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 increase court fees to pay for legal services for the poor.
A lawmaker stands up and says he might have a conflict of interest, saying, “I serve on the Board of Directors for Legal Aid, one of the recipients of the fee and surcharge.”
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.)