Editor’s note: This is part of a Civil Beat series exploring conflicts of interest in the Hawaii Legislature.

The Hawaii House of Representatives is debating a bill that would reduce the penalties and fines for unfair trade practices by the petroleum industry.

A lawmaker stands up and says he might have a conflict of interest, saying, “At my gas station we sell petroleum products.”

That’s all that’s said on the floor.

You’re presiding over the House and need to decide if the lawmaker is allowed to vote or should be excused because he has a conflict of interest.

The House says a conflict of interest means “the legislation affects the member’s direct personal, familial, or financial interest except if the member, or the member’s relative, is part of a class of people affected by the legislation.” (For more information on the ground rules and to review other potential conflicts, visit our how-to guide.)

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