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Abercrombie to let financial disclosure bill become law

By Nanea Kalani

LAST UPDATED: 05:52 p.m. HST, Jun 30, 2014

One week after signaling his intent to veto a bill that would add members of 15 state boards and commissions to the list of public officials whose financial interests are publicly disclosed, Gov. Neil Abercrombie said Monday he will allow the measure to become law without his signature.

Under Senate Bill 2682, which unanimously passed both chambers of the Legislature, the annual financial disclosure statements of members of the University of Hawaii's Board of Regents, the state Ethics Commission, Public Utilities Commission, Hawaii Community Development Authority, Board of Land and Natural Resources, Land Use Commission and others would become public records and available on the Ethics Commission's website.

The forms contain such financial information as income sources and amounts, investments, debts, ownership or interests in businesses, and real estate holdings for themselves, their spouse and dependent children.

The disclosures are intended to help the Ethics Commission identify potential conflicts of interest, but the commission said in supporting testimony that its ability to do so is limited because of the large volume of statements filed and its small staff.

Volunteer members of some of the affected boards and agencies had asked the governor to veto the bill, citing privacy issues.

Two UH regents -- John Dean and Saedene Ota -- resigned from the university's governing board in June over concerns about the bill becoming law.

The measure was among 10 bills the governor told lawmakers last week he is considering rejecting.

But in a letter on Monday to the state Senate president and House speaker, Abercrombie said after reviewing the merits of the bill, it "seems reasonable" to allow it to become law. 

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islandsun wrote:
More of the poorly performing Regents going to step down now?
on June 30,2014 | 06:34PM
brb905 wrote:
I hope so.
on June 30,2014 | 10:47PM
ippikiokami wrote:
Gov. Abercrombie did right by letting this bill become law. Why was this not done years ago?
on June 30,2014 | 06:47PM
safari wrote:
Now, let's see how many will resign because of personal/family reasons!
on June 30,2014 | 07:10PM
jmarie wrote:
Now, let's see how many will resign because of inappropriate or questionable financial gains obtained through there association with state boards and commissions!
on July 1,2014 | 06:36AM
SomebodyElse wrote:
I have no problem with people advocating a particular view, but on boards with appointed members serving public purposes, we should know who is buttering everyone's bread. You shouldn't be ashamed of who you associate with if you're willing to make decisions that affect the public. At least biases will be more transparent.
on June 30,2014 | 07:47PM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Allow it to become law? Porky Pig can do that, so what have you done for us lately abs burr crumbles?
on June 30,2014 | 07:53PM
DanMollway wrote:
As to ippikiokami's comment about this bill not being acted on long ago, I am in agreement. The Commission introduced a form of this bill as long ago as 2005--HB No. 322. The bill was intentionally limited to the Board of Regents, and three other boards that headed executive branch departments.The other executive branch departments were headed by a single director, who filed a public--not confidential--disclosure. It logically followed that if a single executive branch department head had to file a public disclosure, those departments headed by a board (rather than one person) should also file public disclosures, whether their members were compensated or not. The issue was not compensation, but the "amount" of sovereign power held and exercised in heading an executive branch department. Adding other powerful boards was also discussed, but it seemed for starters that having boards heading executive branch departments filing public--not confidential--disclosures was basically a no-brainer.
on June 30,2014 | 07:57PM
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