Friday, March 04, 2011
Request to Senate President to restore and hear the original ethics bill, SB671
by Larry Geller
This afternoon I sent a fax to Senate President Shan Tsutsui asking that the original text of ethics bill SB671 be restored on the Senate floor with a Floor Draft.
The gut-and-replace text pulled out of a hat at the 3/1/2011 hearing was the subject of ridicule in today’s Star-Advertiser editorial and a couple of blog articles (see The duplicity behind the SB671 ethics bill caper, 3/2/2011). Although the editorial blames Sen. Galuteria for this mess, in my view it wasn’t his responsibility. See the linked article. The text he may have been asked to put together could never have passed into law.
Basically, the public was duped by scheduling one bill and putting forth a pre-prepared amendment. It’s as though the original bill was just used as paper to wrap up the smelly fish that the Judiciary Committee chair wished to put forward.
The original bill would increase transparency of lobbying activities and deserves to be heard. I hope that Senator Tsutsui will try to regain the moral ground by restoring the text of this bill.
Finally, the Senate does not hear ethics bills. It doesn’t matter how necessary they are. That says something to the public. They could start by hearing this one and continue by hearing worthy bills in the future.