Healthy Steps for Good Government

In a joint press conference with the House of Representatives and Senate Republicans, Representative Gene Ward spoke on the necessity for a Constitutional Convention in Hawaii. Representative Barbara Marumoto speaks on reforming the Grants in Aid process and the need for ethics and transparency in the Legislature.

FACT SHEET – Gift DisclosureCurrent Law[1]Separate annual gift disclosures must be filed if:· The legislator, his spouse or dependent children received gifts worth more than $200 in a year.· The source has interests that may be affected by official action.· The gift is neither from a relative, a campaign contribution, a thing distributed to the public without regard to the official status of the recipient, returned to the giver within 30 days, or part of an equal value exchange on special occasions. Disclosures must include: gift description, value estimate, date of receipt, and identity source.Who Must File Gift Disclosures?[2]In Hawaii, the Legislator, spouse, and dependent children or any person receiving income for the benefit of the legislator.Recent Legislation to Lower the Amount for Disclosures from $200 to $100 (House Side)HB 286: 2003 Legislative Session- Introducer Calvin Say (Part of House Majority Package)Lowers the value of a gift that must be reported by a legislator or government employee, spouse or dependent child of a legislator or government employee from $200 to $100.[3]Result: Passed Third Reading in the House. Referred to TMG on the Senate side. No Action.HB 851: 2005 Legislative Session- Introducer Blake OshiroLowers the value of a gift that must be reported by a legislator or government employee, spouse or dependent child of a legislator or government employee from $200 to $100.[4]Result: Referred to LMG, JUD. No Action Taken. Basic InformationHonorarium Restrictions[5]States are almost equally divided between prohibiting and allowing honorarium for legislators. Twenty-five states prohibit honorarium if it is offered in connection with a legislator’s official duties. Meaning, a legislator could accept honorarium for services performed in relation to their private profession or occupation if unrelated to the legislator’s duties as a member of the Legislature. Additionally, most states which prohibit honorarium do allow for reimbursement for travel, lodging, and necessary expenses.Twenty-five states allow honorarium or do not specifically address honorarium in statute. These states typically allow honorarium as long as it does not influence a legislator’s official duties. Georgia is one state that only allows honorariums up to a certain amount. At least 15 states that allow honorariums do require that they be disclosed.  Hawaii Gift Exemptions[6]Exceptions to gift reporting statute:· Gifts received by will or intestate succession;· Gifts received by way of distribution of any inter vivos or testamentary trust established by a spouse or ancestor;· Gifts from a spouse, fiancé, fiancée, any relative within four degrees of consanguinity or the spouse, fiancé, or fiancée of such a relative. A gift from any such person is a reportable gift if the person is acting as an agent or intermediary for any person not covered by this paragraph;· Political campaign contributions that comply with state law;· Anything available to or distributed to the public generally without regard to the official status of the recipient;· Gifts that, within thirty days after receipt, are returned to the giver or delivered to a public body or to a bona fide educational or charitable organization without the donation being claimed as a charitable contribution for tax purposes;· Exchanges of approximately equal value on holidays, birthday, or special occasions.



[1] NCSL: Ethics: Personal Financial Disclosure for Legislators: Gift Honorarium Requirements

http://www.ncsl.org/programs/ethics/fd_gift_disclosure.htm


[2] NCSL: Ethics: Personal Financial Disclosure for Legislators: Household Member Requirements. http://www.ncsl.org/programs/ethics/fd_household.htm#ga


[3] Capitol Website Archive 2003: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2003/bills/hb286_.htm


[4] Capitol Website Archive 2006: http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/session2006/Bills/HB851_.htm


[5] NCSL: Ethics: Honorarium Restrictions: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/ethics/gifts_and_honorariums.htm


[6] NCSL: Ethics: Legislative Gift Exemptions: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/ethics/e_gift.htm

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