A measure scheduled to be heard before the Kauai County Council would restore a lobbying ordinance on the island that was eliminated some 20 years ago.

Kauai County is the only county without a lobby ordinance, though the state Constitution requires every county to have one,” says the bill’s sponsor, Council member Gary Hooser.

Bill 2614 has strong community support, said Hooser, but “big business and lobbying interests are starting to push back and oppose this.”

The bill would require lobbyists to register with the County of Kauai, disclose the amount of money used by lobbyists to influence government decision making, and identify themselves as lobbyists prior to testifying before the County Council or county agencies.

It also calls for this:

  • a complete ban on all gifts from lobbyists to government officials (“no lunch, no dinner, nothing,” said Hooser); and
  • a prohibition on lobbyists serving on boards and commissions that deal with the subject matter upon which they lobby, specifically banning them from serving on the Charter Review Commission and the Ethics Commission.
Gary Hooser. editorial Board. 2 march 2015. photograph Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Gary Hooser at a Civil Beat editorial board in 2015.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Hooser’s bill has drawn opposition, according to a recent report in The Garden Island.

Excerpt:

Jan TenBruggencate said he was testifying on behalf of himself and Nancy Kanna represented the Kauai Board of Realtors. Both said they supported legislation to require lobbyist registration, but the current bill isn’t up to snuff.

“I support lobbyist restoration that is transparent, fair and simple,” TenBruggencate said. “A sign-up sheet for lobbyist kept in the meeting room available for everyone to view, that’s what you need.”

TenBruggencate said that was the system 20 years ago at the Kauai County Council, and that should be the system today. He said the bill on the table is complicated and “let’s outsiders skate by and contains loopholes that let council members avoid registering” as lobbyists.

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