It took several years, but Hawaii’s county mayors and governor may soon be prohibited from holding another job while in office.

House Bill 361 would ban emoluments, or outside financial interests, for those five government executives. The 51-member House voted unanimously Thursday to pass the bill.

It now goes to Gov. David Ige for his approval or veto.

House Speaker Scott Saiki at podium with mask dangling on ear before session begins during COVID-19 pandemic. June 22, 2020
A bill banning emoluments, which has been long advocated for by House Speaker Scott Saiki, cleared the Legislature Thursday. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

House Speaker Scott Saiki introduced similar bills in past sessions, but they never won approval by the entire Legislature. He’s previously said the bill was a reaction to the election of President Donald Trump. But in Hawaii, the most public example of a mayor holding a position outside government has been Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

The ban would go into effect in 2022, just in time for the next governors race.

On the House floor on Thursday, Saiki didn’t comment on the bill. But Rep. Gene Ward, the House Minority Leader, advocated for its passage.

“It’s overdue, it’s a good one,” Ward said.

HB 361 would require the mayors and governor to give up their positions and business interests. Those would need to be liquidated or rolled into a blind trust.

Ige has until late August to indicate whether or not he will sign the measure into law.

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