The state Campaign Spending Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to require advertisement disclaimers be included on all campaign committees’ signs and banners, effective Aug. 20.

The decision comes after Gov. David Ige vetoed Senate Bill 2992, which would have exempted political signs and banners from having to note who paid for them.

Hawaii law states that “any advertisement that is broadcast, televised, circulated, published, distributed or otherwise communicated, including by electronic means,” must identify the person who paid for and authorized the advertisement.

The commission did not enforce the requirement, however during the 2018 legislative session after SB 2992 was introduced.

Political signs at the corner of 11th Avenue and Harding Avenue/onramp to freeway.
All political campaign committees must place disclaimers on their signs and banners as of Aug. 20. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018

Commission Executive Director Kristin Izumi-Nitao said one option was to not enforce the law on signs and banners throughout the 2018 election.

Other options included enforcing the requirement immediately or allowing candidates to have a grace period until Aug. 20, after the Aug. 11 primary election.

“I think it’s going to be very relevant as we move into the general election,” Izumi-Nitao said in a meeting. “If we don’t enforce this then you’re not going to know who’s putting those signs and banners through for the ballot issues or super PACs.”

The commission ultimately voted to delay the enforcement until Aug. 20.

Any banner or sign that does not have an advertisement disclaimer after Aug. 20 could result in a $25 per advertisement fine for the first violation, $100 per ad for the second violation and $500 per ad for the third violation.

Fines for further violations will be determined by the commission, but will not exceed $5,000.

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