the member or the member's immediate family member receives
"Immediate family member" means a parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, spouse, partner, or household member."; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Rules of the House of Representatives be amended by amending House Rule 62.6 to read as follows:
"62.6 If a member is uncertain as to whether a
conflict of interest exists, the member shall preliminarily recuse
themselves from voting, but may request a ruling from the presiding officer
(the Speaker or committee chair, as the case may be) by giving notice
and disclosing the [
direct financial] conflict of interest to the
presiding officer in sufficient detail for the presiding officer to make an
informed ruling prior to voting.
When making a determination in cases where a portion of a measure may
place a member in a conflict of interest, the presiding officer shall give due
consideration to the context of that portion as it relates to the overall
purpose of the measure. If the presiding
officer determines that a conflict exists, the presiding officer shall [ recognize
the conflict and honor the member's request to be excused] excuse the
member from discussion, debate, and voting.
If the presiding officer determines that no conflict exists, the matter shall be presented to the floor or committee, as appropriate, and if two-thirds of the voting members agree, the member shall be allowed to participate in discussion, debate, and voting. Members who have a conflict or possible conflict with respect to voting on the status of another member's conflict shall recuse themselves from that vote without further recourse."; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that new language for rules added to the Rules of the House of Representatives is underscored and repealed language of the Rules of the House of Representatives is bracketed and stricken.
House of Representatives Rules; Amendments; Adoption