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Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Sunday, April 02, 2023: ISLAND VOICES: Support Senate Bill 1543, the most significant public financing bill currently being considered throughout the nation.

In this Island Voices letter to the newspaper, Heather Ferguson, director of state operations for Common Cause, cites the important reasons for the Hawaii State Legislature to pass Senate Bill 1543, which proposes a statewide public financing program for elections. This legislation is a critical step toward ensuring that every voter’s voice is heard, regardless of financial resources or corporate connections.  The bill is running the gauntlet of several legislative committees which need to vote in support of it having a vote by the legislative body. Your showing support for this bill via testimony submitted on the Capitol Website or contacting your representative directly is strongly encouraged.

To read the entire Honolulu Star-Advertiser Island Voices article, click here.

Hawaii News Now - August 04, 2022 - Experts say union’s big spending could influence LG’s race

The Hawaii Carpenters Union political action committee is about to set new records in election spending. And the influx of cash could influence a very tight lieutenant governor’s race, experts say. The PAC — called Be Change Now — reported it spent $3.7 million on ads for the primary election with roughly $700,000 pending. Much of the money is aimed at keeping candidate Sylvia Luke out of office.

Be Change Now is funding attack ads against Luke, supporting her closest competitor Ikaika Anderson, who was endorsed by the Carpenters Union.

Experts said the union could sway the outcome with their financial force. “Because there are no big policy differences. And it’s also about who you trust. What negative advertising can do, whether it’s fair or not, is just put that sense of doubt in the minds of voters.”

Common Cause Hawaii, a non-profit dedicated to honest politics, said there needs to be more transparency with PAC and regulation of their influence over candidates. “So this is actually incredibly disturbing that the PACs and super PACs are muddying the waters and changing the dynamics of the elections in Hawaii,” said Sandy Ma, the executive director of Common Cause.

Honolulu Civil Beat - July 15, 2021 - Community Voice - The Legislature Just Reduced Transparency In Hawaii Elections

The Community Voice in this article is that of Sandy Ma, Executive Director of Common Cause Hawaii.

The Hawaii Legislature’s hasty override of Gov. David Ige’s veto of Senate Bill 404, relating to electioneering communications, is bad policymaking. SB 404 will reduce transparency in Hawaii’s elections and further erode the people’s trust in Hawaii’s political process and our elected officials.

SB 404, when it moved through the 2021 Legislature, received relatively little attention; it was a housekeeping administrative measure. The Legislature took the opportunity, on its own against the testimony of good government groups and watchdog agencies, to amend SB 404 to eliminate disclosures that must be made by candidates and reduce disclosures that must be made by special interest groups, or PACs and SuperPACs.

The result of the Legislature’s veto override of SB 404 is that the public will not know who is trying to influence their vote — which candidate or special interest group is telling them to vote for or against a candidate in the critical period right before an election.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser - March 19, 2021 - Hawaii moves to allow campaign funds to be used for child care

Hawaii lawmakers are considering making it legal for candidates running for political office to tap their campaign donations to cover child care costs. Senate Bill 597, which has sailed through the Senate and passed the House of Representatives’ Government Reform Committee on Wednesday, is part of a growing national movement to make it easier for parents of young children, and women in particular, to run for office.

“We don’t think that people who have young dependent children or dependent family members should have a harder time campaigning and running for office and we think this bill will level the playing field,” said Sandy Ma, executive director of Common Cause Hawaii, which advocates for open and transparent government. She told lawmakers that the bill would help create elected bodies that are more representative of their constituents.

Honolulu Civil Beat: Aloha Stadium Deal Panned By Watchdog Groups

Common Cause Hawaii and the League of Women Voters of Hawaii decry gut and replace bill.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Councilwoman’s use of city funds to pay PR firm is scrutinized

Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi is using her taxpayer-funded Council contingency account to pay a Honolulu public relations and advertising firm for community and media outreach and marketing.

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