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House committee kills legislators' gifts bill

By Susan Essoyan

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 06:28 p.m. HST, Mar 31, 2011



 

The House Judiciary Committee voted this afternoon to kill a controversial bill that would have allowed legislators and state employees to accept free fundraiser tickets from nonprofit organizations as well as trips sponsored by other governments, with no restrictions.

Judiciary Chairman Gilbert Keith-Agaran recommended that Senate Bill 671 HD1 be deferred, effectively killing it. There was no objection from his fellow committee members.

After the meeting, Keith-Agaran said he felt the state was better off sticking with the law that is on the books, which prohibits state employees from soliciting or accepting any gift that can reasonably be inferred as intended to influence or reward them in the performance of their duties.

"I looked at the existing language of the statute and the opinions, and I think the statute is fairly flexible," he said. "I think the exceptions probably would have narrowed the law. I thought it was probably better to leave things as they are."

The bill was opposed by the state Ethics Commission as well as groups such as Common Cause Hawaii and the Hawaii chapter of Americans for Democratic Action.






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