HONOLULU — Yesterday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced his intent to veto a number of bills including SB 2682, CD1 – RELATING TO FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE STATEMENTS.
SB2682, CD1, would make public the financial disclosure statements of members of the state boards, commissions, and agencies, including the public utilities commission, the board of land and natural resources, the board of Hawaii housing finance and development, the Hawaii homes commission, the state ethics commission, the board of agriculture, the public housing authority and many others.
Senate Minority Leader Sam Slom asks, “Why shouldn’t the public and the media know if state board or commission members or their immediate family members have a financial interest or an association that may affect the member’s decision making? This is just an example of the ‘same old, same old’ where the Governor and his appointees get to wield power with a distinct lack of public scrutiny. Let’s face it, this veto doesn’t help the people of Hawaii establish any confidence in their government.”
Financial disclosure statements (Financial disclosure forms and instructions) require disclosures of all forms of income, business interests, gifts and real property interests. The person disclosing is not required to disclose savings accounts and retirement accounts. Amounts disclosed are usually in ranges starting at less than one thousand dollars and ending at more than a million dollars, and each range is represented by a letter of alphabet.
Slom states “This bill passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate. Not even one legislator chose to exercise a reservation vote in the committees or on the floor of either house. This shows the need for transparency and the public’s concern of the lack thereof in this state. The Legislature should convene to vote to override the Governor’s veto. My concern is that, with the 2014 election almost upon us, many legislators will be looking to their party interests instead of state interests.”