HONOLULU – After conducting a detailed analysis of Senate Bill 2682 (Relating to Financial Disclosure Statements), Gov. Neil Abercrombie today sent a letter to Senate President Donna Mercado Kim and House Speaker Joe Souki stating that he will let the measure become law without his signature. He placed the bill on his intent-to-veto notice to legislators last week to allow for more review time.
In the letter, Gov. Abercrombie stated:
“When it comes to the role of volunteer participation in the policy and decision-making process of governing in a democracy, the power of government to intrude in people’s lives becomes far more than a technical issue. It goes beyond labels of left and right. The whole rationale of democratic governance, after all, is to ensure the protection of individual rights, particularly in matters of personal information and dignity.
“There are tough issues to be considered in this bill with competing values: Legitimate inquiry into possible conflicts regarding the public interest versus legitimate concerns about personal information on family, finances, credit history and medical records becoming cannon fodder in political battles.
“It seems reasonable in these circumstances then, to allow this bill to become law with the object of reviewing the disclosure documents to determine what information serves the public interest, what limitations are relevant and most importantly, what constitutes conflict. The issue then, is not about disclosure, but to what end and by what means.”
Analysts say it is likely too soon to tell if the governor’s decision will change the minds of two members of the UH Board of Regents – including Maui’s Saedene Ota – who resigned from the board rather than disclose personal an unrelated financial information without cause.