ASK THE GOVERNOR TO NOT VETO THIS BILL

We need your help. Decisions by our government should be made based on the needs of our people, and not the influence of special interests. Unfortunately, the Governor signaled his intent to veto a bill I wrote together with the State Ethics Commission that would help prevent special-interest influence in government. We are asking everyone to sign on to a letter from our community asking the Governor to NOT veto this bill. He will announce his decision September 15th.

Too often those in positions of power in Washington leverage their positions for personal gain for themselves or their clients.  59% of the members of Congress who left office in 2019 and now work in the private sector are employed by lobbying firms or other companies trying to influence government. They are effectively cashing in on their Capitol relationships and knowledge to help companies profit and enrich themselves, at our expense.

 

Among many examples is Congressman Billy Tauzin from Louisiana, who was chief architect of the 2003 legislation that prohibited the Medicare program from negotiating lower drug prices. Tauzin left Congress the next year to accept a $2 million per year salary as head of PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying organization. Coincidence? Or blatant payoff for helping pharmaceutical companies keep drug prices high?

 

Here in Hawaii I just passed HB 2124, which would prohibit the Governor, department directors, and those in positions of power, in addition to former legislators, from becoming lobbyists and influencing their former colleagues for a year after they leave office. This will create a cooling-off period that will help prevent the pay-to-play special interest culture in Hawaii that we see in Washington. Not a single testifier opposed the bill, and it passed with unanimous bipartisan support. 

Unfortunately, the Governor placed the bill on his potential veto list. He says passing this bill will make it harder to recruit people to serve on boards and commissions in government. However, the whole point is to prevent government from recruiting people who will use their positions for personal benefit. No one - not a single board or commission or any of their members - opposed this bill. Help us show the Governor that Hawaii residents care about these issues, and that we should be limiting special interest influence, not enabling it. 

Sign on to this letter that will be sent to the Governor asking him to NOT veto HB 2124.   

 

Mahalo for looking out for our community,

                   

                     Rep. Chris Lee

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TEXT OF THE LETTER TO GOVERNOR DAVID IGE:

First Name

Last Name

Dear Governor Ige,

 

Decisions in our government should be made based on the needs of our people, and not the influence of special interests. In Washington we often see those in positions of power leverage their positions for personal gain for themselves or their clients. 59% of the members of Congress who left office in 2019 and now work in the private sector are employed by lobbying firms or other companies trying to influence government. They are effectively cashing in on their Capitol relationships and knowledge to help companies profit and enrich themselves, at the expense of the people.

 

The Hawaii State Legislature just passed House Bill 2124 (2020). This bill would prohibit the Governor, department directors, and those in positions of power, in addition to former legislators, from becoming lobbyists and influencing their former colleagues for a year after they leave office. This will create a cooling-off period to help prevent the pay-to-play special interest culture in Hawaii that we see in Washington. Not a single testifier opposed the bill, and it passed with unanimous bipartisan support. 

We understand that seats on government boards and commissions will need to be filled in the future. However, the most important priority is finding the right people to serve in those roles to prevent government from recruiting people who seeking to use those positions for personal benefit. This bill will help ensure that. Not a single board or commission, or any of their members, opposed this measure.

 

As citizens of Hawaii we ask for your support to let House Bill 2124 (2020) become law. We should be doing everything in our collective power to improve our political process and ensure decisions are made for the right reasons in Hawaii. This bill will take a significant step toward that end.

Sincerely,
 

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