In addition to the bills he’s co-sponsoring with Rep. Laura Thielen, which the Chronicle covered in an earlier piece, State Senator Russell Ruderman is sponsoring a suit of his own bills related to elections, sunshine laws and good government. A number of these were inspired by the problems that occurred when elections were held in the wake of the Tropical Storm Iselle last year.
All of these bills have already passed first readings and have been assigned to committees. Constituents can track the bills and file testimony related to them at URLs linked below:
SB 317: RELATING TO THE HAWAII BUSINESS CORPORATION ACT. Would require corporations to notify shareholders before engaging in political activities.
SB577: RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Requires any fees assessed by the campaign spending commission to be deposited into the Hawaii election campaign fund. Requires that general funds, rather than moneys from the Hawaii election campaign fund, be used for the operating expenses of the campaign spending commission. Authorizes the campaign spending commission to use moneys from the Hawaii election campaign fund for investigation expenses.
SB578: RELATING TO ELECTIONS. Enables the Hawaii State Office of Elections to implement elections by mail in any interested county, beginning with the 2016 primary election. By 2018, requires all federal, state, and county primary, special primary, general, special general, and special elections to be conducted by mail. Enables absentee walk-in voting to continue prior to election day. Ensures limited polling sites in each county remain open on election day for absentee walk-in voting and to receive mail-in ballots. Appropriates funds for the implementation and administration of the election by mail program.
SB597: RELATING TO ELECTIONS. Requires the chief election officer or county clerk to exercise existing powers to postpone an election in affected precincts when the right to vote is substantially impaired due to an emergency or natural disaster. Prohibits the distribution of results from any precinct, whether or not designated for postponement, until after the final closing of the polls for an election postponed due to an emergency or disaster.
SB599: RELATING TO ELECTIONS. Authorizes the elections commission to remove the chief election officer by a majority vote of a quorum at a meeting of the commission. Provides the chief election officer with a period of notice of the removal before it takes effect.
SB602: RELATING TO PARTIAL PUBLIC FINANCING [of election campaigns]. Amends the partial public financing laws to amend the maximum amount of public funds available in each election to a candidate for the office of governor, lieutenant governor, or mayor to not exceed 50 per cent of the established expenditure limit for each election; and increase the matching contribution amount from the State from $1 for each $1 of qualifying contributions to $2 for each $1 of qualifying contributions in excess of the minimum qualifying contribution amounts. Makes an appropriation to increase funds available to candidates participating in the partial public funding program.
SB603: RELATING TO CAMPAIGN FINANCE. Creates a public funding program for elections to the state house of representatives. Excludes from the partial public financing program candidates for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, state senator, and state representative pertaining to campaign expenditure limits, maximum amounts of public funding, and minimum amounts of qualifying contributions. Appropriates funds for the implementation of the public funding program.