Spring1998 Home   Newsletters

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President's Message (Jean Aoki)
State Council / Board Actions May 15-16 1998
Honolulu's Loss - Seattle's Gain (Suzanne Meisenzahl)
Guidelines for Maintaining League Nonpartisan Policy
League Local News - Hawaii County (Susan Dursin, Helene Hale & Marian Wilkins)
League Local News - Honolulu (Grace Furukawa)
League Local News - Kauai League (Susan Wilson)
Elections and Campaign Finance Reform Bills
Making Democracy Work - Campaign Finance Reform HICLEAN (Toni Worst)
Hawaii's Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP)
Voter Services
Education Committee Projects 1998-99
Action on Motor Voter!
Important Dates
Web Page
Rhoda Miller Peace Memorial
On National Issues...
Small Schools and Schools-Within-Schools (insert)

Making Democracy Work - Campaign Finance Reform HICLEAN

The League of Women Voters has been very active in our Making Democracy Work focus on campaign finance reform via our participation and leadership in the reform coalition Hawai'i Clean Elections (HI. CLEAN), along with other group members Common Cause Hawaii, Advocates for Consumer Rights, UH Student Caucus, Graduate Students of UK Hawaii Green Party, Life of the Land, and Sierra Club. Resolutions in support of Clean Money Campaign Reform in Hawaii have been passed by the Democratic Party of Hawaii, the Honolulu City Council, and thirteen Oahu Neighborhood Boards. Broadening the coalition to include support from a diversity of organizations continues to be a priority, if we want to generate enough visible public pressure to pass this reform in the Legislature.

LEAGUE MEMBER ACTION REQUEST: Are you a member of an organization or group that could pass a resolution in support of Clean Elections reform? Call the League office (531-7448) to arrange a Clean Money presentation from our speaker's bureau.

HI.CLEAN was able to shepherd through a "first step" Clean Money bill in the 1998 legislative session, SB2399, which mandates a Campaign Spending Commission study of Hawaii's campaign finance system and the feasibility of a Clean Elections pilot program in the 2002 and 2004 elections. We were significantly helped by Senators Les Ihara, Mike McCartney, Avery Chumbley, and Matt Matsunaga, as well as Brian Nakamura and Bob Watada of the Campaign Spending Commission staff.

The coalition began the session with very minimal expectations and were continually surprised that the bill stayed alive along the way (our rallying cry was "Not dead yet!!"). Many legislators expressed support for the reform and few disagreed that the current system is rotten and needs overhauling. Most of the debate in hearings centered on how Clean Elections would be implemented, where the funding would come from, and what new problems might be created.

The coalition almost succeeded in getting the pilot program itself mandated, but in the end, the House would not approve several key provisions and the Senate had to agree to this "first step" compromise. (The House also would not agree to close the soft money loophole in the 2000 elections or improve disclosure, so we'll have to go back for those next session.) Nevertheless, we didn't leave the session empty-handed and we also received pretty good publicity for the Clean Elections concept, accomplishing a lot of public education in the process. During the interim, HI.CLEAN will be continuing our public education efforts as well as beginning to work with the Campaign Spending Commission on the study mandated by SB2399.

Thanks and congratulations to all Leaguers who worked SO hard on reform issues this session!

Toni Worst
Chair, Making Democracy Work

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