Community Voice

League of Women Voters Debunks Governor’s Take on Disclosure Bill

The organization doesn't accept the idea that women would be harmed by the law, and hopes it would help the governor vet nominees.

·By Ann Sack Shaver

We, the League of Women Voters of Hawaii, are very pleased that the 2014 Hawaii Legislature passed Senate Bill 2682, requiring that the financial disclosure statements of members of 15 important state boards or commissions be made available for public inspection and duplication.

In view of the widespread public testimony supporting the measure and a unanimous vote in both houses for passage we are surprised and disappointed that the governor has placed this on his “intent-to-veto” list.

In May the press reported that the governor was worried about “forcing” volunteers to disclose personal information. But to us, such disclosure is just part and parcel of being willing to provide public service. Serving on a state board is voluntary, and if a current member such as a university regent is unwilling to disclose such information to the public, so be it.

What will Gov. Neil Abercrombie do with his pen? He has leaned toward vetoing the disclosure bill to protect women. But the president of the League of Women Voters is very much in favor of the legislation becoming law.

Office of the Governor

No one expects personally identifiable information such as a social security number to be disclosed, but this is not required on Ethics Commission disclosure forms. It’s normal to disclose family relationships for purposes of gaining a full picture of personal finances, but the bill appropriately limits disclosure of the address of the income sources of the spouse or dependent child. Such limitations are common sense and reasonable.

We

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Discussion

Is the disclosure bill important? Should the governor allow it to become law or veto it? Do his concerns seem valid?