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Bill to Create Public Funding Option for Elections Headed to Final Committee

Advocates for campaign finance reform were pleased today when the Senate Ways and Means Committee passed House Bill 1481.  The bill would create a law that would modernize Hawaii’s outdated partial public funding program for elections.

HB 1481

The original public funding program was implemented during the 1978 Constitutional Convention, but has become ineffective over time.  In the 2012 election cycle, only one house candidate used the program.  Advocates in favor of house bill 1481 say it is now time to upgrade the old program.

“Delegates in 1978 fought hard to implement this important program, and we owe it to them to modernize it to make it useful once again”, said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii, a non-partisan non profit organization working to pass the bill.

This proposed policy has been gaining national attention also.  Public Campaign is a non-partisan, non-profit that works on federal legislation for publicly funded elections and has been supporting organizations locally.   According to Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign, “States are the true laboratories of democracy and Hawaii has the chance to be a national leader in addressing the growing influence of special interests in our political system.”

“We’re delighted with this bill’s passage, and excited about the prospect of leveling the playing field for House candidates,” said Janet Mason, Vice President of League of Women Voters, Hawaii.

In 2008, Voter Owned Hawaii led and effort to implement a similar program for Big Island County elections.  That program ran in the 2010 and 2012 elections and was deemed successful.  Currently, five out of nine councilors on the Big Island were elected without accepting money from special interests.

Payne says the program is intended to serve taxpayers.  “Special interests donate to politicians to get a return on their investment, and right now they’ve cornered the market on elections and the public is not invited to the party.  Publicly funded elections will save taxpayer money by allowing politicians to make decisions based upon what’s best for the people instead of campaign donors,” he said.

 

Bill for Publicly Funded Elections Advances

Advocates for campaign finance reform were pleased today when the House of Representatives passed House Bill 1481, a law that would modernize Hawaii’s outdated partial public funding program for elections.  The measure passed with three legislators voting “no”.

capital
The original public funding program was implemented during the 1978 Constitutional Convention, but has become ineffective over time.  In the 2012 election cycle, only one house candidate used the the funds.  Advocates in favor of house bill 1481 say it is now time to upgrade the old program.

“Delegates in 1978 fought hard to implement this important program, and we owe it to them to modernize it to make it useful once again”, said Kory Payne, executive director for Voter Owned Hawaii, a non-partisan non profit organization working to pass the bill.

Representative Chris Lee (D – 51, Lanikai, Waimanalo), a supporter of the bill added “this is a first big step toward limiting the influence of money and special interest influence in our political process.”

In 2008, Voter Owned Hawaii led and effort to implement a similar program for Big Island County elections.  That program ran in the 2010 and 2012 elections and was largely deemed successful.  Currently, five out of nine councilors on the Big Island were elected without accepting money from special interests.

According to Payne, the program is intended to serve taxpayers.  “Special interests donate to politicians to get a return on their investment, and right now they’ve cornered the market on elections and the public is not invited to the party.  Publicly funded elections will save taxpayer money by allowing politicians to make decisions based upon what’s best for the people instead of campaign donors,” he said.

Forty-eight out of fifty-one legislators voted in favor of HB 1481, and Richard Fale, Marcus Oshiro, and Sharon Har voted “no”.

Hawaii House Kills Public Funding Bill – UPDATE… Or Does It?

Update: I just read the following from Alan McNarie on Facebook:

NOTE: contrary to recent FB posts, the county’s pilot public campaign funding program was NOT just killed by the state legislature. Details Weds. in the Big Island Weekly.

We regret to announce that House Majority Leadership and the Finance Committee have killed House Bill 2700 HD1.

Please click here and tell the Representative Say and the House Finance Committee you are disappointed in their decision to kill HB 2700 HD1

To help us run an ad in the Star Advertiser, please click here to donate asap!

We’ll be working to figure out an alternative way to get the language of this bill passed this session.

To help us run an ad in the Star Advertiser, please click here to donate asap!

Without the language contained in HB 2700, the Big Island public funding pilot program is in jeopardy!

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Also, if you are able, please considering the following:

Call Rep Marcus Oshiro’s office (586-6200) and express your disappointment. You can say something like:  “I’m calling to express my disappointment for failing to pass House Bill 2700 HD1.  I’m counting on you to help get this language inserted into another bill.”

Big Island Publicly Funded Elections Pilot to Be Terminated Early if Hearing Not Heard THIS WEEK

According to Senator Les Ihara, Big Island’s publicly funded county elections pilot will be terminated early if HB2700 does not get a hearing this week.