The Commission would like to inform you of the following campaign finance bills which were passed during the 2021 legislative session:
The 2021 Legislature overrode Governor David Ige’s veto of S.B. 404 H.D. 2 C.D. 1 on July 6, 2021 in the 2021 Special Session. Act 3, effective upon approval to be applied beginning with the 2022 primary election, amends Hawaii Revised Statutes (“HRS”) §11-341 by excluding candidates from the requirement of filing statements of information for electioneering communication. The law also lowers the threshold for noncandidate committees and other persons for the filing requirement to kick in (from $2,000 to $1,000) and reduces the filing requirement to just the initial spending that reached the threshold, and nothing further. Thus, beginning with the 2022 elections, if a noncandidate committee (which includes Super PACs) or other person spends $1,000.01 for an electioneering communication in the primary election, it will have to file a statement of information. However, if the noncandidate committee or other person goes on to spend more money on political advertisements, no further statements of information will be filed, no matter how much more money is spent in the same calendar year. The law also amends the definition of “electioneering communication” so that the disclosure requirement will apply to all political advertisement sent by mail and not just those sent at a bulk rate.
Governor David Ige signed S.B 200 H.D. 2 C.D. 1 into law as Act 195 on July 6, 2021. Act 195, effective upon approval, amends HRS §11-338 by providing that contributions aggregating more than $500 that are made to candidates, who are on the ballot, within the period of fourteen (14) calendar days through four (4) calendar days before an election, must be reported in a late contribution report. Such contributions made to candidates who are not on the ballot need not be reported in a late contribution report.
Governor David Ige signed S.B. 400 S.D. 1 H.D. 1 C.D. 1 into law as Act 204 on July 6, 2021. Act 204, effective upon approval, amends HRS §11-340 to clarify that the higher minimum fine of $300 per day applies to the preliminary reports due ten (10) calendar days before an election.
Governor David Ige signed S.B. 402 H.D. 1 C.D. 1 into law as Act 205 on July 6, 2021. Act 205, effective upon approval, amends HRS §11-333 and §11-335 to provide that, in addition to candidates, candidate committees may reimburse other individuals for costs advanced for expenditures and requires that these reimbursements be itemized in disclosure reports. The law also removes the ability of noncandidate committees to reimburse candidates for costs advanced since noncandidate committees are prohibited from receiving loans.
Governor David Ige signed S.B. 405 S.D. 1 H.D. 1 C.D. 1 into law as Act 207 on July 6, 2021. Act 405, effective upon approval, amends HRS §11-364 to require candidate committees to return excess nonresident contribution(s) to the contributor(s) within thirty (30) days of the end of the election period. If not, the excess nonresident contribution(s) will escheat to the Hawaii Election Campaign Fund.