2015 Bill Priorities

 See the full list of bills we are tracking here: 2015 Bills: Ones to Watch


2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: END OF SESSION UPDATE (May 20, 2015)

Common Cause Hawaii is pleased to announce three big wins for the 2015 Legislative Session:

  1. Killed an attempt to repeal Late Voter Registration / Same Day Voter Registration
    On Opening Day, then Senate President Kim boldly announced the Senate’s intention to pass a vote-by-mail (VBM) bill, which would have encouraged the majority of voters to cast their ballot through a mail-in absentee form. While a good idea, the VBM bills that progressed through the Legislature were used as vehicles to repeal Late Voter Registration (LVR), which is slated for implementation in the 2016 elections. Good government advocates were unwilling to support a VBM bill at the expense of losing LVR. We were pleased to see that the remaining VBM bill, which included language to repeal LVR, was deferred in the final hour.

  2. Successful passage of SB996
    Updates the State Ethics’ Commission’s filing platform so that all reports filed with the Ethics Commission – including lobbyist expenditure forms, and public financial disclosure statements from elected officials and certain board and commission members – will be accessible via a new data system making it easier for citizens to conduct online search enquiries, and extract such data for their own analysis.

  3. Successful passage of SB508
    Makes campaign spending from super PACs more transparent by creating an additional filing for them. In the 2014 election cycle, Hawaii saw an unprecedented amount of “big money” influencing our elections. As Election Day neared, many voters were curious and concerned about who these special interests were. SB508 addressed a gap in super PAC reporting, and shines a light on those special interest groups who attempt to sway voters.

See our OpEd published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Sunday, May 24, 2015 for a more detailed wrap-up.

Below is a list of democracy-related bills that Common Cause Hawaii tracked, that either: 1. Survived the 2015 legislative session; 2. Died in Conference Committee.

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2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: CROSSOVER UPDATE (March 17, 2015)

We’ve reached the half-way mark of the 2015 Legislative Session!

Crossover was on Thursday, March 12, 2015. The bills must be passed out of third reading by this deadline to continue on. Those bills that pass out of third reading will “cross-over” to the other chamber.

Here is a wrap-up of democracy-related bills that are still alive.

Note: This update does not include short-form bills.

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Original Post: January 2015

Common Cause Hawaii is pleased to announce our priority bills for the 2015 Legislative Session. The bills listed below are initiated by Common Cause Hawaii.

2015 Common Cause Hawaii bill priorities:
Note: There might be similar bills that have been introduced that have similar objectives.

Revamping of the Partial-Public Funding program (SB363, SB602)*

Updates the existing partial-public funding formula by: increasing the maximum amount of public funds made available to candidates running for governor, lieutenant governor, or mayor so they cannot exceed 50% of the established expenditure limit for each election; increasing the matching funds provision.

Replenish the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund (SB577)

1. Move Campaign Spending Commission’s general operating expenses to the general fund

2. Reinstate campaign-related fees; allow those funds to be directed to HECF

Electronic Filing for lobbyists and lobbying organizations (HB567)

Requires all lobbyist statements to be filed with the state ethics commission electronically using a webform mechanism.

Ranked Choice Voting (SB623)

Allows voters the option to rank candidates as the voter's first, second, and subsequent choices, instead of voting for a single candidate. Provides instant runoff method of voting for all partisan primary elections, special elections, and nonpartisan general elections held in Hawaii.

Broadcasting of hearings (HB328)

Broadcasting/webcasting/recording, and archiving of all hearings.

*Although we initiated a partial public funding improvement bill, we are still committed to strongly supporting a full public funding program.

In addition to the above priorities, Common Cause Hawaii will also invest effort in these key reform areas:

Other specific issues before the legislature we are strongly supportive of include:

  • Electronic filing for all reports filed with the Ethics Commission (HB826) -- Appropriate funds to the state ethics commission to design and develop a system that allows filers to electronically file required statements and reports with the state ethics commission.
  • Videoconferencing (HB1054) -- Requires the House of Representatives to implement rules for a pilot program to enable the house to receive live oral testimony from the County of Hawaii through audio or audiovisual technology. Requires consultation with the County of Hawaii, the chief information officer, and the Disability and Communication Access Board.
  • Sunshine Law for legislators – This bill would require the Legislature to adhere to fundamental principles of the Sunshine Law. Within this bill, our Legislature would be required to give a seventy-two hour public notice for public hearings. They would also be required to consider correspondence on measures to be considered testimony.

  • Fair Treatment Code -- Reverses legislators’ exemption of a portion of the state ethics code that specifies that legislators cannot use their elected title for personal gain.

  • Releasing ballot results prematurely (HB612)-- Make it illegal to release ballot results before all polling places are closed.

  • Evaluation of Chief Elections Officer -- Requires the elections commission to conduct a performance evaluation of the chief election officer.

  • Informed voting (SB509) -- The attorney general to prepare a statement for each proposed constitutional amendment in plain English that indicates the purpose, limitations, and effects of the proposed amendment. The Office of Elections will be required to publish this information wherever they make proposed constitutional amendment questions available to the public.

  • Voter registration: last four digits of SSN/Drivers’ License -- Require only last four digits of SSN and/or person's driver’s license/ state ID number for voter registration.

We are also tracking bills related to other significant reform measures we support:

  • 7 public funding related bills

  • 2 videoconferencing bills

  • 3 automatic voter registration bills

  • 5 shareholder disclosure bills

  • 8 vote by mail bills

  • ...and several bills meant to update and strengthen our transparency and public access laws.

See the full list of bills we are tracking here: 2015 Bills: Ones to Watch

We have an extremely active session ahead of us. Would you consider investing CCHI’s advocacy work? bit.ly/CCHIdonate

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