Goodies able from lobbyists to assembly like manapua, PB&J sandwiches, musubi and trinkets are no best accustomed because of new accompaniment belief rules that ban “gifts of aloha” for legislators.
On accomplished aperture canicule of the Legislature, and throughout session, lobbyists and the organizations they represent acquire showered Hawaii’s assembly with those baby ability and food. Giving ability to assembly is about banned beneath accompaniment law, but the statutes were cryptic back it came to baby items beneath $25.
The new ban on “gifts of aloha” is aloof one of dozens of new rules anesthetized by the accompaniment Belief Agency as the Legislature prepares to accessible the 2021 affair abutting week.
The rules, which took aftereffect in November, accord a clearer framework for how accompaniment advisers and the agency should accept by the belief code. New capacity on lobbying and allowance giving seek to accommodate clearer advice in both of those areas.
Opening day for the Legislature is Wednesday, and in years past, assembly appear accepting abundant baby ability on that day as capacity and lobbyists akin flocked to their accessible offices.
A accepted aliment account some assembly appear accepting on aperture day aftermost year included manapua from SanHi Government Strategies, Capitol Consultants, Oceanit and several added organizations that acquire interests in the issues afore assembly or represent audience who do.
Manju and gau from the Hawaii Accompaniment Teachers Association and peanut adulate and clabber sandwiches from the Hawaii Youth Theatre additionally appeared on several lawmakers’ lists about aperture day. Sen. J. Kalani English and added assembly were able stainless animate baptize bottles admired about $25 from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 142.
Former accompaniment Sen. Milton Holt able House Speaker Scott Saiki a $50 bowl of sashimi on aperture day in 2020.
“Please don’t try to get creative.” — Dan Gluck, Belief Agency Controlling Director
The Belief Agency ahead accustomed best of those types of gifts. Les Kondo, the accompaniment accountant and above administrator of the commission, said in 2011 that ability of basal bulk that could be given as a action of amicableness were acceptable.
Under the new rules, giving aliment and about annihilation abroad to assembly is accurately prohibited. Dan Gluck, the controlling administrator of the accompaniment Belief Commission, said it has to do with the way the rules are set up.
“The starting point is, if there’s some affectionate of ascendancy vested in accompaniment admiral over the bodies giving the gifts, again the accompaniment official shouldn’t be accepting the gifts,” he said.
For the Legislature, which makes laws that affect about anybody in the state, that agency no added baby gifts.
Gifts beneath the rules beggarly things that could acquire budgetary value, Gluck said during a training for lobbyists beforehand this week. So that doesn’t awning items like pens and notebooks, where, “if you approved to advertise them, no one would pay you for it,” Gluck said.
But ability amid government admiral ability still be OK. For example, the musubi several legislators appear accepting aftermost year from above Rep. Calvin Say may still be permissible beneath the new rules.
Several assembly aftermost year additionally appear accepting venison meat candy from Maui Mayor Mike Victorino. Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami able chili pepper baptize to Sen. Gil Keith-Agaran and added lawmakers.
Other baby ability are still accustomed beneath the rules such as lei, but no money lei, according to the new rules.
“So amuse don’t try to get creative,” Gluck said.
Travel, abnormally to conferences, is additionally still accustomed beneath the new rules. Those acquire about been acceptable because the abilities advisers apprentice from conferences is apparent as a account to the state.
Lawmakers additionally participate in abundant action conferences about the country and the globe.
In budgetary year 2020, which concluded June 30, Senate President Ron Kouchi appear added than $25,000 account of travel-related expenses, the best of any accompaniment lawmaker, which included auberge and commons covered by the National Conference of Accompaniment Legislatures, as able-bodied as agnate apartment from the Senate President’s Forum.
Beyond allowance giving, the new rules additionally abode the operations of lobbyists.
The rules added acutely ascertain what lobbying is, like drafting and accouterment affidavit or aggravating to amplitude accompaniment officials, such as the governor, on legislation or authoritative rules.
Background analysis on action issues that aren’t in advanced of assembly at a accurate time doesn’t calculation as lobbying. But it may already the affair comes afore lawmakers.
Bob Toyofuku, a adept Hawaii lobbyist, says he is still gluttonous accuracy on that accouterment and several others, including advertisement lobbyist compensation.
“Almost aggregate we do is geared against the issues of our client,” Toyofuku said, abacus that could accommodate allegory lists of bills, accomplishments analysis and alike aloof cat-and-mouse for issues to crop up in the Legislature.
For example, if a applicant pays addition $100,000 a year as a retainer, that lobbyist may charge to address the abounding bulk alike if they absorb aloof a few hours a year actively aggravating to amplitude lawmakers.
Toyofuku says the beyond amount, while it shows how abundant an alignment ability absolutely be spending, may not accord the accessible a bright account of what is actuality spent accurately on lobbying.
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