Judiciary Committee Passes Bills on Lobbyists, Campaign Finance

The House Judiciary Committee advanced several bills related to serving in public office today including support for public funding during elections, prohibiting former legislators from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office, increasing the fine for campaign spending law violations, and holding public special elections to fill vacancies for some offices.

Rep. Chris Lee (Kailua, Waimānalo) said these bills will help build the public’s confidence in our elections process and set clear rules for lobbyists and campaign spending violations.

“When SuperPACs game the system and violate laws to win an election, there has to be meaningful consequences, or we have lost our democracy,” Lee said.

Bills moved out of committee today include:

HB 1380 RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE.

Creates a comprehensive public funding program for candidates for county elections beginning in 2022.  Appropriates funds to the Campaign Spending Commission.

HB 1381 RELATING TO LOBBYISTS.

Prohibits former legislators and executive branch employees subject to senate confirmation from engaging in lobbying for 24 months after termination of employment as a legislator or executive branch employee.

HB 162 RELATING TO VIOLATIONS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW.

Increases the fine that may be assessed, for campaign spending law violations, against a noncandidate committee making only independent expenditures and that has received at least one contribution of more than $10,000, or spent more than $10,000 in an election period.  Allows the Campaign Spending Commission to order that payment of a fine assessed against a noncandidate committee, or any portion thereof, be paid from the personal funds of an officer of the noncandidate committee.

HB 626 RELATING TO VACANCIES.

Requires vacancies in the offices of United States Senator, State Senator, and State Representative to be filled by special election.

HB1380, HB162, and HB626 will now move on to the House Committee on Finance. HB1381 will go to the House chamber for a vote.

For more Legislative and hearing information, go to https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/.

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