Who could’ve predicted everything that has happened in 2017? But no matter the uncertainty, we knew we could count on your support in our fight for good government. Mahalo! Please enjoy this look at OUR victories and successes in 2017.
Campaign Finance. Various bills that brought much needed updates to Hawaii’s campaign finance laws were passed. Changes include increasing fines and closing reporting loopholes. Additionally, the Campaign Spending Commission’s general expenses will be funded by the general fund, and not the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund (HECF). The HECF is the trust fund that provides matching funds for Hawaii’s Publicly Funded (aka Citizen Owned) elections. This ensures the continuation of our program, a viable alternative to big money in politics.
Transparency. Common Cause Hawaii is proud to have had a hand in passing the first major update to Hawaii’s Sunshine a.k.a. “Open Meetings” law in 20 years. HB165 (Act 64) updates include electronic notices and public access to board packets, which brings the law into the 21st century.
Voting and Elections. For the past several years we have been supporting voting modernization reforms like Vote by Mail and Automatic Voter Registration. Both reforms have been shown to increase voter turnout in states across the country. Unfortunately, both measures did not survive with Vote by Mail getting the farthest, dying just minutes before the bill cutoff deadline. With increased awareness and your support, we’ll keep working to make it easier to vote. More updates to come soon.
Ethics. Common Cause Hawaii worked with the State Ethics Commission to support necessary updates to clarify Hawaii’s lobbyist laws, and to strengthen the state Ethics Code. These bills close loopholes, increase fines, and are long overdue.
Fair Courts. Together with the State Judiciary and members of the legal community, Common Cause Hawaii members and supporters worked to defeat various bills that attacked Hawaii’s fair and impartial courts. Bills defeated included calls to cut retirement benefits for judges (and only judges), and politicizing the position of judges and justices by requiring Senate confirmation when renewing judges’ and justices’ terms of office.
Outreach and Education
Ethics and Campaign Spending Commissions Info Briefing. Together with the League of Women Voters Hawaii, Common Cause Hawaii hosted an info briefing for those interested in applying for positions on the State Campaign Spending and Ethics Commissions. Former and current commissioners spoke about their responsibilities and duties and the State Judiciary explained the application process. (photo)
Civil Café: Legislative Session—What Can I Do? We partnered with local newspaper Honolulu Civil Beat to present “Civil Café: Legislative Session—What Can I Do?” Bringing together long-time activists and political “newbies”. The panel discussion reviewed the legislative process, provided tips on how to get involved, and discussed various legislative proposals.
Tax Day March and Rally. Common Cause Hawaii partnered with Hawaii J20 and hundreds across Oahu to demand that President Trump release his tax returns. The public deserves to know if there are conflicts and potential conflicts between Trump’s responsibilities as president to serve the public interest and his personal interest in his businesses.
Member Update Webinar. To better connect with our members across the state, Common Cause Hawaii held our first member webinar. Topics covered included a review of legislative successes, future plans, and challenges we foresee coming our way. Members were then able to ask the executive director and board chair questions.
Youth Voter Registration Project. In an effort to encourage more youth civic engagement, we are teaming up with Kanu Hawaii to meet with students and pilot peer-to-peer voter registration programs at Kapiolani Community College and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Ethics in Government: Theory or Practice. In today's unpredictable political climate, ethics in government and the people's confidence in government are facing unprecedented challenges. We hosted a panel discussion to delve deeper into this important, but often overlooked issue.