House OKs campaign financing reform measure

The state House Finance Committee on Wednesday unanimously passed Senate Bill 1543, which aims to create “clean elections” in Hawaii,

The bill would establish a statewide public financing election program to help minimize corruption and the influence of private donors in politics.


The measure will now head to its final vote on the full House floor some time next week, then to the inter-chamber legislative conference between both the state House and Senate.

The House and Senate leadership will negotiate its ultimate fate, and, if approved, the bill will move on to the governor’s office for final consideration.

Questions about funding for the bill remain and will be resolved during the legislative conference.

“I know there was some discussion of safeguards that need to be put in place and where the money would come from,” said House Finance Chair Kyle Yamashita on Wednesday. “But I think it’s something that all of us want to have, a fair process.”

A scaled-down public financing bill was tried back in 2013, but this is the first time that legislation allowing for the full public financing of elections of every state and county office has the opportunity to pass both chambers of the Legislature and then head to conference.

If ultimately passed, Hawaii would join just a handful of other localities and states that have implemented a similar public financing system.

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